Kickstarter Update

My Spirited Sister -- Kicktraq Mini

Here is the current Kicktraq mini chart for MY SPIRITED SISTER.  So far, so good.  The key number for me is the $311 in pledges per day to succeed.  That number has been decreasing over the last few days as we’ve been able to take in more than what is needed.

Campaigns are tough and we must be diligent.  I’ve added some perks to make backing our project more attractive.  You can now earn a perk for a pledge of only $1.  It’s a fun little memento.  I won’t tell you what it is here. Check out the campaign page and take a look.

Realizing that when backing a film, generally one desires to actually see the film when it’s finished, we now offer a link to view and download the finished movie starting at the $5 level.  This is unprecedented in crowd funding.  $25 is the usual starting point to see the film.  We want people to see this and to thank them for their generosity.

But wait, there’s more!  At the $25 and $50 level, you will be able view and download not only MY SPIRITED SISTER but also, the short film Cooper and I made last year,  ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? When was the last time you saw a double feature?

Take a look at the campaign and share it with your contacts. By all means, feel free to ask any questions you may have here, or on the campaign site.  We love to share inside information with our potential collaborators.

MY SPIRITED SISTER on Kickstarter.

Kicktraq

Kicktraq is a great web site that until yesterday, I didn’t know existed.  In fact, I didn’t realize that the MY SPIRITED SISTER Kickstarter campaign was listed on the site. It provides statistical analysis on Kickstarter campaigns, using an algorithm to project the final outcome, successfully funded, over funded, or, dare we say it, failing to reach the goal.

For a math geek like me, it’s a fun to explore our page.  There are charts and graphs.  Beyond my fascination with numbers, it is a very useful tool.  It’s not so much that the predictions are 100% accurate (movie campaigns generally follow a reverse bell curve and often experience spikes) but it is a good way to gauge where tweaks must be made in the life of the campaign.

So take a look and see what you think.  In the future, this site may become a very reliable way of predicting a campaign’s chance of success.

MY SPIRITED SISTER on Kicktraq.

A Productive Day

Yesterday was a very good day in the development stage of MY SPIRITED SISTER. As you know, we’re running our Kickstarter Crowd Funding Campaign.  It’s off to a nice start, but we did need to make a little tweak. Actually, a fairly big tweak.

An important part of a campaign is the pitch video. Statistics clearly show that campaigns with a video succeed at a much higher rate than those without. Our original video was Cooper and I talking about how we met, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?, and of course, our current project.  It was a nice video, we’re both intelligent, articulate and charming people, but it was on the long side.  In today’s world, attention spans are much shorter.  We live in an age of sound bites and brief messages.  We also realized we needed different faces out front on this project.

The solution was clear. Yesterday we shot a new video, shorter, faster paced and featuring Lauren, Emma and Abbe, the three stars of MY SPIRITED SISTER.  The result was fantastic.  The new video runs just under a minute, includes the pertinent information and gives the viewer a preview of how well these young ladies perform on camera.  The new video is now on the campaign site and people are viewing it in its entirety.

There were other good things that came about as a result of the shoot.  The director/actor relationship is one of the most important on a film set.  There has to be mutual trust and understanding.  For a director, working with actors is usually the skill that takes the most time to develop.  It’s important to realize that actors are individuals and must be treated that way.  What motivates one, may not be what motivates another.

Cooper and I had another opportunity (the TV spot was the first) to work with our leads and get a feel for their personalities, strengths and weaknesses.  The girls did a great job.  They were energetic and very natural and they have excellent chemistry with each other.  As we continued to shoot takes, looking for that “magic” one, our actors started to lose the spontaneity a bit.  I think they were worried about the time.  They started to rush a little and sounded too much “by rote”.  Cooper did an amazing job.  She had them stand up, take a little break and a breath to get back on track.  They engaged in a group hug and relaxed.  When we resumed shooting, they nailed it!  A great take that is now on the site.

It was so productive and rewarding to have everything work out that way.  I’m so impressed, not only with our stars, but with Cooper as well.  I’m not at all surprised.  I knew without a doubt she had what it takes to be an excellent director and that we would work together in that capacity every bit as well as we do as writers.

After the shoot, I went to lunch  with Cooper and her fiance.  He’s a great guy and they are such a perfect couple.  It really makes me feel good to see how happy they are together.   (I’m showing some sensitivity here. That doesn’t leave this room! Okay?)

Campaign Update

Our Kickstarter campaign is gaining momentum. We’ve had a nice flurry of pledges from last night and throughout this afternoon. We are now at 15% of our $10,000 goal. It’s a good start and if we can maintain this pace, we’ll be able to get there.

It’s been the result of diligence and hard work on the part of a group of people. Our three stars, Cooper, the families and I have been putting out the word through social media and good old fashioned face to face contact. I’ve learned a lot since I ran the campaign for ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?  last year. We only reached 10% total and we were only able to make the film because I had access to a sum sufficient to produce it. I have no such access this year, so it’s crowd funding or bust.

I’ve done my homework. I’ve spent hours studying material on how to conduct a successful crowd funding campaign and even reached out for consultation from an expert, Lucas McNelly. He has a great web site packed with information on every aspect of the task.

And it is a task. No matter how much time you plan to devote to it, if you want to be successful, you’ve got to devote more. It’s a grind to be sure, especially since Cooper and I are still working on the script, booking and preparing ourselves and our stars for interviews and doing the million other things required to get a film into production. I’m in full filmmaking mode, only sleeping four hours a night.

I love this hectic pace. I’m a Gemini and while I don’t necessarily subscribe to astrology, I do have my sign’s characteristic ability to multitask. I’m going to make this happen. Whatever I have to do, this project will come to fruition. I said this last year as well, but the great thing is that this time, I can point to ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? as an example that proves, we can take a project all the way.

So, jump on board this success story. This is going to be a terrific film and the start of a what should prove to be an amazing series. MY SPIRITED SISTER on Kickstarter. Tell your family, tell your friends, tell people you can’t stand!

Publicity!

There are a number of areas in which we are aiming to improve our performance on our current film.  One of the most important is publicity.  I did make an attempt at this on ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?  It was the reason, after all, that I started this blog.  I never really got the hang of it though.

Early in preproduction, I had a member of my team assigned to handle our social media.  He had some problems with his computer but honestly, was not making much of an effort anyway.  For this individual, filmmaking is a hobby, just a way to satisfy his curiosity about how movies are made.  I ended up handling all of it myself.

It’s not difficult, just time consuming and with everything else a director must do, there isn’t much time left over to really do the job effectively.  I also was new to both Facebook and Twitter.  I have done considerable studying and also have learned from my past experience.  I’m trying to manage my time better and make room for PR.   I’m off to a better start on MY SPIRITED SISTER. 

With our IndieGoGo campaign going live next month, it is crucial to get the word out about the film and our crowd funding goals.  I’m much more adept with social media, for example, in the use of hashtags.  I’m doing a much better job in reaching more people.  This time around, I am also using traditional media, as recommended by mentors I trust.

I contacted the arts editor of the Danbury, CT News-Times and a reporter is going to write a feature article.  He’ll interview Cooper and me about our lives as independent filmmakers and also about MY SPIRITED SISTER.  It will be a great way to reach out to our local community and let them know what two of their fellow citizens are doing and how they can be a part of it.

I’ve also booked an interview for us on a public access television program in West Hartford.  I’m very excited.  I did a fair amount of television in my stand up days, public access and interviews on local news stations.  It’s a lot of fun and I’m very comfortable doing it.  We’re also planning to book our three young stars on the show in a few weeks to help give the campaign a boost at the midpoint.

It’s very exciting and I’m proud that we’re taking such big steps forward.  We’re hoping to raise a significantly greater amount of money for this film.  We want to make a better movie and would love to be able to pay everyone involved at least something for their efforts.  We’ll also be able to rent more and better equipment and have a bigger budget for set design and wardrobe.

I’m feeling proud of myself.  I’ve always picked things up very quickly and that seems to be holding true thus far for my filmmaking career.  My confidence is at a very high level and my self esteem has never been better.  Pretty good for a neurotic kid who never went to film school.  Like my fictional counterpart from ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? Danny Kresky, I’m no ordinary schmuck.

Did anyone notice my absence?

I haven’t posted anything in awhile.  That has most likely gone unnoticed, and in fact, there’s a very good chance no one is reading this now.  But, on the off chance that some poor soul who reached an extreme state of boredom was looking for a post from me, I apologize.  Directing a movie is quite a task.  Particularly on a micro budget, when you have to do multiple jobs.  I just have not had the time.

We shoot in less than six weeks.  Things have been going amazingly well.  But for every element that slides neatly into place, there seem to be three others that still need to located.  It’s like climbing a mountain and every time you get to the top, it grows another hundred feet.

I’ll catch you up quickly in this post.  I’ve got a production meeting in a few hours.  I’ll try to get a more entertaining post up later.  (I know.  The movie stuff is boring.  You want details of my issues and how I’m dealing with them.)

We’ve got our crowd funding campaign up on IndieGoGo. www.indiegogo.com/Isnt-It-Romantic?  We’ve gotten three donations so far, which is not a bad start considering we launched over Labor Day weekend.  I placed an ad on Facebook for our fan page and we’re picking up some likes.

This Saturday, we are shooting a short promotional video for IndieGoGo and we will probably put it on YouTube.  Sunday is auditions at a rented studio in the Theater District.  Pretty cool, huh?  We placed an online ad on BackStage and we have gotten submissions from some really good actors who are willing to work free.  We’re going to have a good cast.  That’s essential.

I’m working on organizing our meetings better.  We’ve got so much to do in so little time.  We actually need to be better organized and prepared than a studio production.  We don’t have the resources or manpower to do reshoots or fix problems that a big production would, so everything has to be in place.

We’ve also found a movie theater for our opening scene.  There’s a theater two blocks from my house that has a classic Art Deco movie house look.  We are not using that one.  The town I live in has a film commission, but they are only interested when Hollywood comes calling.  They are terrible about returning phone calls and emails.  I tried to contact the movie theater directly.  Same problem.  I will NEVER shoot a frame of anything in this town.  In fact, my goal is to someday shoot a feature with one scene in every town that borders on the one in which I currently live.

As I said, we do have a theater.  I sent an email to the executive director of the Warner Theater in Torrington, Connecticut, a beautiful and historic building.  He answered in half an hour, said it was doable, let’s talk.  Now, there’s support for local independent filmmakers!

Now, on to the other million things I need to do.  Better posts coming.  I promise.