Let’s Set a Record!

My Spirited Sister -- Kicktraq Mini
I’ve come up with a fun idea to boost MY SPIRITED SISTER’s Kickstarter campaign and make it even more fun for everyone involved.  We’re going to try to set the record for the most one dollar pledges on a single campaign. I’m not going to divulge the number, but needless to say, it is a very large one. This is, in fact, the essence of crowd funding. The occasional big pledge is very helpful, but the core of most campaigns is many, many small contributions.

One dollar is the smallest amount of money that can be pledged. We do have a fun little perk for that level. It’s a very small amount of money, but if enough people do it, a great project gets funded. Setting a record offers some bragging rights, a little bit of immortality, in addition to being part of the team that makes MY SPIRITED SISTER a reality.

So pledge a buck! Urge everyone you know to do the same! Be a part of a record setting event and a member of the team. Opportunities like this don’t come along every day. Of course, if you would like to pledge a bit more than a dollar, you won’t get any complaints from me!

Link to Kickstarter campaign.

The Script Is Finished!

Last night, Cooper and I finished the script for MY SPIRITED SISTER.  It’s a nice achievement and the last stretch didn’t come easy. We ran into a phenomenon that Syd Field describes in his book, “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting”. It’s interesting and very common.

When working on a screenplay, as writers, we become intimately involved in all parts of it. The characters become real people, friends, acquaintances and even enemies. We enjoy the ride the story takes us on, get hooked on fleshing out scenes and moving it forward step by step. By the time we get to the end, it can be hard to let go. It’s like sending your child out into the world.

We found ourselves reluctant to jump in and start the final scene. We had our outline and a short treatment, we just resisted. Fortunately, we are veteran writers and realized what was happening. We pushed ourselves into it and it flowed. Mission accomplished. At least that part of it.

It’s very exciting now, because we get to move into the next phase. While still working diligently on the Kickstarter campaign, we can now move onto the later stages of development that bridge into preproduction. First, we can get the script into the hands of our lead actors. We want to give them the opportunity to start working on their characters, so they can show us their takes on them.. I’m a big believer in giving the character to the actor once the script is done. The characters are theirs to bring to life. Cooper and I will guide them of course in keeping everything in line with our vision, but we trust their talent and training.

We can schedule rehearsals and get in some work with the girls, further building a rapport with them and good actor/director relationships. We can also start thinking about casting the other roles. We need to know what we’re looking for so we can find it.

We can also get the script to our DP/Editor and start filling out the crew. We can meet with our department heads, showing them the script and start planning the look and feel of the film. It’s a very exciting time, the first step to taking the story off of paper and moving it toward the screen. It’s starts to feel real at that point.

I’ll keep you updated as we move forward. We’re very excited about this project. It will be a nice step forward in our filmmaking careers.

Bonus Perk Weekend!

Abbe Skinner (thumbs up), Lauren Abbott (gray sweater) and Emma Skinner (extreme right in profile taking the picture) in  "Isn't It Romantic?" Soul Mate poster behind them.

Abbe Skinner (thumbs up), Lauren Abbott (gray sweater) and Emma Skinner (extreme right in profile taking the picture) in “Isn’t It Romantic?” Soul Mate poster behind them.

The Kickstarter campaign to fund MY SPIRITED SISTER is progressing steadily. We are happy to offer a special deal this weekend. The highest pledge this weekend, Saturday, August 3 or Sunday August 4, will receive, in addition to the regular perk, two autographed items from our previous film, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?

First, there is the SOUL MATE poster (in the background above) that shared a scene with Lauren Abbott, Emma Skinner and Abbe Skinner, the three stars of MY SPIRITED SISTER. The three up and coming actors will sign it.

Paul Rothbart and Cooper Campbell in "Isn't It Romantic?"

Paul Rothbart and Cooper Campbell in “Isn’t It Romantic?”

Second, you will receive the photo above, featuring yours truly and my partner, Cooper Campbell, the writer/directors of MSS, who also starred in IIR. We will both sign the photo. How can you turn that down?

Here’s a chance to become a part of our team, support indie film and get some cool signed mementos. Check out the Kickstarter campaign. Please, share it with your friends. Give everyone the chance to take advantage of this limited time offer.

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!