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.

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!

“Do the Right Thing” – My Spirited Sister on Kickstarter

It’s a simple fact. It takes money to make a movie. Even micro budget productions require funding. Our latest project, MY SPIRITED SISTER, is no different. As I’m sure most of you know, crowd funding now the most common way independent films secure the necessary cash.

There has however, been a recent trend where established filmmakers are using crowd funding to pay for projects. Zach Braff and James Franco are just two examples. Nothing wrong with that. The option is available to everyone. The latest big name to enter the arena is Spike Lee, who just launched a campaign on Kickstarter, the same platform we are using to fund MY SPIRITED SISTER.


There has been some outrage over this. It’s been controversial and there are people who don’t feel it’s right for a director with a track record like Spike’s to be using a method that they feel should be limited to up and comers. Honestly, I am not one of them. I’ve always been a big fan of Spike Lee. He’s a Brooklyn guy like me, and more importantly, a brilliant filmmaker in my opinion. It’s a free country and he has as much right to use Kickstarter as we do. I wish him well.

I will say, however, that Spike will have no trouble funding this film. And I’m not talking about huge donations from Hollywood big shots. He has a huge fan base and will easily reach his goal with many, many small donations. That is the essence of crowd funding.

So, we are urging people to “Do the Right Thing” and contribute to a truly independent film, MY SPIRITED SISTER. We need it much more than Spike does. We’ve got a great project with a ton of potential. Here is the link: My Spirited Sister on Kickstarter Please check it out. We have perks that start as low as $5. You don’t have to give a huge amount.  It all adds up. True story. When the French built the Statue of Liberty, the US had to finance and build a base for it. They were hoping the money would come from wealthy New York citizens like the Astors and the Vanderbilts. The rich, however were not interested. Ordinary citizens, whose donations were generally less than one dollar, made contributions that totaled $120,000 and funded the base. Filmmaking works the same way.

You have the opportunity to be a patron of the arts. Please check out and share the link: My Spirited Sister on Kickstarter “Do the Right Thing”. Support truly independent film and be a part of our team. Think of the fun you’ll having reading my updates and knowing that you’re a part of making things happen. I’ll even throw this in: for everyone who reads this post and makes a contribution of any size, I will send you a link where you can view and download my last film, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? How can you pass up that deal?

The First Interview

Yesterday, Cooper and I met with a young reporter from the Danbury News-Times for our interview.  We sat in a Starbucks, sipping ice tea and discussing our lives as artists.  I feel it went well.  We prepared for it, getting together the day before and going over the points we wished to express.  We are leaving nothing to chance.  It’s important to take full advantage of every tool at our disposal.

One of the things that has drawn us together as partners and friends is the fact that we have traveled remarkably similar paths in life.  That was confirmed yesterday.  As we talked about the aspirations and passions we developed as children and how they carried us to the current point in our lives, the reporter commented on that similarity.  It’s funny.  I absolutely don’t believe in fate, but we are amazingly well suited to be creative partners.  Almost like it was designed that way.

We also talked about ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?, how it developed, the work we put in, what we learned and how it’s doing now.  We then discussed MY SPIRITED SISTER. That was our main reason for doing the interview.  We need to get the word out about our upcoming IndieGoGo campaign.  We want to raise more money than last time and make an even better film with better production values.

We talked about the young stars of the upcoming movie.  The three of them appeared in the opening scene of ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?  These girls were amazing, talented, enthusiastic and so full of energy.  They had an impact on everyone who was on set that day.  The veteran actors commented on the effect the kids had on them.

They’ve been studying acting for some time and it shows.  We had no dialogue written for them in the scene, so I told them to improvise. It worked beautifully.  They were comfortable and natural and shared the screen like pros.  The scene really works well and they are completely believable.

Cooper and I are really looking forward to working with them again, this time giving them lead roles.  I’ve said this before, casting is vital.  Choose the right actors and your job as a director becomes much easier.  We did just that on ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? and we’re well on our way to doing it again.

In the interview, we also took the time to acknowledge how pleased with were with the effort we got from the crew on IIR.  We had a mix of experience including people who had never been on a film set.  The enthusiasm was high though and everyone made their contribution.

The reporter thanked us at the end.  He’s young and up and coming and appreciated the opportunity.  We equally appreciated the publicity.  Earlier in our lives, when Cooper was in LA pursuing her acting career and I was in New York doing stand up, neither of us promoted ourselves the way we should have.  A little too humble.  Nothing wrong with humble, but to get anywhere in this business, you’ve got to let the world know you’re here.  That’s what we’re doing now.  We’re talented and dedicated and we’re going to shout it from the rooftops.

Revisions

As I related in my last post, Cooper and I sat with with our editor and DP, Matt to get his feedback on the script for MY SPIRITED SISTER. His comments proved helpful, but perhaps not in the way he anticipated.  Through his critique, we were able to get Matt’s interpretation and see where it differed from what we were trying to say.  He made some good suggestions but they did not all fit our story.  However, in seeing where we failed to clearly get the point across, we are now able to fix those problems and clarify the story we want to tell.

We began the process yesterday.  An excellent point that Matt made was that he felt the story peaked too soon and was kind of flat thereafter.  That lead to a brainstorming session in which we added depth to the storyline.  We are very excited by the direction in which we’ve taken it.  This script is a considerable improvement over ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? which was very good.

Being able to utilize feedback to improve a script while staying true to one’s vision is tricky yet essential.  Frankly, it is a strength I have always had and Cooper does it pretty well too.  It comes down to confidence in one’s own ability.  Having a partner helps greatly.  Mutual support is a nice thing to have.  I cannot wait to shoot this film.  It will represent a big step forward in our development as filmmakers.

 

Our First Meeting

Yesterday, my partner, Cooper and I got together with our editor, Matt to discuss the script and our plans for MY SPIRITED SISTER. It was the first of what will become dozens of meetings as we make our second film.  Matt also cut ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? and did a great job with it.  He’s a terrific editor and the three of us are also good friends.  We all met at the first meeting of our former screenwriting group in 2011.  I honestly knew that day that I had met two extremely talented people and that I wanted to work with both of them.  Mission accomplished in that regard.  We already have one short under our belts and number two is on the way.

I find it very helpful to have my editor involved in the entire filmmaking process, not just in post production.  It goes a long way toward ensuring that we get all the shots we need to put together a solid film.  In this case, Matt is also going to shoot the film.  He’s got a better camera than we used on ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?, along with a lens kit and solid experience.  He’s very creative as well.  I needed to make a change in the director of photography position.  I am pleased with the visuals in ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? but it was not at all a good fit with the DP I used.  The director/DP relationship is essential.  That one adjustment will make a huge difference.  Cooper, Matt and I have mutual respect and the ability to work together for the overall good of the project.  That’s the main concern of all three of us: the quality of the finished film.

Matt liked the script we wrote and gave us just a few notes on things he thought would improve it.  We’ll do some revising.  In the meantime, the tasks of creating the schedule, budget, putting together the production team and fund raising are now upon us.  The start of a new project.  So exciting.