Two unhappy people find their lives transformed when they begin receiving messages from a magical copy machine.
About the Film
Beth (played by Coco Carlyle), a frustrated employee of a Very Large Company, is about to quit her job. One day, she runs a few copies and finds an extra piece of paper in the output tray - a message from the copier itself.
Skeptical at first, Beth quickly comes to rely on the copier for advice about her job and her love life. The copier makes a perfect best friend; it's a good listener and never asks to borrow money or clothes.
What Beth doesn't know however, is that the copier is also printing out words of wisdom for Jack (played by Chase Austin), a co-worker.
One day, Beth and Jack arrive at the copy machine at the same time...
Want to read the script? You can!
The film is set in the present, but its elements of magic and whimsy lend themselves to an old-fashioned look. Retro-contemporary, so to speak. Visually, we're inspired by vintage advertisements like these:
The Story Behind the Film
Like a lot of writers, I still have a day job and one day I was surprised to find what appeared to be a personal note ("I'll be back at 2") amongst some copies I made. It turned out to be a note someone had left on my desk that accidentally got mixed in with my originals.
But it made me think, what if...? And those are the words that launch every story. What if?
About the Cast & Crew
Chase grew up in Midland, Texas, a small dusty town west of Dallas. He was a corporate headhunter by day and personal trainer by night until someone realized that his natural charisma and flawless eyebrow situation ought to be in front of a camera. Since then, he's appeared in regional and national commercials, starred in six short films currently on the festival circuit, and was offered a lead role on the Discovery Channel's "Unusual Suspects".
Coco has been an actress (on stage, in film, TV and on the web), singer, dancer, comedienne, improv-er (if that's a word) and voice actress in Dallas/Fort Worth for over ten years. She's studied at the American Conservatory Theatre and Second City and has performed at Dallas Children's Theatre and - for complete contrast - in Shanghai. She can also memorize an entire one act play in six hours and has a flair for stage-fighting - which will come in so handy in this production.
Of course the copy machine is the real star. We had to use a stand-in for the promotional video though, because Copier "won't get out of bed for less than three rolls of toner a day."
Transporting Copier presents its own challenges, not just because he's a diva but because he weights approximately as much as a Buick.
Doug writes and directs two web series which can be seen on Youtube and FunnyorDie (links are in the links section). He has also directed nonfiction videos, including one for the national touring exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and written a bajillion* articles about film, special effects and theme park design.
*estimate, may not be accurate
As for me - I write for stage and screen and someday, I hope to write for money (rimshot). After years of writing other stuff, I was asked to adapt one of my short stories into a screenplay and realized it was what I really wanted to do. I've placed in a few screenwriting competitions and had two one-act plays locally staged by Rover Dramawerks. I recently won the Willamette Writers Script to Screen competition as well and will have that short film produced this August. I would also like to state that I did brush my hair before we filmed the promo video, it's just very humid here in Dallas (okay, Mom?)
For full cast & crew biographies, please visit the film blog.
How We Will Use Your Money
The money we raise on Kickstarter will go toward:
- Equipment rental: cameras, lights, filters, sound equipment
- Location rental
- Sets & props
- Costumes & makeup
- Craft Services
- Post production and editing
- Cast & crew fees
- Festival entry fees, DVDs, distribution
- Kickstarter processing fees
Does it really cost that much money?
Yes. The budget works out to less than $900 per minute of finished film, which is actually very low. Our single biggest expense is sound - poor sound quality is a killer and we want this film to sound as good as looks. Especially during the knock-down, drag-out, no-holds barred action sequence in the third act.* This means renting equipment and hiring qualified people to run it. And those kinds of people don't work for hugs and pizza. Even really sincere hugs and really good pizza.
*This actually happens.
So What's In It For You?
Rewards include copies of the DVD, production credit, a box of magic copier chocolates (as seen in the film) and supplied by our backer SWEET RUBY JANE CONFECTIONS. Sorry to shout but it's important that you know about these fine people and their delicious chocolate.
Also, an opportunity to see your name in the film, to be at our premiere party and one or more of our "Mysteries of the Universe" postcards and posters, designed by Doug King.
But on a personal level...
A few years ago, I was going through some very difficult times and was pretty depressed. A friend sent me a link that she promised would cheer me up and I thought, oh God not more cat pictures.
But no, it was a link to a short film called VALIDATION, written and directed by Kurt Kuenne. I watched the film and for seventeen minutes, I forgot about my problems. I laughed. I felt hopeful. That's the power of storytelling. It makes you feel.
And that's what we want to do with our film.
Please share this campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, shouting in the streets, calling random people in the phone book - however it is you communicate. Crowdfunding requires a crowd, after all.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I think the best way to describe how we will deal with future challenges is to tell you how we've dealt with past ones.
Just getting to this stage of the filmmaking process required overcoming obstacles. A few months ago I had a script and nothing else. Now, I am part of a "we" and that script has a principal cast and director. Together, we made a budget, found a location, filmed a promo and acquired the most important prop, the copier itself.
We've also made story choices that minimize our risks. This is a single location film with no exteriors, which means no street filming to contend with and no weather worries. A limited cast, which means fewer chances for production to be delayed by illness or scheduling conflicts.
The shoot for the promo video went quickly, smoothly and entirely drama-free. Although we had a loose script, we improvised and adapted when certain things didn't go quite as planned (like the one second shot that took eleven takes). If making the promo was a litmus test, we passed and then some.
The biggest risk, honestly, is that we won't meet our funding goal. Kickstarter is all or nothing. Even if we are $1 short of our goal, we get nothing. So don't think your $1 won't help. It will.
Thank you! We were actually going for "whimsical" but hey, both words start with "W", at least.
When making a Kickstarter video, you have a few options. You can show whatever footage you have so far (if you have it), you can invite your celebrity friends to endorse you (if you have them) or you can make a sincere plea to the camera. Or you can do what we did, and be kind of goofy.
Because the film is a comedy, we wanted to show you our comedic "voice." We got a little silly. That doesn't mean we aren't deadly serious about producing a quality short film. We know $13,444 is a LOT of money. We aren't going to blow it all on magazines and gum. Okay, maybe one pack of gum. That we'll all share.
Well, "high" is a relative term. A Kickstarter campaign goal and a film's actual budget are two different things. Some projects are already complete and are raising funds for post-production and distribution. Others are halfway done or some other percentage. Some filmmakers run a separate campaign for every phase of the project: pre-production, production, and post.
There are other factors at play, too. Equipment owned vs needed to be rented, the number of friends in the industry one can persuade to work for for free, and one's own personal resources.
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Karma: We'll think warm and loving thoughts about you. Best of all, delivery is Instant!Estimated delivery:
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A Piece of the Magic: The copier will answer a question for you! To receive this award, email your question after the campaign is complete. You'll receive an answer - printed straight from the copier - in the mail. (Please, no wagering)Estimated delivery:Add $1 USD to ship outside the US
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Gratitude: Your name will appear in the credits under "thanks", which you can show everyone with your digital copy of the film and we'll send you one of our Mysteries of the Universe Thank You postcards signed by the cast, plus of course your question answered by the magic copier.Estimated delivery:Add $1 USD to ship outside the US
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5 backers Limited (95 left of 100)
Something to hold onto: A 3" X 2" copier-shaped stress ball. (See a picture on our Facebook page) We'll be squeezing these as we count down the last two weeks of the campaign. You'll also receive a digital copy of the film, thanks in the credits, and a Copy That postcardEstimated delivery:Add $1 USD to ship outside the US
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Copy That Insta-Shrine Kit: You get a DVD of the film, an 8.5"X11" Mysteries of the Universe poster signed by the cast, a message from the copier and a votive candle to light whenever the film competes in a festival. And thanks in the credits.Estimated delivery:Add $3 USD to ship outside the US
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Totally Devoted: The DVD, a complete set of four Mysteries of the Universe 8.5" X 11" posters, one of them signed by the cast, a votive candle, a message from the copier, and thanks in the credits.Estimated delivery:Add $3 USD to ship outside the US
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The Miracle of Chocolate: In the film, the magic copier duplicates a box of chocolate for Beth. You can enjoy your own box of specialty chocolate from Sweet Ruby Jane Confections, one of the film's underwriters. You'll get seven of their bestselling candies in a specialty box - as seen in the film - times two. Plus a Mysteries of the Universe poster, DVD and thanks in the credits. Due to the melty nature of chocolate, this reward can only be shipped to US backers. Sorry. :(Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
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0 backers Limited (12 left of 12)
The Voice: Chase or Coco will use their patented Professional Actor Voices to record the greeting of your choice on your voice mail (or answering machine, if you live in 1989.) Plus everything at the $75 level.Estimated delivery:Add $3 USD to ship outside the US
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1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)
The Word: Copy That's writer (aka me) will apply her skills to the one page document of your choice. Need a kick-ass Christmas newsletter? A strongly worded letter of complaint? A passive-aggressive breakup letter? Crossover slash tentacle porn fanfic? (that last one is a rhetorical question.) You also get the stuff at the $75 level.Estimated delivery:Add $3 USD to ship outside the US
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And He Shall Be Called... We have one male character in the film who is as yet unnamed. You name him, and that name will be spoken at least once in the film. Plus you'll get the DVD, signed poster, and a copy of the script with your character name highlighted and thanks in the credits.Estimated delivery:Add $3 USD to ship outside the US
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Totally Devoted In Person: Everything in the Totally Devoted package, which you can pick up in person, because you'll be invited to the screening and after party here in Dallas which will take place in late September or early October. (So you'd have to be here in Dallas, obviously).Estimated delivery:
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Producer: You'll receive everything in the Totally Devoted reward, producer credit on the film, an invitation to the screening and party (in Dallas) and also receive a copy of the script.Estimated delivery:Add $3 USD to ship outside the US
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Corporate sponsorship: No cute euphemisms for this one. Your business name and website url will be shown in the credits and featured on our film blog, Facebook page and in all our promotional materials including a 30 second video spot. Also, you get a DVD, posters and a box of Copy That chocolates. Because the film will tour festivals after completion, you'll get a YEAR of promotion.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
- (30 days)