A quirky comedy mockumentary about a team of less-than-capable anarchists who must free their city from the grip of a wealthy elite
What is This?
Why, I'm glad you were forced to ask! Imagine you had the time, money, and incompetent local law-enforcement to dress up as a superhero and run around your town punching bad guys. Then, imagine a whole group of your friends joined you. And then, a whole group of your enemies dressed up as comic villains and showed up to fight you in the streets.
This is the world of The Guards Themselves. Comic book gang fights.
As reference, combine the subtle humor, quick pace, and colorful characters of Arrested Development in the context of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what we envision.
In a city where an elite group of selfish and wealthy individuals secretly have absolute influence over its citizens, local anarchists have organized themselves into a single force with the goal of sabotaging the corrupt corporate figureheads.
Unfortunately, not to be left out of a potentially fun situation, several local attention-hungry idiots have decided to take up crime fighting as a hobby and to thwart the plans of the "villains," becoming popular public icons and obliviously making life more difficult for the anarchists.
When their headquarters are raided by the police and most of their ranks arrested, the five remaining anarchists must regroup, rebuild, and retaliate against those who are hunting them down while continuing their original goal of returning power to the people of the city.
The main cast features four anarchists, their money-generating associate, and two self-appointed crime fighters who excel specifically at getting in everyone's way.
Why A Superhero Story?
Superheroes is a subject that's been done an awful lot lately. So what's the difference between our story and all the others?
I'll start with this: our first influence for the subject matter was Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which takes the common supervillain context and creates something entirely unique inside of it. It provided me with a fantastic example of how refreshing characters and a fun story can be placed in front of any old backdrop and still feel new.
Soon after, I watched Superheroes, a documentary about actual people all over the world who dress in costume and do as many superhero-y things as possible without breaking the law. The film itself was entertaining, but I was still left thinking how much more fun it would be if, every now and then, they threw caution to the wind and did actual superhero things like beat up some thugs or run through a burning building.
So what's the difference in our story? First of all, the roles are reversed: the "villains" are actually the ones who are trying to make a difference in the world while the "heroes" are in it for the fame and fortune.
Secondly and most importantly, there are no superpowers. Except when there are, and in those cases they're really lame. Our vigilantes are much more down-to-earth. The story takes place in our world and focuses on what might happen if a bunch of ordinary people put on some protective gear and tried to overthrow the government and stuff.
Who Are You?
I'm Kyle Sullivan, a film student at the Art Institute of Austin. I've created stories and characters my whole life through comics, film, and animation, and have published several award-winning videos online. My co-writer, Ian Conn, is a classics major at Baylor University and has assisted me with my projects for about four years now. Among other things, he has been a tremendous help in getting this idea off the ground.
In addition, we have six more friends who have stuck by us through the years, several of whom will be acting in or otherwise helping with this series. Together, we make awesome internet videos! Don't believe me? Good for you. That could be a total lie, right? Thankfully, you can check out our website here and decide for yourself!
What Do You Need the Money For?
We're college students and we spend our free time making videos on the internet. What do you think? If you answered, "everything," then yes, you are correct!
Specifically, we need the money to buy costumes, pay our cast and crew for their trouble, and pick up some extra equipment and software. Our goal alone should cover most of that decently enough, but any extra money will go towards making the series that much more amazing and get you that much more awesomeness in return!
Cool! I'm Ready to Donate and I Enjoy You Speaking For Me!!
Well, I'm glad to hear it! If you're new to Kickstarter, allow me to give you a quick rundown. The system here is all-or-nothing, which means if we don't hit our goal of $3,500, we don't get any of it! That's why it's super important to spread the word as much as possible!
If you'd like to help us not fail and contribute a little something, all you have to do is pick an amount from the list to the right and donate by credit or debit card (no Paypal, I'm afraid). The best part, of course, is that you're not just making a donation; you can also get awesome stuff in return, from copies of the DVD to an actual speaking role in the series itself! Plus, you'll be personally contributing to the creative process, and what could be more satisfying than that?
But really, stuff. Lots of it. Check it out.
When Will It Be Released?
The final product should be finished no later than July next year, and that's giving ourselves a LOT of wiggle room.
The intended release schedule will be one episode posted on Youtube every week for somewhere between 6 and 9 weeks. Afterwards, the entire series will be combined into one solid film and released on DVD for purchase on our website.
In the event that we generate a significant amount of interest in the series, the story could even be expanded into multiple seasons. The current episodes will operate perfectly well as a stand-alone narrative, but will be left open enough that we could continue the series if we so desired. Or, more accurately, if you so desired.
Thanks in advance to everyone for your support!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Our two primary challenges with this project will be scheduling all of our busy crew members and then, once they're all together, getting the high-quality footage necessary to create the product we envision. Thankfully, we have fixes for both of these.
The solution to the scheduling is simply the successful funding of the project here on Kickstarter. In other words, money. Everyone involved is already excited to help produce this series, and, quite frankly, money will insure they all stay that way.
The solution to the second challenge is that I'm also submitting this series as my senior project at the Art Institute, which gives me access to all of the school's equipment as well as the talented people who know how to use it. As a result, the technical and artistic quality of this project will far surpass anything we've ever worked on before!
No. In fact, very little will be. The amateur camcorder look was just a style we selected for the Kickstarter video. The final product will be shot much more like Arrested Development, The Office, or, to use a more generic example, a reality TV show. It will still feel spontaneous, but will also be professionally shot and edited with quality HD footage.
NO. There is no message or agenda involved in any way. This story does not reflect my personal political beliefs, and I do not endorse the overthrowing of your local government. I also won't stop you, though, because clearly I think it would be fun to watch.
If you select the $50 pledge, we will print your face on a wanted poster that will be seen somewhere in the series, probably with several others on a wall somewhere in the background. Once the project has been funded, we'll contact you to get 1. a mugshot-style photograph of yourself dressed in a cool or silly anarchist (supervillain) costume and 2. your villain name. We'll either use the photo itself or a hand-drawn sketch of the photo (we're good at drawing, so it'll still look like you, I promise). You'll probably also get a copy of the print along with your other rewards.
pledged of $3,500 goal
seconds to go
Oct 22, 2012 - Nov 20, 2012
Pledge $5 or more
LAST MINUTE REWARD! You will receive a special "Last-Minute Backer" credit, a personal thank-you email with custom artwork, and a Skype video conversation with Kyle!Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $10 or more
You will receive an HD digital download of each episode as they're released, plus you will be listed as a backer in the credits.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $25 or more
In addition to everything mentioned above, you will receive a DVD copy of the entire series, signed by the cast! As a bonus, your name will be written on a sign that will then be worn by one of our crew members who will then dance in a short video clip that will then be edited together with the others into a full video for your enjoyment.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013Add $5 to ship outside the US
Pledge $50 or more
6 backers Limited (64 of 70 left)
In addition to everything mentioned above, you will receive a CD copy of the soundtrack and we will use a photo of you dressed as a villain on a wanted poster that will appear somewhere in the series!Estimated delivery: Aug 2013Add $10 to ship outside the US
Pledge $100 or more
In addition to everything mentioned above, you will receive a signed copy of the script, a signed mini-poster featuring the character of your choice, and a personalized video thank you from the anarchists themselves!Estimated delivery: Aug 2013Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $250 or more
In addition to everything mentioned above, you will receive a full-sized movie poster signed by the entire cast and crew, a guest spot on an episode of our weekly podcast, and we will work with you to insert a video clip of yourself in costume somewhere into the series!Estimated delivery: Aug 2013Add $25 to ship outside the US
Pledge $500 or more
In addition to everything mentioned above, you will receive an Assistant Producer credit, a voice role in a future animated short, we will work with you to produce a short skit on Youtube based on your own idea, and you will get permanently added to my personal Skype contact list! Forever! Will I regret this decision? I'm almost sure of it!Estimated delivery: Aug 2013Add $25 to ship outside the US
Pledge $1,000 or more
In addition to everything mentioned above (except for the Assistant Producer credit), you will receive a Producer credit and a choice of either 1) a walk-on cameo role somewhere in the series, OR 2) a collection of props used in the show.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013Add $60 to ship outside the US
Pledge $2,500 or more
In addition to everything mentioned above (except for the producer credit), you will receive an Executive Producer credit, a speaking role with multiple appearances somewhere in the series, AND a collection of props used in the show (the same collection as above, not in addition).Estimated delivery: Aug 2013Add $60 to ship outside the US