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$34,018 pledged of $50,000 goal
$34,018 pledged of $50,000 goal

Recent updates

33 Hours Remaining

There are just over 33 hours left to the crowdfunding campaign to make ALGORITHM.

Here’s the thing… we’ve made enough to make ALGORITHM. You read that right. As of right now, we’ve got enough money to make the movie! It’s still a bit scary, and reaching $9k will make it much less scary.

But, making a movie is only the first part.

If we only reach $9k, then the movie will basically sit on my hard drive when I’m done with it. We also need enough to promote and distribute ALGORITHM.

I’m sure you’ve heard a ton of horror stories about how expensive everything in the movie business is. Well, it’s not. We’ve proven that with the production budget of ALGORITHM. We’d like to prove it again with distribution. That’s the $30k mark.

With $30k, we can press and deliver 1,000 DVD/Blu-ray combo packs. We can print posters and postcards. We will have enough to go to at least one film festival.

You made ALGORITHM possible.

$30,000 may seem like a long way off, but the last campaign I ran, we made most of that money in the last 24 hours. And, we’ve got more than 24 hours left!

To those who backed, you will see ALGORITHM. Help me spread it as far as possible. You’ve been very generous with your money, now help me spread the news as far and wide as possible. We can do this!

The URL to share is:

Thank you for your support so far.

Jonathan Schiefer

The Root Kit - Reboot

Dear Awesome,

I know I said I would never do another crowdfunding campaign. I also said I would never send another update. However, I’ve recently begun to say I don’t trust people who don’t occasionally change their minds. Others/time/the-burning-desire-to-create have convinced me to recant. Yep. I’m doing another crowdfunding campaign. It’s for THE ROOT KIT, which has been rewritten/improved/rebranded as ALGORITHM.

I’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a movie I’m making called ALGORITHM. It’s a techno-thriller about computer hackers. The story is about a hacker-for-hire who discovers that the government is monitoring everything everyone does. He fights back.

The reason I’m using Indiegogo instead of Kickstarter is because I’m pre-selling DVD/Blu-ray combo packs, which is expressly forbidden on Kickstarter.

ALGORITHM still isn’t the kind of movie a studio would make. They have lots of rules in place to help them reach the biggest possible audience. ALGORITHM doesn’t do that. It’s too specific, too niche. The best part about it is that while it’s about hackers, anyone can watch it and understand it.

It’s also too controversial for the major movie studios. It’s about a very real, present, government conspiracy. Prior to Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on the NSA, most people would have labelled ALGORITHM a conspiracy theorist movie. Now, it’s only too real. ALGORITHM asks questions like: How far should the government be allowed to go to protect us? Is there a point where civil disobedience becomes necessary? How far are we willing to go for what we believe? Does privacy even matter? If so, why?

If this idea interests you, if you believe in what I’m trying to do, if you want to take part in something that can really make a difference, go to and buy a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack.

ALGORITHM is an ambitious project. It’s way beyond the normal scope of an independent movie. If you want to help even more, please tell your friends, even the people you don’t really like, about ALGORITHM. I can’t do this alone.

I know my time is valuable. I know your time is valuable too. Thank you for spending the time to read this. Thank you.

This is absolutely (probably ;) the final update via Kickstarter I will ever make.

The Root Kit: Post-Campaign News #1

Earlier, during the campaign, I just copied and pasted an email I sent to the cast because I thought it was the best, clearest way to address the issues. Before I do that, I want to let you know that I'm going to be compiling an email list of people who want to be kept informed about where The Root Kit is at, as well as my other future projects. If that's you, send me an email: with the word "Subscribe" in the subject line. I'll be using MailChimp, which has an unsubscribe button at the bottom of every email. If that's too slow, or you don't feel like dealing with it like that, just send me another email with the word "Unsubscribe" in the subject line.

If you've got any more questions, please send me an email directly (, as I don't plan on using the Kickstarter interface anymore. Anyway, here's the email I just sent out to the cast:

Good morning!

I should have sent this Saturday morning, but I was so exhausted, I just didn't have the energy until today. I apologize for my latency. However, when I explain what I've gone through, hopefully you'll understand. I have some bad news, then some good news, then some more bad news, then some more good news, and I want you to hear it from me.

But before I share that with you, I want to thank you all for helping me spread the word of The Root Kit during the Kickstarter campaign. With your help we got The Pitch up to over 11,000 views!

THE BAD NEWS: The Kickstarter campaign didn't work. You probably already know that. You also probably already know (because I've said it several times in several places) that I'll never do another Kickstarter campaign, for anything, ever. It took 3 months of preparation and then 31 14 hour days straight to actually run it. It totally burnt me out.

THE GOOD NEWS: Again, as of the writing of this email, The Pitch has been viewed over 12,500 times. That's extraordinary! What's even more amazing is that by the end of the campaign it had been viewed just over 11,000 times. But, here's the wild part, of those 11k views, 637 people contributed, that's nearly 6%. My brother owns an ad agency. The numbers he gets that make him happy are 2%. We obliterated his numbers. We did INSANELY well. We targeted the geek/tech community and penetrated deeply into it, so deep, in fact, that some of the backers were the tech media, including people from This Week in Tech, BoingBoing, ycombinator, and NYC 2600 (aka The Hacker Quarterly)! If you've ever heard of the last one you know just how big a deal that is!

THE BAD NEWS: Since the campaign failed, and since I have no intention of ever doing another Kickstarter campaign, I'm rewriting the script to pitch it to the studios. This is good and bad. It's bad because it means I'm going to have to make some compromises. But, it's good because it means I can write without a micro-budget in mind. And, let me tell you, the story has radically improved because of that. It's WAY more intense.

"How is that bad?" you might be asking. Well, it's in the compromises. Studio execs are always the best/most creative people. And, that's understandable. They have to make movies that make money. And, if TRK gets picked up by a studio, I'm going to have to listen to their notes. There are some things I won't compromise on, but everything else has to be negotiable. So, it's got it's ups and downs. One of the things I'm going to have to negotiate is the cast. Yeah, that's the bad news.

THE GOOD NEWS: I'm going to pitch TRK to the studios, under several conditions: 1)They can't fire me as a writer; 2)I'm directing and they can't fire me as director; 3) The story must be true to what hackers are really like. This will never end up like Swordfish, or a thousand bad movies that portray hackers foolishly. 4) Women will not be objectified or sexualized. My initial argument for this was what I'd been saying all along, that there are intelligent women who are into computers and I want to show that. However, that can be shot down fairly easily. So, instead, I'm going to pitch it with a PG-13 rating, making the argument of why I wrote the script in the beginning, to make more geeks. To achieve that, it must have the broadest audience possible. However, I believe it's impossible to write this story with any truthfulness and get a PG rating. So, PG-13 eliminates nudity/overt sex.

The fact that I'm familiar with this world gives me an edge. That means the movie will be true to the way hackers really are. It means this movie is going to be original and awesome. And, because I'll be directing it, it also means I get a pretty big say in who gets cast. Not complete creative control, but a lot more than if someone else were directing it. And, because of that, I'm going to try and bring as many of you along with me as I can, because you're good at what you do, because you supported this project when there was very little money involved, and because you earned it with your support! I can't promise anything, but you better be sure, I'm going to fight for you!

Final 4.5 Hours!

I know I said I wouldn't send out another email. This is it! These are the last 4.5 hours. We're $20,000 and the only way to reach that is for you to tell everyone you know! If you want to see The Root Kit, tell everyone. I'm not asking you to increase your pledge, many of you have already done that, and I'm incredibly thankful!

But, that's not enough. It has to reach more people. There are now more of you than I reach using Twitter and Facebook. You have to reach out to people you know.

A movie like The Root Kit has never been made. It will never get made by anyone else. If you want to see something like this, YOU have help me make it happen.

There are only 4.5 hours left. Share the link Let people make their own decisions. But, don't let them come to it Monday and wish they had found out about it earlier. I've been reading a lot of comments to that effect, today!

The Final 23 Hours

This is my last update during the campaign. I'll send out one more when the campaign finishes.

As always, I want to thank you for contributing to The Root Kit. This would never be possible within the Hollywood studio system, nor even what passes for the indepdendent studios.

Most of what I want to say, I already wrote to the cast, so I'm going to pull back the curtain a bit more and just give you all the same email I sent out about 30 minutes ago, to the cast:

Good morning!

What you've been doing already to promote The Root Kit's Kickstarter campaign has been amazing! As of the writing of this email, we've made it to $26,429 or just below %53 percent from 500 backers! That's amazing! I mean, that's incredibly amazing. I'm blown away! I'm so excited I was supposed to be taking a bit of a nap for the past few hours but I couldn't only get about 45 minutes. That's how excited I am!

Why was I napping instead of sleeping, you might ask?

Wile 53% is amazing, unless we reach 100%, we get nothing. So, I'm going to be doing what I'm calling a 24hrathon for the last 24 hours of the campaign. Will it make a difference? Who knows? But, I'm doing everything I can to make sure The Root Kit gets made.

But, as I've been saying, I can't do this on my own. I know you've been sharing The Root Kit everywhere, a lot, on all the various social media sites you're on, even in person, I'm sure. As I have been. We've got to double our efforts. We have to make these last 24 hours an unavoidable flood of content. We've got to get #rootkit trending on Twitter. I've got my social media mavens doing what they can, but we've got to go all-in now!

Again, if we don't at least reach $50,000 in the next 23 hours, we get nothing. The Root Kit doesn't get made, ever. This project is too fringe for Hollywood to ever make it. I've broken almost every rule Hollywood judges movies by: there's no nudity, there's no explosions, and there aren't any bankable famous actors in it.

What I've done is found the absolutely perfect actor for each role. I've written a script that means something. I've written a script that grips you by the throat and doesn't let go until page 141! After we get funded, I'm going after a crew that matches the quality of the rest of the project!

Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Tell everyone about The Root Kit. The website to share is If you're not sure about what to say/tweet/update, just follow me on Twitter (@jschiefer). I'm going to be flooding my stream with witty, related statements. Those statements are mirrored on The Root Kit's Facebook page:

I want to leave you with a quote from one of the producers of The Root Kit, Lucas McNelly, "If we don't make it we get nothing and the movie doesn't happen and a puppy dies and the bad guys win and the world ends."

Help me spread the word. 23 hours left!

My battle cry is: WE CAN DO THIS!

P.S. Since I've been writing this, we got two more backers and are now at $26,461 with 502 backers! It happens that fast (about 20 minutes)!

Jonathan Schiefer