WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
We live in a world so fast paced that it's almost impossible to keep up. We've got a thousand things vying for our attention: Facebook, work, friends, family, bills, the price of milk, wars, the government, the rest of the world, the cold-death of the universe. It's only natural that these things make us worry a little.
A big part of that is technology. In the movie THE ROOT KIT, I talk about the scarier side of technology: computer hackers. Some of these people are so smart, computers meld so easily into their hands, and the power that gives them... it can be very scary at first glance.
But, I'm not making THE ROOT KIT to simply shed light on an otherwise rather secretive and inaccessible subject. Instead, I use technology as a metaphor for the power anyone can have.
It was a real paradigm shift for me when I realized that we could either view the world as a series of horrors lurking in the dark, on the other side of the world, waiting to devour us. Or, we could see that the power of humanity is increasing so quickly that quite a few people imagine a time when there is nothing we dream of that we can't make a reality.
Just think about it: right now, as you're reading this, there are people in Los Angeles, remotely driving a robot... on Mars! If you own a smart phone, you have access to the entirety of human knowledge and wisdom in your pocket, in a box about the size of a deck of cards. We're on the verge of curing illnesses from Cancer to AIDS. It's an amazing time to be alive.
Can technology be scary? Absolutely. Can a big strong guy be scary? Sure. Until you make friends with him, then you've got a sense of safety that you may never have known before. That's what I want to do with THE ROOT KIT.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED AND WHY?
I've set an initial goal of $50,000. I'm not a rich man. To me that's a lot of money, as I'm sure it is to you. I've made a movie for $2,000. No one got paid. Heck, I didn't know what I was doing. It was my first time making a movie. I don't want to do things that way.
So, the first place the money goes is into the hands of the actors. And, I've got to say, the actors I've discovered and incredible. I know that even if THE ROOT KIT doesn't make them famous, they're gonna be stars soon. They're just too good. They are so good that they really deserve to be paid. You won't just be entertained by what they do, they will bring the characters in THE ROOT KIT to life in such a potent way that you'll find yourself believing they're all real. That's the bulk of the money. There are 23 speaking roles. I want to shoot this in 30 days with an average of 4 actors and 4 crew on set each day.
And, that's the next place the money goes. It's not just the actors in front of the camera. It's the people behind the scenes, moving the cameras, setting up lights, answering phones, making sure the place we're filming at the next day is still available, and of course there's makeup.
And, those average of 8 people a day, plus me, need to be fed (Craft Services). They need to know that if they get hurt, their medical bills are covered (insurance).
Finally, there are the places we want to film at. While this is an independent movie, locations usually want to make sure that if we break something, it will be fixed (more insurance). Also, when we ask to use a place, they've got rent to pay. Or, if the place is a park, we need to clear it with the corresponding city (permits). All this stuff adds up.
WHO ARE YOU?
My name is Jonathan Schiefer. I'm the writer, director, editor, and one of the producers on THE ROOT KIT. I've been writing scripts for 10 years. I've been making movies, short films, commercials, music videos, and industrial videos for the past 3 years. But, that's what I do.
Who am I? I'm a person, like you, trying to make my dreams come true, trying to make a difference. THE ROOT KIT is my best attempt, to date.
Risks and challenges
While $50,000 is a lot of money, it's really just enough for us to complete this project. Everything has to be planned out, with a contingency in case something goes wrong on the day of the shoot.
The Root Kit is very complicated because nearly every single screen that will be visible in the movie is going to be added in post-production. That's really the only way we can make sure all the computer code we show is actually the code we're talking about.
And then there's sound. One of the really quick ways you can tell a low-budget film from a major studio film, other than the logo, is by the sound. We've decided that we're only going to be recording the voice on set. What that means is that all of the other sounds, from footsteps to car engines, from smart-phones buzzing to a fist slapping against skin, all that has to be recorded and synched after the fact. But, it's the only way to do it if you want it just right. And, that's not even including the music.
Is what we're trying to do hard? Yes. Is it possible? That depends on you.
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