UPDATE: MATTHEW MODINE, currently starring in Netflix's "Stranger Things," has joined "My Love Affair With Marriage!" He will voice the character of "Bo" and be an Executive Producer of the film along with his producing partner Adam Rackoff. Read the full story in Variety.
"My Love Affair With Marriage" is based on my personal experiences - I have been married two times and could never understand why those marriages didn't last longer than they did. To unravel this mystery, I set out to research the neuroscience and mythology of love.
I decided to weave my many discoveries into the single story of Zelma, a fiery young woman with a wild imagination, who believes that love will make her a complete human being with four arms, four legs and two heads. Zelma keeps falling in love, but something always goes wrong. She journeys through many marriages, some real, some imaginary, while confronting pressures from society and her own biology. Although the marriages fail to make her complete, they, like baptism by fire, transform her.
This story is driven by 26 speaking and four singing characters. The singers are the chimerical, shapeshifting Mythology Sirens, who, with their seductive songs, lure Zelma into fantasies of everlasting love and never-ending happiness.
We have already started building sets and shooting stop-motion background sequences. But in order to begin the animation process, we need to record all the actors and singers first so that I can synchronize the animation to their voices and make the characters believable and fun.
An audio track is only as good as one's actors and for "My Love Affair With Marriage" we want to work with the best. So we went to the SAG-AFTRA union offices in New York and asked if we could use one of the low-budget contracts available to live-action feature films. The Committee considered our case (our budget is very low for animation) but held firm that there was only one contract for animated feature films and that we must pay the same rates as Disney and Pixar. Well, we love actors - they have to eat and pay rent, too - and we DO want the best, so we agreed. Actor salaries for "My Love Affair With Marriage" will come to $66,000.
In addition, we will have recording studio and sound engineering costs, composer and musical director fees, as well as set, lighting and photography expenses. Alone these costs will exceed the $124,670 of this campaign goal. But it will give us a solid start and a crucial one.
Your support will give the film a voice.
"My Love Affair With Marriage" has an unapologetic female point of view and is not afraid to go into uncharted territories. The film is unusual as it is an animated feature film created for adults. Your generous support proves that there is an audience for this film.
We hope you join us to lift "My Love Affair With Marriage" off the ground and make it soar! Thank you for your support!
From Bill Plympton, the King of Independent Animation: "I'm encouraging all my fans and friends to help support Signe in her quest to animate this exposé into the murky world of male-female passions. Hollywood doesn't have the balls to support an honest, sexually frank animated film made by a woman. I, for one, will donate and I hope you do too, because you'll be supporting an independent film that will be a piece of art, with a story that definitely needs to be seen by the world."
One cannot make a project of this magnitude alone. Under legal advice, I formed a new company, The Marriage Project LLC, along with Sturgis Warner, my partner from my previous feature "Rocks In My Pockets". Sturgis has been essential during the research, development and writing phases of "My Love Affair With Marriage". He is a theater actor/director and is very experienced in working with scripts and new plays. He is also an excellent carpenter, lighting designer and stop motion animator. Together we work well as producers and a production team.
The project has received a small development grant from the New York State Council on the Arts through the non-profit organization Women Make Movies. This gives “My Love Affair With Marriage” non-profit status which means that all donations made through Women Make Movies are tax-deductible. Kickstarter donations, however, are not tax-deductible.
One of the best film composers I know is Kristian Sensini of Italy, who scored "Rocks In My Pockets". Kristian has agreed to join us and write the songs for "My Love Affair With Marriage", as well as score the film. It is a great honor to work with Kristian again! He is an excellent collaborator who always goes the extra mile!
Recently Kristian wrote “Elita’s Song”, one of 23 songs or short musical responses in the film, as we wanted to create footage to show you in the video above. Elita is the most popular girl in the class and she teaches Zelma how to be a girl that boys like. Erica Schroeder, an incredibly talented actress, sang “Elitas’s Song” under the vigilant ear of Sound Designer Arjun Sheth of Final Frame post-production house.
We have agreed to partner with Roberts Vinovskis of Locomotive Productions in Riga, Latvia. We are excited as our previous partnership on "Rocks In My Pockets" was very successful.
"ROCKS IN MY POCKETS"
My first animated feature film was "Rocks In My Pockets" which I call "a funny film about depression". It premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on July 7th, 2014 where it won the prestigious FIPRESCI Prize. The film went to over 140 film festivals around the world and won 10 more awards. To me, the best award was the support of the 800 people who backed "Rocks In My Pockets" through Kickstarter in 2013. The $50,780 we raised enabled us to finish the film. "Rocks In My Pockets" was released theatrically in the US by Zeitgeist Films. The international sales agent is New Europe Film Sales.
The New York Times wrote: “With ‘Rocks In My Pockets,’ Signe Baumane presents a sharp, surprising and funny animated feature, plumbing the depths of depression via her family history... It’s told with remorseless psychological intelligence, wicked irony and an acerbic sense of humor.”
The film has had an impact on conversations in the mental health community helping many to better understand mental illness, its stigma and family genetics.
See the "Rocks In My Pockets" trailer HERE.
In "My Love Affair With Marriage" we are using similar animation techniques as in "Rocks In My Pockets". One of the reward-tiers of this campaign offers "Rocks In My Pockets" downloads, DVDs and original drawings. A great way to support "My Love Affair With Marriage"!
PROCESS and Time Line
2015 – 2016
- Signe Baumane spends one year researching the neuroscience and anthropology of love and marriage. Pascal Wallisch, Ph.D., Professor in the Psychology Department at NYU is her advisor.
- Signe writes 23 drafts of the script over an 11 month period. Theater actor/director and Co-Producer Sturgis Warner is script advisor for the entire process. The working title is “The Marriage Project”.
- Signe and Sturgis form The Marriage Project LLC.
- To her horror Signe loses her Brooklyn studio to gentrification. We find another space in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, renovate, and turn it into a full animation studio. The layout is better than the old studio, but is considerably more expensive. It is not easy being an artist in New York City.
- The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature gives a small grant for the development of the film.
- Roberts Vinovskis of Locomotive Productions in Riga, Latvia partners with The Marriage Project LLC.
- Women Make Movies becomes the film’s fiscal sponsor. Tax-deductible donations are now possible (but not through Kickstarter).
- SAG-AFTRA declines our request for a low-budget feature film contract. We must now raise additional funds to record actors.
- We shoot test footage to try out set, lighting, color and animation ideas.
- Signe completes designs for the main animated characters.
- Construction of background model sets and props begins. They are made of wood, paper-mache, cardboard and paint. We photograph them in stop-motion sequences creating a 3-D look.
- Kristian Sensini composes “Elita’s Song” for the Kickstarter video.
- Signe begins animating “Elita’s Song”. Her characters are hand-drawn on paper with pencil shading.
- Lists of actors are made for the other 29 roles. Offers are to go out soon. Stay tuned!
- With the help of hundreds of Facebook friends and followers we choose our title: “My Love Affair With Marriage”. We are grateful to have such instant (and smart!) responses to our Quest for a Perfect Title. With title in place we create Facebook and Kickstarter pages.
- We shoot, record and animate the Kickstarter video and launch the "My Love Affair With Marriage" campaign.
February 2017 - December 2018
- We will cast and record 26 non-singing voice actors. Arjun will edit the recordings creating the audio track of the film. Audio comes first with animation. It is much easier to animate to the voice than fit a voice to animation. Also, good actors bring unexpected nuances to their characters, which Signe will surely take advantage of.
- In March/April we will deliver the rewards to our Kickstarter backers that are available: printed cards and postcards, DVDs, digital downloads of cards and Signe's previous films, original drawings from Signe's 2014 animated feature "Rocks In My Pockets", animation cels and her erotic paintings.
- Kristian will compose the other 22 songs and musical interjections.
- We will hire a musical director who will help cast the four singing Mythology Sirens. Arjun will edit the songs and complete the basic audio track.
- When audio is completed, we will launch into full Production mode and hire additional personnel.
- We will build and paint sets for 135 scenes. Sturgis will design the lighting. Signe will shoot the sets with a digital camera. For stop-motion sequences we use an animation rail to create zooms, pans and set spins.
- Signe will animate the characters on animation paper, 30,000 drawings in all.
- We will scan the drawings and combine them digitally with the photographed backgrounds.
- We will line-test the animation, make adjustments and start the early editing process.
- The tested scenes will be colored in Photoshop and composited in After Effects.
2019 – POST-PRODUCTION
- A rough cut of the film will be created in Final Cut Pro.
- We will schedule a series of early test screenings with our friends, backers and supporters. Editing adjustments will be made.
- Kristian will compose the score for the film.
- Arjun will create the final sound mix. He will add sounds and special effects.
- We will create marketing materials: a trailer, posters, production stills, postcards and a press kit.
- We will fine-tune the completed film. The picture will be locked.
- We will apply to major film festivals.
- We will make DCP’s, Blu-rays and DVDs.
- We will arrange for Errors & Omissions insurance and work with lawyers to make the film legally sound.
- We will continually update the film’s production process to our friends, backers and supporters.
- We will pursue the distribution of the film.
- A press rep will be hired.
- Marketing, marketing, marketing.
- If all goes according to plan, “My Love Affair With Marriage” will premiere in the late fall of 2019.
- With the help of our friends, backers, supporters, social media and press, we will spread the word of the film as far and wide as possible.
- The moment the film qualifies for an Oscar run, we will send the digital downloads and streams to our backers.
DIGITAL LOVE GREETING CARDS ($10 pledge and up)
For people who love to send their cards digitally, we have 25 downloadable digital LOVE GREETING CARDS designed by Signe. A sample:
LOVE POWER CARD ($15 pledge and up)
One special reward we are offering is a printed Love Power Card designed and signed by Signe. It is a card that, when presented, outplays all the other cards.
TEAT BEAT OF SEX Download ($50 pledge)
Signe's 15 short animated episodes about sex from a woman's point of view, "Teat Beat of Sex" always breaks the ice on a first date. Couples that have been together for a while can use the episodes as fun and cheap marriage counseling. Watch the trailer HERE.
LOVE POSTCARDS ($75 pledge)
One very special reward ($75 tier only) is a collection of 5 printed LOVE POSTCARDS designed by Signe. You could mail them to people you love or tack them to the wall to remind yourself to smile and love.
"ROCKS IN MY POCKETS" SPECIAL ($125 pledge)
We have a tier dedicated to "Rocks In My Pockets": you will receive your choice of DVD or a download of Signe’s previous animated feature film “Rocks In My Pockets”. You will also receive an original pencil drawing from “Rocks In My Pockets” signed by Signe. Here is a sample:
OLD FASHIONED ANIMATION CEL
A tier of $500 pledge gives you an opportunity to select a production cel from either one of Signe's animated shorts "Dentist" or "Natasha". Samples here:
PROMISCUOUS LOVE ($5,000 pledge)
When Signe does not animate (which is rare) she paints erotic paintings in her quirky style. There are not many of this kind and she has not been willing to part with them until this Kickstarter campaign, so this is an extraordinary opportunity to own one. For reasons you can understand (the paintings are totally X-rated) we could not show the pictures on this page, but you can take a look at them (and their dimensions) HERE.
Risks and challenges
Recording the actors and singers and creating the audio track will mark the start of the film's production phase. So it is quite hard to imagine how the process will evolve if we don't record the sound track in the next few months. Reaching our goal in this campaign is crucial for the project.
Also, since the animation process is so elaborate and time consuming, the production will take 2 - 3 years. Some of the rewards will not be ready until 2019. The streams and downloads of “My Love Affair With Marriage” will only be delivered after the film has had a theatrical premiere and qualified for the Oscars, which could be 2020.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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