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Inspired by MC Escher, a brilliant architect constructs a stairwell that loops back into itself.

What's the project?

The most powerful aspects of myths are their ability to incite wonder and excitement. We're creating a myth that does these things while also challenging audiences to think.

The myth is that located in Rochester, NY, is the Escherian Stairwell, an architectural marvel that seems to violate the laws of physics and basic logic by looping back into itself. In order to lend credence to this myth, we're creating an episode for a family-friendly science show that demonstrates the staircase in action, various clips from a 1997 documentary with prominent thinkers grappling with the existence of this apparent contradiction and pontificating on its implications, and a whole slew of supplemental online materials for today's internet savvy audience to stumble across while trying to see if this thing is real (websites, scholarly articles, fan-pages, blogs, etc.). Help us build the myth! 

Why create a myth?

Well, the short answer is that myths are awesome. Especially when done right. The slightly longer answer is that we are passionate about immersing audiences with a sense of wonder and surrounding them with a wealth of detail executed with such rigorous realism that they can choose to step into it, get lost in it, and believe in it. Films like Close Encounters and 2001 inspired us with awe, and even a hint of fear, when we first saw them. How do we capture that feeling again? The internet and the age of social media seem to be opening up doors to reinvent the medium and reignite those in-theater experiences that have gotten stale over the decades.

How will you launch the myth? 

From the very beginning, we visualized this myth as a great tie-in with the Rochester Institute of Technology's annual Innovation & Creativity Festival, aka Imagine RIT. Since it's become a cultural event in Rochester, with 35,000 people expected to attend this year, the festival and the build-up surrounding it appear to be a perfect launching pad for the project. 

What sort of help do you need?

We'd love for you to back us financially, but also, once we've reached our fundraising goal, to join us in spreading the myth. 

You receive rewards when you become a backer! The perks increase based on your level of giving (see the sidebar on the right; we think our perks are pretty cool). So please pledge what you can and let others know that we need help with this.

How does Kickstarter work?

It's all-or-nothing. If we reach our $12,000 goal, the backers' credit cards are charged when the funding period ends. If we don't reach our goal by the deadline, no one is charged, and the project gets nothing.

What happens if you exceed the goal?

With more money, we will focus on expanding the myth: add websites, diversify articles and topics, create video evidence from different time periods, and hopefully give audiences a deeper experience with the amount of layers they'll be able to dig through.

What is the budget breakdown?

40% - Production expenses

20% - Web material

15% - Post-production and special effects

15% - Backer rewards

10% - Fees

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The big challenge for us is that this year's Imagine RIT festival is on May 4th, and not only would we want to have something to show on that date, but we want to release the webisode 10 days or so before then. We also want to have some web materials and a clip or two from the 1997 documentary already up on YouTube by then, for people to find when they Google search "Escherian Stairwell" and other key words/names associated with the myth. This Kickstarter campaign, however, ends two weeks before May 4th. So we're in production right now, even as we're raising funds, in order to speed things along and have something for the festival.

We are also facing the risks common to any film production: possible equipment damage, weather-related delays, availability conflicts, and other logistical issues.

The best we can do to mitigate these risks and overcome these challenges is to be as prepared as we can possibly be, work as hard as we can, and strive to put ourselves in good positions, and hopefully, with the help of our backers, this thing can spread and become a really cool experience for a lot of people.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    8 backers

    BELIEVER. You'll get access to all our secret updates. Plus links to every online article and video about the myth, to share with your family, friends, and naïve little cousins!

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    5 backers

    EYEWITNESS. In addition to all of the above, you’ll get a postcard from The Stairwell Gift Shop, ensuring any doubters that you’ve actually been.

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    10 backers

    DISCIPLE. You’ll get everything else plus a DVD or Blu-Ray of the episode, discovered footage from the long-lost 1997 documentary, and some exclusive extra features that include a behind-the-scenes look from the day of the Innovation Festival at RIT.

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    1 backer

    CORRESPONDENT. In addition to the rewards already mentioned, you’ll get access to the visitor message boards and the opportunity to contribute to the myth. Recount your own experience! Or deny its existence because you want to keep the truth all to yourself. Whatever. Have fun with it. We’ll also send you an exclusive t-shirt from The Stairwell Gift Shop, proving once and for all, that you’ve been there and it’s real.

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    3 backers

    INVESTIGATOR. We include everything else, plus prints of Rafael Nelson Aboganda’s sketches, floor plans, and recovered pages from his diary, which offer a glimpse into his private struggles, and his initial attempts at constructing the Stairwell.

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    CONFIDANT. At this level, you’ll get all the perks mentioned, plus a personal note sent to you by the great architect himself: signed, sealed, and delivered. Display it in a glass case if you want, or keep it locked in a safe, away from prying eyes. Regardless, don’t lose it! It could be worth a lot of money in the future. You'll also get to ask any question about the Stairwell to actual world-renown academics for the documentary interviews. How does it work? Does the Stairwell disprove all our laws of logic? Ask away, and they'll give you a personalized response.

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    0 backers

    ADVISOR. What would you do in the Escherian Stairwell? Throw a bucket of ping-pong balls down the steps and watch them rain down from above? Tie a rope to your waist, loop it around the Stairwell, and pull yourself from behind? Tell us what you’d like to see happen in this architectural marvel and we’ll film it (keep it kid-friendly, people). And you also get the above-mentioned rewards.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    LEGEND. The authentic t-shirt didn't convince your friends that you were there? You're clearly hanging with a very pompous crowd. Well, maybe video evidence will. That's right. Come to the actual Stairwell in Rochester and we'll film you doing something creative in it. And you'll get to meet the team! And give us hugs and hang out with us. (Plus the above perks).

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    IMMORTAL. Become a part of the myth forever. Decide which you want: Your name in the credits as Associate Producer of the "Can You Imagine?" webisode. Or the name of a loved one you'd like to honor. Or any name you make up (within the bounds of good taste). Or have your business introduced at the very beginning of the show as an underwriter. The potential for visibility is limitless, and you will be linked to the Stairwell until the end of time.

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Funding period

- (30 days)