UPDATE** Hey guys! Kayla Olson here, creator of God Made Man. We desperately need your help. We have just a couple days left and still a lot to raise. I'm really speaking from the heart here- I've been working on this film for a long time. Please help us make it. I promise you'll love it. Thanks so much already. XOXO
Logline: A homeless transgender man gets sucked into a scheme by a gay drag queen to extort a corrupt lawyer on this dark and dreary night.
Synopsis: Leading double lives and seeking redemption, three disparate people collide in this urban purgatory. Rhett, a homeless transgender man, tired of drifting from couch-to-couch craves stability and acceptance. His friend, Doyle, a gay drag queen, turning tricks for rent money, plots a reckless blackmail scheme but needs Rhett’s help to pull it off. And Ted, a corrupt lawyer running for District Attorney is consumed by his sex addiction and bouts of scopophobia while secretly sustaining a human trafficking ring. One winter night, these three forsaken souls converge and are shockingly changed forever.
It's so important to tell gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual and overall diverse stories and tell them in a real and honest way. The word "queer" is a very polarizing term. To some it's a term of hate and oppression, while to others, who are "taking it back" it's an all-encompasing term for a community of people who know we don't all have to fit into gender norms, sexuality stereotypes or even "traditional" body identities. For too long has "queer" been looked upon as something different and therefore "bad." When instead it should be celebrated. Our entire team supports the LGBTQIA+ community: gay, lesbian, trans, bi, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and even allies. So raise that rainbow flag and tell your stories.
Before God Made Man, we made an award-winning web series. Once You Leave is a 12-part, four hour long series about a woman on the road, who loses everything only to find herself. The lead character is technically a lesbian (and bi-sexual) but writer/director, and my co-creator, Nate Locklear, wrote it in a way where the character, instead of being labeled this or that, is just a human in love. It was beautiful.
Yes, God Made Man deals with themes inside the LGBTQIA+ community but ultimately these characters are just people searching for acceptance, love and identity while struggling with addictions, lies and hate. When writing the original script and when Nate began rewriting it, we made sure we always respected our characters and found the good in them- even if they were considered the antagonist or "bad guy." The three leads, Rhett, Doyle and Ted are seeking redemption. The film treads into some very dark territory, shedding light on human trafficking in the modern age, discrimination, and corruption. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The title, God Made Man, refers to biblical passages that talk about the, God made man and made woman stories. So, with a transgender man, who was born female but now identifies and lives as male, is God still responsible? It also refers to the evil that man and woman do. If God Made Man, how can He let them commit such evil deeds? The film is not "preachy" in any way. But each of the leads (and some of the supporting characters) have some type of relationship with religion and/or a higher power. Rhett, the transgender man was raised strictly religious and had to run-away to become the man he is today. Doyle, the gay drag queen was raised Catholic and still practices the religion but has to live in a world where many of the teachings don't quite support people living a gay lifestyle. And Ted, the lawyer, leads a double life: his business persona- strictly Christian and professional, and his darker lifestyle- prowling the streets and running some shady business.
God Made Man, originated as a short script while I was in film school. I was trying to get substantial work as an actor while fulfilling my need to create films. But I wasn't landing the kind of roles I really craved. So, I decided to write a role for myself that would be filled with passion and drama. Once finished, I sat on the story for a long time.
Then while still in college I met a professor named, Nate Locklear. I felt we had an instant connection because we could really understand each other and we made each other laugh non-stop. I asked for his assistance on the short film I was creating, The Date (SXSW 2015). WE HAD A BLAST! We loved working together. Soon after, he asked if I wanted to intern for the Texas PBS show he was co-producing, The Daytripper (watch here: http://video.klru.tv/program/the-daytripper/). Of course I agreed. We became best buds...
We left The Daytripper, and then over chips, queso and margaritas at a Tex Mex restaurant in Austin, we created the storyline of our web series, Once You Leave. Web series had been around since the 90s technically but they were still not the common item as they are now-a-days. There were all these "rules" like, keep 'em short, make 'em funny and have tons of other supporting material called, transmedia (aka multimedia). Well, we broke all those rules except the last. We had 20 minutes episodes of truly dramatic stuff. I'm so glad we went down that route. We did have supplemental material though in the form of a behind-the-scenes series, a digital (and physical) graphic novel issue and a blog from the POV of a crucial character.
It took us about 8 months, off and on, to shoot the series, with little to no budget and another year or so, to edit and then "distribute" online. Luckily, it paid off. We won several awards, got accepted into multiple festivals, including the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (Polari-aGLIFF), and met so many awesome creators and fans.
In the end, I satisfied that need (for now) to have a hearty role as an actor. I adored the character I played in the series and learned so much about acting, filmmaking and myself. But I still wanted to tell the God Made Man story. So I approached Nate and we agreed it would be our next project.
I sat down and began turning the short 12-page script into a 90 page feature. It wasn't easy but it was an amazing experience. I loved getting to dig deeper into the heads of these fascinating and diverse characters. Unfortunately, it all came to a smashing halt when my sweet dog, Townshend passed away :'(
I shelved, God Made Man. I shelved a lot of things after that. It was a good while before I could even think about creating again. I knew Nate was taking a much needed break too after the intense work of Once You Leave. So I just kind of lived with it for awhile.
Also, I got married :) Which was the best part of my life...
Some time passed and I was back on my feet and getting the creative itch. I also knew that Nate was looking for something artistic to do. I gathered all the material for God Made Man, cleaned it up and then handed it to Nate.
He's taken the story and created something remarkable. He stayed true to my original idea and characters. He combined some characters, took some out and increased the screen time for others. It's raw, honest, gritty and so dramatic in that best way. I can't wait to see it all unfold on set.
Like I mentioned above, we had little to no budget doing Once You Leave. We borrowed, charged up credit cards and asked for a lot of favors to get it made. No one got paid, not the crew, cast or us as the creators. For The Daytripper, the show's host and producer sought underwriting and sponsors but it was still very low budget. With God Made Man, since the story is so intense, with several locations and characters it was time to do it with some backing. It's still micro-budget though. Did you know many "independent" movies still have a $100,000 budget or more? That's insane! We're making truly independent movies here. We know we can make it for under $20,000 (more would be ideal). On Kickstarter we're seeking contributions upwards of at least $10,000. We enjoy the community aspect and love the idea of offering some things from the film to our fans and contributors.
We had a fundraiser in early November and reached our first fundraising goal of $1,500. We received a generous donation from Hotel San Jose, 15% of drink sales during our fundraiser from the bar, Cheer Up Charlie's, and several businesses donated raffle prizes which raised the rest of the funds towards our first goal toward the additional $10K we need. It was a great night.
Nate Locklear is also contributing to the production with his own film equipment and equipment he has access to. This is one reason we could get the budget to $20,000. Our crew and cast are working under a "Most Favored Nations" clause where each category of worker gets the same pay because everyone is equally important to the completion of this project. Crew and actors are getting modified low budget amounts plus they are deferring some of their pay and holding off to when the film gets sold and money is made. Locations have been giving us free or discounted use of their space- it's very amazing the support we are getting.
Kickstarter Breakdown of funds:
Location Fees $425
Kickstarter Fees $900
Other Fees $100
GMM SHOOTING SCHEDULE
End of November: Secure Cast & Crew
Beginning of December: Secure equipment, rehearsal, set dressing, finalizations
Early-Mid December: Get Kickstarter funds
Principal Photography: December 12th- 30th (with holiday breaks)
Pick-ups, re-shoots: January- February (random weekends)
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Donate! This is this best way to help. Even $1 helps our production along. Take a look at all the rewards we are offering, there are some good ones. We have until December 10th at 11:59pm, that's less than 30 Days to raise at least $10,000, so if you're considering donating, do it today. Time flies and if we don't get the full $10k then we don't get any of the funds.
Can't donate right now? That's okay, we have other ways you can help too. The easiest is to share our Kickstarter campaign on all your social media spots: FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc and even through email. Send a quick message to your circles asking them to check this out!
Like us & Share us on Facebook. We post tons of behind-the-scenes images to our page http://facebook.com/GodMadeManFilm #GMMfilm
Or send an email:
I have just come across this new film being made in Austin, TX called, God Made Man. It's a dark drama where three disparate people, a transgender man, a drag queen and a corrupt lawyer, come colliding together over one cold, winter night. The team behind this also made the award-winning web series, Once You Leave, so I know this will be great!
I've decided to donate to their Kickstarter campaign to help them raise $10,000 before they shoot in mid December. They have some really great rewards for the donation. Check it out and maybe consider donating or at least pass it along to interested people.
Check out more on their FaceBook page: http://facebook.com/GodMadeManFilm
Thanks so much,
***Update: We have found our Rhett (the transgender man) in actor Felicia Dawn Hershey:
**Update: We have found our Ted (the corrupt lawyer character) in actor Mike Gassaway:
We have less than a month to raise our funds. We need all $10,000 (or more) raised by December 10th at 11:59pm or all the money is refunded back to the donors. And sadly, God Made Man would probably have to go back on the shelf. It's an all or nothing method of funding.
Crowdfunding is also a great way to build an audience and community for your film, web series, project or whatever you may be creating. We're used to having to build a community after all the work we put in on our web series. But each time it's a new story with different experiences. We're very excited to meet you and hear your thoughts and excitement. We all love film. We love watching film, making film and sharing film. We hope you do too and will want to be a part of this project. We appreciate you so much for just reading this and watching our video.
And finally one last bit from our director and my buddy, Nate Locklear.
Risks and challenges
Our team has been making films, tv and web for many years. We won a handful of awards on our web series, Once You Leave (which was the length of two feature films). It was also an Official Selection to several film and web festivals.
We're working with some returning crew from Once You Leave and some returning crew from other projects we've done. Each and every one of them is dedicated to this project and dedicated to making film.
Our director, Nate Locklear also won two Emmys® for his work as Producer, Cinematographer and Editor for the first two seasons of the hit PBS show, The Daytripper. The Daytripper moved fast, shot in the Texas summer heat and had tons of footage to shoot for the documentary-like, informative show. Nate was always right in the mix making sure it all got done and in a timely fashion.
So we know we'll finish this project. Film is compromise though. Different challenges will arise every day. For instance, maybe we lose an actor or location at the last minute... Luckily, besides a great crew we also have support from the community. If we happen to lose a location, another can be found quickly. Or if an actor has to back out- we've been collecting a troupe of actors to pull from who would gladly step in if needed.
We love guerrilla filmmaking. We love "running-n-gunning" or "shooting from the hip." Our cinema vérité (or documentary-like) approach is great for making films fast but also making them stunning and original. This is what we've dedicated our entire lives too, so it's happening.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)