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Magic gems, laser guns, and a young woman reluctantly looking for her father.
Magic gems, laser guns, and a young woman reluctantly looking for her father.
18 backers pledged $2,173 to help bring this project to life.
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$2,173

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In The Conduits, Rachel Watkins teams up with Morris Chen to find out what happened to her father when he disappeared. Standing in their way are Fafnir and her Cavaliers who still stop at nothing to put an end to Rachel and the other conduits.

Who are you and what are you doing?

Hi, I’m Joshua Tong; the writer and director of The Conduits and I like telling stories. So much so that my concentration at NYU Gallatin has been Narrative (Re) Construction; how to tell stories and how the way we tell stories shape our world views. All of this has culminated in my taking an Advanced-level production course at NYU Tisch: and being the first non-Film Major ever to do so.

The Director (me, center) between Naava Feingold (left) and Alex Hass (right).
The Director (me, center) between Naava Feingold (left) and Alex Hass (right).

So I’m telling the sort of story that has always captured my imagination and made me want to tell stories of my own. The Conduits is a science-fiction action-adventure set in New York City about a group of people who can use magic gems fighting for survival against a secret army with laser guns who want to hunt them down. It’s got special effects and stunts, and it’s a story I really want to tell.

Who’s making this? Well, I am (see prior section). But I can’t do this alone. The Conduits will be the biggest movie I’ve made this far and so I’ve assembled an incredible team to help me make this happen.

Richard Kim is my Producer and we’ve worked together on several projects, The Mysterious Glowy Object and Ghosts That We Knew to name a couple. On The Conduits he’s been responsible for a lot of the permissions and logistics in getting us this far. Alex Hass, my Director of Photography,  worked hard to give The Conduits a fantastic cinematic feel (we got a jib!). My Production Designer, Coraline Wang, and her team are working hard to create and procure costumes, magic gems, and concrete barricades. On set, Anna Rich and Katherine O'Kelly alternated between Assistant Director and Script Supervisor, keeping us on track and on time.  And not to forget our team of grips, PA’s and all the other crew that goes into making a movie. In the realm of post-production, I have Justin Scholar leading a VFX team to make the gems glow and the laser guns, uh, laser; and award-winning composer Ben Yee-Paulson doing the film’s music.

Who’s in this?

Cast is important. Really important. Fortunately, casting director Kerry Candeloro found some terrifically talented actors to be in this.

Adrian Blount as Rachel Watkins
Adrian Blount as Rachel Watkins
Chester Wai as Morris Chen
Chester Wai as Morris Chen
Maria Knox as Fafnir (center) with Aline Maye (left) and Ken Stancil (right) as her Cavaliers
Maria Knox as Fafnir (center) with Aline Maye (left) and Ken Stancil (right) as her Cavaliers
Nathalie Carvalho as Melissa Pryce
Nathalie Carvalho as Melissa Pryce

Alright, this looks cool. Now then: Finances.

There’s a reason science-fiction and action-adventure movies aren’t your usual student film dare. No, I don’t mean artistic snobbery; I’m talking about money, because VFX, jibs, and fake concrete barricades don’t come cheap. 

Coraline Wang and I with a flying brick.
Coraline Wang and I with a flying brick.

Now, we’re taking steps to keep production costs low without compromising the story. This means finding inexpensive locations, using the camera kit provided to us by Tisch rather than renting our own, and, especially, everyone agreeing to work without getting paid.

Kerry Candeloro (lower right) learned to sound mix on the spot and Brian Zapiecki (center) got a crash course on being a boom op.
Kerry Candeloro (lower right) learned to sound mix on the spot and Brian Zapiecki (center) got a crash course on being a boom op.

We’re still looking at a budget of $10,000, though. You may be wondering how we’re paying for this. I’ve gotten grants from NYU, which have gone a long way to helping us get this far. I work three jobs and am putting my savings into this project.

And then, of course, there’s you.

Fig. B: You
Fig. B: You

So what’s in it for me?

Ah, perks. The real reason you fund stuff on Kickstarter.

For just $9, we’ll give you access to the finished film. Due to rules about festivals and whatnot, I won’t be able to make it publicly viewable for a while. In the meantime, this is the way you’ll be able to watch it.

How did we get here? One way to find out.
How did we get here? One way to find out.

We’ve also got an awesome poster that Ari Hytti is working on. He did that banner up there and is also doing individual posters for our principal characters. We’re getting these printed postcard-sized and giving them out with the higher tiers. There’s also behind-the-scenes stuff and, my personal favorite, links to rough cuts with text saying ‘LASERS!’ in place of VFX under work.

Shot <3
Shot <3

And fine, yes, you’ll get the satisfaction of helping a group of student filmmakers get experience and follow their dreams and all that happy crap.

So why why are you making this movie?

Why this one? Why not something simpler, smaller, cheaper? Why the magic gems and laser guns?

Like I said in the beginning, I’m making the sort of movie I love watching. I think it’s financially feasible and there’s something to be said about movies that are fun. But like any good genre film, it provides space to talk about something more.

Over the course of writing this film I realized that this wasn’t a story about the baggage of a legacy but one about identity. So I rewrote it to focus on identity because, as someone of mixed-ethnicity and a childhood that saw him growing up all over the place, that is important to me. So why not explore it in a science fiction film?

Of course, I’m also a fan of lasers, witty banter, and badass women. So there’s that too.

Risks and challenges

This is huge.

The Conduits is the biggest movie I've ever made. There are a lot of moving parts and, with it, a lot of things that could go wrong. But a professor once told me that filmmaking is problem solving, and we've assembled a strong team with whom I have the utmost confidence will be able to solve any problems that may arise.

This is a project we believe in and something we will finish.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $9 or more About $9

    WATCH THE CONDUITS
    When the movie's done we'll send you (yes, you!) a link to watch it before its public premiere.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    POSTER CARD & BEHIND THE SCENES
    Want some cool swag? The very talented Ari Hytti was designed a poster that you can own. Not only that but you'll get behind the scenes footage. Could mean making of stuff, bloopers, or a montage of me in a dark room editing it set to an '80s rock anthem. You'll also, of course, have access to a digital copy of The Conduits when it is completed.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    TWO CHARACTER POSTCARDS
    Ari didn't just make a poster, he also designed character posters for each of our main cast. Along with a digital copy of the movie and poster, you'll get two randomly selected character cards.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    FULL SET OF CARDS + WORK IN PROGRESS
    Not only will you be getting a full set of the poster cards, but you'll also get access to rough cuts, previs, and all the ugly in betweens of arriving at a final version as they're made!. Will a scene be dropped because it doesn’t work? You will know because you get to see every version! And yes, this means you'll have access to the Final Cut before anyone else.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    SPECIAL THANKS
    Everyone who sees The Conduits will know you helped make this movie! Your name will be in the credits under Special Thanks! (In addition to a full set of cards and everything else)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SIGNED SCRIPT!
    Wanna see how this movie looked on the page? You can get a copy of the script used while shooting, covered in my notes and/or coffee stains. It'll be signed by me and whoever else is on set that day!
    (In addition to a full set of cards and everything else)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
    Dude, wow. This means a lot. For your tremendous support you get everything from all the other tiers (including the script!) and an Executive Producer credit in the movie's end credits, the poster, and wherever else I list the folks who made this movie.

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Funding period

- (31 days)