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A feature length documentary about Manchester's strangest comedian Frank Sidebottom and his creator, Chris Sievey. ADD ON REWARDS! Read more

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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on May 30, 2013.

A feature length documentary about Manchester's strangest comedian Frank Sidebottom and his creator, Chris Sievey. ADD ON REWARDS!

About this project

BONUS REWARDS FOR EVERYONE!

A massive Frank 'thank you' to everyone who has helped us smash our Stretch Goal of 40k. Now, not only can we go and film all the interviews needed for this film, but also now license the highlights of Frank's fantastic telly career.

The film will now be more comprehensive and a much more fitting tribute to the genius of Chris Sievey and the craziness of Frank Sidebottom.

Thank you so much to every single person who has pledged their support.

Everyone will receive BONUS REWARDS. These are a download of a complete 100+ minute Frank SIdebottom live show from Christmas 2009, featuring Frank and the Oh Blimey Big Band rocking the LMRCA Railway Club, Altrincham. This is one of Frank's best ever gigs, it's never been released and it will be yours! PLUS...you'll also receive a download of a PDF of 'Beatles Band', the surreal and hysterical Beatles fanzine that Chris Sievey made. It has also never been released before. Full details of both of these extra rewards are in Update#4 (see the Update tab at the top of this page!).

There's still one day left, it ends on Thursday night at 1.00am (UK time) so please keep making your fantastic pledges, and keep telling everyone you know, however you can get the word out, about this documentary tell them to look at the Kickstarter page before time runs out.

Together we can make the most comprehensive and ace film about Frank Sidebottom and Chris Sievey it's possible to make!

Thank you.

STRETCH GOAL - Frank's fantastic telly career - FUNDED!!!

Frank Sidebottom appeared on dozens of iconic TV shows in the UK throughout the 80s, 90s & 00s. Shows like Remote Control (a quiz show with Factory Records boss Tony Wilson), Saturday morning kids shows like No 73, or TX (featuring Frank alongside the legendary Stanley Unwin), and he even had his own programme, Frank's Fantastic Shed Show.

These shows represent some of Frank's best work, and it's vital to this story that they're included. And thanks to you all, now they will be! By helping the film reach 40k in funding there should now be the money to license the highlights of Frank's fantastic telly career. Thank you.

THE STORY OF THE DOCUMENTARY 

A rare shot of Chris Sievey and Frank Sidebottom together
A rare shot of Chris Sievey and Frank Sidebottom together

WHAT IS THE FILM ABOUT?

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story is the official documentary about Manchester alternative comedian Frank Sidebottom and his creator Chris Sievey.

Across the North West of England, everyone knew the maverick comedian in the papier mache head. You couldn't really miss him. With his smooth hair, big blue eyes and nasal voice, Frank was everywhere. Armed only with cardboard puppets, and a repertoire of absurd songs, Frank Sidebottom took the Manchester performance scene by storm, eventually building up a huge cult following around Britain.

Being Frank's Kickstarter poster. Please email it to your friends.
Being Frank's Kickstarter poster. Please email it to your friends.

But Frank's real identity was a closely guarded secret and only a handful of people knew who was actually beneath the head. Now, following his untimely death in 2010, Chris Sievey’s family, close friends and colleagues are prepared to discuss this innovative, wayward genius for the first time and explain why he chose to spend 28 years hiding his identity and letting a fictional alter ego steal his limelight.

The documentary will explore Chris' complete artistic output; focusing not just on the hysterical career of Frank Sidebottom, but also Chris' music career and his post-punk band The Freshies (famous for holding the record for most consecutive failures to make the charts - 26 flop singles in a row!). The film will also delve into the many illustrations and paintings that Chris did as himself, not as Frank Sidebottom, and his other artistic outlets, such as programming computer games and homemade 3D.

The Freshies reunited for the first time in 20 years for Being Frank.
The Freshies reunited for the first time in 20 years for Being Frank.

Being Frank will also feature the rarest archive footage of Chris and Frank, sourced from hundreds of hours of footage from Chris’ own extensive archive of Super 8 home movies, VHS tapes and DVDs. The film will make extensive use of Chris' diaries, notebooks, props, costumes, work in progress and other insights into his creative process.

I'VE NEVER HEARD OF CHRIS OR FRANK. WILL I LIKE THEM?

If you've never come across Frank Sidebottom or Chris Sievey then you're in for a treat. Their work together as two separate personalities sharing one body, crosses the boundaries of alternative comedy, music, illustration, comics, painting, animation, computer games and sport. If you like extreme stories about artists or people who live their life in a singular and unique way, Chris Sievey is someone you'd love. If you like Andy Kaufman, Daniel Johnston, Spike Milligan, Peter Cook, Viv Stanshall, Robert Crumb or any other artist/eccentric then Frank Sidebottom will be a new discovery you'll cherish.

Director Steve Sullivan filming on top of the bus during the Magical Timperley Tour
Director Steve Sullivan filming on top of the bus during the Magical Timperley Tour

WHO IS MAKING THE FILM?

The film is being directed by me, Steve Sullivan. I have a long track record of making films that show internationally at film festivals, in cinemas and on TV. I'm best known for my short film A Heap of Trouble, which won the grand jury prize at the Montreal Comedy Festival and showed at Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE_wbO45FYE

I worked with Frank Sidebottom and Chris Sievey in 2006-7, making a documentary about Frank’s Magical Timperley Tour. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6oT1YgAqsM

We always planned to make another film together. Following Chris' death I learned more about the real man I'd met only fleetingly that day we filmed the Timperley Tour. The more I heard the more I wanted to know. I've been working on this documentary for nine months now and have everything in place to make a very professional film about a most extraordinary creative mind. All I'm lacking is the funding, which is where you come in.

HOW MUCH ARE YOU TRYING TO RAISE?

This is a film that can be made on a number of levels, and which level it will be made on depends entirely upon the fans of Chris Sievey.

In order to make a feature length documentary consisting of professionally filmed interviews with everyone who knew Chris well, combined with the amazing footage in Chris' own archive, we need to raise £20,000. And we have a month to do it.

If we can raise £40,000 then the film will have as much TV archive of Chris and Frank as possible. He made countless appearances on shows through the 1980s-2000s, including No 73, Remote Control, Frank's Fantastic Shed Show and Match of the Day. In order to include any of them in the documentary the footage will have to be licensed and paid for, and unfortunately licensing archive isn't cheap.

If we can raise £60,000 then I'd love to bring back the Frank Sidebottom stop motion figure from the Frank's World pilot and have Frank himself narrate and present the life story of his creator. There's a number of ways of doing the voice, including an option to edit together the hundreds of hours of radio that Frank recorded. My pledge to you is that the animation would only be done with the approval of Chris' family at every stage, and if we don't think we can do it so it's perfect then it won't happen. The last thing I'd want to do is harm Chris' legacy.

And if by some incredible chance the film generates enough enthusiasm that we eclipse £60,000, don't worry...every penny is needed and would be spent to make this the most professional cinema standard feature length documentary that it's possible to make. £150,000 would be the usual figure that most people would try and make a film of this scale for, but whatever we raise will be ace, fantastic and top. I have a track record of completing projects in a professional way, and cutting the cloth to fit. Cinema is the most expensive medium and every donation will be used to pay for something vital, so please keep spreading the word about this film as much as possible. The more we can raise, the better the film will be.

Martin Sievey with an I Should Be So Lucky box
Martin Sievey with an I Should Be So Lucky box

IS IT POSSIBLE TO PICK WHICH THINGIES I WANT TO BE IN MY 'I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY BAG/BOX'?

Sorry, no. The whole idea we came up with was to do something fun for the fans with the excess of Chris' archive, whilst raising money for the film. If you buy one of the limited edition lucky bags or boxes, thank you. It will contain mystery items carefully selected for you by Chris' brother, Martin Sievey. You'll receive what Martin wants to send you. He'll have fun doing it, and we hope you'll have fun receiving it. Even if you get something that you don't immediately know what it is, or why it would be relevant to Chris Sievey, hopefully it will make more sense after you see the film and the items take on a deeper meaning.

Chewbacca, Frank, Darth Vader and Captain Scarlet
Chewbacca, Frank, Darth Vader and Captain Scarlet

IS THE FILM GUARANTEED TO HAPPEN?

As you probably know, Kickstarter comes with a big risk attached. If we don't hit at least the minimum target needed (£20,000) within a month then no one has to pay anything, but the film won't happen. We can't let this be the case, this story is too important to allow it to remain untold, so please help me spend the whole month of May finding other Frank Sidebottom and Chris Sievey fans and spread the word that this is happening and it's a great project to be part of.

You can help spread the word by Sharing posts on the Being Frank Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Being-Frank-The-Chris-Sievey-Story/594576580569874

And follow the film on Twitter: @BeingFrankDoc

And on the Being Frank website (www.beingfrankmovie.com) we have posters you can download, print out and put up wherever you are in the world. They would be most ideal in cinemas, record shops, comic shops, bookshops, comedy clubs, pubs, bars and music venues. Anywhere where there's a connection with Frank Sidebottom or Chris Sievey.

There's a fantastic army of Frank fans that have sprung up around the documentary over the past month, and the support you've all shown has been amazing. People are getting the word out with poster campaigns from Brighton to the Isle of Man, and others are blogging about it, organising benefit gigs, or just emailing and texting everyone they can think of.

Please don't stop your amazing efforts or support if we get to £20,000. Please keep the word of mouth building through any means at your disposal throughout the whole of May and together we can make the best possible film about one of life's true originals.

You know we can, we really can.

Thank you.

Risks and challenges

I am at heart a Frank Sidebottom fan, as well as being a very experienced filmmaker. As such I'm one of the very few people who could make this film as it should be made, professionally and with love.

I will be using my sixteen years' experience as a professional filmmaker to help guide me through the process of making this film. I have around me a reliable network of experienced people that I have worked with many times over the years, of whom I can ask for support and guidance for the times when I don't know the answer. And of course, I have the support of the army of Frank fans, who already have helped to lift some of the burden of this project from me.

The time frame for sending out lucky boxes and bags is realistic, as well as for the other fantastic memorabilia we are offering as rewards. I promise that receiving these items will be a lot easier than it was to order merchandise from Frank himself!

If we can hit at least the minimum target of £20,000 then the film will be completed, but it will mean me editing the film myself. However, I am a trained film editor with many years' experience - for example I edited Magical Timperley Tour - but doing all aspects of the post-production of a feature film is a time consuming process, particularly when trying to sort through the many hundreds of hours of existing footage in Chris' archive alone.

I feel the proposed deadline of summer 2014 is realistic, but the amount of funding we raise will ultimately determine the speed that the film is made at. The more money we raise, the more help can be afforded, including at the most professional end, archivists, researchers, production managers, location managers, editors, motion graphics and visual fx artists. The additional assistance that larger funding would help provide would ensure the film was finished to the highest standard, but also as promptly as possible.

I will keep everyone informed about the film at each important stage, via the Facebook page, mailing list and Twitter account, and hopefully the community that has formed around the film will continue to build during the production.

Whatever happens with the Kickstarter campaign, however much we raise, if we can reach at least the minimum target then there will ultimately be a feature length documentary about Chris Sievey and Frank Sidebottom. Whatever budget the film is ultimately made for I believe Chris and Frank's fans, as well as his family and friends, will be happy with the documentary and it will be a fitting tribute to Chris himself.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • Any pledge you make on Kickstarter is taken from your bank account when the project actually ends, not when you make it. So no need to wait until pay day to make the pledge! You can support the documentary now and the money will be collected by Kickstarter on June 1st when the project has ended.

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  • Hopefully you'd only consider wanting more of the fantastic thingies on offer, not less. But yes, you can increase (or decrease) your pledge at any point during the Kickstarter campaign. At least ten people so far have pledged, and then gone back and increased the value of their pledges. Thank you to those people for increasing their support for the documentary!

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  • Sure, we're more than happy to do that. Just remember to email us at the end of the project and say the name you'd like to appear in the end credits and where you'd like any rewards sending, and we'll make sure it happens.

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  • No problem. Donations can come from anywhere. Kickstarter can process your payment wherever you are, and we will send your rewards anywhere in the world. There is a small postal charge for rewards outside of the UK.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge £1 or more

    53 backers

    AMOEBA FRANK'S BIG THANK YOU. The smallest incarnation of Frank was Amoeba Frank, and the smallest donation you can make is £1 (GBP). We really appreciate this and to show our gratitude, for every pound you donate you'll receive a link to download a rare high resolution digital image of Frank Sidebottom. If you send 1 pound, you'll receive one photo of Frank. If you send 9 pounds, you'll receive nine photos of Frank.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge £10 or more

    330 backers

    LITTLE FRANK'S DIGITAL DOWNLOAD. For only £10 you get the finished film! You will receive a digital download of the film, as soon as it has had a world premiere (We're aiming for Summer 2014). Once it's done, it's yours to download, keep forever, and watch as many times as you like. You'll also receive a thanks on the Being Frank end credits, yes, your name on the film. PLUS...the previous rewards (the rare photos of Frank)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge £20 or more

    558 backers Limited (579 left of 1137)

    LITTLE DENISE'S DVD. You'll receive the Being Frank documentary on a beautifully designed DVD featuring rare photos and artwork on the cover (as soon as it’s had it’s world premiere). PLUS...all previous rewards - the digital download, a thanks on the end credits, and a link to nine rare photos of Frank.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £30 or more

    149 backers Limited (988 left of 1137)

    FRANK'S FANTASTIC BLU RAY. You'll receive a fantastic High Definition Blu Ray disc of the film (as soon as it’s had it’s world premiere), which will really show up all that mouldy old VHS and cine film home movies! It won't make Little Denise's missing head look any better though. PLUS...all previous rewards (DVD, download, photos, your name in the end credits - you get the idea!)

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  • You selected
    Pledge £50 or more

    113 backers Limited (137 left of 250)

    I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY ENVELOPE. You'll receive a limited edition, sealed ‘I Should be So Lucky’ envelope featuring one paper thingy, selected from Chris Sievey’s own personal archive and a certificate of provenance signed by Martin Sievey (which includes Martin's autograph completely free!). It could be a Frank Sidebottom paper thingy, it could be Freshies memorabilia, it could be one of Chris' page 3s. You should be so lucky! Lucky envelopes sent out by September 2013, film when it's finished. PLUS...all previous rewards (Blu Ray, DVD, download, credits, photos etc).

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  • You selected
    Pledge £100 or more

    63 backers Limited (87 left of 150)

    I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY BAG. How about this? You'll receive an I Should Be So Lucky Bag containing an original thingy from Chris Sievey's archive. It could be a Thunderbirds figure Frank has beated to a pulp, a Subbuteo man humiliated by Frank, something made to dance like a horse, or something else entirely. It's a mystery item from Chris' archive, in a sealed limited edition bag, including Martin Sievey's provenance and autograph. PLUS, we'll also send you a DVD rerelease of the original Being Frank (1982). This was a Freshies video, featuring the earliest footage of Frank Sidebottom as he goes to a Freshies gig and wrecks it! Not seen for 30 years! Will be sourced from the best quality master available. (only available on Kickstarter) PLUS...you'll get a double disc Blu Ray of the documentary, packed with live footage of Frank and The Freshies, bonus interviews and Steve Sullivan's original Magical Timperley Tour. PLUS...all previous rewards! How lucky are you? Lucky bags sent out by September 2013, original Being Frank by December 2013, the documentary when it's finished.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £200 or more

    42 backers Limited (58 left of 100)

    I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY BOX. Your own limited edition, sealed, I Should Be So Lucky box containing five thingies from Chris Sievey’s archive. You should be luckier! PLUS...A DVD of The Freshies live at The Gallery, December 1982 (only available on Kickstarter). PLUS...A CD of Frank Sidebottom's unedited answering machine tapes (hear crazy messages left for Frank by his fans in the mid-1980s!) (only available here). PLUS...Two full Frank SIdebottom live gigs on DVD as filmed by Frank Superfan 'Martin with the bobbins hair' (limited edition just for Kickstarter). PLUS...all previous rewards! Lucky boxes sent out by September 2013, original Being Frank, answering machine tapes and Freshies at The Gallery by December 2013, documentary when it's finished.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £500 or more

    6 backers Limited (24 left of 30)

    CAST AND CREW INVITE Be the very first to see the completed documentary with this ticket to the Cast and Crew screening in Timperley or Manchester (date tbc, travel at own expense). Mingle with the stars of the show and the people who made it, including Martin Sievey and director Steve Sullivan. PLUS...a Deluxe I Should Be So Lucky box containing ten thingies from Chris Sievey’s archive. PLUS...ask Martin Sievey one question via Skype (any subject you like, he isn't guaranteed to know the answer!). PLUS...five complete Frank Sidebottom live gigs as filmed by Frank Superfan 'Martin with the bobbins hair' (only available on Kickstarter) PLUS...a DVD of one of the original Razzvizz VHS tapes (only available on Kickstarter). PLUS, a personal message from you about Frank or Chris in end credits. PLUS...all previous rewards! Lucky boxes sent out by September 2013, original Being Frank and other DVDs by December 2013, documentary when it's finished.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £1,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    MEET A FRESHIE AND A CLOWN FOR THE NIGHT! Two tickets to the cast and crew premiere of Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story, in Timperley or Manchester area (travel not included) PLUS...your local children's clown to sit your kids while you're out (5 mile radius of where you live). You're not sleeping, why should they? PLUS...Meet a Freshie...or two...or three at The King's Ransom in Sale (travel not included) for fish and chips and a pint. You'll definitely get a night out with Rick Sarko of The Freshies, and hopefully the other two as well (if their Zimmer frames will get them out the door!). PLUS...a Super Deluxe I Should Be So Lucky box containing 20 thingies from Chris Sievey's archive, including one sealed mystery item (something even Martin Sievey doesn't know what it is or why the hell Chris would have kept it!) PLUS...have a 5 minute Scatter (a Skype natter!) with Martin Sievey on the subject of your choice. PLUS...ten live Frank gigs as filmed by Frank Superfan 'Martin with the bobbins hair' on DVD (only available on Kickstarter). PLUS...three original Freshies Razzvizz VHS tapes on DVD (only available on Kickstarter). PLUS... a personal message from you about Frank or Chris in the end credits. PLUS...all previous extras! Lucky boxes sent out by September 2013, original Being Frank and other DVDs by December 2013, documentary when it's finished.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £2,500 or more

    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    THE MAGICAL TIMPERLEY (& SALE) TOUR. Join Martin Sievey on a Magical Mystery Tour of Timperley (& Sale!) and view all the most important Chris Sievey and Frank Sidebottom related sites. See where Chris was born, where the Sievey brothers grew up, the houses Chris lived in, the clubs where Frank toyed with his audience, and the venues The Freshies rocked. PLUS...a limited edition Elite Lucky Box of 40 thingies from Chris Sievey's archive. PLUS...an executive producer credit on the film, including your name on the start of the film, and your credit listed on IMDB (International Movie Database). PLUS...4 tickets for the Cast and Crew Premiere of Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story, in Timperley or Manchester area (travel not included). PLUS...your local children's clown to sit your kids for the night (5 mile radius of where you live). PLUS...a 2tb hard drive containing as much Frank and Freshies digital archive of videos, live gigs, photos and audio rarities as will fit (curated by director Steve Sullivan). PLUS...visit Chris Sievey's archive (Cardiff area, travel not included). Touch the stuff for yourself in a day curated by director Steve Sullivan. PLUS...two framed prints of Chris' later personal artwork (a limited edition of ten per print). PLUS...all previous extras! Lucky boxes sent out by September 2013, original Being Frank and other materials December 2013, documentary and hard drive when the documentary is finished.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £5,000

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY EXPERIENCE. A professional photographer will take your photo posing with the real Frank Sidebottom head (Manchester area only, travel not included. Sorry, no wearing Frank's head!). PLUS...Co-Producer credit in the film’s opening credits, and listed on IMDB (International Movie Data Base) as a Co-Producer. PLUS...We'll interview you for the film (Manchester area only!) when we are filming interviews between July-September. You’ll get your own version of the film with your interview in, (even if it doesn’t make the finished film). PLUS...a digital 4tb archive packed with Chris Sievey/Frank Sidebottom rare footage, stills, documents etc curated by director Steve Sullivan (as many rarities as he can cram onto a 4tb hard drive). PLUS...8 seats at the Cast and Crew premiere of Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story, in Timperley or Manchester area (travel not included). PLUS...your local clown and magician (5 mile radius of where you live). PLUS...an I Should Be So Lucky Treasure Chest containing 100 thingies from Chris Sievey’s archive, including one of Chris' Super 8mm cameras. PLUS...Chewbacca is coming to see you. That's right, you'll get your very own Wookie, as seen on Frank's Magical Timperley Tour 2 (UK only!). Chewie will turn up when you least expect it, by arrangement with your loved ones, and he'll hang out with you and help you deal with any Imperial entanglements. PLUS...three additional framed limited edition prints of Chris' later personal artwork (limited run of five per print). PLUS...the ULTIMATE PRIZE - two tickets for a private gig with The Freshies (or what's left of them!). They'll play all the hits and more...what a night you'll have with these New Wave Gods, and the audience will be limited to anyone who buys the top prize, so maximum of ten people in the mosh pit (date tbc but it will happen!). PLUS...all previous rewards and our gratitude forever! Lucky boxes sent out by September 2013, original Being Frank and other DVDs/CDs by December 2013, hard drive and documentary when it's finished, special events at a convenient date for all to be arranged. Thank you.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £5,000

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    STOP GOING ON ABOUT CHRIS SIEVEY! I don't want to watch the film, I don't want to come to the premiere, I don't want any footage of Frank Sidebottom or the damned Freshies, I don’t want Chris Sievey’s old junk, I don’t want a Chewbacca, a clown, or a magician turning up at my house, I don’t want a credit and I don't want to go for fish and chips with Rick Sarko. What I want is Chris Sievey and Frank Sidebottom out of my life. Just send me one letter promising you'll never contact me about Chris Sievey or Frank Sidebottom ever again. And I don't want to hear about Martin Sievey again either. Here's the money, just get on with it.

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Funding period

- (30 days)