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