A story of two artists both in a desperate situation and their unlikely friendship, which takes place over one night in Detroit city... Read more
This project was successfully funded on June 28, 2013.
About this project
Tiny Ocean tells the story of hope in what many would describe as a hopeless city. The story follows the lives of two young artists living in Detroit, and shows the effects that each of them have on each other when they strike up an unlikely friendship which only lasts one night.
The story follows Luchi, a down on her luck painter facing a forced eviction the next day from months of unpaid rent. Out of family and friends, money, and almost out of hope, she attempts to stave off eviction by exchanging all her returnable beer cans for a handful of cheap scratch-off lottery tickets. It is then that she has a chance encounter with a far more desperate, and somewhat mysterious, graffiti artist named Sembene. The two strike up a fast friendship that effects them both in ways they couldn't imagine.
When I finished my last short feature, Valhalla Blues, me and my brother, Adam Skorupskas, began work on what we thought would be our first feature film. It was based off a story he wrote, that was selected by Chuck Palahniuk to appear in his short story anthology titled "Burnt Tongues." As he began adapting the story into a screenplay format we decided we would first make it into a short feature, which anybody will tell you isn't easy.
We began thinking where that might take us. Perhaps we could fundraise off our short and slingshot it into an opportunity to make it into a feature? As we continued writing throughout the winter months it became clear there was an opportunity to incorporate Detroit as a character in the story, and in the process tell a story in Detroit, about Detroit, in a way that hasn't been done before.
One of the primary inspirations for this film, and how I'll present it, came from my love of old cinema and the type of stories they told. In the the old days they would tell these tales of desperate characters attempting all sorts of things, but still give it a sort of magic that I think doesn't come through as much in modern films. The more I looked at this story the more I saw a story of two characters, stranded in an iconic city, as an opportunity to explore the idea of using the city to help tie it in with the story. The way I'd portray the Detroit would be more in line with how some of the movies that were shot in and around bombed out European cities after the second World War. Films like Casablanca, filling the scene with colorful characters, telling a gritty story, but also infusing the city with the character and texture of a those faded European cities. Rather than only focusing on urban decay; which Detroit seems to be known for at the moment.
In Casablanca, you have a movie which takes place in a city of desperation and despair; everyone wants to get out, and only a very few have the opportunity to escape aboard the one flight out everyday. In Tiny Ocean we have Sembene, a foreigner stuck in Detroit due to extraordinary and tragic circumstances. His only desire is to escape and reunite with his family, who are no longer in Africa but are now safely living somewhere in New Zealand. Sembene, born in a war torn country in Africa, survived some sort of terrible attack which left him unable to speak. With no family, no documents and no voice Sembene's hope of escape and reuniting with his family grows slimmer each day. His only chance is earning passage on a tugboat that acts as an underground channel for escapees. An opportunity for New Zealand is a rare and expensive transit, and its window of opportunity opens and closes fast. If Semebene doesn't earn his passage soon his hope of escape might be gone forever.
I hope the folks that will have an opportunity to see this picture will be first and foremost be entertained by this story; of two unlikely friends trying to get through another day in the city. Every movie I make I first hope it to be entertaining, but I also try and say/show something unique in every new project I work on. With Tiny Ocean I enjoy the chance I'll have to show/say something about Detroit that many others have not. I find the city to be a fascinating and wonderful town, it has its fair share of issues, but this movie isn't only about Detroit and how it fits into the current narrative. It's a small story about two interesting characters, and their chance encounter in Detroit.
Woody Allen has New York, Michael Mann has Los Angeles - places where many story tellers have told all genres possible. Detroit hasn't had too many different types of stories told in or about it; furthermore those few stories have contained reoccurring characters, and tired themes that rarely exploit Detroit's true potential as a filmmaking destination. My idea would not be to treat Detroit as a place meant only to fit into a larger narrative; Detroit is an interesting town as it stands alone, but more importantly, it is a city worth telling interesting stories in.
With your guys' help we hope to go into production mid-to-late July. We have everything we need; cast, crew, locations, all working towards bringing this little story to life. Given our sheer enthusiasm and drive, many cast and crew are working for little-to-nothing in order to bring this story to the screen. However, there are unavoidable costs and practices that need payment with no getting around it: quality lighting and camera equipment, lenses, locations, hair and makeup, special effects, costume, food, travel, security and gasoline - these are not free. Given our extensive, due-diligent research and calculations of our budget, we are more than prepared to perform at the most cost effective scale without sacrificing quality. With your help we will be able to overcome these obstacles with a mere swoosh of a hand, or check. Once the production is over, any funding we have left, if any, will immediately be put towards post-production (editing) in order to put Tiny Ocean in the festival circuit in time for early bird festival submission season later this year.
The project will be shot by the wonderfully talented Cinematographer Tommy DaGuanno. He is a highly accredited Cinematographer, and has also done all of my projects in the past. Here is his reel for your viewing pleasure!
Risks and challenges
No one ever said show-business is easy! Going into production on a movie, even a short one, can be one of the most difficult and stressful endeavors anyone could ever plan on undertaking. Add 15 crew members, weather, a difficult actor, falling behind on your shot list or the other two million things that could possibly go on at any moment on a film set, any one of the things could easily sink any project alone! We don't blame a good intentioned investor for being nervous about handing over their hard earned cash towards such a foolish endeavor. You'd be right to worry... UNLESS you came across the cast and crew of Tiny Ocean! You wont find a more experienced, hard working, and excited group of kids in the business. There isn't a member of the cast or crew that haven't helped countless productions get off and back to ground safe and sound. As for myself, the captain of the ship some might say, well, I've been working towards this goal for the last year of my life, and I am not about to let something like a weather delay throw me off my shot list. Or, an actor who's lost his motivation falter mine. We'll be listing IMDB pages of some cast and crew in the coming days to give anyone additional confidence - you will stand in awe at the amount of movies and creative projects many of the cast and crew members have in their collective experience folder. In our hands, your money will be safer then our own. No one in this production takes the notion of a complete stranger helping us achieve this goal we've all been working towards lightly. The opportunity at a chance to tell this story is something I will be eternally grateful for, I will forever be in your debt. Anyone need someone to help them move for the rest of their lives? I'm your guy!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
Pledge $10 or more
A personal thank you from me, the Director, and our two lead actors, Langston Fishburne and Jackie Strez, sent straight to your inbox! We'll be expressing just how grateful we are for your confidence and support! LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or more
For the small sum of 25.00 dollars you get not only the satisfaction in knowing you supported and helped produce a fantastic short film, you'll also receive a digital download of my last short, hot off the festival circuit - Valhalla Blues. In addition, you'll also be the first to receive a digital download of Tiny Ocean once we have wrapped and edited.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or more
You'll receive not only the digital downloads of both Valhalla Blues and Tiny Ocean, but you'll also receive tons of other tasty digital downloads. We'll be sending over the original score to Tiny Ocean, being produced as we speak by our very talented composer, Matt Daher. In addition, we will also be granting you access to original production artwork, and exclusive access to bonus production footage as well as behind-the-scenes blog entries.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $75 or more
Welcome to the big wigs! For 75 dollars you'll receive everything we've listed above as well as your choice of one of our exclusive Tiny Ocean Merchandise piece. Be it a t-shirt, poster, coffee cup or hat. The choice is yours, choose wisely!Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $150 or more
Welcome to the family! For such generous support we'll be giving away a literal piece of film history! An original sketch, storyboard, or concept piece of the hundreds that were created by our talented Production Designer Natalie Fedirko, who created the world of Tiny Ocean. All hand drawn and created over the course of pre-production. Owning one of these is like owning a piece of our movie. Which you already do, but now you'll have a great memento to display as you watch Tiny Ocean, no doubt in your private screening room.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $250 or more
You can now call yourself a Supporter of the Arts and a personal friend to the Tiny Ocean family! As a friend you will be duly thanked in the credits of Tiny Ocean as well as your choice between an official Tiny Ocean t-shirt or sweater. Plus! Just to show we're friends we'll be sending you a personal on-set photograph with a personalized thank you on the back along with a DVD copy of Tiny Ocean!Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $500 or more
With $500 you can now call yourself an Associate Producer! As an Associate Producer you can tell all your friends you are now a film producer, which should also get you into the most exclusive restaurants when mentioned. In addition to your new title you can also expect a physical DVD copy of Tiny Ocean, with bonus material, which includes all of our digital downloads, as well as my past projects. You can also expect your Tiny Ocean t-shirt to complete the look! You've produced a movie you say? Right this way sir!
FYI: ALL REWARDS ABOVE AND BELOW ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING, with shipping costs included :)Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $1,000 or more
0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)
I don't care how much it costs to get this thing made! This is lifetime, in-debt gratitude level! You need someone to help you move? You'll have my number give me a call! you need someone to chauffer you and your hot date around for the night? I'm your man!
No, but seriously now, for this kind of support there is little we can do to show our gratitude that could describe the amount that we have for you. But, we'll try! In addition to your Associate Producer credit, and everything listed above, we'll thank you in the movie! Somehow, someway, if you look closely you'll see a thank you with your name following somewhere in the picture! Perhaps on a close-up shot on a store receipt? Maybe in the form of graffiti in on the wall? Who knows? You'll have to watch your personal DVD copy to find it! FYI: ALL REWARDS ABOVE AND BELOW ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING, with shipping costs included :)Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $1,500 or more
1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)
Ever wanted to try your hand at acting? Ever sat watching Lawrence Olivia and thought, "I can do that"? Well, here's your chance! For such a generous donation you've convinced us that you're perfect for a role in Tiny Ocean! Our genius writer has written in 4 small but clever parts for all the aspiring thespians out there. This will be your chance to be on a real deal film set, working with real actors, and taking direction from yours truly. Remember, it's not how many lines you have - it's what you do with them. Action!
In addition to a role in a project you helped create, you'll also be receiving a gift bag which includes apparel, poster, DVD's as well as exclusive online access and updates. Mr Deville, I'm ready for my close up!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,000 or more
A PAINTING! (Fish Series) For such a generous donation, we will generously show our gratitude back in the form of artwork! What a great conversation piece! Not only can you share your love for supporting the film arts, but what a story to share about the painting itself! Painted by artist Natalie Fedirko, Production Designer to Tiny Ocean, you will have the choice to own the Smoking Sturgeon painting seen in the film, or a custom fish painting to your liking (for example, Smoking Salmon, Trout.. even Shark); Dimensions: 48 X 24 inches. In addition to your new painting - you'll also be receiving a gift bag which includes apparel, poster, DVD's as well as exclusive online access and updates. Painting: International shipping is available with shipping costs.Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $2,500 or more
A PAINTING! (Pet Portrait) For an even greater generous donation, we will generously show our gratitude back in the form of artwork, but with our Pet Portrait option. Again, what a great conversation piece! Not only can you share your love for supporting the film arts, but what a story to share about the painting itself - and in this case, perhaps a personal story as well between your loved ones! Painted by artist Natalie Fedirko, Production Designer to Tiny Ocean, you will have the choice to own the Heroic Weimaraner Pet Portrait painting seen in the film, or a custom pet painting to your liking (for example, Calvary Cat, General Golden Retriever or a King Lizard or Hampster, you pick the uniform that best suits your beloved animal... capture your pet in remembrance to how you best see/saw their personality); Dimensions: 20 X 24 inches. In addition to your new painting - you'll also be receiving a gift bag which includes apparel, poster, DVD's as well as exclusive online access and updates. Painting: International shipping is available with shipping costs.Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
- (24 days)