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A horror movie about a haunted apartment, depression, and what's waiting for all of us in the dark...
A horror movie about a haunted apartment, depression, and what's waiting for all of us in the dark...
196 backers pledged $16,887 to help bring this project to life.

About

ESCAPE THE DARK: a horror feature project video thumbnail
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$16,887

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UPDATE: Why is this film personal for Matthew?

UPDATE: Why is this film personal for Ben?

ESCAPE THE DARK is a psychological and supernatural horror film following two sets of roommates experiencing mysterious events while battling their own personal demons.

Our story opens on Jackie, an energetic geek with an overactive imagination, and Rachel, her grounded roommate, as they swap scary stories. While their tales are different, they both agree: the best stories start with a mystery. This is put to the test later when an old man suddenly appears and dies in their living room... and all they're left with is a warning: "It sees you...”

Meanwhile, Jon - a young man overwhelmed by his professional life - finds himself out of his depth while caring for his roommate, August, who suffers from depression. August has retreated into their apartment, shutting out the world to feel safe. But once he and Jon become trapped inside, haunted by ghostly figures and a sinister entity, he now wants the one thing he may never get again...to get out.

NEW CREW!

Garrett Stiger (sound) check out his personal message HERE!

Jackie Paul (casting director) check out her personal message HERE!

Matt Kain (caterer) check out his personal message HERE!

And back to us:

Ben DeLoose (co-writer/director, producer) is me! I make my living as a writers' assistant in television dramas. Prior to this awesome job, I spent several years working at NBCUniversal in television development. I love all things genre, especially Doctor Who, which is basically my religion. 

Matthew Chilelli (co-writer/director, editor, composer) is a professional editor and Emmy-winning composer (Pacific Southwest Emmy Awards 2008). He currently edits the popular podcast “Scriptnotes” and contributes re-orchestrations of its theme. Once upon a time he was a PA for Jericho... Nuts!

Read about our YouTube glory days!
Read about our YouTube glory days!

Matthew and I have collaborated on many projects together since we met in 2009. We started off with YouTube sketches and have since moved on to features and television pilots. We each bring different skills to the table and defer to the other's area of expertise without bruising egos – an essential skill to have in the collaborative world of filmmaking.

For me, this film covers a very personal subject matter: depression. Having suffered from it in the past, I sympathize with depressed characters in fiction. Unfortunately, I have found most stories rely on either the “numb” or “suicidal” portrayal. This is not only repetitive, but also very different from my own experience. So I decided to write a character I could relate to.

It is my hope that through the heightened lens of horror, we can explore the effects of depression on both the depressed and their loved ones. ...and to show how important it is to escape the dark.

Every bit helps, so please check out the sidebar for our breakdown of reward tiers and give today!

You may ask, "what will my contribution fund?" Since we already have our film equipment, our fundraising will go to actors' salaries, production expenses (wardrobe, meals, props, etc.), and festival submission fees.

But most importantly, every dollar you give buys us time.

This is a film with a very particular setting – taking place almost entirely over one night. This means night shoots. A lot of night shoots. And this means asking a lot of our actors. The more we have in our budget to pay our actors and create a comfortable schedule, the better the entire film will be. This allows us to spend more time crafting perfect atmosphere, perfect scares, and perfect performances!

Now that we've launched our Kickstarter campaign, our next step is casting. We will hold auditions in November, followed by table reads and rehearsals in early December. Up next are wardrobe and camera tests, followed by the start of principal photography in mid-January 2015.

Once principal photography wraps, post-production should take about three months. Our goal is to share the project with our backers in May of 2015.

But right now, at this very moment, we need your help! Now is the time for you to help us bring our little character-based horror film to life!

Risks and challenges

All films have a level of uncertainty, but we've done our best to mitigate the usual hurdles facing a production.

Casting is a primary focus of ours. We are currently discussing the film with actors we have a professional relationship with, hoping to land some commitments while the campaign is underway. Thankfully Los Angeles is filled with great actresses and actors, and because of that, we know we will find the best people for our roles. Making sure everyone is able to work on our schedule is another question - we may give some leeway on the start of our shoot, but only by a week or two.

Thanks to advances in file hosting, there should be no delay in digital distribution of the film once we've finished with post. However, certain film festivals will not consider a submission unless the film makes its "world premiere" there. We will keep our backers updated if such a submission will delay distro of the film to them.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SHADOW - sure you're 2-dimensional, but you hint at larger, scarier things to come.
    At this level, you'll receive regular updates from pre-production through release.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    BUMP IN THE NIGHT - you make the imagination run wild: it might have been the house settling, or....
    At this level, you'll receive regular updates from pre-production through release PLUS behind-the-scenes videos and a digital copy of the script.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SPIRIT - you have the ability to linger long after your physical form has perished. You're as eternal as our digital download. All the rewards of the $15 level, PLUS a digital download of the film and "special thanks" in the end credits!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    EPITAPH - send a message from beyond the grave... Same as the $25 level, PLUS we'll send you a signed Escape the Dark postcard!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    SPECTER - you do more than linger; you can be seen. You creep people out as much as the score to our movie. All the rewards of the $25 level, PLUS a digital download of the film's original score by Matthew Chilelli.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    AFTERLIFE (of the party). All the rewards of the $35 level, PLUS an invite to our wrap party! Meet all the awesome people who put this film together!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    APPARITION - you can take the shape of a human, perhaps a human reading our script? Same as the $35 level, PLUS a copy of the script signed by the cast and crew.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    BOO(ze) - Same as the $50 level, PLUS at our wrap party, the first round's on us! Enjoy some spirits with us!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    PHANTASM - others will wonder if you're real or imagined, but there's nothing imaginary about your DVD! Same as the $50 level, PLUS a DVD of the finished film.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    PHANTOM (of the opera) - your body might be gone, but your love of music keeps you coming back for more. Same as the $75 level, PLUS digital download of the complete musical works of Matthew Chilelli.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    POLTERGEIST - you can manipulate physical objects, like a book cover, or a manuscript page! Same as the $75 level, PLUS your choice of prop: the cover to Jackie's beloved book “Parting the Veil: 12 Accounts of the Supernatural”, OR a revised page from August's manuscript, signed by the actor.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    EVP - Electronic Voice Phenomenon. If you turn the volume on your tape recorder up enough, you might hear voices giving you script notes. Same as the $75 level, PLUS script consulting from Ben and Matthew. We'll send you a full writeup on your completed feature or pilot, plus a 30 minute notes session via Skype or Phone.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    GHOST IN THE MACHINE - mind/body duality got you down? Why choose from two things when you can choose from three! Same as the $75 level, PLUS your choice of one of the following: 1) lessons on shooting in low light, 2) microbudget budgeting, 3) pitch consulting

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    COOKIE MONSTER - "C" is for "Contribute!" Same as the $125 level, PLUS for those in the Los Angeles area, Ben DeLoose will come to your house and bake a batch of cookies while giving you notes. If you don't live in LA, we'll ship you a batch! Om nom nom!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    GHOSTWRITER - are you a critically acclaimed children's show? Are you a helpful ghost with reading and writing tips? No! You're the author of "Parting the Veil!" Same as the $75 level, PLUS we will feature your image as the author on the cover to Jackie's beloved book, “Parting the Veil: 12 Accounts of the Supernatural” (and we'll send you a copy!)

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    BLOODLINE - Same as the $75 level, PLUS we'll use YOUR last name for a main character's last name! We have six main characters that only have first names: August, Jon, Jackie, Rachel, Craig, and Jillian. One-up your friends with names in the credits by having your name appear all throughout the film!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    SPECTRAL PHOTOGRAPHY - same as the $75 level, PLUS you'll make a photo cameo in the film! We'll feature a photo of you as one of our main character's actor clients. If you live in Los Angeles, we'll take a great picture of you! If you live out of town, send us a good one and we'll touch it up.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    SIREN - few can resist the haunting melody of a tune all your own. Same as the $75 level, PLUS Matthew Chilelli will record an original musical composition just for you! Your very own theme!

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    (DE)COMPOSER - Same as the $75 level, PLUS Matthew Chilelli will score your short film! Amaze your production friends by getting a custom score by an Emmy-winning composer!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SÉANCE - we summon you, spirit! Same as the $250 level, PLUS an invite to the initial cast & crew screening in Los Angeles. (no transportation costs covered for those out of the LA area)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER - some would find the title scary, but not you! Same as the $500 level, PLUS Associate Producer credit.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    END OF THE LINE - you're at the limit, the terminus, the boundary of what is humanly possible. Sounds like a co-producer to me. Same as the $500 level, PLUS Co-Producer credit.

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Funding period

- (30 days)