About the film
For thirty days and thirty nights three British filmmakers follow a ten dollar bill as it criss-crosses the United States. The bill passes through the hands of countless wonderful characters, and as the journey stretches out across 6,000 miles, a unique portrait of contemporary American life unfolds before us.
The team behind the film
John is a TV and film director who has made programmes for Channel4, Film4 and the BBC. He has made two previous feature films, including Svengali, a comedy drama starring Jonny Owen, Vicky McClure and Martin Freeman which is being released next year.
Steve is a journalist who writes for national newspapers and magazines in the UK. He is a former chief reporter at The Independent whose work has appeared in The Guardian G2 and its Weekend magazine, The Times, The Sunday Times magazine, The Observer magazine, the Daily Mail, National Geographic Traveller and The Independent's Saturday magazine. He was included in the 2012 Time Out Culture 100 list, the magazine's choice of the most original and influential people in the creative and media industries.
Ben has directed music videos and commercials for clients such as Dido, Yusuf (AKA Cat Stevens), Panasonic and Hyundai. His first feature documentary Well Done Now Sod Off about the band Chumbawamba, won the Audience Award at the Leeds International Film Festival. As well as directing, Ben also edits for other directors across a wide range of genres from documentary to comedy series.
The origins of the film
In 2010, long before Follow The Money was even a twinkle in our documentary makers’ eyes, Steve Boggan was in the U.S. working on a book that would inspire the film. He came up with the idea of following a ten dollar bill as it crossed the country. He wrote down his experiences and produced a wonderful book about his travels called, you guessed it, Follow The Money. Here it is:
The book came out in 2012. It was tremendously well reviewed and was a BBC Radio 4 Book Of The Week.
John told Steve that the concept behind his book would make a great documentary. Ben was enlisted into the team and the three of us pooled our resources. We borrowed some cameras and set off to find out how the concept would work with added film crew… We found that it worked better than any of us had imagined!
The rules of the film
Because Follow The Money is based around the random movement of money, we decided on three rules to give our shoot a solid framework.
Rule 1: Start in the geographic dead centre of the United States. If you include Alaska and Hawaii, the centre of the USA is a small town called Belle Fourche in South Dakota. Here it is:
Rule 2: Find a local person in the centre of the United States and give them the bill. Explain that it is now up to them how they spend it. We never touch the bill again. From now on, the bill belongs to other people and they decide where it goes.
Rule 3: Follow the money for one calendar month. If you haven’t met an incredible cross section of the great American public after 30 days, you probably never will.
The people we met along the way
The people we encountered whilst following the bill were some of the most fantastic and interesting people we could hope to meet.
We met truckers, cowboy poets, native american singers, a university professor, an itinerant busker, a homeless car washer, an oil millionaire, a feted jazz musician, a transgender chef who used to cook for Bill Clinton, A woman who worked for the US military but was constrained by law from being able to tell us any more than that, a bar manager, a coffee grower, a gang of punks who thought they were pirates, a garbage man, an excommunicated Mormon bishop, A fairground girl, two hippies and a cattle rancher.
To name but a few.
How we stayed in touch with the bill
What’s with the stamp on the bill?
The good people of Belle Fourche wanted to help us keep tabs on the bill as we pursued it round the country. So they kindly stamped their town logo on the note. The logo represents their position at the centre of the nation.
Our good friend and brilliant designer, Ross Nelson, is working on a poster for the film. Here’s where he’s at so far.
Our target goal to finish the film is £17,500. This chart illustrates how the money will be spent.
£17,500 is the bare minimum that we need to finish the film. If we’re fortunate enough to surpass this goal, we’ll be able to afford more archive footage for the documentary, more songs to put on the soundtrack alongside our score, and we’ll be able to market and distribute the film to the widest possible audience.
We have lots of fantastic rewards available for everyone who helps get this film made.
There are download copies of the finished film, DVDs, posters, and copies of Steve’s book. You can also have your name on the credits of the movie. You can even become an executive producer of the film.
Perhaps you'd like to see your own face photoshopped onto the actual ten dollar bill that we followed - its all possible. See the side bar for more details.
Everybody who supports the film automatically receives our exclusive 'backer's only' updates during this Kickstarter campaign. These updates include video clips of our journey that no one else will see. The clips give you a unique glimpse into how the film has been shot and they offer a sneak preview of what the finished film will be like.
How it works
Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform, if we don’t meet our £17,500 target within 30 days, no money changes hands.
There are a number of ways you can help us reach our target. You can click the ‘Back This Project’ button at the top of this page or you can pick one of the rewards from the right hand column.
You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or you can visit our Website. You can also use your own Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word about the film. You can tell your friends about the project or you can forward this page to them.
Anything you can do to bounce this project on to more people will be a huge help to us, thank you.
Risks and challenges
There are two main risks that threaten any film project: that it might not complete and that it might be bad.
As you can see, we’ve already shot Follow The Money so we’re a long way down the road of completing the film. The team behind the project are all experienced professionals who are used to working to deadline and who pride themselves on completing all work to a high level. Our goal is to complete the film by April 2014.
It is also unlikely that the delivery of the film will run late as we have ring-fenced a healthy post production period. And as soon as the film is finished, the team will be able to turn its attention to distributing the rewards back to you. Our goal is to serve out the rewards by May 2014.
These rewards have already been fully costed and budgeted so we anticipate no problems in getting them out to you.
And as to the film being bad; hopefully the footage you’ve already seen will help reassure you that Follow The Money is going to be far from bad.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)