The John Northford Show hit television in 2010, and was immediately critically acclaimed for its groundbreaking sketch comedy. It was lead by the titular John Northford, a charismatic rule-breaker who provided the heart, soul, and laughter of the show. John tragically passed away after 2 seasons, leaving his less talented understudies Derek and Riley with the difficult choice of continuing the show. We join them at the beginning of Season 3 as they struggle to keep the show going, find new cast members, and just get by.
This is the premise of our show-within-a-show. It's about 2 friends recovering from the loss of their mentor while trying to keep his show going. They run into countless issues, from predatory networks to a mob boss wondering why his protection checks stopped coming. All the while they present a happy front on their show, trying to imitate the clever humor of their friend.
We came up with the concept 2 years ago, and since then we have written scripts for a 10-episode season. We emptied our wallets purchasing equipment, including a camera, lighting, a microphone, and last but not least a 20-foot green screen that has become a fixture in our living room.
The show is set in Baltimore, MD, and we have filmed in a lot of locations that locals will recognize. Watch for the time-lapse sunrise shot of the Inner Harbor, which we woke up at 4:00 AM and stood on Federal Hill for 3 hours to capture. We're particularly proud of that one - we froze our asses off for it after all!
So far we've filmed enough material for 3 episodes. Now the time has come when we're ready to finish what initially envisioned, and that brings us to Kickstarter. We want to finish our 10-episode season, and we can't do it on our own!
If you watch our trailer you can see a little bit of what we accomplished on a shoestring budget. With Kickstarter funding we can finish off the season properly, doing justice to some of the wacky story-lines we've written. We've got big ideas for the rest of the season, and some of those big ideas require money that we don't have. Here are some things that Kickstarter can help with (with estimated percent of budget):
A legitimate studio that isn't Riley's living room. (~60%) We plan to rent a small studio for a month or two and establish sets and stunt rigs.
Costumes and makeup. (~5%) Right now this department consists of 3 wigs and a couple of glue-on mustaches. There's only so many combinations we can make!
Acting talent (~15%). So far we've called on literally everyone we know to be in the show. Some have joined us, some have run the other direction. We still have quite a few more interesting characters that need to be brought to life, and we'd like to draw on local acting talent to do them justice.
Software and equipment (~3%). A 2nd camera and an upgraded microphone will contribute a lot towards the final product.
Travel (~2%). Don't worry, we're not jetting off to film on-location in the Bahamas. All of those involved in the project are (or were) active duty military members, and while most of us have stayed in the same area, the inevitable transfer has stolen our female co-star. We will need to fly her out in order to finish her parts.
DVD production. (~15%) No film kickstarter would be complete without offering DVDs, so we plan to have a batch produced to fulfill our rewards.
The good news is that the hardest part is already done: The scripts are written. Ok, maybe that's not the hardest part, but it took the longest time. The season is 35% complete and we plan to finish shooting in August if we end up getting funded. If you buy one of the meet-in-person rewards, this is when you'll be joining us! After that, Derek will huddle over his desk and edit like a madman. He's very particular, and it usually takes him around 2-3 weeks per episode. Riley will start the DVD production process so that things are ready to go when everything is finalized. So, the webseries will start to hit the net in October. Depending on the DVD turnaround time, we expect to start shipping rewards as early as October, but no later than February.
Risks and challenges
We've got a lot of filming and editing under our belts, so we don't anticipate a problem finishing the series. The only thing we lack experience in is DVD production - this will be a first for us! Thankfully we can draw on the knowledge of several friends who have done this before. We've had some companies recommended to us and we're already investigating options. If you have any advice we'd love to hear it!
1-day set visit. Includes roundtrip flight within continental U.S., 1 night at a nearby hotel, transportation, and 3 hot meals. Come and sit in for a day of filming. Schmooze with the allstar cast. Get some screentime if you care to do so.
2 generous backers will get to play characters on the show! We'll either cast you as an existing character, or if none of them fit we will write you in. It will be a semi-major role, with at least a few minutes of screen time throughout an episode.
We'll fly you out (within continental U.S.) and pay your expenses for however long it takes to film your part. Even if you're a bad actor we'll leave you in, we'll just find some way to make you funny in post.