Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 16, 2012.

Update #5

Matt In Toronto

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Chewing the Fat With Matthew Lillard

The actor speaks before the Canadian premiere of his directorial debut, Fat Kid Rules The World, at the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival.

By Kevin Scott

Photo courtesy of White Water Films.

Fat Kid Rules the World
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King St. W.)
May 12, 8:30 p.m.
$8.50–$12

When actor Matthew Lillard (Scream, Hackers) first read KL Going’s young adult novel Fat Kid Rules The World, he had an emotional reaction to the story and decided it would make for a perfect first foray into directing. Nine years later, it will make its Canadian premiere on Saturday at the closing night of the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival. Lillard will be in attendance for the screening along with lead actor Jacob Wysocki (Terri).

“I saw myself in Troy,” Lillard said, during a phone conversation. Troy is the titular fat kid, whose life is saved by a transient classmate, Marcus. The two then begin a tenuous friendship built on the spontaneous notion of forming a band, despite the fact that Troy does not know how to play his assigned instrument—the drums. Not surprisingly, the subject matter was a tough sell. “I was coming off Scooby-Doo and thought a small film was $10 million. It was really difficult making the movie for less than a million dollars.”

Lillard has worked with filmmaking elite like Kenneth Branagh (Love’s Labour’s Lost), Robert Towne (Without Limits), and Alexander Payne (last year’s awards darling The Descendants). He feels he has soaked up knowledge from each of his directors throughout his career.

“There’s not one particular stand-out director. I learned something from everyone—it’s osmosis,” he said. “You pick up pieces just being around that world for so long.” He even had kind words for less-renowned coworkers, like notorious critical punching bag (sometimes literally) Uwe Boll.

Like any good director, Lillard heaped copious amounts of praise on his actors, citing Wysocki—who has a background in comedy—for his “fearlessness” and agreeing that the role of Marcus is one that he would have loved to play 20 years ago. “My calling card has always been energy. I see myself in him,” he said, referring to Matt O’Leary. The part of Troy’s father was more difficult to cast.

“He’s the lynchpin, he holds the whole movie together. We started shooting without the dad. It sounds crazy every time I say that.” As Lillard was desperately preparing to play the part himself, he was able to land veteran actor Billy Campbell (The Rocketeer) at the last moment. Campbell delivers a nicely understated performance that deftly sidesteps cliché. Lillard had a different assessment: “He gives what I feel is the performance of his career.”

Despite helming a project that was steeped in punk music (and the fact that he once starred in a film called SLC Punk), Lillard admitted to an interesting conundrum. “I’m not at all into punk, don’t listen to punk. But it’s a great backdrop for an outcast story. I love the energy ensconced in punk.” There was, however, one musical cue that he absolutely needed to secure for the film: seminal punk band X’s “The Hungry Wolf.” It came at a hefty cost. “It was the first album I ever bought. And it cost more than I made [on the film].” The musical score, however, was composed by Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready—a collaboration that was precipitated by Lillard when he hired his first directing agent just weeks before filming. “He said, ‘Mike should read this,’” recalled Lillard. “Before I know it, McCready is pitching me on doing the movie.”

Though the film earned an Audience Award at SXSW where it premiered, it has yet to find distribution. Lillard has found an appropriately punk-rock approach to remedying this, launching a Kickstarter campaign to help with self-distribution. The struggle represents what he feels is the new reality for filmmakers. “It’s easier to get things made, but it’s harder to find distribution,” he said. This modern moviemaking dilemma may not be enough to stop him from pursuing further directorial efforts, but it’s not as if he is about to quit his day job either. “It takes so long to get a movie made, it makes me picky on what I’m going to do next,” he said. “Acting helps to offset the need.”

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    We'll send you a digital download of Matthew Lillard's short film, FAT PUNK. Shot as a warm-up for the feature, the short gave Matthew an opportunity to explore the material. The scenes star Jacob Wysocki (star of FAT KID RULES THE WORLD) and are from the original screenplay which Matthew later filmed during the feature version. We'll also send you a very special "Don't F#ck with the Fat Kid" bumper sticker. (We'll thank you, too!)

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    We'll send you a 7" Vinyl Record custom pressed for SXSW featuring original recordings of "Disconnect" and "Sock Hop" written for the film and performed by Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. Exquisitely pressed in clear vinyl featuring special sleeve art from the film. This is an awesome collector's item. You'll also get the bumper sticker, download and thank you!.

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    Original FAT KID RULE THE WORLD MOVIE POSTER. We'll send you an 11" x 17" version of the super cool poster we created for the film. (You'll also get the DVD, 7", Download, Bumper Sticker, and thank you!).

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    Original Fat Kid Rules The World T-shirt featuring original artwork from the film. This T-shirt rocks! Totally. (We'll also send you the Poster, DVD, 7", bumper sticker and Thank You!).

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    Autographed copy of KL Going's original award winning novel FAT KID RULES THE WORLD. (Signed by KL Going and Matthew Lillard). See the inspiration for the awesome performance created by Jacob Wysocki, Matt O'Leary and Billy Campbell. (We'll also send you the DVD/T-shirt/Poster/7" and bumper sticker!)

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    Two tickets to the Rooftop Films New York premiere of FAT KID RULES THE WORLD. This will be a special event screening in NYC On June 8, 2012 featuring punk rock bands on a cool rooftop setting in Downtown Manhattan. Rad. Be there. This reward does not include travel and/or lodging. (Of course, this also includes sticker and DVD, 7", Bumper Sticker and a T-shirt!).

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    Special Kickstarter End Title credit! That's right, folks. Your name will be immortalized in the end of the film where we will give a special Kickstarter Thank You to everyone who partiicipates at this level! (TShirt/7"/Poster and DVD as well!)

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    Mike McCready will autograph that same super cool 7" Vinyl Record custom pressed for SXSW. Not only did he write and perform the score for FAD KID, he's the lead guitarist for PEARL JAM!!!! Plus listen to it wearing your FAT KID T-shirt (included). (You'll also get DVD and sticker!)

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    Did we mention Mike McCready of Pearl Jam created our score!? Holy wow. Now, he's very generously donated 10 autographed copies of this awesome collector's edition box set: Ten Club is proud to present Pearl Jam 1993-1995: 
Vs./Vitalogy Collectors Edition Box Set. Whoah. 

3 Compact Discs- Remastered version of VS featuring 3 bonus tracks , Remastered version of Vitalogy featuring 3 bonus tracks The legendary live show from the Orpheum Theater show PLUS. 
5 180-gram audiophile vinyl LPs- Remastered Single LP version of VS Remastered Double LP version of Vitalogy Double LP version of The Orpheum Theater show 
Hour-plus mix tape cassette from the January 1995
Self Pollution Radio Broadcast 80-page Composition Book filled with photos,
Drawings and artwork by EV and Jeff 

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    Vans Warped Tour Package - You and a guest will be given tickets to come out to the tour in San Antonio on June 30 or Boston on July 19. Spend a day seeing your favorite bands and then we will sneak you and your guest backstage for a special backstage screening of FAT KID RULES THE WORLD where you will get to meet members of the cast and mingle with members of your favorite bands! (Package does not include travel or lodging and is limited to 10 packages per venue).

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    THE BILLINGS PACKAGE. Literally. Ever wonder what lurks beneath the still, smoldering surface of actor Billy Campbell's interpretation of "Mr. Billings?" Well, now you can find out. Contribute at this level and you will receive one very spicy photo of our very own Billy Campbell. In the buff (well, mostly). Artistic, tasteful and hot as your wildest fantasy! This has to be the craziest reward ever offered on Kickstarter, and it can be yours, today! (Customize signature available as well!) (Of course, we'll also send you the sticker/DVD/Poster/7"...as if you needed more incentive!!!).

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    CRITIQUE YOUR NOVEL OR SCREENPLAY. KL Going who wrote the award winning novel FAT KID RULES THE WORLD will provide a professional consultation / critique of your manuscript. This is a service KL offers professionally to aspiring novelists and will give you her expertise/experience and advice. Service includes a two page overall critique and notes on the pages of your work in progress. Reports generally comment on all of the basics -- plot, voice, characters, setting, pacing, consistency and writing style. KL also writes comments directly on the pages as she reads. These range from line or word deletions, to thoughts relating to the larger themes that will appear in the report. This is an awesome reward. Not only is KL an amazing talent and gracious, lovely person, she wrote the book on this: Writing and Selling the YA Novel by KL Going! Check it out! (Of course, you'll also get a t-shirt, 7", stickers and dowloads!) (3 critques) avail. --or-- Are you screenwriter? Michael Galvin and Peter Speakman will offer their critique of your screenplay! (3 critiques avail)

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    Whitewater Development Burger. Sounds crazy, right? But it's the real deal. Contribute $800 and producers Rick Rosenthal and Nick Morton of Whitewater Films will read your screenplay and give you a full set of development notes on your project. Notes will cover the major story issues of structure, character, motivation, tension and awesomeness. And if that's not enough...Rick Rosenthal will have you over to his office in Los Angeles where he will cook you a burger and discuss the notes with you in person as well as help you strategize about the most effective ways to get your movie made. Now, how's that for punk rock?

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    TECTONICS SONG PACKAGE. Matt O'Leary and Jacob Wysocki aka The Tectonics will write and record an original Tectonics song just for you! Do you love the Tectonics? Is there nothing better than listening to "Fat Kid's Revenge" at full bore? Well, then this reward is for you! Great lyrics and a unique punk rock sound. This reward is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. (Buy 10 and you get an 11th free: that's an entire album for 10k!).

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    Mike McCready autographed electric guitar!!! Mike McCready of Pearl Jam who composed the awesome Fat Kid score has actually played this same guitar and signed it. Bring it home. Put it somewhere special. Kneel at its altar and worship. (Of course, this includes T-shirt / Stickers / Digital Downloads / 7").

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    We will immortalize your name on the official FAT KID movie poster and DVD artwork!! We will incorporate a cool, punk rock rendering of your name into the artwork of the FAT KID promotional materials that will be seen wherever the movie plays. (Stickers / Downloads / T-Shirts / 7")

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    Private screening! Bring FAT KID RULES THE WORLD to your very own special private or corporate event. Matthew Lillard will attend the screening in a theater / screening room in your hometown or corporate headquarters. Screening price includes booking the room / Matthew Lillard's travel / T-shirts / Stickers/PIns/7"s for your guests).

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    Filmmaker Mentor Package. Do you have a short film you are dying to make? Do you want the support of an experienced team of filmmakers to advise and consult? Whitewater Films has specialized in mentoring young filmmakers and are now offering their expertise as a reward. For 10k, you will receive ten days of filmmaking mentorship to help you create your short film. Two days to discuss and consult on script and casting. Two days of soft prep at the Whitewater Offices to organize your shoot. Two days of location prep - scouting and coordinating logistics. Two days of shooting. And Two days of editing. In short, this is a graduate level masterclass - an opportunity to realize one of your filmmaking dreams with an experienced filmmaking mentor to watch your back and help you make the best film possible. (Open to filmmakers everywhere, but this reward can only take place in Los Angeles and does not include any financing or travel and accommodations.)

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