Support the completion of a feature-length film about the Appalachian Trail.
The Long Start to the Journey is a documentary film about the Appalachian Trail. The story follows filmmaker Chris Gallaway on his personal attempt to thru-hike the AT in 2013 and to learn what the trail means to individuals he meets along the way. Chris (or "Frost" as he comes to be known on the trail) meets hikers young and old with wildly disparate backgrounds, "trail angels" who provide food and support, and an assortment of wildlife that make the journey much more exciting. This is a personal story of struggle and perseverance and of how the natural world can teach us and enrich our lives. The film captures the importance of the trail by looking back to its history and also at its current influence on culture in America. "The Long Start to the Journey" is a film for those who love the outdoors and who find insight, meaning, and enjoyment in the time they spend in wild places.
During his thru-hike in 2013, Chris created a series of short online videos documenting the first 1,000 miles of his hike. These videos give a sense of the production quality and story-telling style that will be used in completing the feature film, though the full-length film will be more thorough and polished than the online shorts. Here are two videos from the online series: "Mile 198.9" is a video-journal entry and reflects the narrative style that the feature film will take. "Winter" is a lyrical short film featuring the poetry of Robert Frost (Chris's trail-namesake)--it gives a bit more insight into the frigid conditions that Chris and other hikers faced early on the trail this year. The complete series can be viewed at www.theATmovie.com.
What will the Kickstarter funds go to?
The goal of this campaign is to raise $33,500 to complete post-production on The Long Start to the Journey. These funds will cover expenses including:
- Music licensing: one of the largest pieces of the film's budget, and a very important one at that. The music budget will go towards licensing existing songs by artists like Bowerbirds and Bon Iver, and a portion of it will be used to contract original compositions for the film's score.
- Animation: We're going to contract the services of professional animators to create graphic sequences for the film. Aspects of this story such as the progress of the trail through states and over mountain ranges are best illustrated through maps and animations that we're not able to create. This will be an important asset to telling the story of the Appalachian Trail.
- Artwork & Design: We're going to hire skilled graphic designers and artists to create the artwork that will become the face of the film, both on DVD packaging and on posters.
- Color Correction & Sound Mastering: Once the final edit of the film is complete, we'll hire a professional studio to color-correct the picture and master the soundtrack. This will greatly improve the quality of the finished picture.
- DVD replication and production
The stretch funding goal = $40,000:
The funding goal for this campaign was designed to cover the essentials of finishing the film and making DVDs. If we are able to exceed this goal, we will be able to go further and do more in post-production, including:
- Getting the film subtitled in English and other languages to prepare it for television broadcast and theatrical release
- Organizing a regional film tour to share the film with schools and communities up and down the East Coast in 2014.
- Submitting the film to more festivals like Sundance and Banff
Through a combination of sweat-equity and favors from friends, I've been able to produce past films on a shoe-string budget. I believe this story has terrific potential, and I hope to raise the funding needed to complete the film at the highest quality and without compromises. Kickstarter is a proven way to achieve such a goal and to build a community of invested collaborators while doing it. I value the sense of ownership and collaboration that Kickstarter participants gain in a project, and I have contributed to Kickstarter campaigns to support projects and artists I believe in. I hope there are folks out there who will believe in this story and will contribute to make it as good as it can be.
Spread the word!
For this campaign to be successful, it needs to reach a large audience of like-minded people. You will be doing as much to support this film by contributing financially as by sharing the campaign through your networks (facebook, tumblr, e-mailing friends who might be interested, etc.). Please help us spread the word!
We've been working hard to create a long and varied list of rewards that will increase your enjoyment through supporting this campaign. See the side bar for detailed descriptions of the rewards available at various levels of backing. Here are a few of the rewards that we're offering:
Hiking Boots & Town Shoes:
Osprey Packs (more styles available in the sidebar!):
Studio time at Z Sound Recording in Austin, TX: (click image to learn more about the studio)
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
With principle filming completed, this movie is already on its feet and ready to be edited and finished. There are challenges that will arise during post-production such as finding and licensing music at rates that are within budget and locating the right people to work with on a contract basis for jobs such as animation and color correction. The budget and funding goal of the Kickstarter campaign have been designed to enable us to confidently navigate such challenges and to finish the film at a high quality and in a timely manner.
As an independent filmmaker, I have completed several previous projects on minimal budgets through a combination of ingenuity, favors from friends, and by doing various jobs that I'm not professionally qualified for (from graphic design to color correction). For this project, I'm seeking to raise sufficient funding to complete the film without compromises in production quality and with the funds needed to pay contributing artists for their time and talent. If the fundraising campaign is successful, I'm confident we will be able to meet all of these goals.
An important message of this film is the history of volunteer support and inter-agency cooperation that made the Appalachian Trail possible and that has stewarded it to this day. The film will explore the impact of that heritage and the continuing importance of volunteer efforts to protect and maintain the AT.
Kickstarter expressly prohibits projects that are funded through its platform from benefiting an outside cause or organization; so while we would not be allowed to direct proceeds from the film to such causes, you can be sure that it is the goal of the filmmakers to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and other like organizations through the message of the film and through our personal efforts and financial support.
The goal of this campaign is to raise the funding needed to produce the film at a high level by contracting the services of other professionals. Compared to similar projects (feature-length documentaries finished at a professional level) the budget for this film is fairly modest. As an example, services for the animation aspect of this film have so far been quoted anywhere from 5,000 dollars to 33,000 euros for making the maps and sequences that will illustrate the geographical progress of the trail.
The film can be completed at anywhere in a wide range of price points, and the goal of this campaign is to empower the filmmakers in post-production to contract with a team of other professionals (musicians, graphic artists, animators, etc.) to complete the story at a very high level. We are not able to fund this work on our own, and we believe in the power of a wide community of supporters to realize independent film-making like this. We are very grateful to everyone who believes in the film enough to support it, and we will work faithfully to honor your support and deliver a rich and informative film about the Appalachian Trail (not to mention the rewards that are offered in the sidebar).