Xmas. 1982. 14 yr-old Gary wants a game console. His pal Pickford? A girlfriend. A film about 8-bit schemes, arcade dreams & 1st love.
Xmas. 1982. 14 yr-old Gary wants a game console. His pal Pickford? A girlfriend. A film about 8-bit schemes, arcade dreams & 1st love. Read more
About this project
*NEW PARTNERS, NEW TIER! Our awesome supporters at Retrogaming Roundup have offered up a new $76 dollar tier! Scroll on down and give it a look.
*CHRISTMAS BYTES SCREENWRITER BRETT NEVEU FEATURED IN 1UP.COM! Read all about Brett Neveu's obsession with "Adventure" right HERE in this week's feature on the Atari 2600.
*WELCOME TO OUR NEW PRODUCERS! We're please to announce the addition of producer team Sandra and Geoff Murillo ("Paper Heart" featuring Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi) to the Christmas Bytes ranks!
DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST CONSOLE?
It was awhile ago, but yeah, I certainly remember mine. It was the Atari 2600 and I played it until my eyes nearly fell out of my head and my thumb had a blister the size of a fifty-cent piece. It didn’t matter if it was summertime, if it was dinnertime or even if my favorite TV show was on -- I wanted to fill my senses with games like Asteroids, Adventure and/or Yars' Revenge. I rapidly knew who I was and what I would be for the rest of my life: a guy who loved video games.
I hold this time uniquely precious because it was the moment I discovered something I could truly call my own. This discovery is the reason I wrote the film CHRISTMAS BYTES, and this is why we’re here, along with a group of CHRISTMAS BYTES producing partners -- an amazing conglomerate of artists, designers, gamers, musicians, actors, authors, freaks, geeks and fans. We’re here so you can lend a hand in helping us create a film about the ever-present emotional pull of gaming. We’re also here so you can help create a movie that reminds folks everywhere why our “first console” was so important. And we're also here to offer you some excellent perks when you donate. But MOSTLY? We're here because we love this film and think you will, too.
-Brett Neveu, writer/producer
"CHRISTMAS BYTES" - WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT
It's Christmas season, 1982, smack in the middle of a typical Midwestern suburb. Best friends Gary Green and Scottie Pickford, two restless 14-year-olds, while away the quickly-disappearing few days before Christmas. Gary, a self-described video game nut, pines for his own video game console while Pickford broods over the seventeen year-old neighborhood fox, Janelle Housten. Adding to this anxious mix of holiday want and hormonal agitation are Vernon Housten, Janelle’s nerdy younger brother, and Mike Dill, smooth-guy video arcade owner and consumate ladies man.
But there are serious detractors in their midst, including Gary’s over-protective mother Sharon, Pickford's newly divorced father Roger, Scottie’s needling older brother Nathan, and Joey Riteland, high school junior, serious bully and unrelenting suitor of Janelle. In their quest for both video game glory and the love of a (not so) fair maid, Gary and Scottie will face untold dangers, try to protect their fragile egos, all while hopelessly watching the innocence of Christmases past disappear into the winter sky like old Saint Nick himself.
WHY WE'RE SEEKING YOUR HELP
One simple reason: to create freakin' 1982. Supplemental funds are necessary in order to authentically recreate the details of the period, so we’re reaching out to you via Kickstarter. We want to make sure every car, every can of food, every video game cartridge, every EVERYTHING is spot-on. And that? It can get EXPENSIVE. We very much need your support to help ensure we get 1982 exactly right, so pease join us in making sure 1982 looks perfect AND NOT TO MENTION we need your help to be able to support an original soundtrack by The Residents, additional music by Jerry "Pac Man Fever" Buckner and the ability to use period-specific site locations such as Star World Arcade.
BUT THEN YOU MAY ALSO ASK is $82,000 really enough dough to actually recreate 1982 in the super-best way possible? We shall say this: ehhh probably not. Would more than $82,000 do a better job remaking 1982? OF COURSE. Are we hoping that we raise a record amount ever for any film on Kickstarter ever? That's not our plan. BUT if such a thing should happen, we would not be sad. Or freaked out so much that we would die. We would instead shout a hearty congrats to YOU, fair donating-types. A HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS, INDEED! Plus a HUZZAH or six or seven or eight or infinity.
OUR AMAZING DONATION PERKS
With a wild mix of music, art, production props PLUS rare items direct from our producing partners, this list has something for everyone. We've run the perk-gamut, from a straight-on 5 buck donation-level on up to the 10,000 HIGH SCORE WINNERS. We've also assembled a bunch of "limited edition items," such as signed Atari Force comics from the master Gerry Conway to the super-rare "Swordquest: Waterworld" Atari 2600 cartridge, to signed vintage game boxes by the eternal Cliff Spohn to a super-stash of Atari, 80's and classic video game-themed books signed by your favorite smart-guy gamer authors.
AND THEN WE'VE ALSO GOT **SIX** DIGITAL DOWNLOADS (one being a PDF of the screenplay) including a high-resolution scan of "banned artwork" direct from one of one of the first 8-bit box and cart artists, the amazing Steve Hendricks. Here's a taste:
PLUS the amazing 8-bit game "VGS 8200 CHRISTMAS QUEST" created exclusively for the CHRISTMAS BYTES Kickstarter campaign by our mondo-excellent producing partners at 8-bit Rocket. Check out a sample:
AND THEN THERE'S a bit of *exclusive* CHRISTMAS BYTES pixelated artwork that's available here and now only through this offer by the master of the 8-bit movie poster, Eric Palmer. Here's a little peek:
BUT WAIT! THEN THERE'S ALSO the dungeon-module artistic homage/role-playing game CHRISTMAS BYTES MODULE LP1: The Treasure of the 2600 by our own associate producer Larry Pontius. Here's the cover:
"CHRISTMAS BYTES": BEHIND THE CAMERA
An awesome team of folks have been assembled for this project:
Dulé Hill, producer: Dulé Hill's recent projects include his acclaimed roles on both Psych and The West Wing. As a young man, Dulé went on tour with Broadway's The Tap Dance Kid, which led to other musicals, including Shenandoah, Little Rascals, and Black & Blue. During his senior year in high school, Hill won a role in his first feature film, Sugar Hill (1993). He returned to Broadway in 1995 for a starring role with the original cast of Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. He went onto several television and movie roles, including: Color of Justice (1997), The Ditchdigger's Daughters (1997), and A Love Song for Dad (1999). He was also recently seen on Broadway in Lydia Diamond’s Stick Fly (2012).
Steven A. Jones, producer: After directing a large number of nationally aired animated commercials, Mr. Jones branched out into the feature film world, creating the award winning Henry – Portrait of a Serial Killer as producer along with director John McNaughton. The success of this film brought many other projects, including Mad Dog and Glory featuring Robert DeNiro, Bill Murray and Uma Thurman, and Wild Things, starring Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon and many others. Mr. Jones’ body of work also includes five feature films by first time directors. Mr. Jones has had a long creative relationship with the band Styx, directing and producing music videos, documentaries, and video backgrounds for many of their tours.
Meghan Schumacher, producer: credits include “Counter Culture” and “Wright vs Wrong” for Sony/ABC with Stephnie Weir; the web series “Donna’s Revenge: Confessions of an Ex-Contestant” created by Seana Kofoed and directed by Oliver Oertel. Currently, she is developing a pilot for Sony created by Stephnie Weir and the pilot "Clandestine" for SYFY created by Todd Stashwick and Dennis Calero.
Brett Neveu, writer and producer: Brett Neveu's film credits include the short films Convo with Breakwall Pictures, Exit, Clowny with JonPon Films and the feature-length The Earl with Intermission Productions. Recent and upcoming theatre productions include The Opponent and Megacosm with A Red Orchid Theatre and 4 Murders with SkyPilot Theatre. Past work includes productions with The Royal Court Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, The House Theatre, The Inconvenience, The Goodman Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, TimeLine Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre and American Theatre Company. He is a 2012 Sundance Institute Ucross Fellow, the recipient of the Ofner Prize for New Work, the Emerging Artist Award from The League of Chicago Theatres and is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre.
Duncan Riddell, director: is a theatre and film director based in Chicago. He is currently serving as dramaturg on the Broadway production of Craig Wright's Grace, starring Michael Shannon and Paul Rudd. Other credits include Brett Neveu’s The Earl at A Red Orchid Theatre as well as productions at American Theatre Company, The Inconvenience, Sankofa Theatre, and Stage 773. He has also written and directed the films The Lake at Evening (2009), Artistic Temperament (2011), and is currently in post-production for Older Children (2012).
Peter Biagi, cinematographer: Peter Biagi's credits include Jeff Garland's I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, the soon to be released documentary Algren and the feature Stolen Summer. He also operated camera on Robert Altman's last two films - The Company and A Prairie Home Companion. To date, Peter has enjoyed shooting eighteen feature films, many narrative shorts and many long form documentaries.
The Residents, original soundtrack: The Residents are an American art collective best known for avante garde and multimedia works. The first official release under the name of "The Residents" was in 1972, and the group has since released over 60 albums, numerous music videos and short films, three CD-ROM projects, ten DVDs. They have undertaken seven major world tours and scored multiple films. Throughout the group's existence, the individual members have ostensibly attempted to operate under anonymity, preferring instead to have attention focused on their art output. Much outside speculation and rumor has focused on this aspect of the group. In public, the group appears silent and costumed, often wearing eyeball helmets, top hats and tuxedos - a long-lasting costume now recognized as their signature iconography. The Residents' earliest videos are in the New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and were eventually released together in 2001 on the Icky Flix DVD, which includes an optional audio track of remixes. In January 2010 the Residents began a national tour entitled “Talking Light” which featured singer "Randy" wearing an old man mask, and the other two wearing dread lock wigs and some kind of optical gear over their faces. One of these performances was featured as part of the edition of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival curated by Matt Groenig in May 2010 in Minehead, England.
Jerry Buckner, additional music: Jerry Buckner wrote, produced or performed on a wide variety of recording projects including the “Theme To WKRP In Cincinnati”, the top 10 hit “On And On” by Anne Murray and the million selling classic 80′s hit “Pac Man Fever.”
Aric Jackson, line producer: Aric recently received his M.S. in Digital Cinema from DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media and has worked in the major motion picture and independent film industry for nearly a decade, working on films such Paramount Picture’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) and Warner Bros. Man of Steel (2013). During the summer of 2011 Aric collaborated for the first time with director Duncan Riddell to produce Older Children (2012). Aric is currently in production on his feature length directorial debut titled FLuX (2013); a documentary focused on the culinary talents of Chef Brandon Baltzley.
Larry Pontius, associate producer: Larry Pontius' produced stage work includes an Off-Broadway production of Umbrella by Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan; Fallout by Working Man’s Clothes Productions and The Lunar Adventures of Dar and Matey by Stolen Chair Theater, followed up with Dar and Matey’s Christmas SpectaculARGH at the The Brick Theatre in Brooklyn.
FEATURED CAST MEMBERS
We've recently begun our casting process and have added some exciting folks, including:
Michael Shannon (ROGER): One of America’s premiere stage and film actors, Michael earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Revolutionary Road. Michael also appeared in the 2011 film Take Shelter, where he received rave reviews for his performance, and he’s also a cast member of the television show Boardwalk Empire where he plays the role of Federal Prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden. Upcoming and current projects include “General Zod”, the villain in Zak Snyder’s Superman reboot, Man of Steel; a corrupt cop in the film Premium Rush, performing in the Craig Wright play Grace on Broadway as well as with A Red Orchid Theatre (where he is an ensemble member) in Chicago in the Sam Shepard play Simpatico.
Keep checking in with us to see what other actors have joined our ranks!
We are so happy to have pre-production support, consulting and technical direction provided by an incredible list that cuts deep across the rocky and winding field of gaming and geekdom. These folks include:
8-bit Rocket - a kick-ass group of premium designers, fans, gamers and 8-bit bloggers
D. Scott Williamson - former Atari programmer and founder of the "Star Castle 2600 Project"
Paul Pape - the mastermind behind Paul Pape Designs, Paul has created stop-motion animated shorts, worked on commercials, industrials and sculpted stuff for all sorts, including the miniature furniture for the Pulitzer Prize winning play I AM MY OWN WIFE
8 Bit Weapon (Seth & Michelle Sternberger) - having performed their chip music across two continents using their arsenal of classic video game consoles and vintage computers as instruments, 8 Bit Weapon have independently released 11 albums, created their own series of music software for the Apple II and have worked with Disney, Microsoft, Nokia and Sony as well as influential artists such as Kraftwerk and Information Society
ComputeHer - Michelle Sternberger's solo electronic music project, using retro gaming consoles and 8-bit computers to create hard beats with colorful melodies
Gerry Conway - legendary comic book writer, co-creator of “The Punisher” and author of the “Atari Force” comics
Craig Miller - former Lucasfilm employee, television writer and original author and editor of the first series of Star Wars newsletters, “Bantha Tracks”
Rose Estes - author of the 10 million selling “Dungeons and Dragons: Endless Quest” book series
Nick Montfort - co-author of the Atari history book, “Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System" and Associate Professor of Digital Media, Writing and Humanistic Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ian Bogost - co-author of the Atari history book, “Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System,” co-founder of Persuasive Games and Professor and Director, Graduate Program in Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology AND creator of the truly original 8-bit game "A Slow Year"
Roberto Dillon - computer engineer, professor and author of the book “The Golden Age of Video Games: The Birth of a Multibillion Dollar Industry"
Chris Melissinos - speaker, Sun Microsystems Chief Gaming Officer and author of the book “The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect,” Chris is also the curator of the Smithsonian Museum’s exhibit of video game art
Matt Barton - professor, co-author of the book "Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time" and co-creator of the influential gaming blog "Armchair Arcade"
Bill Loguidice - video game historian, co-author of the book "Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time," and co-creator of the excellent and influential blog "Armchair Arcade"
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont - bloggers and authors of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?: The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the 70s and 80s"
Patrick O’Malley - owner and operator of Star Worlds, a real-life, back-in-time video arcade located in DeKalb, IL
IS IT VIDEO TESTIMONIALS YOU DEMAND?
Then click below for a few of our partners and fans chatting about their love for 8-bit!
HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!
Does CHRISTMAS BYTES sound like interesting stuff? Then plese help us get the word out about the creation of CHRISTMAS BYTES and our neato perks.
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BTW: special thanks to Joe Williams for permission to use his wonderful image.
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