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Every year, thousands of people compete to be U.S. National Tennis Champion. But only a few are doing it at age 80.... Read more

Seattle, WA Documentary
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$26,399
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on May 4, 2014.

Every year, thousands of people compete to be U.S. National Tennis Champion. But only a few are doing it at age 80....

Seattle, WA Documentary
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About this project

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YES! We've made our goal but there are some AMAZING female players we want to highlight, and every penny raised beyond $25,000 here on KICKSTARTER will go directly toward telling their stories. So don't let us acheiving our goal deter you from contributing. We promise you'll love this story!

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This is the world of ULTRA Senior tennis - where the players actually look forward to getting older every 5 years, when they age into the next bracket and have relative youth on their side. 

We've identified characters and storylines and have about 20% of the footage we need in the can - we need your help to bring the rest of our vision to life! 

We plan to follow these seasoned warriors for one full championship season, focusing on the humor and drama that takes place on and off center court. We'll celebrate and suffer along with them as they attempt final goals on their bucket lists, and experience with them the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

It's a world that few know about. But it's time to change that.

Aging is inescapable. And quality of life is largely determined by health. Through the power of example, this story will ignite broader questions including: What might be the unexpected power of a goal?

But don't just take our word for it. Meet some of the players we're following for yourself.

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The players we will profile in Gold Balls are all devoted, passionate, resilient professionals who have been on the courts for decades and are still excited for that next championship match. 

If we achieve our goal of raising $25,000, we'll be able to tell a story about grit and engagement. We'll be able to...

  • Film 80 year old #1 in the world and “most eligible bachelor” John Powless at home in Madison, WI
  • Film 94 year old Men’s gold ball recordbreaker Bob Sherman in Santa Barbara
  • Film the WA state Indoor National Men's 80's, 85's and 90's Tennis Championships 
  • Film the Laguna Outdoor National Men's 75's, 80's, 85's and 90's Tennis Championships 
  • Film 80 year old "Traveling Tennis Man" Ron Tonidandel on the road

And if this is where we cap out, we will edit what we have into a short documentary. But, check out what we can do if we meet our stretch goals below ….

Help us share these stories...

Remember, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing deal; if we don't make our goal, we don't get to bring this movie to life. We are deeply grateful for your support at whatever level you can pledge. 

Some of the great rewards include:

 Stay tuned for even more perks!

If we make it to $35,000, things start to get exciting! 

The filming and story will expand to include sport as a tool for life as we profile a player who has broken barriers in the sport and mentored hundreds of children who never otherwise would have picked up a racquet:

  • We'll travel to Dallas to film Marcus Freeman, a new 80+ Nationals contender, founder of Black Tennis Magazine and recipient of the 2014 USPTA Diversity award

If we make it to $50,000, things get crazy!

What will it be? Travelling to cover all four Nationals, including the amazing grass courts at South Orange, NJ? Profiling the most amazing woman in tennis that you've NEVER HEARD OF? If we make it to $35,000 we'll unveil this challenge, and with your help we'll push things to the limit!

PERK CHEATSHEET

We got a request for a layout of our perks - here you go!

Why Are We Here? We've spent years identifying characters, storylines and developing relationships. Everything to this point has been self-funded. We've got about 20% of the film in the can but to travel to the tournaments and players' homes this year, we need your help.

What is Kickstarter anyway? Kickstarter is a dynamic way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. Projects must be fully funded or no money changes hands. In other words, if we don’t achieve our goal of $25,000, we don't get anything. And, incidentally, our goal of $25,000 is a bare minimum to get our boots on the ground filming at tournaments and players' homes in California, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and Texas.

Where does my money go? Whatever we raise here on Kickstarter will be used for:

• Travel expenses: Getting our small crew to tournaments and our player's hometowns adds up quickly. We hope to include all 4 tournaments (grass, clay, indoor and outdoor) and between 5 and 7 players, but the budget will ultimately determine how many locations and stories we're able to include.

• Gear: Our goal is to shoot the most visually delightful film about tennis we can. We will mostly be using gear we already own, but we'll need to rent or ship some specialty items and portable lighting gear, and we'd like to provide cameras for our players to record some footage on their own.

• Hard Drives: We will be shooting a LOT of great footage - and therefore requiring a lot of space to store it.

• Boring Stuff that adds up quickly. Like production insurance, car rentals, hotel accommodations, food, fuel, shipping costs.

If you’re ready to back us, just click the green button at the top right corner of this page! If you’d like to learn more, read on...and be sure to check out our rewards!

How do I pledge? It’s easy. Just click the green “Back This Project” button in the upper right-hand corner or on the little green icons in each pledge box. You will be asked to input your pledge amount and select a reward. From there, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. You must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded. It is fast and easy.

What if we don’t reach our goal? This is an all-or-nothing platform.  If funding fails, all pledges are canceled and that's that. Your card is not charged, it’s like nothing ever happened. We hope this doesn’t happen!

Can we exceed our goal? Most definitely - and we sure hope to! Our goal of $25,000 is literally the bare minimum of what we need to cover a few players and a couple tennis tournaments! Exceeding our goal will enable us to film in more locations, include more amazing people and create the kind of feature that will really get people talking. 

What about those cool rewards? Some will be fulfilled and sent to you pretty quickly - and some, next year. We've put a later date on some deadlines - the reason for this? For one, we need to finish the film in order to have a DVD to send you or have you attend a screening.

Can I donate outside the United States? Yes! Just click on the Amazon Payment Button and you will see that you can pay with a credit card from any country! But you must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded. If you have any problems just contact us and we will gladly walk you through it. For shipping to destinations outside the US, we will add on the appropriate shipping costs.

There are full Executive Producer credits available at the $50,000 level. Please contact us directly with queries about participating at this level.

And finally, a special shout-out to Clatter & Din Sound Studio and Tom Skerritt for their tremendous contributions to the teaser trailer, and graphic designers Jenna Sylvester and Courtney Witter (PaperCourt Press). Thanks go to Rob Witmer as well for the music in John's piece above. We all share a passion for bringing great ideas to life and are dedicated to seeing this film get made.

Thanks so much for checking us out and remember, every little bit will help bring this project to life!

Risks and challenges

Making a movie is a challenging process and there are many issues that could complicate this project. There could be challenges that arise due to the age of the cast. There could be crew staffing changes, particularly as filming a documentary takes a very long time. And as with any project there could be unforeseen fulfillment, funding, story or legal complications. The length and breadth of the story we are able to tell will depend heavily on funding. That said, we are tenacious people and are determined to bring this story to fruition.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • The retail value for packages varies and ranges from:
    #1- 0, #2-$2, #3-$6, #4-16, #5-$22, #6-$20, #7-$100, #8-$30, #9-$22, #10-$34, #11-$100, #12-$50, #13-$500

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    23 backers

    "ON THE TEAM" PACKAGE. In addition to our heartfelt thanks and the wonderful feeling of helping an independent documentary get made, you'll get regular "sideline" updates via email from the production team during the filming of Gold Balls!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    24 backers

    "MORE THAN LOVE" You know that the first point after love is 15! For showing your love, you'll receive an exclusive e-book with 15 delicious smoothie recipes, and a fun GOLD BALLS word search!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    22 backers

    "IN THE GAME" Way to get in the game! We'll send you a set of 4 colorful postcards with motivational messages to keep you on fire! You can post 'em on your mirror or send to a friend. Plus everything in the "MORE THAN LOVE" package. You can't lose!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    44 backers

    "TOTE-ALLY SERVING ACES" You're a winner! You'll receive a "digital movie ticket" for the completed film AND a handy GOLD BALLS tote bag! You'll also be named in the THANKS section of the film credits. Plus everything from the "MORE THAN LOVE" package. We anticipate you will receive a code sometime in late 2015.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    5 backers

    "WEAR IT" Get your own GOLD BALLS cotton T-shirt. Whether you wear it while picking up tennis balls or picking up dates, you'll look like a winner! You will also receive everything in the MORE THAN LOVE package. OR, choose the Tote bag and everything from the IN THE GAME package, it's up to you!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    36 backers

    "THE COMBO 100" Now you're a baller! You'll receive an exclusive pre-release screener DVD of the full documentary and a THANK YOU gift bag with exclusive Gold Balls stickers, bookmarks, photos and surprises. You'll also receive everything in the WEAR IT package, and you will be named in a SPECIAL THANKS section of the feature credits. Bonus: receive a special shout out on Twitter! It's a winning combination!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    "WORK HARD PLAY HARD" Now you're playing like a champion. But all work and no play makes for a very dull day! Get ready for post-match cocktails with this set of six beautiful beaded tennis themed drink markers specially created for you by our director. These hand crafted beauties won't last long so snag one of the the limited edition sets while you still can! PLUS everything in the COMBO 100 package.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    5 backers

    "TOTE-ALLY IN THE MATCH" Show everyone else how it's done with your very own Nantucket style Gold Balls canvas bag. PLUS everything in the COMBO 100 package, and you will be named in the SPECIAL THANKS section.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    2 backers

    "BLIND 'EM WITH BLING" Treat yourself (or a friend!) to delightful jewelry by Emily Austin of Scottsdale. And show your love for the game even when you can't make it to the courts. Swarovski crystals are hand set with meticulous care in sterling silver. Earrings at the $150 level, or necklace at $175. Or go for both for $225! Package includes everything in the IN THE GAME and MORE THAN LOVE packages.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    "FOR STUDENTS OF SPORT" This. Is. Awesome. Ron T., who is a famous sender of newspaper articles, will mail you a collection of personalized newspaper clippings geared towards your interests. Experience the nostalgic pleasure of reading from the printed page. Extra bonus if you are into nutrition and tennis! You'll also receive everything in the COMBO 100 package.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    "YOUR PERSONAL ANNOUNCER" Marcus, our featured player from Texas, will record a 20-30 second audio message of your choosing. This can include voicemail greetings, marriage proposals, or that lullaby that always puts you to sleep at night. Use your imagination (PG-13, please!) and receive the (audio) recording of your dreams. You'll also receive everything in the COMBO 100 package.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    11 backers

    "A PICTURE LASTS LONGER" Now this is special. A coffee table photo book created exclusively for Gold Balls Kickstarter backers. This beautifully produced small softcover book will delight you with funny and inspirational quotes from our players and stunning photos shot on location. You can also receive everything in the COMBO 100 package.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers

    "THE VIDEO ANALYSIS" Look at you! You're a contender! You get the above prizes, plus you can submit a video of your serve or strokes and receive a 5 minute video coaching session from John or Marcus (certified tennis pros). You can also elect to receive the coffee table book, the t-shirt OR the tote, the digital wordsearch, the smoothie recipes, the download code or a hard copy DVD of the film after it has premiered, and will be named in a VERY SPECIAL THANKS section.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    2 backers Limited (2 left of 4)

    "THE SWEET SPOT" Now we're talking! You'll get a VIP invitation to our special cast & crew screening and reserved seats at the premiere closest to your location. We'll also deliver a dozen tennis (or regular) themed cakepops to celebrate just how sweet you are. You may also elect to receive either the video analysis or the coffee table book, the t-shirt or tote, the digital wordsearch, the smoothie recipes, the download code or a hard copy DVD of the film after it has premiered, and will be named in the VERY SPECIAL THANKS section.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    "YOU'RE A CHAMPION" And an amazing supporter of independent filmmaking. THANK YOU so much. You will be named as an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER of the film. The title does NOT come with any responsibilities or equity in the film but would look great on your IMDB page! You will also receive an invitation to our cast & crew screening and post-party, 4 VIP seats at the film premiere, the coffee table book, the t-shirt or tote, the digital wordsearch and smoothie recipes, and the download code or a hard copy DVD of the film after it has premiered.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    "THE WINNERS BOX" In addition to our deep gratitude, and 4 VIP seats and verbal thanks at the film premiere, you get a personal meet and greet with #1 in the world John Powless as well as 2 box seats at the U.S. Open! PLEASE CONTACT US IN ADVANCE BEFORE CLAIMING THIS REWARD. Travel and accommodations are not included, date subject to availability. You will also receive an invitation to our cast & crew screening, the coffee table book, the t-shirt or tote, the digital wordsearch and smoothie recipes, and the download code or a hard copy DVD of the film after it has premiered.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    "GRAND SLAM" Be listed as a PRODUCER in the credits and receive an exclusive dinner with available cast and crew when we are working in a city near you. You may also choose between: a private 60 minute lesson for up to 6 from one of the featured players or coaches in the film, being featured in a cameo yourself, or a 1-hour consultation with the director and producer on your own project! PLEASE CONTACT US BEFORE CLAIMING THIS REWARD TIER. The title does NOT come with any responsibilities or equity in the film but would look great on your IMDB page! You will also receive 4 VIP seats at the film premiere, an invitation to our cast & crew screening and post-party, the optional coffee table book, the t-shirt or tote, the digital wordsearch and smoothie recipes, and the download code or a hard copy DVD of the film after it has premiered.

    Estimated delivery:
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Funding period

- (30 days)