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FUNNY FEET ROCKS! A 'visual comedy' Eccentric Dance film, with RED SKELTON, JERRY LEWIS & funny cool people. Help us make this movie!

MY KICKSTARTER GOAL: To finance this most important step, PHASE ONE, the film research in the UK, so I can complete my Documentary on Eccentric Dance! 

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:

Never documented until now, 'Funny Feet:The Art of Eccentric Dance'  represents the rarest of documentarIes, one that is both vastly entertaining and deeply informative for an international audience. So now the time has come to see this film to fruition, and this one final step, will provide me with the tools to finally make it happen. 

But what on earth is an Eccentric Dancer? 

Well, that's what everyone asks me, and yes, it's quite different from 'exotic' dance..... but while working as a young animator at Disney Studios, I fell in love with this quirky, off-beat, style of funny movement upon learning my first silly walk, and the rest is history...

YOU ALREADY KNOW IT! It's the cockeyed strut of Jimmy Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy and the classic tramp of Charlie Chaplin, the wild banana dance of Josephine Baker or Groucho's zany twist kicks, the sentimental scarecrow of Ray Bolger and Goofy being, well, Goofy! The 'Lord of the Rings' Andy Serkis as dance master in TopsyTurvy and John Cleese's indomitable 'Ministry of Silly Walks', Massine's spirited Peruvian in Gaiete' Parisienne and the outrageous and impossible break dancers of today. Yep, it's ALL Eccentric and it's ALL visual 'comedy in dance', with the funniest feet, rubber legs, snake hips, and craziest legmania hi-kicks, where twists, falls and the most exaggerated and outrageous comical movement, delineate a unique character, who performs a surprising, but always hilarious, story through dance! 

My work as an artist and animation choreographer has entirely financed this DOCUMENTARY to date, but now, following 20 years of research, performance and studying with those remarkably funny dancers and choreographers, I have amassed the only 'eccentric dance & visual comedy' collection of its kind, including 45 filmed celebrity interviews and over 1000 hours of historic eccentric dance footage. These incredible INTERVIEWS, (see below) spanning six countries, with some taking years to acquire, are uniquely focused on each performer's approach in making movement 'funny'. 

With five of these interviews already donated to the New York Performing Arts Library for restricted use when completed, my entire collection will be donated to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an educational asset for researchers and performers, my biggest dream, once the film is finished. 

But there's still some crucial material to gather before I can finish this documentary and begin editing, and I am hoping to complete the research and production with the help of friends, colleagues, film, dance, animation, physical theater enthusiasts and anyone who loves to laugh!

In order to complete a film of this scale, I've reached out to an Emmy-winning filmmaker who has long been interested in similiar material. Marc Fields ('Give Me The Banjo', 'Broadway: The American Musical'  on PBS), will help create a master budget, schedule and script, and supervise the editing of the film. 

MY GOAL FOR THIS KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN and WHAT THE DONATIONS WILL COVER

To get myself to England, complete my research and select film clips over there, before I can select clips here, and then budget the film. With extraordinary contacts and commitments for access and support already in place, I need to make a two week trip to England in January, to access the vaults at the British Film Institute and the BBC. The story of this film cannot be properly told without first tapping into a vast resource of archival footage and historical information residing in England, where Eccentric Dance flourished for well over two hundred years. I've made a connection with the BFI, and the Founder of the Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America, located at Drury Lane Theater. I have also made contact outside of London, at the University of Exeter, Devon, who have rare Chaplin Eccentric Dance sheet music as far back as the early 1900's. 

This funding will also pay for HD video equipment rentals and crew for interviews, research costs and travel and accomodation costs while in the UK.  Any funds received in excess of my goal will be applied to transfer and back-up of archival film, interviews and analogue materials to a digital format for editing. 

PHASE TWO.....Following Phase One, a final fundraising effort will be made to edit and complete the film, as well as arrange for distribution and release. The Phase Two effort will not be financed by this initial solicitation through Kickstarter.

Why I Became An Eccentric Dancer?  

While working as a young animator at the Walt Disney Studios, I avidly studied dance, but was soon redirected by a vaudevillian to the Eccentric style, and there was no turning back! My journey had begun, as I eagerly studied old films and studied with any vaudevillian willing to teach me the Eccentric repertoire. This exaggerated 'character movement' style was a natural transition into animation choreography, a link that continues today, in my recent work as 'character movement' coach for the animators and performers in Disney's'The Princess and the Frog' . Performances in eccentric led to the 'Betsy Bird' on England's Muppet Show, and with the Muppet's first 'live' performance at the Kennedy Center, the Steve Allen Show, the American Dance Festival's 'Salute To Vaudeville', Faerietale Theater and the Broadway bound 'Stardust'.

My plans to make 'Funny Feet: The Art of Eccentric Dance' as a documentary began over 20 years ago. My first screening of the 'work in progress', sponsored by Disney's Artist Development Program, took place in Los Angeles in 1996 with over 1000 animators and special guests, including Bill Irwin and was hosted by comic genius Steve Allen. 

I have maintained an active association with Eccentric Dance including a guest speaking engagement at Oxford University for the Fred Astaire Conference; as vaudeville and Eccentric Dance consultant for Cirque Du Soleil in Montreal; Eccentric Dance screenings and workshops for Ringling Brothers 'Clown College' and, most recently, character movement coach for Universal Studio Japan's dancers and characters.

INTERVIEWS ALREADY FILMED INCLUDE:

(US): Red Skelton, Shirley MacLaine, Dick Van Dyke, Ann Miller, Herb Ross (Director), Michael Kidd (Choreographer), Jerry Lewis, Milt Larsen (Historian), Mrs. Buster (Eleanor) Keaton, Lois Hawes (Stan Laurel's daughter), Fayard Nicholas, Geoffrey Holder, Marge Champion, Dennis Nahat (dance for Agnes DeMille and Massine) , Andre DeShields, Lou Wills,Jr., Jenni LeGon, Leonard Reed (Producer of the Apollo Theater), Kendall Capps (Historian), Steve Allen, Buster Brown, Charles Collins & Carol Stone (Fred Stone family), Gil Lamb, Richard Fleischer (Director & son of Max Fleischer) 

(UK & EUROPE): Lord Lew Grade (former competitive dancer and producer), Johnny Hutch (Royal Shakespeare Theater, Benny Hill and consultant on Chaplin film), Norman Wisdom, Len Lowe & Harry Seltzer, Frederick Franklin (Ballets Russe), Slava (Russian pantomimist), Marcel Marceau (French Pantomimist), Paddy Moloney (Ireland's Leader of the Chieftains), Paolo Bosisio (Italian Commedia Professor and Director)

ANIMATORS: Chuck Jones, Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston, Ward Kimball, Myron Waldman (Betty Boop/Popeye) , Joe Barbera, Joe Grant and Al Hirschfeld (NY Times caricaturist) 

WE ARE PLEASE TO HAVE SECURED THE SUPPORT AND COOPERATION OF THE ESTATES OF: Stan Laurel, Eddie Foy Sr., Red Skelton, Hal Sherman, Fred Stone and Lupino Lane

NOTE: Limited rights for use of images has been granted. If any violation of rights have occurred, please contact us and they will be removed immediately. All rewards are related directly to the film and its producer and artist, Betsy Baytos, and will be sent as soon as they become available. 

I thank you all for your time, support and generosity and I look forward to reconnecting with many and meeting NEW enthusiasts of the 'Eccentric Dance'!  Join me for an incredible journey and please 'spread the word!' 

With sincere gratitude and appreciation,

Betsy

REWARDS: #2  'DANCE MUSIC DOWNLOADS'

REWARDS: #3  'ECCENTRIC DANCE PRINTS!'

REWARDS #4:  THE ART OF THE PRATFALL with RED SKELTON (6 prints in sequence)

REWARDS #5: 'GROCK' PRINT with TOTE BAG

Artist: Betsy

REWARDS #6: POSTER, one dance PRINT and a TOTE.....Artist: Betsy

REWARDS #7: 'DANCE ECCENTRIC' POSTERS'

Artist: Betsy

REWARDS #8: JIMMY BUFFETT TEE, A 'DANCE ECCENTRIC' POSTER and a TOTE! Artist: Betsy

(Jimmy Buffett Tour Tee courtesy of HK Mngt.) LARGE SIZE ONLY

REWARDS #9: 'LUPINO LANE PACKAGE' (Includes copy of the book, 2 still prints & a DVD of 'THE LAMBETH WALK')

REWARDS #10:   THE 'BOFFO' PACKAGE! (Includes a BUFFETT Lg. Tee, the entire LUPINO LANE package above, 3 still prints, all music downloads, any DANCE or LOGO poster and a TOTE!

REWARDS #11: THE 'ULTRA DELUXE WOW' PACKAGE! (Includes ALL of REWARD #10 PLUS BOTH posters! 

REWARDS # 12: THE 'PRICELESS PREMIUM' PACKAGE! (Includes ALL of the DELUXE Package PLUS a special, personalized ILLUSTRATION by Betsy, of any pet or person you desire. 

REWARDS #13: THE 'ANGEL PATRON' PACKAGE! (Includes ALL of the 'PREMIUM' Package above, including the special ILLUSTRATION by Betsy! 

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

It takes time to document a dance style that has impacted the visual arts and has been around for centuries, and then to educate people about it. The last select interviews will be far more difficult, as the next generation of performers are less accessible. As much as you plan, travel can be tricky, but once my goal is reached, all the UK contacts and support will then need to be finalized and plans to be made, but thankfully the groundwork has been laid. To be quite honest, this trip is vital to me not only for the research and material, but for my reputation as a producer and historian. I owe so much, to so many who have supported me, granting archival access and interviews, so it's time now, to move toward completing my film. When the research and gathering of materials is complete, interviews done, digital back-ups made, the next phase begins......

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    8 backers

    It might only be $5, but you have no idea how much this means to me. You have my deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks for all your support, with your 'name in my dreams' then posted on my 'Funny Feet: The Art of Eccentric Dance' Facebook page.

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    MUSIC LOVERS!!! Yessirree!!! An Mp3 download link will be sent to you, for a special tune to help get you in that 'Eccentric' mood! I am honored to make available, three incredible recordings, exclusive for this campaign by three renown, kick-ass musicians:1) TERRY WALDO (an incredible ragtime piano player & the world's authority on Ragtime) playing James P. Johnson's 1921 'ECCENTRICITY'..... 2) ANDY STEIN & FRIENDS (Andy (violin), 'THE JAZZ BAND BALL', is one of Commander Cody's Lost Planet Airmen', is featured on Garrison Keillor's 'Prairie Home Companion' and has recorded with Winton Marsalis, Bob Dylan & Joshua Bell. 3) EDDIE BAYTOS (an award-winning musician & choreographer) is featured in 'song and dance' with Phil Alvin ('Blasters') & the great Fayard Nicholas (Nicholas Bros.), in an original song 'LOW DOWN RHYTHM'. Why you'll be doing Eccentric before you know it! AND, while you're tapping your feet,you will have total access to the production blog, detailing the film's progress, PLUS a big, big 'thank you' credit on the film's Facebook page.

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    24 backers

    MEET THE ECCENTRICS! A 'must have'! You will have an exclusive compiled film list of the top 20 Eccentric Dancers, PLUS you can select any THREE prints of your favorite all-time Eccentric Dancers! (courtesy of the families listed here) Red Skelton dancing as a Ballerina, Buster West, Charlotte Greenwood, Hal Sherman, Buster Keaton, Will B.Able, Gil Lamb, Lupino Lane, Buddy Ebsen INCLUDING any of the Eccentric performance of the film's creator, Betsy: featured as the Muppet Show's 'BETSY BIRD', as MAURICE in Broadway's Stardust, or on the STEVE ALLEN show. (Betsy stills will be signed) PLUS your name will be credited with a special 'thank you' on the film's Facebook page AND full access to the production blog with updates on the film's progress! (You can view Betsy's performance clips in an update coming soon!)

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    22 backers

    RED SKELTON FANS! Not only will you get the 'one-of-a-kind' exclusive film list of the top 20 Eccentric Dancers, but here you will TRIPLE the prints! You will recieve an amazing collectible series of SIX beautiful 8x10 prints of 'Red Skelton executing, step-by-step, the 'art of the pratfall'. (Courtesy of Mrs. Red 'Lothian' Skelton). PLUS your name will be credited with 'thanks' on the film's Facebook page AND you will have all the access you desire to the film's production blog.

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    IT'S IN THE BAG! Now YOU can be 'Eccentric', by carrying this sweet, one-of-a-kind TOTE BAG with the ultra-hip 'Dance Eccentric' logo emblazoned on the front. This logo, designed by Betsy, is unique to this campaign and made available only to my ultra-chic supporters. AND as a special BONUS, I will include a limited edition 8x10" signed print of my illustration of the 'eccentric' clown, GROCK! AND as always, a special credit of 'thanks' on the film's Facebook page, PLUS complete access to the production blog, detailing the film's progress.

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    3 backers

    A POSTER, A PIC & A TOTE!!! Designed exclusively for this campaign, a very cool, limited editon black & white (11 x14") POSTER of the film's LOGO, 'Funny Feet: The Art of Eccentic Dance', signed by the artist and filmmaker, Betsy. AND any one of the above Eccentric Dance stills....AND YES! A snappy matching TOTE, with the poster logo featured on the front, along witih the compiled top 20 Eccentric Dancer list. (You know you'll get a big 'thank you' credit on the film's Facebook page and access to the production blog right?).

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    8 backers

    HERE IT 'TIS!!! A unique & beautifully rendered limited edition, of your very own, 'DANCE ECCENTRIC' POSTER available in five, yes FIVE gorgeous colors to choose, (16x20") personally signed by the film's producer and artist Betsy Baytos. PLUS, you will receive the compiled list of the top 20 Eccentric Dancers, and on the film's Facebook page, a bigger-than-ever 'thank you' credit and complete access to the production blog, detailing the film's progress.

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    1 backer

    A TOTE & A TEE FOR TWO??? WAIT! THERE'S MORE!!! The above 'DANCE ECCENTRIC' poster of your choice, BUT you'll want to gaze at it wearing your own JIMMY BUFFETT Tee, while carrying your 'Funny Feet' tote bag! ALL designed, signed and made available ONLY for this campaign by the film's creator & artist Betsy.(Courtesy of HK Mngt.,Large size only) And by now, you know there'll be a big 'ol 'thank you' credit on the film's Facebook page & complete access to the production blog, detailing the film's progress!

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    THE LUPINO LANE PACKAGE, direct from ENGLAND! One of our GREATEST Music Hall stars, here is a chance to own a bound & print copy of Lupino Lane's ultra rare BOOK, 'How To Become A Comedian', with one still print, and an even harder-to-find DVD of the 'LAMBETH WALK' film starring Lupino Lane (courtesy of the Lupino Lane family & made exclusive for all you Eccentric Dance history buffs!) You will, of course, recieve a 'thanks' on the film's Facebook page and complete access to the production blog, detailing the film's progress.

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    2 backers

    THE 'BOFFO' PACKAGE! You NOT only get the Lupino Lane BOOK, the MUSIC downloads, the POSTER of your choice, ANY three Eccentric Dancer STILLS, (including Betsy's), but holy moly, a JIMMY BUFFETT tee, signed by the artist, Betsy! (lg size only, courtesy of HK Mngt.) AND a TOTE to carry it all in! Ah, but let's NOT forget a big 'ol 'thanks' on the film's Facebook page and complete access to the production blog detailing the film's progress.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    2 backers

    THE ULTRA DELUXE 'WOW' PACKAGE includes the WHOLE enchilada!!! Any three STILLS with the compiled list, a to-die-for 'Dance Eccentric' POSTER color of your choice, along with the black & white rad LOGO POSTER, the ENTIRE Lupino Lane Collection, the 'must have' TOTE bag, MUSIC download AND of course, a JIMMY BUFFETT TEE (lg only) signed by the artist, Betsy. (courtesy of HK Mngt.) How can you forget, a big 'thanks' on the film's Facebook page and complete access to the production blog, detailing the film's progress.

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    1 backer

    THE 'PRICELESS' PREMIUM package! You get it ALL!!! The entire 'DELUXE' (yep, EVERYTHING), the entire Lupino Lane package, AND a JIMMY BUFFETT tee (lg size ) signed by the artist, Betsy. BUT IT GETS BETTER! You can submit any picture of a person or pet, for a one-ofa-kind, ILLUSTRATION by the artist and Filmmaker, Betsy Baytos! Not to mention, a heartfelt 'thanks' on the film's Facebook page and complete access to the production blog detailing the film's progress.

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    0 backers

    FOR AN ANGEL PATRON! How could I thank you enough? The PREMIUM package, which is everything I have, and ALL the STILLS mentioned here, a very special ILLUSTRATION of any person or pet. It goes without saying you will have complete access to the production blog, with updates on the films progress as well as a 'thank you' credit at the end of the film's trailer, site and blog. I would also be honored to screen a rough cut of the film, with Betsy, for your school, business or home gathering. (Travel & accomodations are not included). But MOST of all, you have my eternal gratitude and special thanks!!!

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