It all started almost a year ago with a handful of entertainment industry geeks hanging out during smoke breaks. The primary topic of discussion was a wacky independent film they were going to shoot about gaming. Other topics came up, as well. Among them was trying to think of ways to stop cyberbullying. Then someone had an idea. It seemed almost crazy: Do both.
But it couldn't be just any movie. It had to:
- Be entertaining and funny
- Be a film that people wanted to watch on its own merit
- Properly represent internet culture, since we were gamers and geeks
- Confront bullying with a subtle and surgical cinematic finesse on a more subconcious level that did not make the film seem like one giant PSA
It turned out that our idea wasn't as crazy as we thought, because as we pitched it around, people didn't slam the door in our faces right away. In fact, some of them even decided to hop on board. All the while, the ideas for the script became greater in scope and our passion for the project grew exponentially. In the end, we asked our selves a question. Wouldn't it be great if all of the proceeds went to charities that are important to us? Well, here we are.
Once completed, 100% of proceeds after production costs and rewards are going to the following organizations:
- 25% will be donated to the Megan Meier Foundation in the US and the Cybersmile Foundation in the UK in an effort to help educate others about bullying.
- 15% will be donated to Chid's Play, an orgnization which seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world though the kindness and generosity of the video game industry.
- 15% will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
- 10% will be donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
- 10% will be donated to The Help Group. Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive nonprofit of its kind in the United States serving children with special needs related to autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, ADHD, developmental delays, abuse and emotional problems.
- 10% will be donated to United Cerebral Palsy in Austin Stokes' name.
- 10% will be donated to the Lupus Research Institute.
- 5% will be donated to Reading is Fundamental, a program to motivate young children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life.
With established bands, actors, and industry veterans joining the team, we did a lot of number crunching and legwork and came up with how much it would cost to get this movie made. Please help us in reaching that goal, as it could mean far more for the charities that we are supporting.
Pwned! is a feature-length screwball comedy about seven companions who set out on a cross-country road trip to find their childhood friend who suddenly goes missing. Along the way, they visit and encounter strange and interesting fellow gamers they've never met in real life, resulting in one insane situation after the other.
To give you an idea of where we are coming from, some of our influences include Get Him to the Greek, Superbad, American Pie, The Hangover, South Park, Dr. Tran, and anything Guy Ritchie has even remotely sneezed on.
The movie contains everything you would expect:conflict, redemption, love interests, highly unusual situations, action, edgy comedy, social commentary, and most importantly hitchhikers on bath salts.
If you like zany comedies, you will love Pwned, and that's why we are offering the entire completed film to our backers for $15!
Once completed, 25% of every sale of the film will be donated to the Megan Meier Foundation in the US and the Cybersmile Foundation in the UK, as well as other organizations, in an effort to help educate others about cyberbullying.
The film is listed on IMDB, which is a testament to the hard work this team has put into the film before arriving on Kickstarter.
Principle photography will begin Aug 2013 and the film will be shot in California and New Mexico.
We want to stress that the more we raise, the bigger and better this picture will be.
So, without further ado, let us introduce the team.
Peter will be playing the part of Todd, the leader of the group, and he's a bit gullible and a sucker for hitchhikers on bath salts.
Peter is co-creator and star of the Youtube series Meter Maids, as well as numerous shorts by Grumpy Panda Films. Peter is a graduate of USC film school.
Peter’s personality, sense of timing, and brand of comedy are a perfect fit for Pwned!, and we're honored and overjoyed that he believes in the project.
Lejon will be playing T-Bone, an older gamer and a hardcore PvP player. T-bone has had a lot of time on his hands to be playing, and the crew is shocked to find out why when they pick him up in New Mexico.
Lejon is most recognized in the block buster film "Pirates of the Caribbean - 2 (Dead Man's Chest)". He did a cameo in Adam Sandler's "Just Go With It" in 2011. Lejon's recent television credits include NBC 's "Community", "Parenthood" and Fox's "Glee". He also appears on the YouTube webseries "Meter Maids".
We've included a clip of Peter and Lejon for you below courtesy of Grumpy Panda Films.
Nicole will be playing Charly, the gamer girl with a heart. Charly will portray something you don't see every day in movies: a strong gamer girl character. Charly is the balance in the film and keeps the boys in line.
Enthusiastic, fun loving, and yet extremely career minded, Nicole puts all of her energy into every project on which she works. Nicole can be seen on the Discovery Channel, Video Game High School, across the web and in a number of short films. One of those being Freddie Wong's acclaimed Flower Warfare, which garnered over 2 million views in one week.
You visit Nicole at www.nicolewyland.com.
Nina plays Valerie, the cute and quirky gamer girl. Insecure and always in search of love, Nina has a few surprises in store for everyone with the help of Charly.
Nina is an actor, artist and writer, born and raised in Los Angeles, and a graduate from UC Berkeley with her BA in English. She has studied acting in San Francisco (ACT), New York (Atlantic Theater Co) and her hometown (Carter-Thor, Ivana Chubbuck). She heads up the LA branch of PianoFight (SF Weekly-Voted Best Up-and-Coming Theater Co), producing, directing and acting in new work.
The LA Weekly said her starring role of Maya in Theatre of NOTE's Skeleton Stories was "played to bratty perfection". Other theater credits include, Occupy the Heart, Vagina Monologues, Lysistrata, SF and LA Comedy Fests. Film: Spooks, The Occultist, Nothing But Besties.
You can find out more about Nina at ninaharada.com.
Nick plays Ryan, the laid back healer, hence his nickname 'Doc.' He is the definition of cool. But, will he lose that cool?
You hear the stories of directors coming across people in every day life and just knowing that they are right for a part. This was the case with Nick. He embodies everything that is Ryan. We think you will be just as impressed with Nick as we have been.
Josh plays Pheemer. He's a stoner and a philosopher, and he's the only one who knows how to find their friend. Will he lead them to the promise land?
Not only is Josh an actor, he plays a mage in World of Warcraft, lanes middle as Fizz in League of Legends, and can be found feeding the enemy team in FPS and Fighting games across various consoles. Other interests include nerdy fandoms like Dr Who, Sherlock, and Harry Potter. Josh thinks that Rainbow Dash is best pony, he thinks that FF IX is kick ass, and he knows when the narwahl bacons.
Pwned! has won the support of many established bands, and we're not done yet. We are still working on the soundtrack.
Below you will find a list of the bands (not necessarily the songs) that will be featured in the film. Special thanks to Roadrunner Records, Nuclear Blast, Warner Bros., Sony, and ASOT.
In This Moment is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Their debut album, Beautiful Tragedy, was released in 2007. Their second album, titled The Dream was released the following year debuting at No.73 on the Billboard 200. The band's third album, A Star-Crossed Wasteland was released in 2010, and their fourth album titled Blood was released in August 2012 and debuted at No.15.
They have performed on several notable tours and festivals including Ozzfest in 2007 and 2008, Warped Tour in 2009, Download Festival in 2009, Mayhem Festival in 2010, Music as a Weapon V tour in 2011, And the Uproar Festival in 2012. You can visit their official website here.
A Sound of Thunder is a female fronted American heavy metal band from the Washington DC metro area. Fronted by the self-proclaimed Duchess of Dork, Nina Osegueda, this four piece band is known for its varying styles of musical composition, powerful female vocals, and energetic live shows. What happens when Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford have a love child? Find out for yourself at their official website.
Nightwish is a very popular Finnish symphonic metal band from Kitee, Finland. The band was formed in 1996 by lead songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and vocalist Tarja Turunen.
With over a decade of industry experience, Joseph Mullen is a Cinematographer & Gaffer that captures unique and striking views of the world onto the cellulose frame. Classically trained, he has the ability to become metamorphic in a variety of situations generating original imagery and shooting styles. The industry has come to see him as a team leader and a media “McGyver”.
Quite frankly, Joe is our badass. Without him, this wouldn't be happening. He has contributed his professional talents to broadcast television shows, commercials, and independent films, and his productions have received over several national awards and accreditations.
Reaching our second milestone will allow us to utilize the services of Nancy Hayes Casting. Nancy Hayes Casting is a full-service casting agency that works with directors and producers to find talent for their projects in the San Francisco / Bay Area.
Nancy's office was very excited to be helping out with the casting needs of Pwned! They cast for films, commercials, industrials, voiceovers and print. They've worked on such films as Scream, Toy Story, Interview with the Vampire, High Crimes, Mrs. Doubtfire, and more.
James received a call one day from an excited young bloke who was interested in working on Pwned! It turned out to be none other than Luke Kearney.
The name might not be familiar at first, but if you've seen the Batman films, Surrogates, Terminator Salvation, Inception, or Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, you've seen his work as a driver, stuntman, and stunt coordinator.
Luke is an amazing addition to the team and gives us that much more punch. The problem is now we just have to find something to blow up!
With over two decades in the business, Ken was composer for two dozen or so Sierra On-line games, including the Space Quest and King's Quest series. How &@%$ cool is that? We're talking titles like Descent, Star Trek games, Lord of the Rings, RIFT. The list goes on. Whether it be as a producer or a composer, odds are Ken Allen has touched something in your life if you play video games.
Ken will be handling scoring and composition duties for Pwned!
Word to the wise. we wouldn't suggest ever challenging Ken on Star Trek TOS trivia.
A good producer should have enough confidence to make important decisions and defend them, but should not be afraid of drudge work. That's our Hannah. The first and most important skill you need as a producer is organization. They keep director's who are bustling with creativity, but can't find their cars keys, in line.
Producers make sure that films run smoothly in all details, and take responsibility for everything. From organizing creation and handout of flyers for the Kickstarter to contacting locations for shooting, and even keeping James in line (who can't find his car keys), Hannah is already an integral part of the Pwned! team.
Reviewed and evaluated by accredited film professors, Hannah has shot, edited, and produced submissions for "Master Chef" and "The Amazing Race," as well as four documentaries of her own.
Born 1966. Freelance illustrator, cartoonist. Lecturer for storyboard at the Bildkunst Akademie Hamburg for many years. He regularly draws cartoons for Financial Times Germany and various professional journals. For more than 20 years now, he works as a freelance illustrator for advertising agencies, film productions and publishing houses. Since 1996, he develops the so-called Cartonism, his plastic works made of cardboard. The father of three children is married and lives in Hamburg, Germany.
Brian has been in the entertainment industry for seven years, having worked at Sony, Lucas Arts, Electronic Arts, and Trion Worlds. He has worked on such epic titles as Rock Band, The Force Unleashed II, RIFT, The Godfather, Deadspace, as well as the Playstation 3 system.
Known as 'Walsingham,' James has been in the video game industry six years, having worked with the likes of Trion Worlds and Funcom, as well as numerous fansites and a very large sub-reddit.
James is a leader in the truest sense. He has taken guilds, employees, and companies from chaos to working as a team, and has successfully shaped communities from combative war zones into exciting and engaging environments.
James is the keeper of the flame, and is confident in the vision, his artists and the team he has put together. He has a plan, but allows the actors room to create. If he feels they are moving into an unproductive area or that they may not understand what he wants from them, he does not try to tell them what to do. Instead he explains his perspective so that the actors understand him and then sits back. It is almost as if he turns on a colored light that allows the actors to suddenly see things differently and be inspired.
What are we shooting on? Inquiring geeks want to know.
In the past, films were limited by the vast expense of shooting on film, having it processed, etc. That has changed drastically with the advancements in digital video. Pwned! will be shot in HD Digital, the same media and the very same cameras as have been used in productions such as The Hobbit, Hitchcock, The Man with the Iron Fists, Dredd, Prometheus, and countless others. You can see a list of films shot on RED here.
Hitting our first milestone will allow us to shoot on the Red Epic.
If we hit our second milestone, this will be on an Arri Alexa. Films shot on the Alexa include The Avengers, Skyfall, Gangster Squad, 21 Jump Street, and Hugo. The Arri Alexa is an amazing camera and is basically the equivalent of shooting on 35mm film.
Here is an example of the beauty that is the Arri Alexa:
Oh, we've got them. Good ones, too. Some that will make your head spin. But sadly, we can't talk about them. They are cameos. What would be the fun in that? All we can say is that, from gaming and geek icons to actors, we have some doozies lined up. It's ironic, if we could mention the cameos, we'd be financed in a day.
And this is just the beginning...
As we said, the work is far from over just because we're finally on Kickstarter. We're still making those phone calls, sending out offers in emails, and beating on those doors. Nothing is concrete with what is currently being worked on, but we're attempting to get music from the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Harvey Danger, and more. The more we are able to raise, the better the chances we have of making things like this happen.
And it's not just the music. We're even making offers to mainstream stars and celebrities in the geek community. A good example would be Robert Sheehan of the television show Misfits and numerous other films. He is the one person James wants dearly for a part the he feels no one else could portray. Though he hasn't committed yet, an offer has been made to Robert and he has asked to see the script. Hitting our third milestone will make it that much more possible.
Nearly everyone we have wanted to be a part of the team has jumped on board. The doors are still opening. You make this happen, folks, and you might be surprised who we all see walk through!
Yes, we really do have a lot of rewards. We tried to think of everything possible, and we really didn't want to leave anyone out. Do you have an idea? Let us know, we could add more once we reach new tiers.
The film will be entered into most US festivals before being released, so Kickstarters who back the film on DVD or Blu-ray will get a very early head start on acquiring the film.
* Please note that while we will turn in names for the Pwned! IMDB page as soon as the Kickstarter has completed, it may take IMDB up to two to three weeks to process the information and for it to be visible.
** All images and videos used with permission. A very Special Thanks to Century Media, Roadrunner Records, Arri, Grumpy Panda, A Sound of Thunder, and Freddie Wong for allowing the use of their videos.
Risks and challenges
With any film there are risks and challenges. The first challenge is the financing, and that's where you come in, Kickstarters! The next would be a solid team who can effectively create an amazing feature film. We think we're more than halfway there with that, and completing the Kickstarter will secure the second half. The only other challenge we see that we face is location scouting and getting clearance to utilize those locations, but even that, in the end, will come. We have an amazing team including editors, musicians, composers, actors, and the like, and all of us have the passion and drive for this project. The final challenge could be distribution, but even if the film is not picked up by a major studio, we have the means to sell the DVDs and Blu-rays on our own.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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