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An animated movie telling the story of Exodus, narrated by recordings of real Passover Seders.
An animated movie telling the story of Exodus, narrated by recordings of real Passover Seders.
67 backers pledged $4,146 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Seder Masochism: Phase I project video thumbnail
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Seder Masochism: an animated movie telling the story of Exodus, narrated by recordings of real Passover Seders. Its production would depend on an experiment conducted in its first phase: Can I record high quality audio of real Passover Seders? Can I find enough Seder participants willing to be part of the project? Will the results be entertaining? Can I edit them to make a coherent, pointed and entertaining story?

I'm guessing the answer is yes, but there's only way to find out!

The Experiment: I purchase eight (8) good quality 24-bit/48kHz WAV-capable digital audio recorders and eight (8) good quality lavalier microphones. Then I attend as many Passover Seders as I can this Spring. I set every participant up with their own mic and recorder, and record continuously throughout the evening. This should yield high quality voice recordings of the entire conversation, which I can synch up and edit afterward.

Why: Getting useable, high quality audio recordings of conversations in natural settings is extremely difficult if not impossible, which is why most conversations are either recorded in a studio or simply pre-scripted and acted out in a controlled setting. But because portable digital recorders are getting sufficiently cheap and good, I can try this new technique. Participants may feel self-conscious at first, but the traditional Passover wine and arguing should soon distract them.

I want real, authentic, unscripted recordings of real Passover kibitzing - as many different kinds of Seders as possible. Formal Seders. Irreverent Seders. Hippy Seders. All-American Seders. Recent Immigrant Seders. Maybe even a Seder recited in Hebrew, which I don't understand but might sound cool.

I plan to record all Seders in the New York area, April 6-14, 2012. In addition to monetary backers, I am seeking invitations to Seders which would like to be part of this project! Hopefully with no more than 8 guests.

My budget is $200 per digital recorder and $200 per mic. If I find recorders I like that cost less, I'll put the difference toward better mics, and vice-versa. My initial estimate is based on these:

As you can see, I'm shooting for the low end of the high-enough quality spectrum. If I raise money beyond my goal, I'll get higher quality equipment. My total of $3,600 includes extra to cover Kickstarter's cut and other transaction costs.

Caveat: I'm not known for being particularly reverent toward religion. But I am technically Jewish, and will use my "Jew Card" to defend myself in ways I could not when attacked for Sita Sings the Blues. Seder Masochism will be at least as unorthodox as that film.

Rewards: Phase I of Seder Masochism is not a finished film, it's an experiment that, if successful, will become a film. Therefore I can't offer tokens of a finished film as rewards (I'll do that in Phase II). When I'm all done with the production, I won't need the recorders any more, so I can give those to backers - I'll sign them if you want! But if the experiment is successful, I won't be able to let go of the recorders until the whole movie is finished; too often productions require last-minute re-records and unforeseen patches. So you might have to wait a few years.

What I can offer in the short term is merch I already have from existing projects: Sita Sings the Blues DVDs and Mimi & Eunice drawings. If you can think of other reasonable rewards that would incentivize you, I'm open to suggestions!

Like everything I do, this will be Free Culture and released under a genuinely Free license or non-license equivalent. LET MY PEOPLE GO!

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Good Karma

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    Sita Sings the Blues DVD (same price as at the Merch Empire, but this will be earmarked for Seder Masochism)

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    Your name (if you choose) somewhere in credits of film, should film actually get made

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    "NinaVision" DVD - my pre-Sita animated shorts

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    Signed & Numbered Artist's Edition of Sita Sings the Blues DVD (same price as at the Merch Empire, but this will be earmarked for Seder Masochism)

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Custom sketch of Mimi & Eunice (Not a full 3-panel comic, just a 1-panel drawing)

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Invitation to dinner hosted by me, during which I will record everyone to give the system a test run. Maybe something cool will come out of that! Maybe even cooler than the Seders, who knows. Tentative date: Saturday November 5, but I'm flexible.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Credit of your choice ("Executive Producer"? "Benefactor"? "Mensch"?) in large letters in film, should film actually get made

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Funding period

- (30 days)