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!
- (30 days)