This is Sunset Dreams.
Sunset Dreams is a caravan park facing its twilight years - a forgotten seaside resort in deepest England. The characters of Sunset Dreams live their lives on holiday. Our sitcom is a series about what those characters do when reality comes to call.
Inspired by character comedies like Nuts In May, The Royle Family, This Is Spinal Tap and Human Remains, Sunset Dreams will serve up hearty British comedy alongside summer holiday nostalgia. And chips. With lots of vinegar.
The story so far
Last year we rented a caravan we found on Gumtree, grabbed some cameras and went and filmed the video above - a mockumentary about two entertainers at a seaside resort. It was entirely improvised and filmed for no budget with a crew of friends.
People seemed to love the ridiculous, childlike characters, the nostalgic charm of the English holiday park, the resort's Neverland-like quality. So we decided to turn it into a full-length sitcom, and spent the next 12 months writing, honing, crafting and polishing a 6 x 30 minute series, episode one of which we're almost ready to film!
Sunset Dreams: the series
We've already introduced Ben and Barbara to the world - they're the two childlike heads of entertainment at Sunset Dreams. They're terrified of the outside world and obsessed with the small-town drama of the park. But one of the main reasons we're raising money is because we have a load of new characters to introduce.
There's Clem (who sleeps on the floor of the office-caravan after his wife chucked him out), Fast Joel (whose dream was to run to Belgium but who bottled it half way through and pitched his tent at the first campsite he could find) and Mim (who could be anywhere from 50 to 150 depending on which of her stories you believe) to name but three.
In the pilot, the characters of Sunset Dreams will learn that the coming summer might be the last the park can afford to open. The various ways our characters deal with that news provides the thrust of the episode. Will Fast Joel leave the park for the wild Flemish B-roads? Will Barbara's charity car boot sale raise any money whatsoever? Will Ben (who has never left the UK) follow through on his threat to start a new life in Hong Kong?
Donate a bit of money... and we'll tell you.
What your money will be used for
We made the 'mini' version of Sunset Dreams for pretty much no money and with a crew of talented friends. But the main reason it turned out looking any good is because we know all the tricks. For example, look closely and you'll notice the bulk of the scenes involve two characters sat in front of a wall. Unfortunately for us, the modern comedy viewer demands more.
If we want new characters, big set piece scenarios and jokes, beautiful locations and a full, sitcom-length episode, we'll need some money. Here are just a few of the things your money will be used for:
- Locations fees - sure, hiring a static home doesn't cost much, but we have at least four or five that appear in our first episode. We'll need them for several days, and we'll also need extra static home or two to serve as a unit base. It's not all caravans either - and each of our other locations come with their associated release fees and transport costs.
- Actors and crew - While Lydia, Matt and Chris won't be taking a dime from this Kickstarter, we'll be paying everyone else who works on Sunset Dreams. We'll get a great deal on hiring some obscenely talented people, but the crew will run to several dozen and it'll soon add up!
- Props, costumes, set dressing materials - Barbara needs a new wig, basically. Episode 1 will also need embroidered uniforms, Sunset Dreams signage, suitcases, tents, a waterproof watch, bunting, outdoor furniture and an entire village fête.
- Post-production - after the shoot, we need to take our footage and put it all together. We'll need to hire (to name just two) an editor, a composer and all their equipment.
- Marketing and distribution - after we've got episode 1 together, the goal is to get the rest of the episodes together, too. To do that we'll need to PR the bejesus out of our beautiful finished product so we can raise even more money and finish series 1!
A final note: £7500 is, in fact, only a part of our production budget. We'll make up the rest ourselves.
But wait - who are you?
We're Lydia Hourihan (Barbara/writer), Mattias Penman (Ben/writer) and Chris Wickett (director/writer). We've been shooting, making and performing in comedy for a few years now. Lydia and Matt previously starred in the 5-star, titanic comedy Death Ship 666 (which the Kickstarter community also generously funded!) and Chris's comedy films have been featured everywhere from IO9 to Laughing Squid.
Together we make up Tremendous Pictures, a production company that thinks good comedy should be like a good soup: hearty, warming and slightly better in winter than it is in summer.
Risks and challenges
The challenges we face are that of any independent film venture - but the biggest specific to us is the British weather. We have a lot of exterior scenes, we're on the coast and it'll probably rain.
But don't worry. We're going to earmark part of the budget as a special 'summertime management fund' and use it to buy the most technologically advanced umbrellas and wellies known to humankind. We're also considering putting a runner in a special 'bird's nest' lookout high above the park. In the event of a lightning storm he or she will be the first to die, but their bravery will save the vast majority of the crew.
If it does rain, that'll all be part of the charm. We have different variations of each scene in the script designed to deal with every meteorological eventuality.
We've filmed at caravan parks twice now, each time without any budget. With a bit of money and support, we're confident we'll be able to pull off a brilliant shoot.
Please consider donating and thanks so much for your support!
Lydia, Matt and Chris x
- (32 days)