About this project
The Ukes In America reveals legendary British ukulele icons The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain as never before.
For fans who discovered the band via YouTube or gigs, it's a unique opportunity to get to know this eccentric collective of musical misfits offstage.
The Ukes in America is your Access All Areas pass to their first major US tour. Litmus was with them as they strummed and plucked their way across the country on their sellout Oct 2012 East Coast and Apr 2013 West Coast legs.
You can share their experiences as they delight audiences and discover America, and see how their unique blend of genre-busting music and gut-busting English humour goes down across the pond.
For not-yet fans, it's a chance to discover a fascinating, funny group of talented performers who just happen to express themselves through the ukulele.
This film will appeal to the Ukes' new legions of American fans, UOGB fans around the world, ukulele fans in general, and anyone between the ages of 2 and 102 with a pulse, sense of humour and a toe to tap.
The footage is waiting in the edit suite – if we reach our goal you can bring it into your homes.
What You Get & What We Need
In return for your contributions (which Kickstarter will automatically convert from your currency) we're offering a range of rewards, listed on the right, including:
- Your name in the credits
- 4 Strings & The Truth (2006, 25min) digital download – about the band before they hit the big time.
- The Ukes In America DVD -an hour-long observational documentary on the UOGB's first major tour of the US, plus another hour of Extras featuring unique material of the band and their US fans.
- The Ukes Down Under DVD – a double-disc DVD on the band's first tour of Australia, all filmed, crowdfunded and delivered last year.
- Seconds of Fame – your chance to appear on the same DVD as The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain! Send us a video of you playing the ukulele, either solo, in a group, or as a business, and it will be included in the Extras disc of the DVD.
£30,000 will cover the costs of filming, editing, producing and delivering a double-disc DVD to the highest professional standards.
This sum covers all the post-production costs, such as editing, sound mixing, grading, licensing & music rights clearance, graphics, animation, marketing, distribution, DVD design & production.
If we reach our target by July 21, your contribution will have helped ensure this film gets made and you'll get a fantastic value reward.
If we don't, you pay nothing – and get nothing.
I worked as a TV news producer/reporter for ABC, CNN and CNBC in the Far East during the 90s, and for the past 13 years have been making documentaries for major broadcasters. If you're curious about the kind of films I make - or have an existing interest in the Mongolian navy, Chessboxing or outdoor Arctic preschools, take a look at www.litmusfilms.com.
You'll see that I relish finding universal human stories in a variety of apparently obscure subjects (Litmus Films motto: 'singularly diverse') and being the first to spot stories and trends.
I've known about the UOGB for a long time and in 2006 featured the band in 4 Strings & The Truth, the first documentary to note the current ukulele boom, just before the band's long-delayed ascent to international stardom.
In Feb 2012 Litmus Films started filming the band's first World Tour, enjoying exclusive behind-the-scenes access.
I've made a living making TV documentaries for years, seeking the less obvious in backwaters and remote eddies, but broadcasters are increasingly reluctant to stray too far from the mainstream.
Last year I tried crowdfunding for the first time for a film on the UOGB's first tour of Australia. The result here became the UK's all-time #4 crowdfunded documentary, rapturously received by the band's growing following.
Uke legend Jim Beloff called The Ukes Down Under 'Brilliant! A perfect combination of concert footage, backstage repartee, bio material, witty graphics, uke club and fan interaction - a delightful film that not only captures the magic of the UOGB but also is a snapshot of the current uke wave'.
The same team is bringing you The Ukes In America.
Crowdfunding has been much more than an alternative fundraising method – it's been a great opportunity to reach out directly to people I know will love the film, in order to make it happen.
If you support this project, or know people you think might be interested, please help get the word out - whether via the Facebook and Twitter buttons on this page, email, mime, charcoal sketches or semaphore - to help us get to £30,000 by July 21.
Questions? Take a look at the FAQ below, add a comment, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More background on Robert Stern and Litmus Films here.
More on the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain here.
Risks and challenges
The main risks for crowdfunding an observational documentary are a) we won't be able to film what we hope to film b) the subjects withdraw their consent to film or something unexpected halts filming and c) the creator turns out not to be able to deliver what they promised.
As we've already taken the plunge and done the filming before crowdfunding, neither a) nor b) apply. As for c), Litmus Films has a 13-year track record in delivery the highest standard documentaries on budget and on deadline to broadcasters, and last year delivered a highly-acclaimed crowdfunded DVD before the promised deadline.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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