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Three astronauts use an experimental warp drive on a mission to our solar system’s closest star with repercussions they never imagined. Read more

Washington, DC Shorts
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This project was successfully funded on April 26, 2014.

Three astronauts use an experimental warp drive on a mission to our solar system’s closest star with repercussions they never imagined.

Washington, DC Shorts
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John Muth
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John Muth

First created  |  12 backed

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About this project

Thanks for checking out the campaign for Theoxenia. We’re excited to show you our plans and have you aboard as not only a financial contributor, but a partner throughout the film’s life.

Theoxenia is a science fiction story about three astronauts sent on a mission to our solar system’s nearest star using an experimental faster than light engine called the "Ultradrive." Once they reach the star - Alpha Centauri A—it’s actually a twin-star system, well, technically there’s three… Anyway, the one they arrive at is A.—they discover that it has just begun exhibiting the signs of going Supernova. Realizing there’s no reason to seek out any nearby habitable planets—since the area is about to be obliterated—the astronauts use the Ultradrive to go home… only to discover that coming out of warp speed is what caused the star to go Supernova in the first place. So, now they realize they can’t go home, for fear of causing the same in Earth's closest star—the sun.

That seems like a lot for a short film. and that’s not even the entire story!

3D model of the ship, Theoxenia
3D model of the ship, Theoxenia

Theoxenia is based on a public domain short story called “Time Fuze”, written in 1953 by Randall Garrett (read the original story here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/32347/32347-h/32347-h.htm - though it may spoil certain parts of the movie). Theoxenia is a story that cautions us on mankind’s over-zealousness in acting before thinking, and not considering how our actions effect everything around us.

We’re using Kickstarter for this project because even though we’re using every possible skill set and frugal way of creating this short, there are just some costs beyond our reach. Namely this comes in paying for the production insurance and renting camera equipment.

We’ve budgeted out most things, and are using what we have available to us - including our stage, which is being generously donated by the people in our community. But, using other people’s property, especially commercial property; we and the owners need to be protected. Along with any equipment we rent, the production insurance is needed to cover the costs in case anything should go wrong (knock on wood), or gets destroyed (knock on my own head).

The equipment we’ll be renting will be a jib arm and stand, for some (hopefully) great moving shots, cinema lenses and camera (we love our DSLRs, but part of the plan for this movie is to make something that feels more cinematic, and that takes a different sensor.). Lastly, the rest of the budget is aimed at building the spaceship set that is (almost) the most important part of our film. Without a great looking set, what’s even the point?

The final portion of the funds we raise will go to, well, the taxes, fees, and creation of the physical media needed to fulfill your rewards. We’ve purposely kept these things to a minimum as there have been so many projects that have offered tons of physical stuff that it becomes impossible—and eventually costing more money than was raised—to accomplish. We want you to be happy, which makes us happy. But, we also have to understand that this whole endeavor is to create a work of art, and not a bunch of collateral stuff.

We look forward to sharing with you the tips and tricks we’ll be using to make Theoxenia happen, and we appreciate your time, money, and the support you’ve shown us just by clicking onto our project.

CAST & CREW:

John Muth (Writer/Director): John has worked as a freelance graphic and web designer since 2002. He has done projects for companies large and small, but has focused on helping to develop small-businesses and supporting individual artists and musicians. After a lifetime of loving movies, and attending the film school of DVD Special Features; in 2010, he moved to Los Angeles, and immediately set to work on any project that would take him - working in various roles from PA to grip, and finding most work as an Assistant Director. He’s worked on music videos, feature films, shorts, and commercials.

In 2012, he moved to Washington, D.C., and joined a local Filmmakers’ group for networking and just to keep busy. That led to the shooting of 3 short films and numerous other projects. His future goal is to film his first feature.

View his videos: http://vimeo.com/johnmuth

Erik Murphy (Director of Photography): Erik grew up in Charlotte, NC and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. Afterwards, he traveled the Great Plains documenting storm chasers as they hunted down tornadoes. The next adventure for him was a solo bicycle journey across America.

He got his first break in the film industry working in the visual effects department on The Patriot. Later, he was on the crew of the feature films Shallow Hal and Talladega Nights. Erik has also worked hundreds of national commercial spots, and dozens of feature films and television shows.

Currently, Erik is based out of Charlotte, NC, as a freelance director of photography. Recent documentary projects had him traveling around the globe, from deep into the Amazon region of Brazil, numerous parts of Africa, Mongolia, India, and Haiti to name a few. As a director of photography, Erik has shot eight feature films, numerous short films, music videos, documentaries and television shows.

View his reel: http://www.yellowarrowfilm.com

Deborah Steinberg (Producer): Deborah has been an extra in films, and was the star of some comedic videos her friends shot in college. Beyond that, she has Masters degrees in Education and Landscape Architecture, and owned and operated a small business, making and selling gourmet marshmallows. She has assisted and produced three of John Muth’s previous short films.

Our cast hasn't been cast yet. That'll be happening during the campaign, so you'll be the first to know who will be playing our three lead (and only) characters.

PERKS:

Our campaign has numerous levels and perks for the generous contributions you make. They key thing we wanted to do was flip the idea around on having you, the people that helped us get the movie made, in our film. Anyone that contributes even a dollar, has the opportunity to send in an audio clip for use during the final climactic moments of the movie. Without giving anything away, we would like to advise you that it's a moment of terror, so screams or horrifying sounds are preferable.

Another opportunity is for two contributors at the $5 level to send in a photo - tasteful and focusing on faces - to be featured in the film. Our three astronauts are on what is planned to be a six-month mission, so it only makes sense they'd have photos of their loved ones. A key moment in the film also focuses on one photo in particular. The spouse of one of the characters, as he wishes to be back with her. (Or him, who knows.) So, you'll be a secondary actor in our film, with proper credit and everything.

For anyone contributing $10 or more, there are numerous items we've selected to help bring the experience of making this movie directly to your doorstep. From the very same mission patches our leads will be wearing, space image prints, and photo books full of behind the scenes (BTS) information that won't be covered in any video updates.

Patches - though not the ones given as perks.
Patches - though not the ones given as perks.

The other perk at this level and above, will be getting your name in the credits. As mentioned to the right, we respect the projects that give producer credits for people giving cash to their films, but we think of that as a specific role in a movie environment, and don't feel this is the right forum for that. So, instead everyone will be listed as "Budget Donations", as our way of thanking everyone who has helped to make this project happen.

There may be cuts of the film that will run with truncated credits, in which all contributors’ names might not be shown. Usually this would be in the event of a screening at a film festival or another event where the shorter the final product, the better. But when Theoxenia is available online, everyone will be have their name on-screen.

Lastly, just to point out the highest donation level. We wanted to have something that would complete the circle of our cheapest level allowing anyone in the movie. Most campaigns, at the lowest contribution levels, offer a written thank you note. We decided that would be worth $1,000 to us. Not really because we hate writing notes, but because we thought we'd write them on a full size one-sheet movies poster for Theoxenia. These are going to be rare items, and only printed in the case we get into film festivals and for you amazing few people. 

THANK YOU!

Once again, we just want to thank you for looking, contributing, and sharing this campaign with your friends and family. Everyone involved with this project loves movies, and loves making them. But, Theoxenia won't be possible without your support.

Kickstarter is a great resource for allowing people to follow their dreams and we need to raise—if not exceed—all of our goal, to get any of the money! And that comes down to you. Please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or maybe want to help in some other way.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Directing from a spaceship.
Directing from a spaceship.

Risks and challenges

With any film project there’s always the looming shadow of failure and everything falling apart. I’ve even been on some of those sets. With Theoxenia, admittedly, it’s an ambitious endeavor for a writer/director whose short films have been smaller and used the aesthetic of hand-held and "use what you got" filmmaking.

The real challenge here is construction of the set. This is the first time I have created a fully original location from scratch for one of my films, and it scares the bejeezus out of me. I have a number of crew members on-board who have experience with theater and stage production, so that eases the fear. The process we’re using to construct it is one that seems viable and I believe will be successful, but could turn disastrous and leave us up the cosmic creek without a rocket ship.

We're using cardboard for our set construction. Large, flat sheets of it that we will mold and score to fit our needs. I've spent time working with the material as a movie theater standee installer and I've seen how malleable it is. I've also seen it used in other film projects where I would have never guessed the base material was the same thing cats love to sleep in.

The second challenge is the special effects. So far my foray into this has been making black liquid run out from under an envelope, creating digital water for a shower, and pulling a chair out from a table without it seeming like anyone’s doing it. Theoxenia is asking for A LOT more than that. There’s going to be a combination of practical and digital effects used in the film, and that’s almost as scary to me as creating our set. We have a 3D printer working on creating a tactile model of our ship, and a couple of digital artists creating our space scenery. (Luckily, I'm not too bad with the Photoshop, either.)

With my filmmakers' heart, I know we can overcome any and all of these challenges. I love taking risks and learning new skills. I've already dived deep into After Effects and 3D modeling software. I’ve drawn schematics of our sets to within an inch of their life and even built test walls to see how viable they are. (They were okay…) Not so I can do all the work myself, but so I have an understanding of what I'm asking others to do for/with me.

I can’t guarantee the best movie ever made, but the it will get done no matter what. And if we need to accept certain compromises, we’ll rely on our great story and fantastic actors to engage you, leaving all the other stuff behind.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    5 backers

    Most campaigns offer you a role for thousands of dollars, and then only let a select few participate. We want to flip that and offer EVERY CONTRIBUTOR (at this and every level above) the opportunity to be in our movie. So, no matter how much you give, we take a voice sample - that you provide, of any quality, up to 15 seconds long - and place it in the film, during a climactic moment at the end of the film... that might be a spoiler.

    Other than that, you’ve got our undying gratitude in helping us reach the goal. Best part, you get named in the credits.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    2 backers All gone!

    Oh, you want to be on camera? At this level, two lucky contributors get to submit a photograph of themselves that will be in the movie, during an important scene. Fully credited of course. You can also send in an audio clip, and have your face forever in a movie. This reward is limited - first come, first served. But don't let that stop you from also contributing at another additional level if you have more to give. (All photos need to be clear, tasteful, and you'll need to sign a release.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    14 backers

    We understand the campaigns that list their contributors as “producers” on their films, but to be honest, we feel that’s a specific title for a certain job on a film. (And they say no one respects producers… or is that writers?) But, we want to credit every single person that we can. So, at this level, and up, you’ll get your name in the credits as “Angel Donations”.
    We want to acknowledge your passion in helping us, and separate you from the rest of the crowd! As an added bonus, you’ll also be getting a download/preview of the movie before anyone else (outside of the cast/crew). Not even our moms will see it before you—unless they contribute. And don't forget, you can also send in an audio clip, and get in the credits twice!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    20 backers Limited (80 left of 100)

    Our movie takes place in space, and what’s one thing you have to have if you’re on a mission in space? PATCHES!! We’re going to have two custom mission patches made for the outfits of our characters, and you’ll get one. We’ll choose which one. But they’re both awesome. Also, you get the movie and remember to send us your audio clip!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    8 backers Limited (42 left of 50)

    Y’know, mathematically speaking, what’s better than one patch? I bet you’re thinking, “two patches!” And you’d technically be correct, but even better than that, you’ll get FOUR of them (two of each.) The movie. Audio clips too! Send them to us.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $80 or more

    6 backers Limited (19 left of 25)

    So, we’re in space for this movie. Well, not really, but we’ll do our best to convince you we are. And that means digital artwork. For our lovely contributors at this level, we’ll send you one of our digital space shots (which WILL be magnificent!) in both a hi-rez digital download and as an 8x10 glossy print.
    The quality should be so good, you’ll confuse it with a Hubble Telescope image, which it might be kind of inspired by - but will be completely original and created by our fantastic artists. You’ll also receive the 2 sets of patches, and the movie. You know I have to mention the audio clips, too. Send them in!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $160 or more

    1 backer Limited (24 left of 25)

    What else do we have to give away that’s relevant to our project? How about a digital download of our original soundtrack. You'll also receive the patches, the print, and the movie. Don't forget, we need your screams! Audio clips.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $320 or more

    0 backers Limited (15 left of 15)

    We're out of stuff to give… We’ve already let you in the movie (seriously, audio clips; we want them!), given you the movie, PATCHES, what else is there… What if we send you an exclusive book created to give you a behind the scenes peek at the creation of this movie? We plan to have BTS videos and we'll share them with everyone, but this will feature sketches, storyboards, ideas that possibly didn’t make it into the cut, portions of the script, cast and crews' thoughts - with accompanying photos of how it was realized. Yeah, you get everything at the previous levels too.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers Limited (8 left of 8)

    Seriously, more? The only thing I can add is more book. This book will incorporate full-page, beautifully rendered digital and original art. Photos of the set, not covered up with words. It’ll just be a feast for the eyes - with the exception of any image with the director in it (we promise to limit those.) And everything from the previous level. Which is pretty much everything in the universe. (...please, send us the audio clips!)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    In order to flip this whole thing around properly, let’s see how you feel about paying the most for a simple, signed thank you from the filmmakers (cast/crew). Most would offer you this highly valuable gift at the bottom of their contribution scale, but we want to make it mean something. Everyone’s already named in the movie. So, we’ll print the "thank yous” on a one of a kind one sheet poster. (27”x40”- Design to be determined.) And you know what, at this level, we don't even mind if you don't send in an audio clip... You've already made our day. (But, you still can, if you want.)

    **If there's any international contributors at this level, contact us to figure out a possible, fair shipping fee.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States

Funding period

- (25 days)