About this project
When a secluded and forgotten mansion becomes open to the public, two friends are the first to enter it in thirty years. Thomas, an adventure video blogger, faces his most anticipated location yet, 'The Levisson Mansion' and invites his estranged childhood friend, Leo, as an attempt to rekindle their once-strong friendship. The unexpected occurs when they discover a decrepit, yet functioning, elevator in the basement that doesn't go to floors above, but down, deep into the unknown. The two let their childhood curiosity take over and flip the switch for 'down'.
Concept/Storyboard Art - 'The Entrance'
Concept/Storyboard Art - 'The Shaft'
There will be another 8 original pieces done for the film, and all 10 will be sent to backers (see rewards section 'Original Storyboard Art' and 'Storyboard Art Prints').
Thomas' adventure will take place at the Levisson Estate in the middle of winter at the base of Mt Ruapehu in the central North Island of New Zealand. The landscape is striking in beauty, covered in pine trees and tussock, but also isolated, exposed to freezing winds, and blanketed in snow.
Thomas has a new lease on life and struggles with the mundane. He's making up for a far less spontaneous and exciting childhood, these days opting to go after the things that stir his curiosity and imagination. His desire for challenging adventure, physical activity and sharing his stories via video blogging only increases with each upload. Thomas is furiously chasing the ultimate adventure.
Leo's gloomy outlook on life gives people the impression of 'damaged goods', often allowing him to say things that are shocking or out of line. People keep Leo at a distance, not expecting much of him, and most of the time, they'd be justified in doing so. Unlike Thomas, Leo is only along because he's curious as to why Thomas invited him after their relation suffered a severe falling out many years before.
All the locals know the name, none have seen the man in decades. Thomas asked around but all he came up with was a kind of 'Levisson Folklore'... just stories of the man, based on rumors. Every avenue came up empty; he even traced their family origins to Iceland, but couldn't find an official connection. Soon enough, Thomas set his eyes on the mansion itself, hoping the answers would be found inside. The missing millionaire was the sole owner the family mining company, which was handed down from his grandfather, the first family immigrant who built the Levisson Mansion in 1921. Police have assured that the search for Mr. Levisson is still ongoing.
With two young boys at home, playtime can get a little immature at best. This outlet has proved to be great for Mikey getting mature about his dream to make memorable movies. He has directed five short films, tutored Film Practice at Massey University, Auckland, and has nearly completed his second fiction novel. Mikey plans to write and make movies for the rest of his life.
Nick has an uncanny ability to binge watch movies or TV without fatigue, though his wife of three years has finally tamed his wild appetites. The most experienced in the team, Nick has been editing and producing TV for 20 years. His wealth of knowledge always comes in handy at the right time and has some great tricks up his sleeves.
In between cleaning up vomit from his kids and making up voices for pet dinosaurs, Tim is the co-founder of a game studio in Kingsland, Auckland. He is the creator of Aethasia, the fictional world of their first game and is co-authoring a series of books to go along with it. Tim has a wild imagination has made great contributions to the story thus far.
"The found footage style is popular these days, in fact, they're a dime a dozen, some producing good results, some not. In many cases, I tend to shy away from them when choosing a movie because too often, the style is distracting to me more than immersing. That's the problem, when it's token instead of an intentional decision to target a specific feeling or effect. In the video I said the goal of this movie is to make the most claustrophobic movie ever made. The decision to shoot found footage stemmed out of this goal, as did the writing of the characters, the choice of cameras and camera positioning, the location of the mansion, the sets, prop design, and script. In this film, the choice to go 'found footage' is as far from token as you can get, and I assure you, it will be unforgettable."
We'd like to thank you for backing us by giving you a reward. They work incrementally, meaning in most cases, you get the reward for the value you decide to pay, as well as the rewards offered below that decided value. See the right-hand column for out list of rewards, some are one-offs, so get in there quick!
Risks and challenges
The real challenge of this project will be elevator set construction. This is hard to describe without giving away spoilers. Let's just say, 'this is no standard elevator', and to top it off, it has to be done on a shoestring budget.
We have a few things going for us to help with this challenge. We already have a location to shoot the majority of the film, free of charge, all thanks to the generosity of a friend with an enormous covered space on their property with high ceilings... so that is a massive advantage for us from the beginning. Also working in our favor is my background in structural steel fabrication, where I made structures, similar in design to what we're planning, on a regular basis. So I have the skills and contacts to build this part of the set without labor costs, and in some cases, without material costs. That's all I can say without spoiling a major aspect of the plot!
Our second biggest challenge comes from this film being in the 'found footage' genre. When principal photography begins, in more cases than any other film of this I've seen, the actors will double their duties as camera operators. Direction from myself will have to be extremely specific and tight to achieve all the goals we have in mind, and importantly, at zero expense to the acting quality. This is nothing new for directors, getting actors to focus on multiple things while still delivering a stellar performance. It is, however, a little novel to be part of the crew as well. Like many things on set, it will be achieved through strong communication and a positive attitude.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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