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$50,120 pledged of $400,000 goal
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By Parker Ellerman
$50,120 pledged of $400,000 goal
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About this project

Update October 15, 2014

Well, unfortunately we did not reach our funding goal. But the end of this kickstarter is not the end of FRIENDLY GHOSTS and definitely not the end of my passion for serious film making. Check out my portfolio here: ParkerEllerman.com

I will post any news regarding FRIENDLY GHOSTS on my dedicated facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TwofriendlyGhosts

Thank you for coming.

Update I:

Friendly Ghosts is "larger" than James Dean.

Here's some inspiration for all you movie lovers:

Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver
The Chosen One
The Chosen One
 
Love Boat and The Shining!
Love Boat and The Shining!
 
Thelma and Louise
Thelma and Louise

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship:

Hello, I am Parker Ellerman, Director and Creator of "Friendly Ghosts", super excited to introduce my project and show how you can participate: There are great rewards for anyone who joins the backer club of Friendly Ghosts. It's easy and starts at $5. Check out the reward descriptions on the right. I'm sure you will find something you'll love. And this is only the beginning. Once we start production next year in Spring 2015, all backers will get exclusive photo material from the set. And even before that during Pre-production in Winter 2014/2015, all backers will be among the first to receive updates regarding locations, new cast members, soundtrack and more! My goal is to premier the movie at Sundance Film Festival 2016. Let the journey begin.

The idea to make this movie was inspired by my award-winning short film "Two Friendly Ghosts". Here James Dean meets Donald Turnupseed – the man whose car killed him – 56 years later. The online release in 2012 sparked enormous feedback and discussions with James Dean fans on YouTube, Facebook and Tumblr.

Across the globe, I received comments from people who were very moved by the short. The question most often asked was, “Are you going to make it into a movie?".  I then knew it was time to approach Miriam Dehne, an experienced screenplay writer, and finally we have the script.

I am going to make this movie within the next twelve months and with your help it can happen.

This is the short from 2012. It was invited by more than 50 Film Festivals and won several awards.

Note: My short, "TWO FRIENDLY GHOSTS" from 2012,  was invited by more than 50 Film Festivals and won several awards. The production team for the feature film will be nearly the same and I promise to keep the artistic and creative integrity of the original form.

 In recent years, there has been a long list of historical biopics. Oliver Stone filmed “Nixon”, Clint Eastwood did "J. Edgar" (Hoover), Scorsese told the life story of Howard Hughes in "Aviator".  Presently Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan are creating a film "LIFE" about the Magnum photographer Dennis Stock’s photo shoot with James Dean.

Some of these biopics were more successful than others. I don’t know what you think, but at times I felt a certain distance to the characters portrayed.  I found myself asking whether or not it was really like that and when a viewer needs to ask themself this, an emotional detachment is already established. I would like to portray James Dean in a seamless way that will make the audience feel as if they really are with him.

 In the short "Two Friendly Ghosts", it is evedient that I took a different approach. Inspired by films like “Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner, this modern day rendition includes the supernatural element which forms the basis of my story.

The archetype of James Dean is just as relevant today as it once used to be. John Lennon said "without James Dean, there would be no Beatles". This statement still holds true with many of our current icons, like Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and the late Kurt Cobain. They all share a quintessential nonchalance and rebellious style indicative of this magnetic legend. The hurt yet contemptuous look in the eyes, the subtle,mocking glances of insecurity mixed with good looking man cockiness and the "I'm insecure as hell but I'll never let you see it" attitude is what has sustained his legacy.

Jimmy Luck, gets by working as real-estate agent in New York. When his father dies, he leaves Jimmy with a chest full of James Dean memorabilia that he had collected as a "Deaner" over the years. Jimmy then tries to sell all of it at a flea market. Here a mysterious stranger appears and offers him $5000 for everything on one condition – Jimmy must drive himself with the stranger and the chest to California. What he doesn’t know is that the stranger is Rolf Wütherich, his ghost.

Rolf Wütherich, is the Porsche mechanic who was with James Dean in the car when it crashed. His mission is to take Jimmy to Cholame, the place where James Dean's crash occurred. Since years, it has been the home of the Ronny Dean Café, which is under the threat of demolition. This cafe is a magical place where the spirits of many famous dead people meet and is run by an old man who claims to be the brother of James Dean. White Mouse, a Native American regular at the cafe, saw in a prophecy that Jimmy Luck is the chosen one who can save this place. As Jimmy Luck travels together with Rolf and White Mouse accross the country a subtle yet obvious transcendence into the true character of James Dean occurs. 

Click here to download a script excerpt
Click here to download a script excerpt

 I have several exceptional actors in mind for the film, and most of them are big Hollywood names. Realistically, the budget does not allow for this, yet from time to time, established Hollywood actors will step away from blockbuster films and fees to engage in more meaningful roles. The artistic integrity and legendary nature of James Dean could very well inspire famous actors to partake. Directors like Woody Allen and Lars van Trier have proved this to be true in the past. 

I can not, presently, compare myself to these highly acclaimed film-makers, however, the innovative and compelling nature of the story and it's characters, gives us great confidence to pursue the desired cast. This Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, once successfully launched, will initiate contacting the actors. I am quite certain this film will attract the right players as it's nature demands this. It is all very exciting and we are in a state of anticipation.

 It is my dream to make a truly independent movie from start to finish.

I had several talks with studios that were interested, and it became quickly evident that I would loose creative control if I went with them. They wanted a large say in the casting, many requests for changes to the screenplay, restrictions on the choice of locations and lastly they wanted the right to decide the final cut. In other words, the studio would reserve the right to edit the film as they liked, but in order to give you the movie you expect I must retain my creative integrity and license. And as you’ve already seen in the short film above, Jimmy himself warned me about the studios, so I’ve also given my word to him;)

 - My short film has already shown that our production is of the highest standard

- The crew who shot the short film is virtually identical to the crew I would use to shoot the feature film

- We have a fantastic story that will guarantee you an unforgettable movie experience

- We have the opportunity to create a genre movie that will last

- We have lots of great rewards for every backer as a big thank you. Just take a look at the column on the right

 Be part of the project and simply click on the green button above to the right of the video. Kickstarter will ask you for your pledge, which reward you want and how you want to sign up. Signing up is easy, you can even do it through Facebook.

Risks and challenges

Distribution

Low budget independent films face the challenge of distribution. Presently we do not have a distributor, however the upside to this is that we can make the film exactly as we like. We are confident that the making of this film will cause great interest and distribution will ensue.

Weather

The schedule for shooting has been formatted for optimal weather conditions, ie. we will not shoot in the winter in New York City.

Cast and Crew

Insurance and contingency plans will ensure all employed participants arrive and perform on scheduled dates.

Reward Fulfillment

T-shirts, DVDs, posters and other memorabilia will add to costs. The aforementioned will be handled by a professional fulfillment company and all products will be sent out in an efficient manner considerably before the film's release.

Additional Legal Information

- Rewards to visit set are subject to scheduling and will be confirmed as far in advance as possible. To visit the set you must be over 18 or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (who will count as your plus one).
- Only US citizens or those with a current US working visa can pledge rewards
-$3,500 as an extra
-$10,000 as a cast member
Must be 18 years of age and NOT be a member of SAG/AFTRA
- Appearing in film, name in credits, mention in production etc. requires a mandatory release form
- all planned shooting locations are subject to change

This Kick-starter campaign is subject to Kick-starter rules and regulations, Movie Guild rules and applicable laws, if there are any conflicts a substitute reward will be offered.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Welcome to the club. You'll get some fancy hi-res Wallpapers and photos directly from the set. You will also receive our backers only updates with behind the scenes info throughout this Kickstarter campaign and once we start production until the final cut.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Scan of original working script: You'll get a digital copy of the original script once the movie is officially released. Not just the pdf of the script but we'll scan the working copy of director Parker Ellerman or one of the cast members of your choice and send you this piece as a high res pdf. Plus all of the above.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Download the final cut:
    Right after the theatrical premiere or once the film has been distributed we'll send you a digital version/download link of the final cut of the movie. Plus all of the above.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    You send your best James Dean look alike photo: stunning, funny or both. We'll integrate into the set and there is great chance that you will see your photo in the movie – no guarantee though. We’ll shoot some extra shots in the movie and might include your photo with a special thank you note at the end of the movie. It’ll be a lot of fun and you’ll receive all of the above. Photos digital format only and named following instructions we'll send you.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Movie Poster: You'll get all of the above, plus a cool Movie Poster. Check out the poster we did for the short TWO FRIENDLY GHOSTS and you’ll get an idea. This poster will never be for sale and will only be available to Kickstarter contributors.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    The Friendly Ghosts T-Shirt: Watch the movie in style with our fancy Friendly Ghosts T-Shirt in your size. We’ll design one that will last. This shirt will never be for sale and will only be available to Kickstarter contributors. Plus you’ll receive all of the above excl. Movie Poster.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Limited edition DVD: Right after the theatrical premiere or once the film has been distributed we'll send you a DVD with special bonus material not included in the digital download. You'll get all of the above, excl. Movie Poster and T-Shirt.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    "I Want It All" Combo – T-Shirt, DVD and Movie-Poster: Watch the movie in style, wearing our fancy T-Shirt in your size. You'll also get all of the above, including the DVD and the Movie Poster.

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    Pledge $135 or more About $135

    "I Want It All" Combo – plus your name in the credits: Your full name will appear including a special thank you note at the end of the movie. Plus: all of the above.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Send us a prop and we will include it in the movie set. Your prop will be mentioned in the credits. You'll also get all of the above. Except your full name in the credits. We’ll do our best to make your watering can, china figurine or umbrella shine!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Associate Producer credit at the end of the movie: Your name as an Associate Producer will appear at the end of the movie. Plus all of the above, excl. your name in the credits. You can still send us a prop though.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Set visit for two: Join our production team for one day. You can join us at the NYC set or the California set. However you'll need to provide for your travel and accommodation expenses and of course, you need to be available Spring/Summer 2015. We'll let you know well in advance where and when shooting starts. Plus all of the above, excl. Associate Producer credit, excl. your name in the credits.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Executive Producer credit at the beginning of the movie including set visit for two. This producer status is even more exclusive and comes along with an invitation to join our production team for one day. You can join us at the NYC set or the California set. However you'll need to provide for your travel and accommodation expenses and of course, you need to be available Spring/Summer 2015. We'll let you know well in advance where and when shooting starts. Plus all of the above, Associate Producer credit and name in the credits excluded though.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    "Original James Dean Outfit" from the set: The original James Dean outfit the ghost of James Dean will wear in the movie: Don't nail us on this one but it probably will be: white shirt, red jacket, Levis Jeans, Persol Eyewear Sunglasses. No and not the boots, sorry. Since shooting is a sweaty job, we'll have 5 sets of this on the shoot. We'll make sure all 5 of them will see the action. You can specify if you prefer the outfit dry cleaned or with some desert dust on it and with that original smell of chain smoking. Including all of the above, excl. Set Visit, Associate Producer Credit, Executive Producer Credit.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    "Original Jimmy Luck Outfit" from the set. We are developing the styling that would best match the James Dean style translated in today's diverse, creative, limitless fashion landscape. It will be a set of a jacket, shirt, pants and sunglasses. What would James Dean wear if he lived today? Since shooting is a sweaty job, we'll have 5 sets of this on the shoot. We'll make sure all 5 of them will see the action. You can specify if you prefer the outfit dry cleaned or with some desert dust on it and with that original smell of chain smoking. Including all of the above, excl. Set Visit, Associate Producer Credit, Executive Producer Credit.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    "Original Porcelaine Outfit" from the set: We are developing the styling that would best match the 22 year old extroverted beauty. Since shooting is a sweaty job, we'll have 5 sets of this on the shoot. We'll make sure all 5 of them will see the action. You specify if you prefer it dry cleaned or with some desert dust on it and with that original smell of chain smoking. Including all of the above, excl. Set Visit, Associate Producer Credit, Executive Producer Credit.

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    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    Be an Extra! We have exciting scenes in New York City, on the road, and California. Spend the day on our set an be part of the movie. Parker Ellerman will direct you and you will meet the actors and crew working that day. We'd like to shoot in Spring/Summer 2015. We can not guarantee your scene will make it through the final cut. We will try our best. However you will receive a personal copy of your footage and all of the above, excluding: "Original Jimmy Luck Outfit from the set", "Original James Dean Outfit from the set", Executive Producer and Associate Producer credits. You will have to provide your own travel and accommodation to the set.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Be a cast member and become a legend! We write a special scene for you! Play side by side with Jimmy and all the other legends. You will receive all of the above, excluding: "Original Jimmy Luck Outfit", "Original James Dean Outfit from the set", "Original Porcelaine Outfit from the set", Executive Producer and Associate Producer credits. And of course you are not an extra anymore, so you'll get to meet shoot and hang with director and all members of the cast working that day. We'd like to shoot in Spring/Summer 2015. You will have to provide your own travel and accommodation to the set.

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Funding period

- (30 days)