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It's They Live meets Dazed & Confused when a DJ discovers a strain of weed that reveals the Purple People, cyborgs who download souls.
It's They Live meets Dazed & Confused when a DJ discovers a strain of weed that reveals the Purple People, cyborgs who download souls.
72 backers pledged $20,868 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Designed to be both an engaging, self-contained short film as well as an enticing proof of concept for a feature film that I wrote, Logan Lee & The Purple Optics is a coming of age, sci-fi, stoner, dramedy that, much like a great DJ, blends sights, sounds, and genres into an intoxicating tale of love, music, and weed. It tells the story of Logan Lee, an Asian-American DJ who finally decides to profess his love to his best friend, only to find out he's too late and she's already seeing somebody else. Unfortunately for her, that somebody isn't exactly who he says he is.  In fact, he's a time traveling cyborg bent on downloading human souls and stealing humanity.  

Concept art for the Purple Person by Huy Vu. (Not final)
Concept art for the Purple Person by Huy Vu. (Not final)

Motivation (Or Why?) 

Our cast is almost entirely Asian-American.  This is no accident.  

Growing up in West Virginia and Orange County California, I watched a lot of movies. I still do. But as I got older I realized that if I wanted to see a hero who looked like me but, like myself, didn't know much kung fu, I had to look pretty hard. Like, really hard. And I don't have great eyes. I always assumed this would change by the time I grew up.  Yet here we are, decades later, and it's still just as difficult.  

So I took it upon myself to make some small change and I wrote a feature.  People liked it. A lot. It got some attention. But I kept hearing the same thing at every turn: "No one's going to make this with an Asian-American lead." 

This broke my heart.  

But, instead of letting myself get defeated, I'm taking it straight to the community to help create a proof of concept that will demonstrate the viability of this idea, this story, and these faces.  

After all, representation matters and I want to help foster a world in which future generations like my son can grow up and see faces like their's doing run of the mill things like, going to parties, falling in love, and dispatching cyborgs.  It's not world peace, but it's better than nothing.  

Inspiration: (Or why like this?)

This project draws inspiration from a variety of sources. On the film side of things, I am a big fan of coming of age and science fiction films. So, like the amateur DJ that I am, I pulled elements from films like They LiveThe Blob, and The Terminator and blended them with elements from films like Better off Dead and Dazed and Confused to create a new spin on something familiar.  

On the music side, I was chiefly influenced by turntablism (scratch DJ culture) and the works of great Asian-American hip-hop artists like Dan the Automator, Kid Koala (Asian-Canadian, but whatever), and DJ Qbert.  By centering the film on an Asian-American DJ, I hope to cast a small light upon the immense influence that Asian-Americans have had on hip-hop from behind a fader. After all, with albums like Wave Twisters, and Deltron 3030, these artists have helped to redefine the hip-hop concept album by interweaving boundary pushing, cinematic sonic experimentation with science fiction storytelling. Don't believe me?  Take a listen:

In fact, you can check out a recut/remixed version of my thesis film At Your Convenience, featuring all new music by Dan the Automator and DJ Qbert as Dr. Octagon, commissioned by Dan the Automator himself. Check it out here.  

These works planted the seeds of this project, but it was nourished by, let's call it "collegiate experimentation" and reaped by my burning desire to make a coming of age movie about a hero who looked like me.   After all, how many more coming of age movies starring straight white men do we need?  

Our Team

Writer/Director - Raymond C. Lai (IMDB)

Raymond is an award-winning writer/director with a passion for comedy, music and science fiction.  For more information, please feel free to check out his credits and reel.  

Producer - Laura Allen (IMDB)

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Laura Allen moved to California to attend Cal Arts and has been working in TV production ever since. Her credits include shows such as Robot Chicken, Camp Lazlo, SuperMansion, and Blark and Son. Laura is currently a line producer at Titmouse, in addition to being co-owner of Lethal Amounts gallery in downtown Los Angeles.

Cinematographer - Adam Habib (IMDB)

Adam is a highly sought after cinematographer of both live-action and computer animation, working on projects that range from low budget independents to big budget blockbusters, some of which you've definitely seen.   

Creature Designer - Huy Vu (IMDB)

Huy is an incredibly talented creature and production designer who has worked with some of the most renowned production companies and directors in the world, including Guillermo Del Toro, Tim Burton, and Wes Anderson.  

Composer - Too amazing to announce yet.

Because this project places such an emphasis on music, we knew getting the right composer was vital, and we believe we did just that.  Unfortunately, we can't quite announce who that is at this time, but trust us when we say he's amazing and that you might want to get your hands on one of those 7" records.  (If you've been paying attention to this page...)  

And lastly...you?

You can join the team by:

  • Contributing - Please check out our nifty incentives, and contribute what you can.  Any amount helps, and we'd be grateful for it.   
  • Sharing - the Kickstarter link with your friends, family, whomever you feel might like to join the team too.  
  • Social-ing - You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram to help boost our signal and spread the word.  

Risks and challenges

Every production faces a torrent of challenges that could hinder its progress and completion. (Just ask Terry Gilliam.) In the past, oftentimes the biggest roadblock for my productions has been a simple lack of resources. As director/producer/ and often times editor/Post-Production supervisor, wearing so many hats can be taxing. Even more so when you're working with little to no budget. This has often resulted in delay after delay, and is exactly why this page and campaign exists.

Beyond a simple budget deficiency though, the most prominent challenge for this production is definitely bringing our Purple Person to life. Being a mix of practical, in camera effects work and post-production magic, the Purple Person is not easy or cheap to bring to life. But thankfully we have a team with both the practical effects and CGI experience to get the job done in a quality manner. And with your help, we'll have the budget to do it a timely one as well.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    The "High" 5

    A social media shout out and thanks to instill an elevated sense of well being.

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    The "Hot" Box

    You will receive an exclusive matchbox bearing the films artwork as well as the social media shout out.

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    Digital Love

    You'll receive a digital download of the completed film, a digital download of the soundtrack, the exclusive matches and the social media shout out.

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    Visual Splendor

    You'll receive a limited edition poster for the film signed by members of the cast and crew, and/or the artist, a digital download of the film to enjoy, and the social media shout out.

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    Just Calling to say "HIgh"

    In a former life I made hip-hop beats and loops for MC"s, and for a limited number of backers I'm willing hop back in the saddle to create custom loops to be utilized as ringtones! Get rid of that stock ringtone and turn ears with a Raymond C. Lai original!

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    Aural Affection

    For this generous contribution you will receive a limited edition 7" record featuring our original music by our awesome composer to show off to your friends, a digital download of the soundtrack, and the social media shout out.

    Includes:
    • 7" record with Original Music from the Film
    • Digital Download of Soundtrack
    • Social Media Greeting
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    The A/V Club

    Join the club! Show your dedication by getting both a 7"record to adorn your ears, and the poster to adorn your wall, plus the previous rewards as well.

    Includes:
    • 7" record with Original Music from the Film
    • Digital Download of Soundtrack
    • Exclusive Autographed Movie Poster
    • Digital Download of Film
    • Exclusive Box of Matches
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    Pledge US$ 420 or more About US$ 420

    Contact Hi.

    For your generous contribution, you will receive an invitation to an advanced screening of the film before anybody else gets to see it, where you'll get to meet and greet members of the cast and/or cre, along with all the items of the A/V Club. (Travel and lodging not included)

    Includes:
    • Exclusive Autographed Movie Poster
    • 7" record with Original Music from the Film
    • Exclusive Box of Matches
    • Digital Download of Soundtrack
    • Digital Download of Film
    • Social Media Greeting
    • Invitation to attend a Cast & Crew Screening
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    The Foot Long

    For this amazing contribution you will receive a one of a kind hand-cut, clear 12" vinyl record featuring the film's original music, along with a digital download of the music and the film. For you collectors out there, this one's for you.

    Includes:
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    Associate Producer

    For this incredibly generous contribution you will receive an Associate Producer credit that will be listed on IMDB, plus all the items of the A/V Club.

    Includes:
    • Social Media Greeting
    • Exclusive Box of Matches
    • 7" record with Original Music from the Film
    • Digital Download of Film
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    Executive Producer

    This is it. This is the big one. For such elevated generosity, you will receive your own Executive Producer title card, the opportunity to look at cuts of the film, plus all the items of the A/V Club

    Includes:
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    • 7" record with Original Music from the Film
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Funding period

- (30 days)