Let me just slip into something less revealing. There we go.
Bill Crossland here. I'm the guy in the video. So how did we get here, you may be wondering. The truth is, it all started with the dinosaurs. Well not literally. When I was about six years old I got my hands on a VHS copy of Jurassic Park, and it changed my life. Now, that sounds a little dramatic, even silly perhaps, but I had always been a fan of stories -- whether they came from the books my parents read to me or the vivid imagination of my grandfather (a.k.a. Pop Pop), who would often make me a character in his amazing tales. He also introduced me to a wide variety of movies that I might have missed out on otherwise -- everything from Indiana Jones to Orca: The Killer Whale.
Back to the dinosaurs. When I watched that film, it was the first time I truly felt the power of what movies could do. They can excite, terrify, enlighten. But most of all, movies can make you feel.
Coincidentally, my first experience with Jurassic Park happened during the period of my life when I started to feel the effects of my disease (Muscular Dystrophy), which brings us to my short film, Catching Up.
I don't think any kid, disabled or not, grows up dreaming about making a film about disability and sexuality. I was a kid obsessed with fantasy, horror, science fiction, and adventure movies. These are the kinds of stories I planned to tell, and I still have them in me. But during my time studying film at college, I became increasingly aware that most cinematic stories about disabled characters were simply too sentimental, or patronizing, or so focused on politics that the personal, human side of the characters got lost in the shuffle. Basically, they were either nauseating or boring.
That's not to say the filmmakers had bad intentions -- it's just that a majority of these stories are ABOUT the disability. The disease or injury takes center stage and drives the narrative. The focus is usually on a disabled character overcoming some physical limitation or accomplishing some life goal before tragically passing away. But what happens if the person's physical limitations are here to stay and he/she isn't going anywhere?
I knew that I planned on writing more screenplays after graduating, so I decided to try and create a story about a particular kind of character with a disability -- a high school teacher in his 20s who lived and worked in the mainstream -- and explore the professional, emotional, and interpersonal challenges present in his life in a dramatic yet very down to Earth way. No inspirational music swells, just life.
This story developed over the course of a year and eventually became my Epic of the Outsiders, if you will. The short film is based on that script, which I hope you'll get to see as its own movie someday. With your help, it just might happen.
So I've brought you up to speed about how the film was conceived, but a well thought-out idea does not a movie make. Or something. So how did we get to the point where we are prepared to actually make this thing happen?
In the Spring of 2011, I found myself working on a Neil Patrick Harris film with my dear friend and longtime collaborator Mindy Beach -- who is serving as Associate Producer on Catching Up and helped me launch this Kickstarter campaign. Our job was to promote the film and coordinate sneak preview screenings in Philly, and I was also brought on to edit special features for the DVD (e.g. cast interviews, audition footage, Q&A's). This put us in touch with Jill Gray Savarese, Director of Publicity and Promotions for the NPH movie.
Long story short, after the film's run concluded, the conversation continued, friendship blossomed, and professional partnerships were born. Jill Gray Savarese -- an actress, writer, and producer with nearly 20 years of experience in the film industry -- signed on to be our producer.
After that, things started moving pretty quickly. Mindy and I pitched the project to some of our filmmaker friends -- including Ian Gillies, our very skilled and knowledgeable Director of Photography (check out his music videos) and Erik Mayer, another talented guy with a disability, who agreed to act in the film alongside me. And the rest is recent history.
So we have the script. We have the team. We will be casting additional roles this month and plan to shoot the film in late July.
The only thing still missing (besides my car keys) is the rest of the money we need to complete production and get the film into festivals. I've put some of my own money into this project already, but it's not quite enough. In order to make the movie all it can be, we need more funds to use for things like:
- Lights and Other Camera Equipment
- Festival Fees and DVD Screeners
Basically, we need that extra push from people who believe in this concept and want to see something new and different. $3,500 is the minimum amount we need to make it work. More is great, but less means we don't meet our goal, which means we get nothing, which means everyone goes home sobbing. Bummer.
Once we reach our goal, any additional funds we receive will go towards developing the feature film version of Catching Up. So maybe consider checking out that list of rewards I've typed up over there, and for those who decide to contribute -- we owe everything to you. Thank you.
Risks and challenges
Oh, right. I almost forgot the fun stuff: Risks and Challenges.
Every movie production, regardless of scale, has its challenges, setbacks, and occasional bare-knuckle boxing matches. But we assure you we will do everything we can to make the film go smoothly. The people working on this project are part of a close-knit circle of friends and colleagues who will treat the project and each other with respect, care, and professionalism.
Whatever challenges the universe throws at us, we will use a lethal combination of critical thinking and blind faith to defeat them. All while keeping you updated on our progress every step of the way.
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