Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 3, 2013.

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a band and a filmmaker from NYC are fighting homophobia through storytelling in the ongoing pursuit of human rights

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WE MADE IT!!! LET'S KEEP GOING!!!

[Announced Monday, 7/1]

This past weekend, we tore past our funding goal and are now less than $6,000 away from our first stretch goal. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who has backed this project and shared it. You have made this possible and are putting a wild dream into action -- and we are forever grateful. To everyone else, we hope you'll check out our description and behind the scenes content below and consider jumping on board with this project that will change the world.

With endless love,

GC & friends

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STRETCH GOAL - $50,000

[Announced Friday, 6/28]

With 5 days to go and less than $4,000 to our initial funding goal - we are humbled and grateful and excited to say... WE THINK WE'RE GONNA GET THERE! And so, to make the most of this incredible momentum, we are proud to announce our stretch goal of $50,000. 

The additional $15,000 will all go to one thing: RELEASING AND DISTRIBUTING THE VIDEO SO THAT IT MAKES REAL IMPACT. We've had a whole bunch of ideas already, including:

  • Partnering with a leading LGBT advocate for a national tour of events featuring speakers, Great Caesar performances, and a screening of Don't Ask Me Why
  • Partnering with a leading equality organization to create an online campaign bringing this video to millions of viewers 
  • Partnering with schools to create rallies and workshops for students across the country
  • and the list goes on...

As you can see, it all relies on the right partnerships and an innovative and creative broader strategy, and so we'll use the $15,000 to gain the expertise of a leading Creative Agency -- folks who can do PR, marketing, design, and business development -- to work with us on the campaign. We're out to disrupt the music industry as a band for social good, and this additional funding will be essential for launching Don't Ask Me Why so that it changes the world.

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See below for behind the scenes updates!

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DON'T ASK ME WHY

Great Caesar, a six-piece chamber rock band from New York City, is partnering with filmmaker Alex K Colby and Ticking Clock Productions to create a bold and ambitious music video. It will feature an interracial couple growing up in the sixties and two same-sex couples today -- two young men on the football team and two young women -- telling stories that are deeply connected and resonant across time, race, gender, and orientation. Music and athletics, two of the most significant contributors to pop culture, will come together to show the power of compassion, standing up for what you believe in, and solidarity with people whose voices have been silenced.

OK, GO AHEAD, ASK US WHY

We believe in love and equality, and we dream of a world in which all people share essential human rights. As we await the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, recent progress -- multiple states' legalization of gay marriage, the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- makes us hopeful that our country is, indeed, bending toward justice. Nevertheless, homophobia still permeates our schools, athletic fields, and living rooms, and so, as artists, we're doing what we do best: telling a story that will stir hearts, start conversations, and open minds. The opportunity to create a project of this magnitude is humbling, not only for the experience we will gain as musicians and filmmakers, but for the timeless piece of art we will bring into this world. We believe that magic happens when people come together in passion and purpose for creative collaboration, and we hope for the opportunity to do that with you.

WHAT'S ALL THE MONEY FOR?

A cast of 9 extraordinary actors (chosen by Homeland's Emmy Award-Winning Casting Director Kimberly Graham) and a crew of 35 industry professionals are coming together in our beautiful hometown of Madison, CT to give generously of their time and resources. Expenses for a shoot of this magnitude include:

+ equipment [~$8,000] - we are renting the Red EPIC, the industry's leading camera behind films like Gatsby, The Hobbit, and Pacific Rim, as well as lights, cranes, dollies, lenses, electric, monitors, etc.

+ craft services [~$6,000] - we're feeding up to 100 people, including extras, three meals a day for a week

+ transportation and lodging [~$6,000] - we have to get folks to and from Madison, and house them somewhere comfortable while they're in town

+ costumes, hair, and makeup [~$4,000] - we need to accurately portray three distinct eras of American history, calling for a uniquely large costume wardrobe; moreover, we need to pull it off at 5:30 AM at the bottom of a hill in the middle of the woods without access to an outlet

+ professional compensation [~$11,000] - our wonderful crew has opted to work, on average, at a 60% discount off their standard professional compensation

This budget already relies heavily on in-kind donations and is as tight as our producer could possibly make it. Every dollar in additional funding will go toward much-needed expenses that will serve to make the project even better, but we won't get ahead of ourselves quite yet.

WHO'S ON THE TEAM?

+ Brendon Ayanbadejo - Super Bowl Champion and leading LGBT advocate [read about him in NY Daily News]

+ Wade Davis, Jr. - gay ex-NFL player and YOU Belong Co-Founder [read his work on Huffington Post]

+ Alex K Colby & Doug McGinness - Co-Directors [check Alex's website and Doug's website]

+ Martha Joan "M.J." Geier & Cohlie Brocato - Producer and Director of Photography, Co-founders of Ticking Clock Productions

+ John-Michael Parker, Adam Glaser, Sean Andrew, Tom Sikes, Mike Farrell, and Stephen Chen - the men of Great Caesar // PLUS their manager, Karen Gil

+ Julie Mollo - Costume Designer who has worked with Katy Perry [visit her website

+ Griffin Rodriguez - Music producer behind Beirut's The Rip Tide (2011) and Great Caesar's new track

+ Taryn Miller-Stevens - Social Impact Strategy [daily life at Matter, Tweets here]

WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR THE VIDEO?

The campaign that will carry this video toward its greatest impact this summer and beyond is the most exciting piece of this puzzle. Due to confidentiality reasons, however, we can't give any details now. We'll only say this: we are already in discussion with leaders of the foremost equality organizations in the country, Hollywood producers, inspiring TV personalities, professional athletes, and expert campaign managers to ensure that millions -- yes, millions -- will see Don't Ask Me Why this summer and be inspired to take action for human rights and equality. We promise to share updates as soon as we are able.

SO, WHAT ARE WE ASKING?

We are asking for you to join our team and play an essential role in the creation of this project -- we are asking for your investment. Whether you were at Great Caesar's first show in 2003 at the Scranton Public Library or you found your way to this Kickstarter through a friend of a friend, we cannot begin to express how much your belief means to us. We are asking you to take a stand for equality and for the power of storytelling through music and video, and we are forever grateful for your support. 

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BEHIND THE SCENES

Our brilliant Producer, MJ, was able to arrange for us to start filming last week -- even before this Kickstarter campaign finished! This, of course, makes the need to meet our goal that much greater -- "Alia Iacta Est", as Great Caesar himself said. And so, we're excited to share with you some behind the scenes photos of our cast and crew on set.

But first, we want to give a quick summary of the video so you know what you're looking at! It begins in the 1960s with young McGill (Meliki), peeking into a white-only church as he follows the angelic voice of young Marie (Kylie). We then see the two running through a field, arms spread wide like they are flying... and suddenly they are teenagers (Brandon and Heather) in love, escaping to their hideaway in the woods. But Marie's older brother disapproves of the relationship, and he comes in with a gang of thugs to attack McGill.

As the music picks up, we jump to today and see a high school football player, Zach (Corey), waking up in class. He makes eyes with a boy across the room, Charles, as the bell rings and they head to the locker room for practice. On Zach's locker, written in tape, is the word "fag". The quarterback of the team shouts and pushes him against his locker before walking out, leaving him crying into his hands. With Charles' comfort, they find the strength to get up and walk out to the field. From there, we see two girls  from the classroom, inspired by Zach and Charles, decide to come out to their parents. They do not approve. As the emotion rises, we flashback to McGill and Marie's story and suddenly cut back to the 1970s, when the two are getting married. The video ends triumphantly, with all the characters running over a hilltop, arms spread wide like they are flying.

OK, SO WHO PLAYS THESE CHARACTERS?

Brandon Sharp and Hannah Sloat ("big McGill" and "big Marie") with their younger counterparts
Brandon Sharp and Hannah Sloat ("big McGill" and "big Marie") with their younger counterparts
Sean Kleier and Corey Camperchioli in the locker room
Sean Kleier and Corey Camperchioli in the locker room
Great Caesar, from left to right: Mike Farrell, Sean Andrew, Stephen Chen, Adam Glaser, Tom Sikes, John-Michael Parker ... also Meliki and Kylie
Great Caesar, from left to right: Mike Farrell, Sean Andrew, Stephen Chen, Adam Glaser, Tom Sikes, John-Michael Parker ... also Meliki and Kylie

WHO IS IN THE CREW?

Co-Directors Alex Colby and Doug McGinness piggy-backing the talent
Co-Directors Alex Colby and Doug McGinness piggy-backing the talent
Kimalisa Medici and Sam Brocato, giving Kylie red hair
Kimalisa Medici and Sam Brocato, giving Kylie red hair
Melanie Merrill (art), Cohlie Brocato (DP), Fil Medina (art), Kate Montgomery (2nd AC), Joe Astarita (Key Grip), Mike DiLorenzo (grip), Sean Ireland (1st AD), Nolan Maloney (1st AC)
Melanie Merrill (art), Cohlie Brocato (DP), Fil Medina (art), Kate Montgomery (2nd AC), Joe Astarita (Key Grip), Mike DiLorenzo (grip), Sean Ireland (1st AD), Nolan Maloney (1st AC)

AND WHERE ARE YOU SHOOTING?

A spot where they could be at ease... in Upstate New York
A spot where they could be at ease... in Upstate New York
Daniel Hand High School, Madison CT
Daniel Hand High School, Madison CT
On stage at Madison's First Congregational Church on the Green -- the big wedding scene!
On stage at Madison's First Congregational Church on the Green -- the big wedding scene!

A FEW WORDS FROM SOME SPECIAL PEOPLE

MORE SOON!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

A film set, especially one of this magnitude, is an enormous challenge for all involved. We may face inclement weather, cast and crew illness, equipment malfunction, or a host of other setbacks. Yet our experienced cast and crew, led by Ticking Clock Productions (http://www.tickingclockproductions.com/), is well-equipped to handle these on the spot. Seriously. M.J. has more contingency plans than most producers would know what to do with.

To ensure this music video achieves our intended impact, we have already consulted with professionals and experienced human rights advocates of various ages, races, and orientations and are confident that the message we are sending is truly inclusive and inspiring. Furthermore, we are building the very best team to lead this campaign once it has launched. At the end of the day, this project is our dream, and we are not people who take our dreams lightly. We will do everything we possibly can (which is a lot) to see it in reality.

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