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Hustle is a video game-themed series about two WOC chasing creative dreams while fighting the supervillain of unequal opportunity.
Hustle is a video game-themed series about two WOC chasing creative dreams while fighting the supervillain of unequal opportunity.
259 backers pledged $13,441 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$13,441

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**HUSTLE HAS REACHED ITS GOAL and is now raising a STRETCH GOAL of $13,890 to secure a SICK, AMAZING, and FASTER EDITOR**

This will ensure you guys a better, slicker product, sooner.

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Hey, What's Hustle About?

Hustle is an comedic original series about two WOC best friends, Nina and Paige, chasing creative goals while fighting the supervillains of racism and unequal opportunity. Using old school video game graphics, it shows the difficulties women of color face when trying to chase their goals. It's like Scott Pilgrim meets freelance, and is so woke it will give you insomnia. 

Both Nina and Paige go through hyper-surreal, video game-style obstacles to chase their goals. For example, if Nina is fighting for the last chair in a coffee shop, it’s not just a race to get the last chair - it’s a Mortal Kombat fight to the death where she loses life points, her opponent fights back and eventually - “Finish her!” - the opponent, a white guy holding a satchel and a Macbook (who is probably named Jake), wins. It heightens a WOC’s wins and losses in a white-male-dominated city.

 

Paige v Catcaller
Paige v Catcaller

The pilot version of Hustle is also an Official Selection at the 2016 New York Television Festival! So we've got ACCOLADES, folks.

Hey, Why Does This Matter?

My project matters because of the (sadly) tried and true "I don't see anyone that looks like me in media" reason and because so many comedies featuring people my age are slacker comedies. Most people I know don’t live like slackers, and most POC I know aren’t even allowed to live like slackers without being judged and stereotyped. A lot of my friends live job to job to afford living in New York, and keep going if they know it’s at least one stepping stone closer to what they want to do. So the idea of Hustle is to play up this struggle with video game-style sequences and editing like in the movie Scott Pilgrim, because sometimes the world is filled with White-man equivalents of Bowser (like Dr. Robotnik), and you’re just trying to level up. 

Hustle has the appeal of Broad City and Scott Pilgrim, and can also speak to young people of color, like myself and a lot of my friends.

Hey, How Do You Plan To Do This?

I've got a cast and crew of dedicated friends and roommates, many of them POC, willing to give their talents to this project. They GET IT and all of them have experience in film and comedy, with whopping credits at MTV, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Time Inc., the International Black Women's Film Festival, Comedy Central, Bitch Magazine, Reductress, and Funny or Die. Oh, and one of our production assistants is a psychiatry resident at Weill Cornell Medical College. (This group is smart!)

Visual effects-wise, I've called in some favors and got some awesome graphic artists to help out. They are really going to shape Hustle into a fun, fast-paced series that will make you scream their names into the Heavens. See?

Hey, Why Am I Here?

Great question! Well to pull all this off, I need YOU. Yes, I'm talking to YOU!

Backers are the only thing that can make this project work, and anything you can pledge to Hustle would be eternally appreciated by me and by the Gods of Representation (plural because I'm Hindu). There are a lot of awesome things in motion for this series (like that OFFICIAL SELECTION Award from the New York Television Festival) and we're excited for you to help us make this even bigger. 

So anything you can pledge to Hustle would be immensely appreciated and, if you're so inspired, anyone you can share it with would drastically increase the chances of making our goal.

Thanks for reading! And check out our rewards from AMAZING WOMEN ARTISTS while you're here!

Love,

Rekha + the Hustle Team

P.S. What do those custom animal painting rewards look like? This.

 

 

Risks and challenges

After we secure funding, the biggest risk with Hustle is the graphics! Graphics are over 50% of our budget, and that's WITH calling in a ton of favors. So if we go into overtime with graphics, that could be an issue. However, I am an insanely organized and resourceful person. I once had to crack into my boss's laptop to complete a file transfer, and using only information from his bare-bones office, guessed his password in one try. And it was my *first day on the job*, y'all. So I'm basically Veronica Mars, and will be approaching this series with ten billion times the problem-solving intensity: every step of the way, I'm checking in with an awesome crew of visual effects artists, making sure that I'm doing what I can on set to make their lives easier and more efficient in post. And for any visual effects problems down the line, I have no doubt that we will be able to put our heads together and figure out the best way to fix an issue.

Another risk factor we run into is scheduling. Cast and crew are receiving a stipend, but they are all so talented that they could book something amazing and make 5,000,000 times as much money (approximately). So, if anything arises and a crew member can no longer work on the project, re-hiring someone will be another task on the list. Thankfully, I studied both film and comedy in New York City, and have a big network of people I could ask that I know would be willing to help out if I needed someone in a pinch. Even though everyone that is currently on the cast and crew is a precious, irreplaceable cherub sent from a cloud.

The final risk of this project would just be the shoestring nature of it. This budget is on the conservative side, and involves a lot of donated time and equipment. All of this will make the final execution take much longer. But again, I have a dedicated crew of people who are motivated and passionate about Hustle, so I have no doubt that, though it may take us well into next year, we'll crush the challenges ahead.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A Thank You Email

    You will receive a thank you message from the creator for your contribution!

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    Compliments from Anna Drezen + Thank You

    SNL writer and comedian Anna Drezen will aggressively bestow you with personalized compliments for one full minute (in person if in NYC, on the phone, or over Gchat). You'll also receive a thank you message from the creator. WOW.

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    Buttons + Meal Guide + Thank You

    You'll get buttons, a thank you, and a digital meal guide from WOC nutritionists, Wendy and Jess (featured on Another Round and Buzzfeed!).

    Includes:
    • Hustle buttons (to be used for flair, swag, etc)
    • Wendy Lopez & Jess Jones's "Meal Plan for More Plant Based Meals"
    • a thank you message from the Hustle creator!
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    Buttons + Personal Note from Comedians

    Not only will you get dope Hustle buttons, but SNL writer Anna Drezen or acclaimed and amazing comedian Jo Firestone (Broad City, Don't Think Twice, Punderdome 3000) will make VERY PERSONAL ITEMS JUST FOR YOU. It could be a fake Wikipedia article about you, a hand turkey that looks like you, or an incredibly personal, encouraging letter (to you!).
    You seriously don't want to pass this up!

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    Poster and Thank You Email (NYC ONLY)

    **NYC ONLY**
    You will receive a Monica Ramos ORIGINAL illustrated poster titled "Ladies" (18x24in) plus a thank you message from the Hustle creator!

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    Custom-Made Perfume

    The amazing Devon Courtney Knight will make you a CUSTOMIZED PERFUME to suit your fragrance needs. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

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    Custom Animal Painting

    Hustle creator, Rekha Shankar, will paint you this very specific CUSTOM painting: a 9x11 canvas; single color (your choice) background with an animal (your choice) surrounded by one object/food (your choice).
    SEE EXAMPLES IN THE PROJECT DESCRIPTION!

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    Ticket To A Murder Mystery Party (NYC)

    **TAKES PLACE IN NYC**
    "Who Killed The Vibe?" will be an amazing murder mystery party in Brooklyn, NY and YOU BETTER BELIEVE this secures your ticket to it plus a FREE DRINK.
    Will take place on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 from 8:00p-10:00p.

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    FOUR-CLASS Dance Pass (NYC ONLY)

    **NYC ONLY**
    Get a four-class dance pass to the Huracán Dance Studio in Queens, NY!
    (97-16 Northern Blvd)

    Classes must be used within ONE MONTH of activation date!

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    A Hustle Totebag and Reward Bundle!

    Not only will this totebag be dope, but you also get a reward bundle of art from one of our many female and female-identifying donors! It could be fancy makeup from an NYC makeup artist's collection, a magazine from the only lady drummer magazine out there, a painting, photographs, comics, illustrations, and more!

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    Reductress Satire Workshop (NYC)

    **TAKES PLACE IN NYC**
    You'll get a slot in an upcoming Reductress satirical writing workshop! Reductress is a satirical online women's magazine founded by the incredibly talented Beth Newell and Sarah Pappalardo. So you don't want to miss this.

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    A Hustle Totebag and Two Reward Bundles!

    The dope totebag plus TWO bundles of the art and tools donated from creative female and non-binary artists! Bundles could include fancy makeup from an NYC makeup artist's collection, a magazine from the only lady drummer magazine out there, a painting, photographs, comics, illustrations, and more!

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    Pie-of-the-Month Club (NYC ONLY)

    **NYC ONLY!!**
    You read this right: the AMAZING baker Jen Memmolo will bake a pie-of-the-month for you for SIX MONTHS. That's six pies, folks! Do not let this one slide. Pie fe(a)stivities start in January 2017!

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    Headshots with Sara Feinstein (NYC)

    **TAKES PLACE IN NYC**
    You will get one legit, bona fide headshot session with the amazing photographer Sara Feinstein HOLY COWS, THIS RULES.

    [Check out her work on http://www.sarafeinstein.com]

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    Branding Kit from Brielle DeMirjian

    You will receive a PERSONAL BRANDING KIT from creative director and designer Brielle DeMirjian!
    [Check out her other work at http://www.brielledemirjian.com/]

    Includes:
    • Original logo (includes 3 logo ideas, and then 3 rounds of edits)
    • Social media design (cover photos, profile photos)
    • Poster/promo design (print or web)
    • Business card/letterhead
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    Headshots with Jules Slutsky (NYC)

    **TAKES PLACE IN NYC**
    You will get one real, brilliant headshot session with the awesome photographer Jules Slutsky WOW.

    [Check out her work on http://www.julesslutskyphoto.com/lifestyle/]

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    Totebag + Two Reward Bundles + AP Credit

    You'd get the totebag, you'd get two reward bundles, AND you'd get credit as an Associate Producer for Hustle!

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    Totebag + Two Reward Bundles + EP Credit

    The totebag. The bundles. And now you get EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit. Whoa.

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Funding period

- (30 days)