WE REACHED OUR GOAL OF $10,000!
We still have a few days left of our Kickstarter, and we want to make the most of it. We under budgeted in a few major areas, and with your continued support, we can make Zhe Zhe even better.
We can spend an extra $333.00 per episode on art department and costumes, which means custom props, printing all the stuff we need Kinkos and some more hilarious custom textiles we designed (think Mona's pajamas but...)
We could finally invest in some post production software we desperately need and reach out to some collaborators to add animated sequences.
With could invest in a camera stabilizer and all the wireless focusing gizmos required to operate it!
Thank you so much for making our dreams come true, and for being a part of Zhe Zhe's story!
"While Zhe Zhe may be a band best known for their shocking stage theatrics and radical gender politics, beneath all the glitter and rhetoric are two people, singer Mona DeLiza and virtuoso guitarist Jean D'Arc, who through their perfectly crafted "Post P(Op)" anthems are giving the world the soul reassignment surgery we so desperately need." -"Uncle" Fester Bangs
Zhe Zhe is a DIY sitcom about a band in an alternate reality New York. Last year we made six episodes and now we want to make six more. *
“Where most web series act as a starting point for creatives, showcasing their talents in hopes of getting noticed and moving on to bigger productions, ZHE ZHE stands as the end point for those involved. And indeed it is a worthy endpoint. Through collaboration the team behind ZHE ZHE have created an alter-universe in which culture moves so quickly that it is absurd, but not unfathomable.” -Robert Hickerson
Emerging from an experimental theater group, we conceived of our Zhe Zhe characters as an outlet for our irrepressible performers’ egos, but once we started creating the world around them, the show became much more. It became a place where we could let our imaginations wreak havoc, and voice our wildest conspiracy theories, and give life to our basest inside jokes.
As the scope of our fantasies and jokes grew, we drew more of our talented friends into a world of never ending collaborative mania. Our goal was never to get a billion hits or generate advertising revenue; our show is for and about our ever expanding circle of intimate friends and fans.
The first season of Zhe Zhe, which ended in a twenty five minute musical, took us a year a half to produce. We involved everyone and everything we had in making Zhe Zhe. Now we’re involving you. There is no way we can make the next six episodes of Zhe Zhe without your help.
KEYWORDS Sci-fi, gender-bending, camp, wigs, fake, hyperreality, slacker-baroque, anglophilia, musical theater, magick, esoteric, yetro, cosplay, DIY, nostalgia, anachronism, bizzaro, pre-Brooklyn, idolatry, fetish,conspiracy, escapism, anti-Oedipus, glamour, identity-addiction, psychic terror, becoming, moire, americana, progressive, illuminati, legendary psychasthenia, mirror world,clowning, Ed Malone, dress-up, scatology, Fleetwood Mac, paranoia, uncanny,postmodern, BBC, excess, imitatio, mimesis, alchemy, glitch, feminism, T.V., art, fandom, mechanical reproduction, mystic, the flatbed picture plane, angst.
In the first season, Mona DeLiza and Jean D’Arc are abandoned by their bandmate and benefactor, Chewie Swindleburne. After a few halfhearted attempts to find a blond replacement, Mona’s musical ambitions are sidetracked by a whirlwind romance with an Emmy winning, dick-and-fart-jokesmith comedy bro Pat Phone. Ever the opportunist, Mona never stops to consider that Pat might be an undercover operative sent to sabotage the band by Chewie, who has now become a full blown super-villain. Pat whisks Jean and Mona off to Hollywood and Jean has to save Mona from being murdered by Chewie’s Manson-esque henchwomen. Jean and Mona go back to New York. Pat is filled with remorse, and runs across America to apologize to Mona. In her posh penthouse lair, Chewie tortures her hostage, Pat’s comedy partner Clay Larper, and prepares to give a press conference where she intends to brainwash the masses. Jean and Mona head to the junket to expose Chewie for the monster she is, but Jean is caught up in Chewie’s magic and helplessly dances along with the assembled crowd. Pat arrives at the scene, exhausted, and locks eyes with Mona. They alone are immune to Chewie’s powers. Chewie, terrified, aims a gun at Pat. Pat farts loudly and collapses in Mona’s arms.
Our fan base is small but very intense. We have guarded the scripts for season two carefully and hope that by the time the next six episodes are produced and released, there will still be a lot of surprises left. That said, we can tell you that:
-The mystery of Pat’s death will be revealed
-Chewie will do some soul searching.
-The aliens will be back.
-Ghosts will be summoned.
- Despite artistic differences, Mona and Jean will continue to work on their music (and take it to the next level.)
-Backstories will unfold.
-We will host an IRL battle of the bands which will feature prominently in an episode.
-There will be a “krautrock” opera.
As the saga of season one unfolded, the episodes became longer. What started as fifteen minute format crept closer to the twenty-two minute standard, and eventually overtook it. Each episode of season two will be twenty five minutes.
Making Zhe Zhe the way we did, on borrowed time and equipment, meant that we couldn’t schedule shoots in an optimal way. For season two, we want to maintain our DIY production style, but if we make a few minor purchases, we can deliver longer episodes much more quickly.
Budget Per Episode
Equipment Rentals: $600
Art Materials: $20
Office Supplies: $10
Rubber Chickens: $5
Totals per Episode:
Camera Department: $600
Art Department: $60
Total Per Episode: $1,525
Total for Six Episodes: $9,150
One Time Purchases:
Shotgun Microphone: $350
Boom Pole: $200
Sound Recorder: $300
Total Purchases: $850
Total Budget: $10,000
What other people have said about Zhe Zhe:
Who is Zhe Zhe?
When people ask us, “Who’s show is this?” we often liken our working dynamic to that of a band, rather than a film production. Our process is intensively collaborative, and everyone does at at least a little bit of everything, but within our core group there is a wide range of talents and abilities.
Ruby McCollister has always been a star. If you want a sneak peek into her origin story, you can check her out in Fame High, a documentary about Ruby’s struggle to juggle underage understudy gigs and the rigorous demands of the L.A. public school curriculum (it’s on Netflix). Right now she's in Chicago, being a real actress. As well as being a triple threat (have you SEEN episode six?), Ruby is also a fashion maverick and a french mutant disco revivalist.
Leah Hennessey is the showrunner and head writer of Zhe Zhe. When Leah was in first grade the first line she wrote in her new journal was “Hi! My name is Leah Hennessey, destined to become a famous writer.” While Leah’s grammar has certainly improved with practice, vestiges of her juvenile grandiosity have survived and found a home in Zhe Zhe. Leah is also a recovering band addict but from working on Zhe Zhe, she has learned that a song can be more than two minutes and thirty seconds of electric guitar ridden romantic angst- it can also be a comically cerebral two minutes and thirty seconds of cultural angst.
Emily Allan is a certified genius and has been a card-carrying member of Mensa since the age of 6. Emily never fails to bring her most far out and arcane obsessions and theories to the storying of Zhe Zhe. While she has always been a writer at heart, in Zhe Zhe she has discovered her latent lyrical talent and has crafted some of our most classic songs. Emily spent her radicalized teen years organizing and activizing- invaluable skills which she now parlays into mobilizing Zhe Zhe task forces and Zhe Zhe events.
E.J. O’Hara is an artist. He never wanted to have anything to do with film. We made him be our director, because he is visionary and knows how to make everything good. He also ended up acting on Zhe Zhe, producing and co-writing all of the music, and learning how to do special effects (production and post-production).
Max Lakner is an in demand, young, debonair cinematographer, photographer and karaoke star, who has known all of these people for a million years and brought us all together. He shoots every single thing on Zhe Zhe. Hopefully in the second season, we’ll give him a part.
Joon Taylor is our new producer. Joon and Leah went to elementary and middle school together but lost touch until Joon wrote to her and told her that Zhe Zhe was like “a combination of Withnail & I and that comic Transmetropolitan.” As fate would have it, our number one fan was a highly skilled artist and engineer (RISD, duh) and we begged him to leave the cozy comfort of fandom and chop wood carry water behind the scenes. Then we realized he was a born producer and he threw on a baseball cap, sat down, and has been staring down at his smartphone ever since.
Arabella Aldrich is our newest convert to the Zhe Zhe family cult. In addition to being the chicest person we know, she can actually sew and design clothes! So for the second season, all of the costumes will have backs! Thanks Arabella!
With your support, our team can realize our shared dream of making SIX MORE ZHE ZHE EPISODES. We learned so much about film production from making the first season, and we are so excited to apply our new skills to making the second season the best Zhe Zhe you’ve ever seen. With the participation and support of our extended community ( that means you!) we can go into production immediately and start going really crazy.
Risks and challenges
We’ve already made six episodes of this insane show. We know how time consuming and labor intensive it is to work with such expansive vision and such limited resources. However, as the scope of Zhe Zhe widens and our ambitions evolve, we will be constantly setting the bar higher and meeting new challenges.
Without further financial support, we can no longer afford to produce Zhe Zhe the way we want to make it. If we meet our goal, there is no possibility in any dimension of reality that we will not produce and deliver six more mind blowing episodes of our emerging cult show, Zhe Zhe.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)