*Updated! Please check the update posts for pictures of some of the incentives up for grabs!
About the Film
Strange Thing is a science fiction short film which I am making for science fiction fans and fans of 1980's sci-fi films in particular.
The film follows Kris and Jake, a newlywed couple who wake up to find a door has mysteriously appeared in their living room. Once the door is discovered, they must decide to either open the door or leave it closed and go on with their lives. On top of the science fiction element, Strange Thing is about the point in a relationship where you discover a new side to your significant other and what it means to process that change.
Kris and Jake are science fiction fans, trekkies and simply pop culture geeks in general. The concept is to showcase this sort of couple and put them in their own science fiction story and see how they react.
We wanted to treat this film just like a drama, avoid cheesy catch phrases and one liners in favor of true to life dialogue. We asked ourselves, what would you really say if a door just appeared behind your bookshelf? We crafted the script in this manner trying to avoid dialogue for the sake of dialogue. The same approach was taken for all the effects in the film. While there are a lot of VFX elements we did as many of the effects in camera as we could, in order to make the world and story as convincing as possible.
The goal for this short is to reach science fiction film festivals and to ultimately to be used as a tool to raise the budget for the feature version of the film. What you will see in the short is roughly the first 10mins of the feature script, I am looking to show the world what I can do in this short in order to justify the production of Strange Thing the feature.
Hali Lula Hudson is an LA actress who has appeared in multiple Indie Features, Web Series and Short Films. Some of her credits include Funny or Die's the "The Douche" with Dylan McDurmott, Fox's American Dad, supporting roles in "The Myth of the American Sleepover" and "Scary or Die." Hali's strengths in horror and comedy made her the perfect fit for the role of Kris.
David O'Donnell is an Australian TV and Film actor who has recently brought his talents to LA. David, being a trained boxer and surfer, was able to let his natural physical strength run underneath his charming and subtle performance, creating a character that is likeable and strong.
Alrik is a Berkeley native with over 10 years of video and film production experience, working on feature films, network tv and local commercial sets. In between set jobs, Alrik kept a steady flow of corporate, documentary and life style projects churning, honing his craft in shooting, editing and simply telling a story. Strange Thing is Alrik's first professionally produced and directed narrative film.
Jason Joseffer brings over 15 years of experience behind the camera, having shot multiple features films, short films and countless commercials and corporate videos. Jason works with a keen technical eye, making sure the shot list presented is going to visually tell the story without missing any important beats. Jason was a key asset in performing the many moving shots in the film and he was always ready with a suggestion in order to get the most dynamic shot in each setup.
Local SF Bay Area Gaffer Matt Stouppe brought out all the toys for our project. With years of lighting and grip experience, Matt put together an all star G/E crew to handle the many complicated lighting set ups and technical moves that Strange Thing required. Matt lit day for night and night for day with ease, perfectly simulating the look of a bright sunny morning while it poured down rain outside.
Jeska has been working in film, from Set Dressing to Props to Production Design, for the past 15 years. Growing up with a skilled carpenter as a father and a baker and artist for a mother, she was lucky enough to get the best of both worlds: precision and creativity. In her work, Jeska loves telling stories, thinking outside the box and creating the details that make you want to look twice. Jeska took on the difficult task of taking the world created on the page and she successfully put it on screen, expertly crafting just the right look for the mysterious doorway that enters Kris and Jake's life.
George specializes in bringing to life outstanding special makeup effects creations. George provides innovative expertise in beauty makeup, creature effects, character effects, casualties/gore effects, props and more. George created two creatures for Strange Thing, I don't want to spoil the film, so I won't say any more than that.
A trained Stunt man with over 20 years in the business, Tony was able to bring much needed believability to the crucial stunts in the short. Rather than making it up as we go, Tony brought all the necessary gear and experience in order for us to perform our stunts in a visually stunning and safe manner.
I have managed to do a whole lot using favors, donations, every penny in my bank account and a high credit limit, but I've reached the ceiling of what I can do alone. It was extremely important to me that I show you everything I could do on my own before I asked for your help, so you know that your donations are not going to be put to waste. 12k might feel like a lot for post production costs, but with the number of VFX shots we have and the quality of post facilities we are after, it is amount we need.
The funds I raise from this kickstarter will go into completing the following goals.
- Final payments to cast and crew for their hard work on the film.
- Recording the Original Score by Alexei Wajchman of Blind Willies.
- Sound Design and 5.1 Sound Mix of the film.
- Visual Effects.
- Color Correction at Colorflow in Berkeley CA.
- HD Cam Layoffs for Festivals.
- Festival Submission Costs.
- DVD/Poster/T-Shirt Duplication.
- Renting a theater for the Cast/Crew Screening.
- Paying for Permits/Insurance and other costs left over from the production.
- Additional funds raised over our goal will go into the budget for Strange Thing the feature, which I'm currently scripting.
We hope to use the best facilities for sound mixing, sound design, recording the score, VFX and color correction. We also hope to send the film to as many film festivals as possible. We've set our goal at the lowest amount needed in order to complete the above goals, the more we raise, the more festivals we'll be able to submit the film to and the nicer the post facilities will be.
Don't forget, this film is part of a much larger production, so if we are lucky enough to reach our goal, all additional funds will go directly into the budget for the feature.
So please tell your friends, give what you can and thanks for looking at our project!
Special Thanks to the following people and companies for their contributions to this project, all of which were essential to the completion of this project.
Beth Bursell - Beth has been putting up with my work on this project for about three months now and she has consistently supported me at every single stage.
David Collier/Studio B Films - A huge amount of the equipment came from Studio B Films where I work, without this massive contribution, Strange Thing would have not been possible. Big thanks to David Collier for this generous donation and for letting me take the time off needed to make the shoot happen.
Isaac Pingree - Amidst all his own work and personal projects Isaac freely gave up his time and energy to contribution to pre-production and then serve as my Assistant Director for the shoot, working with me hours before call and long after the crew had left.
Stacey Ransom - Stacey put me in touch with all the SFX and SFX makeup folks involved in the film, there would be no practical effects otherwise.
DTC Grip and Electric - The guys and gals over at DTC really came through with a big deal on the lighting and grip equipment for the film.
Ranahan Production Services - Tim and his team offered up discounted rates on support gear for the shoot.
My entire Cast and Crew! - Every single person on my crew either donated their time or worked at a fraction of their normal rate, without such an amazing crew this film would not have happened.
Risks and challenges
There are many risks in making any film, but ultimately the success of this short depends on getting our vision for the film out to audiences. There is always a danger that the vision for Strange Thing could be left on the cutting room floor, or in this case, on the shelf.
In the post stage we will be working on several key elements of the film and bringing in new people who will be hearing about the project for the first time. It is important that I ensure they have the full vision for the film in their minds when working on their part, be it sound design, score, visual effects, the color correction etc. In addition, this is the stage where I will have to make the crucial decision to either go back and shoot pickups or stick with the footage I have.
The result of all of this will determine how many people see the film and if it gets into the festivals we are targeting. Getting into film festivals is not by any means guaranteed and the true challenge is crafting a final cut that will resonate with science fiction fans and the independent film community in general.
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