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$17,702 pledged of $48,000 goal
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$17,702 pledged of $48,000 goal
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About this project

As of 2:20 PM CST, Sunday, 2/17/13, the project can be fully funded with 243 Foul Fiend ($125) pledges. 51 Foul Fiend pledges gets us to 50% of goal.

Many many thanks to Stephen Loiaconi of HLNTV.com for writing not one, but two, fine articles on these crimes and my film! If you're here because of those articles, or Neil Gaiman's & John Scalzi's gracious tweets, welcome! I hope you find this project worthy of your support.

In 1885, three years before the crimes of Jack the Ripper entered modern legend, someone — or someones — stalked the dusty streets of Austin, Texas, a frontier town caught in the throes of transforming into a modern city. 

From New Years Eve of 1884, to Christmas 1885, eight people — most of them female African-American cooks who worked in affluent white homes — were savagely killed, and more wounded, in attacks of such brutality they left the entire population in a state of terror and fledgling law enforcement in utter confusion. He came to be called the "Servant Girl Annihilator." And yet, like the Ripper himself, his identity remains lost to history.

Why were the killer or killers never caught? And what was the impact of these crimes upon race relations in a Reconstruction-era city, and a culture entirely unfamiliar with the modern concept of the serial killer? Why were the killings so completely suppressed in later years, that to this day, few people know they even occurred, and no comprehensive scholarly work to date has chronicled them?

BLOODY WORK: THE UNSOLVED MYSTERY OF THE SERVANT GIRL ANNIHILATOR seeks to be the first such comprehensive work. Avoiding the pitfalls of "docu-fiction," this detailed documentary will cut through the myths and legends to uncover what verifiable facts there are concerning these obscure and heinous crimes. My goal is to make both an entertaining and suspenseful movie for a general audience, as well as a valuable scholarly document that can serve as a legitimate resource for students and historians interested in the period. Interviews with experts on the crimes and the city's history, vintage photos, period music and artwork will all bring the story to life for the audience.

This is a production aiming for the festival circuit and Blu-ray/DVD/VOD (Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime) distribution market. Interview and other original footage will be shot using the Red Epic. The Blu-ray will contain lossless 5.1 channel audio. All crew will be paid. Prospective donors can read a more detailed breakdown of anticipated production and post-production costs below.

Please join me and embark on this eerie journey into Austin's dark and forgotten past! Who knows what startling revelations may come as we dig deeper into this long-forgotten BLOODY WORK....

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If you have other questions that are not addressed in the FAQ below, please message me or ask in the comments section. I will read everything and answer as thoroughly as I can. My boundless gratitude goes out to all who back this film. Please spread the word throughout your own online circles — FB, Twitter, Reddit, G+, etc. — and come be part of this journey!

Risks and challenges

Having worked on the crews of a number of independent films in the Austin and central Texas area, I have experience on both good shoots and bad shoots. The good ones you enjoy, while the bad ones are where you learn. The most common mistakes I see newbie directors make is in lacking a realistic assessment of the scale of the project they have chosen to undertake, in relation to the resources they have at hand to actually make it. I have seen movies with low six-figure budgets trying to pretend they have low million-dollar budgets, and jumping into ambitious shoots for which they lack the money, crew, and sensible scheduling to pull off — only to see everything collapse into chaos. I have worked under smart and brilliant young directors without a dime but with a brave vision about which they are passionate and determined to make happen, and I have worked under bratty rich kids on ego trips who think their parents' money has magically made them Steven Spielberg.

For my own first film as director, I have made an effort to learn the lessons of experience. A documentary like this one offers a way to tell an ambitious story at a period in my filmmaking development where my reach will not exceed my grasp. Also, through Kickstarter updates, I can be in constant communication with you, my backers, keeping you appraised of each stage in the production process.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    1080P digital download of the completed film.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Kickstarter-exclusive DVD edition of the film, signed (and personalized, if you wish) by the filmmaker, in addition to the 1080P digital download. INTERNATIONAL backers please add $10 for overseas shipping. (If you live outside the US, please also be aware the DVD will be NTSC standard, and so if you live in a PAL country, you may wish to receive the region-free Blu-ray instead unless you own a player that converts.)

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Kickstarter-exclusive Blu-ray disc edition of the film, signed (and personalized, if you wish) by the filmmaker, including a foldout "murder map" of Austin in 1885, in addition to the 1080P digital download. INTERNATIONAL backers please add $10 for overseas shipping.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Kickstarter-exclusive Special Edition Blu-ray disc+DVD edition of the film with both on-disc and physical bonus materials (including teaser one-sheet, foldout "murder map" of Austin in 1885, and facsimile of the very first newspaper report of the first murder), signed (and personalized, if you wish) by the filmmaker, in addition to the 1080P digital download. INTERNATIONAL backers please add $10 for overseas shipping.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Everything listed under the $50 pledge tier, plus an additional copy of the DVD edition to do with as you please (give as a gift, donate to your local library, etc.). INTERNATIONAL backers please add $15 for overseas shipping.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    BECOME A MIDNIGHT MARAUDER! Your name included on a "Special Thanks" page of the booklet for the DVD, Blu-ray and Special Edition BD+DVD+Digital Copy editions; plus all items listed under the $65 pledge tier.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    BECOME A FOUL FIEND. Your name onscreen in a Special Thanks credit — under the heading "The Foul Fiends," to quote one of the authentic headlines about the murders — during the closing crawl; plus all items listed under the $65 pledge tier.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Assistant Producer screen credit; plus all items listed under the $65 pledge tier.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Associate Producer screen credit; plus all items listed under the $65 pledge tier.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Executive Producer credit to appear both onscreen and in the one-sheet billing block and other advertising and promotional materials; plus all items listed under the $65 pledge tier.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    PRODUCER + SCREENING IN YOUR TOWN. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS FOR U.S. & CANADIAN BACKERS ONLY. Producer screen credit to appear both onscreen and in the one-sheet billing block and other advertising and promotional materials; plus all items listed under the $65 pledge tier. Also, I will book a theatrical screening in or near your hometown, pending availability of a suitable venue, at which I will appear and conduct a post-screening Q&A. (Note that the screening itself may be booked during a month after the estimated 12/2013 completion date for the film itself, naturally.)

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Funding period

- (45 days)