About this project
Pigs Without Blankets
An unserious look at a the serious subject of why we circumcise our kids; two short comic films that poke fun at American secular (non-religious) circumcision.
The first short film is for current or expecting parents and will be a comical depiction of birth rituals around the world. I want to show people all the wacky traditions cultures use to welcome children into the world and compare them to circumcision for perspective. For example, among some sects in India it is common practice to toss newborn babies off the side of a 15-meter tall temple for good luck. Other rituals include: carrying around placenta for a few days after the birth; staying indoors, avoiding sex and not washing your hair for more than a month after child-birth; not mentioning the child's sex for its first year to confuse evil spirits; and not allowing the baby's feet to touch the ground for its first 105 days.
The second short is for a general audience - Americans - and will explore our collective notions of the penis in its natural state. This piece will include interviews with men and women with varying opinions, and sketch pieces that poke fun at the reasons people give for circumcising. One such scene will depict a white man handing his adopted, 1 year old, uncircumcised Chinese baby to a doctor and saying, "I want him to look like me." The doctor goes away for a while and returns the baby with his eyes surgically altered to look caucasian. We'll also examine various names people call the intact penis - "anteater" is just one of the terms used to refer to the intact penis.
We are still workshopping the scripts, but more than anything we want these pieces to be funny. This topic is far too often presented in an inflammatory, dramatic, and accusatory manner, but I think it can be explored with humor. Humor makes people feel less judged. The short piece we made to promote the Kickstarter campaign was something I wrote and my team cut in just a couple of days to inspire our backers, but it represents the tone and kind of approach we want to take. We want our two new films, however, to be a much higher quality, include interviews with real people, and address many more perspectives than just the gay one. This is an issue that touches us all and has a big impact on our culture.
I have spent many years considering the American practice of secular circumcision, have conducted many interviews, and done a lot of research - I even did my college senior project on it: An Ethnographic Research Study on the Circumcised American Male. Now I'm ready to synthesize all of this insight into comic scripts - which is no small feat, but a challenge we are looking forward to meeting. We would LOVE to enlist backers who are interested in helping us strike the right balance between humor and enlightenment by weighing in at various stages and offering feedback and ideas.
Once the scripts are finalized, we will shoot and edit. Here's more specific information on how the funds will be used:
Funds will be used for:
- Pre-production costs - this includes script writing and development that takes place after the formative work has been completed. We take all the information and data we have collected and synthesize this into a comedy scripts. Pre-production also includes casting, identifying and securing locations, prop acquisition, director's preparations, and logistics planning.
- Production costs - these include our director's and cinematographer's fees, the hiring of lighting and sound professionals, equipment rental, and editing costs.
- Dissemination of the campaign through PR and social media - in addition to making the films we want to make sure they get seen! We will write and publish articles for The Good Men Project, Huffington Post, and Gay.net to promote the films.
- Development, design, printing and dissemination of the posters that will go with each video.
You can become a backer in 3 quick steps:
Step 1: Read through the pledge levels and rewards we're offering in the right sidebar of this page.
Step 2: Click the large, green "BACK THIS PROJECT" button to the right of the video at the top of this page.
Step 3: Enter your pledge amount - and complete the steps for filling in your information.
A little more about me and my filmmaking: (a few articles: I recently published an essay on HuffPo about why I think the The Daily Show needs a permanent Sr. Gay Correspondent & The Advocate recently featured my film and comedy work in this article. This is an interview with me in The Good Men Project talking about the circumcision and my film work.)
My name is Kenny Neal Shults and I'm a stand up comic, writer, actor, filmmaker and a public health consultancy owner living in Brooklyn, NYC. I make short films all the time, mostly for non-profits, but now I want to make two commercial-length shorts that explore the issue of secular circumcision (non-religious circumcision). The films will also each have their own corresponding poster ad. In addition to being a comic, writer, and actor I also run a small production company that makes digital, commercial-length ads that contribute to the common good. This is called Social Marketing. Also called Public Service Announcements (PSAs), these ads can address any topic be it bullying, tolerance, or wearing a condom. We have made PSAs that address all of these and more. We normally make these on behalf of non-profit agencies but Pigs Without Blankets is a film project that I want to make!
Our Other Key Team Members:
Savas Abadsidis is a content strategist, editor and marketing/media relations executive with an extensive background in the entertainment, publishing and marketing fields. Savas’ editorial/advertising and marketing work includes clients as diverse as Abercrombie & Fitch, Complex Media, Wizard Entertainment, photographer Patrick McMullan, The Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, The Scleroderma Foundation of Southern California, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Amy and Nora Ephron’s oneforthetable.com, Antenna Magazine (including antenna.com), planetwaves.net, Angry Panda (angrypanda.com), Time Inc. Custom Publications, AT&T, Sander Moses Productions (Slam 360 Internet Outreach), Otabo Shoes (otabo.com), mtv.com, FAB.com, JAMAK Fabrications (thewiperstore.com), The National Hellenic Society (myparea.com), Little Studio Films and Kickstart Entertainment.
Aubrey is the director of Willow Street Films, a small production company in Brooklyn, New York. Just a few of WSF clients include Community Healthcare Network, Ipas (a global NGO dedicated to women's healthcare and rights), The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, The Living Liquid, The Cobble Hill Ballet and The Brooklyn Dance Company. Aubrey is psyched to be working on these films, not only because she thinks Kenny is a super funny, talented dude but because she believes in this cause. When her two sons were born, she decided against circumcision because she felt like she needed a damn good reason to throw a piece of her babies in the garbage and it being the "cultural norm" just didn't do it for her.
Lukas Huffman - formerly a pro snowboarder, Lukas is now a film and video director who was born in Vermont and is currently based in New York City. He applies lessons learned from his 10 year career as a professional snowboarder to his passion for filmmaking. Lukas directs all of our PSAs and is awesome! He has an amazing eye and makes gorgeous films. His work was featured in Cannes in 2012.
Risks and challenges
As far as production is concerned, we do not anticipate many obstacles - we are a well-oiled production machine. We do this all the time and for this reason we are only asking for the bare minimum as we are the production company and are all willing to chip in to make these films great. That said, the more pledges and resources we have, the higher the quality of the production, the better the films, and the less likely we are to be held up by typical snags. There are always challenges, however. We may need to change shoot dates, or lose cast. Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes we have to re-shoot something and that takes up tons of time and resource. Editing is the most expensive and time consuming aspect and sometimes it takes longer to get things right, but again; while there may be some snags, we are very used to overcoming them and can assure backers that we will complete these PSAs if we receive the funding, period.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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