"It ain't what you got, it's what you make." - Birmingham by Shovels & Rope (2012 Song of the Year, American Songwriter)
This is our passion project. Over a period of three years, we have shot more than 100 hours in over a dozen cities filming an unprecedented musical story as it happened. We've captured some unreplicable moments, BUT as independent filmmakers, we’ve reached a point where we need outside resources and expertise to finish the job. (See the TO BE COMPLETED section below)
The Ballad of Shovels and Rope is a story about a two-man family band using ingenuity and hard work to make something out of nothing. The film captures a hard-working husband, wife and their dog sleeping in vans as they tour America’s bars and small clubs. With one microphone they record on the road and in their home. Limitations inspire them to be creative. Michael and Cary Ann define success by being able to do what you love and being able to provide for your family.
In the Fall of 2010, our friend and collaborator, Paul Bannister connected us with a newly formed band from Charleston called Shovels & Rope. They were on their way through Nashville, and were in need of some live video content to pitch to potential promoters. We were in the middle of wrapping up a short documentary shot in Haiti and welcomed a change, so after reviewing a few songs by Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, we dove in.
We hit it off immediately. The sessions went well as we captured some great moments most notably a performance of Boxcar in an empty room of a warehouse in Nashville.
During the shoot, we learned about this two-man family-band who traveled from town to town living out of their van with hound dog in tow. We learned the band was in the midst of writing their first record and intended to record it in their own home, on their own terms, through their own unofficial record label, Shrimp Records -- a moniker used by a talented group of musician-friends in Charleston. Their story resonated with us seeing as though it was our first year of pushing an indie video production company, The Moving Picture Boys, using inexpensive cameras and working out of our own apartments. Their story was our story. We were doing whatever it took to do what we love on our own terms using the resources we had, and then it clicked.
A few weeks after the release of the warehouse videos, Jace pitched the project to Michael and Cary Ann to document the recording of the first official Shovels & Rope album focusing specifically on them as artists making do with what they have. After a quick Skype call with the band and a semi-sarcastic quote from Almost Famous by Michael, "just make us look cool," it was settled. A documentary was to be shot over three months during the Spring of 2011. The team would include The Moving Picture Boys with director Jace Freeman on camera, producer Sean Clark running sound, and the honorary MPB co-producer Paul Bannister on everything else.
But things never go exactly as planned, do they? As you've probably guessed, filming went a little longer than 3 months during the Spring of 2011. New opportunities for the band pushed back the recording, but also created new opportunities for filming. There were a couple pit stops in LA. Their recording at home moved to recording in hotels as well as in their van. Things kept happening so we kept shooting. Why? Well, the story-telling side of us needed to see it through. The buzz was exciting, shooting was fun, and we fell in love with the music and felt part of the story. Simultaneously the Moving Picture Boys' outside-work became more steady providing enough funds to continue to shoot. Looking back, we realize how lucky we were to be part of this production.
Despite the speed bumps and zigzags, we feel that we have captured an honest narrative that encompasses the themes exemplified in the character of the band Shovels & Rope as well as other independent artists on their journey to create and make a living. The movie is 90% of the way edited, missing only the final scene scheduled to shoot at the end of September. This production was a labor of love on all accounts with the band investing countless hours of their privacy and hospitality. We have invested and committed to invest a total of approximately $16,000 of our personal funds generated from outside jobs over the last two and a half years as well as countless man hours. Since the Fall of 2010, we have filmed more than 100 hours in over a dozen cities throughout the US, and I can honestly say that our investment was well worth it.
To say that we are excited to show you this movie is a complete understatement. This film is gonna happen and we want you to be a part of it. Here is what we have left to do…
TO BE COMPLETED:
Funds contributed will be used to create DVD artwork, print DVDs, print bonus DVDs, packaging, festival submissions, hard drives, HDCAM, sound mix, graphic design, marketing material (including the rewards!), and promotion.
We are finishing production and editing this Fall. If this project is successful, we will be able to finish this project and have a movie that you can see in early 2014.
ABOUT THE REWARDS
The Ballad of Shovels and Rope DVD = The film in all of its glory delivered straight from The Moving Picture Boys to your door. This is a special pre-release version of the movie, and getting it here and now will guarantee that you don't have to wait for the official DVD release months from now.
Exclusive live bonus content DVD = Several of our favorite Shovels & Rope performances from the last 3 years in their entirety for your viewing pleasure.
Special edition Movie T-Shirt = We're gonna print a cool design on a real soft vintage Tee. Trust us on this one, or wait until we reveal the design. First come, first serve on these puppies though!
Autographed O' Be Joyful CD = Shovels & Rope's latest album (the one the movie is about) signed by both Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst.
Name in credits = We're gonna list your name in the credits and thank you. You'll be able to see it on the DVD and if you catch the film in theaters.
Associated Producer Credit = We'll fill in your name as an associate producer on the film for film festivals, on IMDB, and in the credits of the film.
What you can do...
- Back this project through Kickstarter
- Tell your friends and other potential fans how amazing the band is
- Send us an email and let us know what's up: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Watch our weekly teasers and subscribe on YouTube
Risks and challenges
Every documentary project has potential obstacles, from production readjustments to post-production delays to marketing strategy shifts. We will do our best to get this movie done and released according to schedule.
If setbacks arise, we will keep everybody informed and will work hard to follow through even when faced with unforeseeable challenges.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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