About this project
We are overwhelmed by the love and support that you have shown this project. You have truly inspired us. Because of you, we will be making this movie! To everyone who contributed, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
To stay up to date on our film moving forward, please visit:
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If you haven’t contributed yet and would still like to, it’s not too late! Visit our website to learn more by clicking here. And one more time… THANK YOU!!!
The Twilight Zone… The Outer Limits… Alfred Hitchcock Presents… These stories shocked us, scared us, and forever imbedded themselves into our memories. They were social commentaries and morality tales disguised as psychological thrillers. But where are these types of stories today?
The truth is, they don’t make them anymore. So we want to tell one of our own.
Monsters is a Twilight Zone style story for the modern world. It seethes with suspense from its first moment, all the way up to its jaw-dropping finale. And like any classic Twilight Zone episode, it’s grounded by universal themes that anyone can relate to. This is a short film that builds upon classic nostalgia and combines it with a 2014 sensibility.
Jenn is a 10-year-old girl who has never seen sunlight or trees or houses. She’s spent her whole life in an underground bunker with her family, because outside… The world has been overtaken by horrific monsters. While her family makes dangerous supply runs to the surface, Jenn is left in the lonely bunker. She spends her time reading old adventure books and looking through frayed photographs of what the outside world used to be. But most of all, she fantasizes about going outside, fighting off the ferocious monsters, and being free.
Eventually, Jenn can’t take the confinement anymore. So while her parents are sleeping, she steals a key and sneaks out of the bunker…
And what she finds outside is far more terrifying than any monster she ever imagined.
At its core, Monsters is a story about feeling trapped. We’ve all felt trapped at some point in our lives… Whether it’s trapped in a job that we hate, a relationship that isn’t working, or a town that we want to leave. But all the while, we dream of escaping and living a better life.
While this story is dark and scary, it’s ultimately anchored by this core theme. This makes it not only a suspenseful story, but an emotional one as well. Like many of us, Jenn is trapped in a life that she doesn’t want and dreams of something better.
The question is… How far will she go to escape?
For more, go to: http://www.monsters-shortfilm.com
Monsters is just the beginning. There are many more stories like this to come.
In the spirit of The Twilight Zone, we’ve written an entire anthology of stories, entitled TWISTED AVENUE. These stories are short, edgy, unpredictable and filled with universal themes that anyone can relate to. They are social commentaries. Morality tales. Parallel worlds and alternate realities where nothing is what it seems.
This anthology can expand into either a feature film (i.e. VHS, Trick ‘R Treat) or a digital series for the web. But it all starts here, with this campaign. Monsters is our personal favorite story of this entire anthology and it will be the springboard for everything else that follows.
For more on the Twisted Avenue anthology, click on the image below:
We’re spent years saving money for this and are putting forth half of the total budget of the film out of our own pockets. But unfortunately, that won’t be enough. This film is especially challenging because it involves such a complex and unique location – an underground bunker set in a post-apocalyptic world, where Jenn and her family have lived for years. Plus, the outside world has its own set of challenges… Though we can’t give them away just yet or else we’ll ruin the story.
That’s why we need your help. This isn’t just a movie made by a couple of filmmakers in LA. It’s a grassroots effort to include hundreds of other people in the entire storytelling process. So whether you work in the film industry, or you’ve never even been to LA, we want to share this journey with you. We want you on our team. With your help, we can bring this one-of-a-kind psychological thriller to life. And let us assure you… The finished product won’t just entertain you. It will linger with you for years.
It’s a big deal to us that you help to support our movie, and we want to say THANK YOU. That means in addition to creating a great film, we have some fun perks in store for our donors. Our rewards are all about making YOU a part of this production. This includes everything from being able to play a role in the movie, to owning a unique piece of concept art, to having an original story written just for you, to even being a producer on the film!
Production – Your contribution will go directly towards what you will ultimately see in the movie. These costs include everything from production design, to costumes, to makeup, to props, to camera and lighting equipment.
Post – Too many short films don’t take post-production into account, even though it’s one of the most important parts of the process. We aren’t making that mistake. Post costs include editing, sound design, sound mixing, title design, and color correction.
Fees – Kickstarter is an amazing way for filmmakers to connect with their audience. Understandably, Kickstarter also requires a fee for its involvement, as does Amazon for processing payments. But hey, they help to make it all possible. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to reach YOU.
If you have any specific questions about any aspect of our budget, please reach out to us directly. We will happily share a more detailed breakdown with you.
Quite simply, we set a goal and a deadline to reach it. You can pledge any amount you want and get the accompanying rewards! If we reach our goal by the deadline, we get funded, you get your rewards, and we go make a movie! If we don’t hit our goal, you are not charged anything… But the movie does not get made. So time is of the essence and every dollar counts!
Did we mention we’ve written an entire anthology of these stories? Well, we have. This film is only the beginning. With enough support, we can make more than just Monsters. We can make TWO, or even THREE of the Twisted Avenue stories. That means more unique worlds, more captivating characters, and more jaw-dropping twists. The sky is the limit!
Steve Desmond & Michael Sherman (writers/director/producer) – Steve and Michael are a filmmaking team united by a shared love of “big ideas” that can be told in economically feasible ways. Steve directs, Michael produces, and they write together.
Since graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Steve and Michael have established themselves in the highly competitive filmmaking world. Their efforts have landed them on The Tracking Board’s Top Up and Coming Screenwriters list, as voted upon by agents, managers, producers, and executives. They currently have feature film projects in active development with Davis Entertainment (Chronicle, The Blacklist), Mason Novick (Juno, 500 Days of Summer), and Treehouse Pictures (Arbitrage, That Awkward Moment), amongst others. They have also previously written and developed projects with Imagine Entertainment, Dreamworks Animation, and (shockingly) the Disney Channel.
For more on Steve and Michael, visit www.dreamingants.com
Aaron Billet (producer) – Aaron is an award-winning producer of countless independent feature films, music videos, short films, and web series. Over the years, he’s successfully ascended from a production assistant to a producer, working his way up through the art department on films like Mission Impossible 3 and The Number 23. He’s done everything from stunts to props to assistant directing, giving him a broad understanding of every aspect of the filmmaking process. He currently has two feature films in active development.
Ryan Lewis (Producer) – Ryan Lewis has spent the last decade working for companies such as NBC, Spyglass Entertainment, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and the Paradigm talent agency. His first feature, "Autopsy," was released as part of After Dark's "8 Films to Die For" series. In 2010, his comedy "High School" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically in 2012 by Anchor Bay.
As an independent producer, Ryan has also developed a number of projects for television, optioned various book series, and worked with prestigious talent, producers and agents to bring feature films to life. Ryan's first fully independent feature film was an adaptation of the acclaimed novel, "Fat Kid Rules the World," which won the audience award at the 2012 SXSW festival. Additionally, Ryan co-created and executive produced the acclaimed series, "Chosen," for Sony and Crackle.com. Starring Milo Ventimiglia, Chad Michael Murray and Rose McGowan, the award-winning show is Crackle's most-watched original scripted program.
Joe Russo (producer) – Award-Winning filmmaker Joe Russo has seen his short films featured in festivals worldwide, garnering praise from top film critics. His years of production experience include work on commercials, web series, television and feature films, for such companies as Nike, Fox, SyFy, A/E, Lionsgate Films and Universal Studios. He is currently the Director of Development at Level 1 Entertainment, under CEO and Hollywood producer, Bill Todman, Jr., heading up a slate of feature films and television programs, working hand-in-hand with several major motion picture studios and television networks.
Jason Berman (Executive Producer) - Jason Michael Berman has produced feature films that have debuted at premiere film festivals around the globe, including Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, Tribeca, Berlinale, and Edinburgh. He was named by Variety in 2011 as one of the Top Ten Producers to Watch, and by Deadline Hollywood in 2012 as one of the Top Ten Producers to Watch at Sundance. Jason recently produced Sara Colangelo's film LITTLE ACCIDENTS starring Elizabeth Banks, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and will be released theatrically in January 2015. He is also in post-production on Andrew Renzi's FRANNY starring Richard Gere and Dakota Fanning.
Jason is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he is now an adjunct professor teaching a course on Entrepreneurship in Entertainment. He also works as a producer for Mandalay Entertainment and is a member of the Producers Guild of America.
John Jesensky (composer) – John Jesensky is a freelance film composer currently living in Los Angeles. He received musical training from The Hartt School as well as New York University, where he earned his Master of Music degree in 2009. John keeps a busy schedule scoring short and feature-length films as well as trailer and source music for top production companies. Several of his scores have made appearances and won awards at events such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Newport Beach Film Festival, and the Austin Film Festival.
To listen to some of John’s work, go to www.johnjesensky.com
Curtis Sherman (cinematographer) – For the past several years, Curtis has worked on shows like Extant, starring Halle Berry, along with United States of Tara, Twisted, Rob, Friend Me, and Happily Divorced. Additionally, he has worked on countless independent feature films, commercial and music video shoots. As a DP, Curtis has shot numerous short films and music videos, including “Kemo Sabe,” which won Best Short Film at the USA Film Festival. Curtis has a Master of Fine Arts in Cinematography from the American Film Institute and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Film and Video from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He also has a pet bunny rabbit.
J.R. Arinaga (editor) – Growing up in Santa Ana, CA, J.R. was the first person from his family to ever go to college. After graduating from USC Film School, he made an immediate impact on the industry with his dynamic and explosive editing style, earning his company the moniker “Sick Cuts.” He’s the man behind the trailers for numerous major movies and TV shows like Batman Begins, The Hangover, Horrible Bosses, and Entourage. He was also one of the main editors on hit TV shows like Hell’s Kitchen and The Biggest Loser. When he’s not rocking the cuts, J.R. is also pursuing his own directing career, having directed commercials for major national brands along with short form content for HBO.
Ryan Stevens Harris (concept artist) – Ryan Stevens Harris is an award-winning filmmaker and exhibited artist. He grew up in North Carolina and Ohio, never far from the red glow of his mother's dark room, sketching on his drawing board and inventing stories. Like his films, Harris's artwork employs controlled organic energy – intricate combinations of paint, charcoal and collage, creating a tactile, layered effect. Harris currently lives in Los Angeles, developing film projects, stretching canvases and harboring thoughts about the modern state of affairs.
To see more of Ryan's work, visit www.rstevensharris.com
Risks and challenges
Filmmaking is an unpredictable adventure. Actors drop out, locations become unavailable, equipment breaks, etc. But there is one way to combat the unexpected. Preparation. We thrive on planning out our productions to the last detail and leaving no stone unturned. We always have contingency plans and other options in place. But most of all, we have an unbridled passion to see this project through. Regardless of what challenges we may encounter, we will not only overcome them, but we will give 110% to deliver a great film for you to enjoy. A film that we can all be proud of.
If you have any additional questions, concerns or ideas, please feel free to reach out to us directly. We’re looking forward to going on this adventure with you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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