Hello and thank you all for your support! We had a donor make an executive producer pledge and push us over!!! Kickstarter and Amazon however do take a cut and I do have overhead for rewards, so it's definitly not quite as much as it first seems... let's keep going, can still def use more support!
This project came about as a result of the noticeable lack of TV content geared towards the rock/metal/punk audience, a genre of music I find quite vital and interesting. I've always enjoyed all the rock music documentaries, but more often than not they are all looking towards a point in the past, of how things once were, and I thought why not do something that's contemporary and covers the current rock scene? A year later, we have the experimental pilot season of NYC ROCKS.
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Episode #4 Metal bartender L.A.
EPISODE#2 PANZIE AT CONEY ISLAND
NYC ROCKS PILOT EPISODE: "WENDIGO" PART 1
The original idea was to do a reality show based around rocker girls and that soon evolved into producing a semi-scripted show that would take people in the current scene and give them alter ego rock characters to play in what would be a show named Rock Persona. But as I was doing casting interviews I realized it would be a bit of a stretch to try to pull off without having more resources available. And the people I was interviewing were interesting enough that I thought why not just do it in straight up documentary style. And so I selected several people who had auditioned and decided to shoot a "day in the life" with each. The setup for these episodes is fairly basic, picking a singular event and just me shooting with one camera and asking questions. The result has been several episodes, each having different characters and therefore slightly different stylistic results.
As I mention in the pitch video above, funds are needed for future shoots to raise the production value by being able to hire a professional shooting crew for multiple camera shoots and an editor to have a timely turnaround for the episodes. We also need to develop an online presence by building a proper website, and getting people involved who can help make the NYC ROCKS concept fiscally sustainable. If the idea gains traction, I would like to focus on a group of characters over a longer period of time. (More shooting days + more editing time= more money needed) and those who contribute to this Kickstarter will get share votes and therefore have a say in how that plays out. $13,000 is really the minimum amount I need to build the brand online and do 2 more short or one long episode that takes place over more time and has a higher production value because of having a professional crew. Ideally what I'd like to do is a whole season of 10-12 episodes, but we would need a larger budget to do that.
Each episode provides a behind the scenes insider view and showcases different people in the rock community. The episodes are geared towards a rock/metal enthusiast more so than the average viewer. There are several tiers of rewards for financial supporters, from Limited Edition DVDS, to a NYC ROCKS t- shirt like this:
We welcome your feedback and please tell any friends that you think might also be interested! THX & ROCK ON!!!
Risks and challenges
One of the biggest challenges for me was that just when I had gotten some steam and was in the height of shooting in the summer of 2012 I tore the ACL in my knee and was put out of commission for several months. This was right after having my camera stolen and trying to put together evidence to track down the thief, and following up with the NYPD. It all really threw off the momentum and schedule of the project and it has taken longer to complete than planned. I ended up having 2 ACL reconstruction surgeries over the course of 6 months, each time losing full mobility for months at a time, and at the launch of this Kickstarter am 3 weeks into rehabilitation for a 2nd knee surgery. But I have been trying to stay productive and really focus on editing the episodes during the time I am stuck at home.
One of the biggest logistical challenges is trying to film in environments that are one of the worst logistically in terms of filmmaking; dark, loud rock bars where there is copyrighted music blaring loudly. A wireless lav and on camera light helps to make the situation doable, and it also helps having people in front of the camera who understand these challenges and can help the crew work around them.
One of the ways to get around this is to film in a more controlled space, say a bar rented out specifically for a shoot, where we can regulate the music, control the lighting and bring in people that are all there just for the shoot. This costs more, and so that's what I'm hoping a successful Kickstarter will allow me to do to evolve this concept. We would then have a a shooting situation that would allow us to do more character development.
A related hurdle is that many of the mid size venues in New York are owned/managed by Live Nation or Bowery Presents and charge exorbitant fees to film live concerts. So one scenario is that they see that it's in their interest also to have NYC ROCKS film there or smaller, less corporate venues will become the norm for the filming of the live shows.
An equal challenge is finding the right people. There are plenty of interesting personas in the NYC rock scene, but many are sensitive about their image and how personal they are willing to get on camera. Having a camera following you around is intrusive and invasive. The tradeoff is that the an audience can learn more about who you are, and if you are an artist looking for exposure this can serve as a way to get the public engaged in your activities. The ideal person is someone who is comfortable sharing their life experiences on camera, being able to play it up and have fun when the camera is on, and accept that not everything they do is going to look perfect, and that those behind the scenes personal struggles are what will make the show (and them) interesting to viewers. It can be a tough balance as drama and struggle make for good story. There needs to be a willingness to be open to the process of capturing the reality of ups and downs, and a trust built that if something happens that is extremely sensitive the filmmaker will be respectful in the editing room and not act exploitatively. I don't believe the typical "reality" TV formula that there always needs to be some "car wreck" type drama to keep a viewer's interest. As I think you'll see in these episodes, they are more documentary in nature then traditional "reality TV". And that's just what feels more instinctual and organic for me.
These episodes have been an experiment to see what works, what doesn't, and how a potential audience might respond. I believe one can capture the challenges of trying to succeed in the rock/metal world with both authenticity and integrity, without producing a glossed over, propaganda piece about how "rock n roll cool" a band is. But there needs to be the right combination of ingredients to make this work, and it all comes down to having the right personalities involved.
- (43 days)