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Samuel Morton set out to debunk a notorious haunted house and expose ghost hunters as frauds. What he found could prove it all.

The Trailer

The trailer we've put together doesn't contain any footage from the finish film.  We've made it to give you a feel for what we're trying to achieve but we need this campaign to be successful to make the real thing.

The Story

Samuel Morton built his career chasing ghosts on TV.  Following a personnel tragedy, he decides to make an exposé revealing the truth about ghost hunters and show the public how ghosts are faked for entertainment.  He assembles a crew, rents a supposedly haunted house and sets out to debunk the whole thing.

It quickly becomes clear that all is not as it seems and something, or someone, is in the house with them.  As Sam's grip on reality begins to slip, the crew start to question his motives and how far he'll go to achieve them.

When people start dying and their footage is being tampered with only one question remains, do you believe in ghosts?

Why We Want to Make This Film

Last year I was fortunate enough to see an extended cut of The Shining at a horror festival.  While sitting in the packed theatre watching the thirty year old masterpiece scare old and young alike, something occurred to me, The Shining is not actually a ghost story.  By that I mean the ghosts play a very minor role in the film, it’s the story of a man losing his mind and terrifying his family, and the audience, along the way.   While the idea of linking the supernatural to mental illness is not unique, A Tale Of Two Sisters plays with this idea to great effect, it remains a relatively unexplored area.

A few months before the screening, I had begun writing the first draft of what would become The House On Abbott’s Ridge.  The original idea was to write a ghost story that would work for believers and non-believers alike but the difficulty was creating ghostly occurrences that worked from both points of view.   After seeing The Shining, I knew exactly what the story had to become.

Watching a documentary about professional ghost hunters explain how they create ghosts and seeing familiar paranormal activity, such as ghost detectors, Ouija boards, EVP and séances exposed as parlour tricks heightens the impact of the seemingly unexplainable events that unfold. When you combine this with the mental decline of the main character and the paranoia and mistrust that develops amongst the crew, it has the potential to be a very rare thing in the horror genre, a truly frightening and thought provoking film.

Another Found Footage Ghost Film?

Not really, no.  While it's true that found footage ghost films have been very popular in recent years, the format often stretches credibility and feels more like a gimmick used to sell an otherwise weak film rather than a creative choice.  However, when used effectively, it has the ability to place the viewer in the film, heightening the tension and adding a level of realism and involvement that cannot be achieved with a standard narrative approach.

The characters in Abbott's Ridge are making a documentary and it's through their documentary that the story unfolds.  It is told in retrospect by the people who survived and is pieced together from their footage and their fractured memories of the events.  This scenario also allows for one of the unique story elements of Abbott's Ridge, the possibility of the footage being altered by the characters to hide what really happened.

Why We Need Your Help

In the course of making our previous feature film and our shorts, we've been fortunate enough to meet a lot of very talented and creative people who are willing to give up their time and skills to help us make this film.  Unfortunately, film making is still expensive and this is why we've turned to Kickstarter.

£10,000 doesn't sound like enough to shoot and post a feature film to completion and in truth, it isn't.  The film will be partially funded by us and we already have a committed crew who'll work for nothing more than food.  We have 90% of the camera and lighting equipment as well as access to the locations, make-up artists and prosthetic FXs we'll need to complete the shoot.  For post production we have collaborators in digital FXs and grading together with the expertise of industry professional editors and sound designers to finish the film to the highest standard and who'll work for a fraction of their usual rates.

What we need is enough money to find and secure great actors for the 2 week shoot, supplies to suitably distress the house and give it the right look and the props, costumes and food that will get us through the shoot.   Anything else we raise will go towards making the film feel bigger, look better and be even scarier.  Your support will make all the difference.  And there are some pretty cool rewards on offer too!

The Abbott's Ridge T-shirt and poster
The Abbott's Ridge T-shirt and poster

Other Ways You Can Help

We realize some people can’t contribute financially, but we still need your help!  You can help us by spreading awareness of this campaign and letting people know about the film.  Please join our Facebook group and encourage your friends and family to do so too.

Even better, you could use the share tool at the top of the page to spread the word and help us connect with other people who might be able to support the project.

The Production Plan

Since the majority of the film takes place at night, we're planning to shoot at the end of September or early October 2013 to take advantage of the longer nights.  Through extensive planning and rehearsals, we shot our first feature film in 6 days, working roughly 12 hour days.  Abbott's Ridge will be a more complicated shoot than Gabriel Small and the added set-up time for the night shots means we're planning on a 2 week shoot comprising of roughly 70% night, 30% day.

Our main location, the house and it's surroundings, is available to us at no cost, however, if we manage to raise more than our target of £10,000 we'll be looking to either move the people out of the house who live there for the duration of the shoot, allowing us to shoot faster by having the whole house dressed at once, or we'll try to find another location that has all of the attributes we need that we can rent.

Once the film's shot, our editor, who's going to be free between October and January, will start cutting the film.  During this period we'll also be working with our sound designers to get an original score written and recorded for the film and taking advantage of their custom built recording studio to fill out the sound scape of the film and give it an extra level of atmosphere.

The goal is to have all of the post production completed by April 2014 in time to take the film to Cannes in May.  We've already started making contact with distributors and finding contacts who might be interested in taking on the film once it's complete.


A Little About Us

Waking Dream Studios started as a creative outlet and a banner for Jordan Morris and Richard Reynolds to practice and learn the craft of film making under.  As we worked on more projects, we met like-minded people who shared our vision and added their own ideas and creative energies into the mix.  We have produced over a dozen short films and the goal for each one was to push ourselves further and achieve something we've never done before.  For example, Evening Exorcise, a smart twist on exorcism films, required us to deal with all the technical difficulties of shooting a film set at night during the day and allowed us to combine practical make-up effects with digital effects to create our demon.  The result is a stunningly polished short film that far exceeds its minimal (<£200) budget.

In 2009 we completed our first feature length project, Gabriel Small, which was made for a grand total of £500.  This was achieved due to the hard work and dedication of the key creative people and the contacts and skills we have developed over the years.  The reviews (4 stars from the IAC) and awards won by the film (Best Young Film Maker – Swansea Bay Film Festival, Best Debut Feature – Falstaff International Film Festival, Best Young Film Maker – Heart Of England Film Festival) are a testament to the creative potential of the people involved.

Poster for Gabriel Small
Poster for Gabriel Small

Waking Dream Studios has now reached a point where our creative ambitions are limited only by our financial situation.  We continue to make short films that are extremely well received by audiences and push the boundaries both in terms of creativity and what is possible on minimal budgets but we desperately want to take our work to the next level.  We want the opportunity to prove ourselves on a bigger stage and we need people who share our passion for innovative and entertaining films to help us get there.

History Of The Abbott's House

The story of the house stretches back to the 15th century when a group of Carthusian monks built a monastery close to the river Maun on the outskirts of a small logging town called Mansfield.   The monastery and its land were taken from the monks by Thomas Cromwell as part of the English Reformation in the 16th century and those who refused to leave where hung for treason.  The monastery remained empty until Elizabeth I gifted it to a group of Puritans as part of her Religious Settlement.  Elizabeth, who had been forced to denounce the Catholic Church when they did not recognise her right to the thrown, used the Puritans extreme Protestant views and the monastery's isolated location to "re-educate" those who opposed her.

The Puritans, who operated with almost total autonomy, quickly gained a reputation as torturers and sadists and routinely burnt people at the stake who they considered heretics.  Following Elizabeth's death in the early 17th century, James I added his personal dislike of witches to their duties and is know to have travelled to the monastery on at least 2 occasions to watch the interrogation and execution of suspected witches.

An early woodcut print of the monastery
An early woodcut print of the monastery

During the 18th century, Mansfield experienced rapid growth as a market town and the locals became increasing suspicious of the activities that took place at the monastery.  Many of the superstitions and stories that exist today have there origins here.  In 1812, two young girls were taken from the town to be tried as witches.  The town's people rebelled and marched on the monastery, freeing the girls and locking the priests inside before burning it to the ground.  In time, the stones were used in new buildings and the site where the monastery once stood became fields and woodland. The history of the monastery began to fade from people’s memories until all that remained was the name of the hill, Abbott’s Ridge.

In the late 19th century, the Parker family bought the land, and several aches surrounding, it to build a farm.  Despite suffering 2 suicides and regular mutilation of their livestock, the Parker's remained until they sold the land in the 1950's to begin development of the Ladybrook estate.  The area surrounding the monastery was the last to be developed and 2 houses were built where it had stood almost 2 centuries before.  Since it's completion in 1998, the Abbott's house has had 8 owners,  3 people have died there and 1 is currently listed as a missing person.  Stories of hooded figures roaming the rooms, people crying out in the dark and mysterious bruises appearing while people slept are common amongst it's previous residents.  The house has now been empty for over 2 years.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The biggest challenge we expect to face on this project is finding the right actors. Because the film is told in a documentary style, we need their performances to be completely natural while also being compelling and interesting enough to drive the story. We use Patrick Fabian as a great example of what we hope to find. His performance in The Last Exorcism carries the whole film and the subtleties and nuances he brings to the role make him both believable and memorable.

This is the reason we need Kickstarter's help. Having the money to get the right actors onto this project will make the difference between a good film and a great one. In order for us to find actors of this calibre we'll be putting out casting calls through on-line acting websites, placing adverts in industry magazines and using our contacts to spread the word about the project. From this open call we'll need to meet and audition everyone, testing their abilities with the most demanding scenes and seeing how they cope with improvisation. From there, we'll short list the best ones and screen test them to see how they respond to the camera and find the best chemistry between the characters. While this process isn't especially costly, it is time consuming and we'll need to begin as soon as this campaign is over.

Shooting a feature film on a low budget is always a challenge. We're firm believers in extensive planning and feel that's the key to a successful shoot. We spent several months planning every detail of the shoot for our first feature film, from the shot selection, lighting and sound placement to costumes, transportation requirements and even the position of the sun at different times of the day in each location to ensure we would be there at the right time to get the best shots. Even with as much planning as we did, we still learnt an awful lot making Gabriel Small and it's the experience we learnt on that, and our subsequent shorts, that give us the confidence to start this project and know we can complete it on time and on budget.

The other big challenge we foresee is common to all low budget films, distribution. Making a film without a distributor attached allows for a lot of creative freedom but also carries the risk of the finished film not being available to the public. To stop this happening to Abbott's Ridge, we're aiming to take the finished film to the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 as well as raise it's profile by entering it into several high profile festivals. Low budget, independent horror films have a proven track record of finding distribution and we believe the level of quality we can achieve with Kickstarter's help will ensure the film surpasses it's peers and is a project that distributors want.

FAQ

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    Pledge £5 and as well as our eternal gratitude and a warm fuzzy feeling you'll have access to the production blog so you can keep up to date with the film's progress.

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    A HD download of the finished film, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you on our Facebook page and website.

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    A limited edition DVD of our first feature film, "Gabriel Small", which includes hours of bonus material including a feature length making-of documentary. Plus a HD download of the finished film, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you on our Facebook page and website.

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    An exclusive backers edition DVD of "The House On Abbott's Ridge" including hours of bonus material. Plus a HD download of the finished film, a personnel thank you on our Facebook and website and access to the production blog.

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    A full size Abbott's Ridge poster signed by the cast and crew plus a backers edition DVD, HD download, personnel thank you on our Facebook and website and access to the production blog.

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    An exclusive Abbott's Ridge T-shirt together with a backers edition DVD, HD download, personnel thank you on our Facebook and website and access to the production blog.

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    Buy one of the ghostly props used in the film. We'll be selling our Ouija board, an EMF meter (ghost detector), a micro tape recorder used for EVP (with a message recorded from the cast and crew), a set of burnt (possibly cursed) rosary beads and a set of iron shackles (ideal for torture). You'll have to be quick because there's only 1 of each item!. You'll also recieve a backers edition DVD, HD download, personnel thank you on our Facebook and website and access to the production blog.

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    Commission an illustration of your choice by comic book artist Richard Reynolds. See a selection of Richard's work http://www.facebook.com/richard.a.reynolds.1/media_set?set=a.1007177713263.666.1639538701&type=3 Plus you'll receive an exclusive backers edition DVD, a HD download of the finished film a personnel thank you on our Facebook and website and access to the production blog.

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    The complete package, T-shirt, poster, backers edition DVD, HD download, personnel thank you on our Facebook and website and access to the production blog.

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    Your name in the credits! Your name will appear in the "Special Thanks" section of the end credits. Plus you'll receive a backers edition DVD, HD download, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you e-mail from Jordan and Richard.

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    Ride a horse! Embrace your inner cowboy, or cowgirl, and spend an hour down at the stables. You'll be shown how to groom and tack up before heading out for a ride. Experienced riders can go out into the countryside while novices will head down to the school to learn the basics. You'll be featured on, and receive a copy of, the backers DVD together with a HD download of the finished film, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you e-mail from Jordan and Richard. Must be willing to travel to Nottingham.

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    A chance to be in the film! The story is partially told through interviews with ex-residents of the house recounting their experiences. We'll record you telling us your scariest ghost encounters and the best ones will make it into the film. Alternatively, for those living more than 50 miles from Nottingham, write them down and we'll incorporate the best ones into the script. All backers at this level will appear in the features on the DVD. Plus you'll receive a backers edition DVD, HD download, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you e-mail from Jordan and Richard.

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    2 tickets to the premier, a PDF copy of the shooting script once the film is complete, plus a backers edition DVD, HD download, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you e-mail from Jordan and Richard.

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    A "This Film Would Not Have Been Possible Without" credit during the end credits of the film, 2 tickets to the premier and a PDF copy of the shooting script once the film is complete plus a backers edition DVD, HD download, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you e-mail from Jordan and Richard.

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    A framed, original page from the web-comic "St. Shawshank's Infant School". Every page of the comic is hand drawn by artist Richard Reynolds before being scanned and uploaded to the web. He's putting 5 pages up for sale to support this project and they are the genuine hand drawn originals! These have not been available before and are not be available anywhere else so grab yourself a piece of comic history. Check out the web-comic at http://www.stshawshanks.com/ You will also receive a backers edition DVD, HD download, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you e-mail from Jordan and Richard.

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    Ride in a Delorean! Not only will you be supporting a great cause but you'll also go for a ride in an original 1981 Delorean, have your picture taken with the car and be featured on the backers edition DVD. You'll also receive 2 tickets to the premier, a PDF copy of the shooting script once the film is complete, a backers edition DVD, HD download, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you e-mail from Jordan and Richard. Must live within 50 miles of Nottingham or be willing to travel.

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    An "Assistant Producer" credit during the end credits of the film and on the IMDB page, 2 tickets to the premier and a signed copy of the shooting script once the film is complete plus a signed backers edition DVD, HD download, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you e-mail from Jordan and Richard.

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    An "Executive Producer" credit at the start and end of the film and on the IMDB page, 4 tickets to the premier, a signed copy of the shooting script once the film is complete plus. You'll also have the opportunity to have input into the auditioning process, you and a guest can visit us on set during filming and come and see the film while it's being edited to get a sneak peak. You'll also receive a signed backers edition DVD, HD download, access to the production blog and a personnel thank you e-mail from Jordan and Richard.

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    We will shoot, edit and deliver a music video, short film, corporate video or advert for you, your band or your company, up to a maximum of 5 minutes.

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    Become the Godfather of our project and when we become famous you'll be able to call on us for a favour........ ;) Plus, take your pick of any or all of the other rewards, nothing's too good for our Godfather.

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Funding period

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