I'm Rachel Sweeney.
Hi. The purpose of this Kickstarter is to raise funds to produce my short film, Dead Girl. Dead Girl is a dark comedy that follows Rachel, an unfulfilled actress, as she plays a “Dead Girl” on fictional episodic crime drama Minds of Crime. The experience sends her over an edge she didn’t even realize she was teetering on.
We open on a [DEAD GIRL].
As the director yells “cut!” and the set comes alive, so does the “Dead Girl.” Production Assistants talk on walkies and Hair and Makeup flies in as we follow this blue-lipped girl over to the crafty table and then, eventually, home. We are following Rachel, a classically trained actress who can’t get a foot in the door. Slinging poorly constructed lattes by day and performing Shakespeare by night, Rachel is sitting in a dunk tank of dissatisfaction, and the “Dead Girl” gig is the thing that sends her spiraling down into the water — the sea of troubles inside her own mind.
About those “Dead Girls”...
Between Law and Order: SVU, True Detective, Criminal Minds, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: LA, CSI: Las Vegas, CSI — okay, you get it — there are a lot of women getting the axe on TV. The entertainment industry is obsessed with dead women.
Too often, we go an entire episode or movie without even finding out the dead woman’s name. Or, even if we do, we follow the often male detective or amateur sleuth as he uncovers the truth behind the victim’s demise — and more importantly, uncovers something about himself. Cute.
Dead Girl is about the woman behind the “Dead Girl,” who is VERY much alive.
But what about the actress playing the dead girl? What about the woman who is actually naked in the very real ditch? Or the girl in the lingerie who spent hours having liquid latex poured on her chest or bruises painted on her face?
Who are the women who play the “Dead Girls”? How does playing dead affect Rachel’s life off set?
“Isn’t your name Rachel?”
Nothing slips by you, huh? Yes, it is. And this story is an extremely personal one. I won’t make it weird if you won’t.
In acting and writing, we’re always trying to get “in the room.” To get that audition or that meeting that you know will change your life and open all the doors to all the rooms. All people, not just actors and writers, have rooms they’re trying to get into. The things our “Dead Girl” is going through are universal, and we hope to make a piece that anyone who has stood outside that room, and knocked and knocked and waited for an answer, will relate to and find comfort in.
Let’s introduce you to the Dead Girl team.
Excuse me while I go third person for a second.
Rachel's comedy shorts have been featured on Huffington Post, WhoHaha, and others. Her most recent short, "Cheers," is an official selection for this year's Women in Comedy Festival. As a writer, she was a Second Rounder at the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, is currently a quarterfinalist for the Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship, and has been published in McSweeney's Internet Tendency. She has appeared in plays at The Barrow Group and Columbia University's Shapiro Theatre and performs sketch, improv, and stand up in various theaters and bars. Her favorite place on Earth is the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Check her films out on YouTube.
Allie Kolb is a New York based television producer, improviser, and comedy writer. She can usually be found writing jokes that make her parents feel ashamed on Twitter or watching Vanderpump Rules. Follow her on Twitter at @allie_kolb.
Marygrace Navarra is a New York-based writer. She was recently accepted to Temple University's Master of Fine Arts program in Film and Media Arts. She might be watching Jennifer's Body right now. You can follow her on Twitter at @marygracecn.
Marisa Bippus has spent 75% of her past two years working as a Production Coordinator, Assistant Director, and other various roles on set. Some of the projects she has worked on include First Family of Hip Hop, Ride with Norman Reedus, and a short film called Stages. In her free time, she binge watches Bob's Burgers and spends too much time online shopping.
Let’s talk money.
We don’t have a studio, or an established production company, backing us. Dead Girl is our independent passion project. We’re proud to be part of a community of New York filmmakers who look out for each other. Whether they’re lending their talents, their gear, or their advice, the generosity of this community astounds and inspires. We’re asking you to be part of that community.
Producing a short can be expensive and there are a lot of little costs here and there that you might not immediately think of. Luckily, we have! And the big ones — can’t forget the big ones. Luckily, we haven’t! From craft services to Kickstarter fees to production insurance, we have every dollar we plan on raising accounted for.
Instead of boring you with every detail, here is a general breakdown:
And, of course, let's take a look at those rewards.
You know the drill. To the right, you can check out all of our rewards, from social media shout outs to seeing your name in the credits. We've even collaborated with some incredible artists to create posters for the film. Check them out:
Each of these artists came up with these amazing designs just from reading the script. They represent each artist’s individual interpretation of Dead Girl.
And for $75, you can get a set of specialty stickers designed by four of our artists.
For as little as $20, you can grab this sticker with our classic black logo!
What’s the status of the project?
Your contribution won’t be going to a film that is going to happen — it will be funding a film that IS happening. The team is already well into pre-production. We start shooting May 14th and wrap June 7th.
Meet our cinematographer, Michael Mastroserio!
Michael is a cinematographer, having shot dozens of commercials, music videos and short films. His latest venture is Stretch Marks, a feature film he both co-produced and shot which is currently on the back end of post production. Check out his amazing reel!
We are a SAG signatory production and are currently rounding out our cast. We’re very excited to update you on casting news as it rolls in!
Most of our locations are locked, and we are happy to be working with these amazing local venues. They are true supporters of their artist communities. Check them out below:
The Riverside Theater
The Riverside Theatre presents a diverse range of programming that includes a diverse array of dance performances, musicals, operas, plays, movie screenings, and more. They want to engage, educate, and inspire you. Whether you want to attend original dance productions, classics such as our seasonal Nutcracker, documentary screenings, or musicals and plays from a variety of companies, The Riverside Theatre welcomes you.
Gristmill is an innovative, ingredient-driven restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn with a commitment to serving fresh, responsibly-sourced ingredients. www.gristmillbk.com
My apartment was a pretty easy location to secure.
We’re almost ready to shoot, now we just need your help to do it!
What’s next? Or, “Life After Kickstarter”
We’ll be submitting Dead Girl to film festivals all over the world in the hopes of not only sharing this piece with as wide an audience as possible, but also in the hopes of gaining exposure and making industry contacts. See, this is the first in a series of shorts, which we hope can one day be an anthology series that follows a different woman in each stand-alone story — think High Maintenance or Easy. We’re hoping through some exposure we can gain interest, and eventually the funding, to expand the Dead Girl world. I have already written a number of “Dead Girl” stories about a diverse and interesting group of women. You’re here at the beginning of what we hope will become a long-term project — the Big Bang of the the Dead Girl universe.
Could you share this with your mom?
Or whoever in your life you think might relate or might just be into it. Whether or not you can make a contribution, sharing our story and our campaign with your friends, family, old camp counselors, podiatrists, and anyone else is extremely helpful to us.
And finally, thank you.
From all of us. Now, let’s bring Dead Girl to life.
Special thanks to Chris Luperi, Ian Blau, Alex Pomerantz, and Chris Wright for helping us make our video! And, of course, to our "Dead Girls," Brielle DeMirjian, Shannon Terrel, Katie Berghorn, Onalee Smith, Christen Buckley, Anna Gundersen, Lani Harms, Kayla Ramsey, Therese Mcpherson, Lindsey Williams, Lauren Bastian, Taryn Joy, and Laura Zlatos.
Risks and challenges
We’ve worked hard to make sure a lot of the tough stuff is already out of the way. Our locations are good to go, as is our crew.
After the project is done, we’re hoping to get the film into festivals around the country. There’s a lot that goes into getting into top film festivals, but what it really comes down to is having a quality film. That’s our main concern. But we’ve also done our research about making the film long enough to tell a complete story but concise enough to fit easily into a film festival program. We’ll be shooting on a Red Epic Dragon, the same camera that was used to shoot movies like "Gone Girl", television shows like "The Man in the High Castle", and countless other shorts, features, and shows.
We’re hoping for smooth sailing, but, of course, things can always go wrong. Everyone on our team is prepared for anything that could come our way. We’re all experienced enough to know that when curveballs are thrown your way on set, keeping cool and figuring out solutions is often how the most spontaneous, creative moments happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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