About this project
We made our goal with 46 hours to spare! We set the goal at $85,000 because we thought that was how much we could raise. It's going to be an incredibly tight shoot. We would love to exceed our goal by at least $10,000 so we can have more shooting days, better lights, and better set design. Thank you so much!!!
Happy Baby is a movie based on the novel of the same name by Stephen Elliott, declared, by the New York Times, as "Surely the most beautiful novel ever written about S&M, juvenile detention centers, and drugs."
It's the story of Theo, once an orphan in the Detroit foster care system now a grown man living in California. He returns to Detroit to reconnect with the love of his life. You can read a chapter from the book here.
We're convinced we can make a quality compelling feature, outside of the system, for less than what feature movies are believed to cost. We're also convinced, because of running The Rumpus, and making the movie About Cherry, that there are new and interesting ways to tell stories that don't require all the traditional methods. We think we can avoid the frustrations of institutional censorship and financing. And we can open ourselves to making a movie that invites, and takes advantage of, all the new avenues and advances in digital photography, distribution, and community and the result will be a better artistic creation.
That's why this campaign is both about raising the necessary money to shoot the movie and also connecting with the people that want to see the movie, and including them in making the movie. We want to be in touch with the people who care the most about our work before, during, and after we finish shooting.
"I've always considered Happy Baby my favorite Stephen Elliott book, and we at McSweeney's were very proud to have a hand in publishing it. I feel like I know every word in the book, and not just because I did a line edit or two on it. It's written with such unvarnished, raw power, such unparalleled honesty, that it begins to feel like these are your own memories, that this was your own life. I'm happy that Stephen's making a movie out of it. The unique structure of it will translate well, and I think because the material is so personal to Steve, the result will be something very potent." - Dave Eggers
"One of my favorite books of the decade." - Maud Newton
Though kickstarter won't let you select multiple rewards any reward can be added to any other reward, just add the dollar amount. We'll notice that you "over-contributed" and add the reward for you. You'll be contacted after the campaign to check shipping addresses in case you want to send different rewards to different addresses.
Check our update page for regular updates.
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/happybabymovie
"Like" us on Facebook: facebook.com/happybabymovie
Mr. Gracie, a short movie based on the character from Happy Baby:
Risks and challenges
There are a lot of risks and challenges to making a feature movie. An actor could get sick, for example. We could run out of money without finishing post production. Sometimes you have to reschedule stuff for weather. So it's possible that we won't make all of the dates we've put forward. We'll be in constant contact with you so you'll know right away if we push filming.
We're flexible. It helps that the writer and the director are the same person. So if realities force script changes we're ready to do that. If the kickstarter money is the only money we raise then we might have to shoot parts of the movie in different cities, with small crews. The finished movie could end up looking significantly different than the movie you read in the script.
That's possible with all movies. A script is a starting point, not an end point. This is Stephen Elliott's second feature movie and the first thing you learn shooting a feature is that things happen you would never, ever, expect. We expect that.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We're going to have to adapt. If we only raise $85,000 and no more then we might have shoot some of the movie with a skeleton crew in other locations. If we raised a lot more than $85,000 we would shoot the move on 16mm.
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