Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 12, 2012.

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The first feature film from The Rumpus, directed by Stephen Elliott, based on the novel Happy Baby.

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!!!

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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.

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"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

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"One of my favorite books of the decade." - Maud Newton

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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 Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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.

FAQ

  • 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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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    110 backers

    Get The Word Out Package: We'll put your name on a “Special Thanks” list on our website and email you a thank-you postcard. Included with every contribution.

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    141 backers

    Collaborator Package: Help us cast the film! You will be given access to a private link on www.LetItCast.com that will allow you to vote on our casting finalists. You'll also get the link and password to watch the full Mr. Gracie short movie and a link to download Happy Baby posters.

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    292 backers

    Script Package: Includes the Collaborator Package and a PDF copy of the Happy Baby script and free entry into any Happy Baby fundraiser events.

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    New York kickstarter party package. Admission to the New York Happy Baby kickstarter event November 29 at Public Assembly. featuring Eugene Mirman, Rick Moody, Starlee Kine, K. Flay, and more. Automatically included with every donation over $20.

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    91 backers

    Hug and a Kiss Package: Free entry to any Rumpus event through the end of 2013 and a hug and a kiss from Stephen Elliott, Rumpus Managing Editor Isaac Fitzgerald, or Rumpus columnist and best selling author Cheryl Strayed. No tongue. Redeemable at public events only. Transportation not included. Includes the Script Package, the Collaborator Package,

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    26 backers

    Write Like A Motherfucker Package: Includes a Write Like A Motherfucker coffee mug. A signed copy of Happy Baby. The Hug and a Kiss Package. The Script Package. And free entry into any Happy Baby fundraiser event. *** You can also get a Write Like A Motherfucker coffee mug by adding $25 onto any other package.

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    Screening Package: You will be invited to an online test screening of the film where you will be given the opportunity to provide notes on the unfinished movie. Later, you will receive two tickets to attend a private cast & crew screening and Q&A of "Happy Baby" in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York. Plus all aformentioned perks. (transportation and lodging not provided)

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    Screening and a Book Package: Everything included in the screening package, hug and a kiss package, screenplay package and collaborator package, plus a personalized autographed copy of Happy Baby.

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    Special Edition Package: A first edition hard cover of Happy Baby personalized and autographed by Dave Eggers and Stephen Elliott. Plus everything in the screening package, hug and a kiss package, collaborator package, and script package.

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    Book and Festival Package: Everything in the screening package plus a ticket to any festival screening, any festival the movie screens at, anywhere in the world, as well as invitations to any festival parties associated with the movie. And a signed copy of Happy Baby.

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    Hardback Book and Festival Package: Everything in the screening package plus a ticket to any festival screening, any festival the movie screens at, anywhere in the world, as well as invitations to any festival parties associated with the movie. And a first edition of the original hardcover of Happy Baby, published by McSweeney's, signed by Stephen Elliott and Dave Eggers.

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    7 backers

    The Poetry Package: Nick Flynn, Camille Dungy, Matthew Zapruder, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, and Rumpus Poetry Editor Brian Spears, will all give feedback, at least a paragraph, on a sample of your poetry. Five pages of poetry max. Includes everything that comes with the screening package. Include the poetry package with any other package by adding $250.

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    14 backers

    "Happy Baby" Coffee and Skype Package: Coffee in person or skype consult with Stephen Elliott about your books, your movie ideas. Whatever you like. Includes Collaborator Package, Script Package, Screening Package, Hug And A Kiss Package, and Book And Festival Package.

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    3 backers

    The Essay Transformation Package: Personal feedback on an essay, up to twenty pages, from Chris Colin, Julie Greicius, and Chloe Caldwell. They'll also comment on your second draft and brainstorm with you places to submit the essay for publication, depending on your goals. Includes everything that comes with the screening package.

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    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    SF Writer's Grotto Package: Similar to our Essay Transformation Package. Feedback and support with a short story or section of a novel, magazine feature article, a memoir in progress, from San Francisco Writers Grotto members in the relevant discipline, including Ethan Watters, Janis Cooke Newman, E.B. Boyd, Louise Nayer, Stephanie Losee, Ethel Rohan, Peter Orner, Rachel Howard, and others. Includes the screening package, the hug and a kiss package, and the screenplay package.

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    2 backers

    The Dominatrix Package: A one hour session for an individual, or class for a couple, with Mistress Justine in Los Angeles, Mistress Morgana in San Francisco, Mistress Crimson in Chicago, or Mistress Alex in New York. Links in the Dominatrix Package video update. Includes everything that comes with the screening package.

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    7 backers

    "Happy Baby" Hangout Package: Come hangout with us on set in Detroit. We'll pick you up from the airport, drive you to set, and put you up for a night in our home (you're responsible for your own airfare). Includes all previously mentioned packages.

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    The Big Fat Box Of Books Package: Thirty brand new books, all just released, not even out yet, or signed by the author. Includes signed books from Elizabeth Gilbert, Dave Eggers, David Byrne, Cheryl Strayed, Nicky Hornby, Stephen Elliott, Chloe Caldwell, and more. Includes everything that comes with the screening package. *** Add the Big Fat Box Of Books Package onto any other package for $600.

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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    The Big Fat Box Of Books Package #2: Thirty brand new books, all just released, not even out yet, or signed by the author. Includes signed books from Dave Eggers, Nick Flynn, Steve Almond, Cheryl Strayed, Tobias Wolff, Stephen Elliott, Chloe Caldwell, Jillian Lauren, Jonathan Ames, and more. Includes everything that comes with the screening package and the hug and a kiss package. *** Add the Big Fat Box Of Books Package onto any other package for $600.

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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    The Complete Stephen Elliott: Four novels: Happy Baby, What It Means To Love You, A Life Without Consequences, Jones Inn. Two non-fiction books: Looking Forward To It, The Adderall Diares. One erotica collection: My Girlfriend Comes To The City And Beats Me Up. One co-authored novel: Donald. And four political anthologies: Politically Inspired, Stumbling and Raging, Sex For America, and Where To Invade Next. All signed and personalized. Includes the Collaborator's Package, the Screenplay Package, and the Screening Package.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    The Big Fat Box Of Books PLUS Package: Everything included in the Big Fat Box Of Books, along with a choice of one: The Dominatrix Package, a trip to the turkish baths in the East Village with Jonathan Ames, a tango lesson with Jillian Lauren, free admission to the Sanibel Writers Conference, dinner at Ichi Sushi, a set of four Rumpus mugs, The Poetry Package, or The Essay Transformation Package.

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    The Paul Madonna Package: Five amazing 16 x 20 prints from Paul Madonna. Check out Update #16 to view the prints. Includes the screening package, the hug and a kiss package, and the script package.

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    The Paul Madonna Plus Package: Five amazing 16 x 20 prints from Paul Madonna. Check out Update #16 to view the prints. And one of the following: The Dominatrix Package, a trip to the turkish baths in the East Village with Jonathan Ames, a tango lesson with Jillian Lauren, free admission to the Sanibel Writers Conference, dinner at Ichi Sushi, a set of four Rumpus mugs, The Poetry Package, or The Essay Transformation Package. ***** Includes the screening package, the hug and a kiss package, and the script package.

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    3 backers

    Big Screen Package: Walk on scene in movie. (airfare not included) Includes the Script Package, the Collaborator Package, the Screening Package, and the Happy Baby Hangout Package.

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    The Big Fat Life Changing Box of Books and Art Package: Everything included in the Paul Madonna Package and The Big Fat Box of Books Package.

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    The Big Fat Everything Package: Everything included in the Paul Madonna plus package, the big fat box of books package, a Write Like A Motherfucker coffee mug, and a first edition hardcover of Happy Baby signed by Stephen Elliott and Dave Eggers.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    The James Franco Package: Stephen Elliott's relationship with James Franco. Includes notarized documentation certifying the transfer of this relationship. A note from Stephen on this reward, "I really really like and care about James. Obviously, I think this relationship has value. I can't guarantee any actions on James part. You will be in full possession of our relationship."

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    2 backers

    Executive Producer Package: Executive Producer credit on the film. Plus the Script Package, the Collaborator Package, the Screening Package, the Happy Baby Hangout Package, and the Big Screen Package.

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Funding period

- (35 days)