FEAR LESS. LIVE MORE. WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE ANYWAY RIGHT?
THE BACK STORY
A few years ago I suffered from anxiety, and it sucked. I didn't know what the next chapter of my life was supposed to look like and the unknown crippled me. I couldn't commit to any life decision out of fear that it was the 'wrong choice' and I went into dark brain vortexes.
But one day I sat on a cliff and penned a poem called 'We're All Going to Die' and my perspective shifted. The small stuff seemed, well...small.
I realised that if life's only guarantee is death, then why not take a few risks?
Any hardship becomes easier once you realise you're not alone, so I reached out to a bunch of incredible artists and asked them to interpret this theme. The response has been overwhelming.
Two years on, We're All Going To Die is a festival that uses death to shift our perspective on fear, and the role it plays in our lives. Combining film, book, installation, visual art, music, talks and immersive experiences the festival asks you to Fear Less. Live More.
Here's the deal: we are not sponsored by any corporate brands this year. I believe in this message so strongly that I don't want it to become compromised.
It's safe to say that throwing independent festivals with zero corporate sponsors is financially challenging. The entire thing so far has been funded from my heart (savings) but there are still so many elements to this project which require funding.
THE COST BREAKDOWN
Our real costs actually reach $80 000, and this doesn't even factor any actual artist or labour fees. Below are a few of the countless costs that we are aiming to cover through this Kickstarter so we can alleviate our extremely light wallets.
AV and Lighting:
Remember when you told scary stories at sleep overs and held up a torch under your face and it was really effective? The festival equivalent of this costs way more than a torch. From a neon glowing hearse to immersive experience baths, meditation rooms and a pumping dance floor, AV technicians and lighting is going to set the tone and make this a memorable night.
Artwork material costs + installation and construction:
So notice that we haven't once mentioned actual artist fees right? The wonderful people who are contributing to this project are doing so in-kind. At this stage we're relying on just covering the cost of materials plus the scissor lifts and other machinery required to create these experiences and installations.
- Security, Cleaning, Insurance and Port-a-loos: So this isn't that exciting to read about but it's that classic surprise cost that you don't even consider when you're excited about your project. So funding this means I don't have to flush my dreams away (see what I did there? I'm so sorry).
Kickstarter takes 8% of the fees. I don't know what else to add here.
OUR ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR
Seems ambitious right? To keep you believing in us here's some stuff that we've already got going for us (and this is a tip of the iceberg synopsis)
Our Venue: COMMUNE
The venue is way out of budget for any independent artist but guess what? Turns out they're epic legends and believe in this project. Everyone please put their hands together for COMMUNE.
This venue is a labyrinth of warehouse spaces, alleyways and secret tiny rooms for us to hide bonus installations inside. We'll let pictures paint the next 1000 words
- ARTISTS! We've locked in 10 major pieces and a bunch of bonus surprise experiences and installations but here's a sneak peek of what you can expect:
The Rainbow Hearse
Shying away from the cliche 'Life's Short', the Rainbow Hearse beckons you to stand in its presence and think about life's only guarantee on your own terms. Perhaps your soul has a thing or two to tell you now that you're listening.
- Panel Discussion Hosted by Tom Tilley We have two 30 minute panel discussions on the night on the topics of death and fear. Who have we got on the panel you ask? Tom Tilley mediates between an incredibly diverse range of humans. From a funeral director who thinks we need to shake up the morbid and boring funeral industry to a psychologist who believes in helping young people ‘get their shit together’ (her words) we discuss the topics us young people often don’t think to discuss.’
Bedroom Grooves by Groove Therapy x Retrosweat
Would you show the world your bedroom moves? Groove Therapy, in partnership with Retrosweat, explores the fear of judgement and the solace we seek within the privacy of our bedrooms. This series of short five minute performance works invites you to revisit your childhood safe space by immersing yourself in a nostalgic bedroom installation as performers rotate through. Weird? We don’t care what you think.
Living Tombstone by Various Artists
What Would Your Tombstone Say? We asked a range of artists from The Land Boys, Mia Taninaka, Ozzie Wright, Nadia Hernandez, Otis Carey, Georgia Hill, Ben Brown, Jim Mitchell and Rad Dan amongst many more to create a homage to their own lives and the legacy they hope to leave via their Living Tombstone.
Death Meditation by Indigo Project
What do we do when we think the end is coming? It’s not as apocalyptic as you might think. The truth is, when people know they are going to die, they spend their last year in the most loving, conscious and caring way. So don’t wait until you die to live. Start practicing now.
Mini-Film Festival - Various Directors
My original poem turned into an illustrated children's book (for adults) before turning into a short film. This festival will be the world premier of the We're all Going to Die Film.
Since this theme is about sharing experiences, I asked my favourite directors and friends from across New York City, L.A, London, New Zealand and Gosford (bless) to create 60 second films around assigned themes including death, fear, the unknown, judgement and life.
A Digital Thanks: $5
Cos you ain't all loaded but you like supporting because you're good people.
1 x Festival Ticket + 1 x Pin: $25
Keen to come to the festival and wear a pin of support whilst you're at it? Our tickets are on here without the booking fee so get on the pre-sale buzz.
We're All Going To Die Book by Stefan Hunt: $50
As I mentioned earlier, We're All Going To Die began as a poem which I ended up illustrating...I was blown away to find out that it got picked up by Inspire Good Publishing in the U.S. You can purchase signed copies through this Kickstarter for $50, they are not for sale anywhere else right now.
- Tee by Stefan Hunt X The Critical Slide Society: $60 MOREEE STRESS AND WORKLOAD I said, and that's how a clothing line emerged. Sort of. The good people at The Critical Slide Society have collaborated with me to create a line of tees that celebrate our message. One of these tees can be bought as a reward for $60. Help me out with this project and I'll help you look great in social situations. Win win.
Tee + Book Combo Pack: $100
Want both and maybe score a discount whilst you're at it too? Go on then.
*Prize images not to scale
Art Print: $150
Dig children's illustrations around themes of fear and death? We got you covered. My illustrations from the book have been turned into 5 x limited edition prints you can choose from. Printed on fancy pro art paper. 55cm x 40cm
Ultimate Combo Pack #2: $200
Super fan and want to show us how? You can purchase 1 x book, 1 x tee, 2 x pin and 2 x festival tickets for $200 and know that you've blown us away with your support for local community projects.
Original Artwork by Stefan: $500
Forget this print business you're a fancy art collector. We have 10 limited edition original paintings by yours truly up for grabs. 45cm x 45cm. Acrylic on canvas. Original works will differ from image pictured below.
Bedtime Story: $1000
Stefan will tuck you in to bed and read his book ‘We’re All Going To Die’ to you. Then turn off the lamp and leave. *Kisses on the forehead arranged at extra cost. **Sydney based reward. Other locations travel to be covered externally.
Story Time At Your Office: $1500
How is your company culture when looking at themes of fear, productivity and work-life balance? Stefan will come to your office with milk and cookies and read you the We're All Going To Die book as well as running an hour of activities that derive from the festival (eye-gazing, meditation sessions and goal setting). Also your office gets a signed copy of the book to keep and Stefan will give everyone sharpie tattoos.
- Original Painting, 100cm x 140cm: $2000 I'm offering a limited edition series of five large artworks created around these themes of life, death and overcoming fear. $2000 shows your support and let's your house glow with good vibrations and colour.
- Your Name Credited as Executive Producer, You Legend You: $5000 Everyone wants to brag that they were the executive producer of film, nows your opportunity! This ensures that your name will be across all credits to do with our Kickstarter and Film Screening plus you can choose from any of the tees, books, pins and tickets packages below that you like.
Public Story Time...Naked : $10 000
What's the world's most common fear? Public speaking? Stefan's decided to put his money where his mouth is and face one of his personal biggest fears, public speaking...naked. You name the place and time and Stefan will read his book We're All Going To Die completely starkers. Feeling pretty terrified right now, but we're all going to die right?
Stefan started his film-making career at 18, when he decided to buy an ice-cream truck and drive it across the U.S with the goal of surfing in each state, even if it was land locked. The idea was so stupid that it did incredibly well. Since then he has directed award-winning films across every single continent except for Antarctica and worked alongside the biggest global brands such as Google, Nike and Hurley. Despite living the dream and winning a host of international film festival awards and Vimeo staff picks, Stefan's career motto still remains the same: inspire change through creativity.
Liv is more than your go-to legend for witty banter. She just finished co-ordinating the editorial department on the LEGO Ninjago Movie and is now Editorial Producer at ARC EDIT in Darlinghurst. All the while, managing this festival on the side. Liv wholeheartedly believes in the power of creativity to spark change, and she doesn’t mind a festival either. This might explain her positive attitude towards spending countless nights on the lounge room floor crunching numbers, creating spreadsheets, schedules, sending emails, brainstorming and workshopping ideas... And making pasta; she makes pretty mean carbonara.
Yingna Lu is a film and digital media producer who loves the unpredictable nature of her work and the teams she meets (who somehow have to learn to synchronise together). She is allured by the power of human connection and how it can enable people to feel completely and honestly themselves - she strives to facilitate this in her work every day, via any visual format and medium available and is currently doing so with projects she is developing with SBS, Screen Australia and commercially.
Helena was literally pondering the idea of death positivity when I casually approached her for some advice on how to go about this festival. With a pre-existing fascination on the topic as well as a a background in event producing (having just wrapped up a food festival that hosted 5000 people) Helena has been an absolutely tireless gun.
Vanessa founded Groove Therapy in 2016. Her work advocating for mental wellness through dance has led her to be named a Young Social Pioneer by the Foundation for Young Australians, an Unstoppable Millennial by Westpac and a resident for City of Sydney's Creative Live Work Spaces Program.
Aside from choreographing Bedroom Grooves, one of the performance works for the festival, Vanessa's penchant for talking too much is being channeled into marketing and writing copy for this festival.
Sam Ali owns the COMMUNE, our event venue, which can only be described as an entangled network of enormous warehouse spaces. Whilst this venue is synonymous with the coolest and biggest events hosted in Sydney, Sam's heart has always been about living life with a sense of purpose and positivity. Lucky for us because this incredible space is beyond our wildest dreams (and budget), and the message resonated with Sam. Without COMMUNE as a presenter, this festival would not be of the scale that it is set to be. We are so grateful.
The Whole Team
So no, this isn't set to be some rookie event by the six people I've named above. This project has had over 100 people work on it in some capacity over it's lifetime. I don't have the space to write about each of them but I am currently working on a shrine with all of their faces on it which I will upload to the internet once I've completed it.
So we've come this far, this Kickstarter is now about telling the world what we're aiming to achieve and proving the skeptics wrong. We think this is an important message and one that isn't discussed enough. We are so blown away by the response we've gotten so far. Join the movement and help us spread the word and raise this $30 000!
Risks and challenges
This entire project is based on taking risks and not letting fear hold you back.
So far we've locked in the venue, most of the artists, many of our volunteers and festival organisers/staff. There are always going to be risks with a project this big though:
The biggest risk now? That we don't sell enough tickets. This isn't a popularity contest, and the importance of selling tickets doesn't sit on just making money or feeling important, but it's about creating a meaningful movement where young people can feel vulnerable and immerse themselves in themes that we're told not to talk about (or people will judge you). Our aim is to create enough awareness about this project that we sell 1000 tickets. We hope you'll help us reach this target.
Getting the $
Without Kickstarter and your help our festival runs the risk of not going ahead... or even worse going ahead and being an epic fail. So what do you say? Help fund this and make it one of the coolest nights that Sydney has experienced in a long time.
The end goal is to create something that we can tour, both nationally and internationally. Funding this project means you're funding the beginning of what we hope is a global movement.
This festival is the prototype and with your help it will gain enough traction to keep going and going.
Either way we're giving this everything we've got. We're all going to die anyway right? We hope you'll join us on this journey and help make this as awesome as it can be. Check our prizes, they're super fun!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)