Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 19, 2012.

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A quirky film about consumerism, excess, and what we really need in life.

DO I NEED THIS

A quirky film about consumerism, excess, and what we really need in life.

After the recent release of her award-winning film about modern marriage, The San Francisco Chronicle said filmmaker Kate Schermerhorn "has been labeled everything from the next cultural crusader to the ant at the honeymoon picnic..." 

The honeymoon is over now and the Northern California Emmy-winner is invading a new picnic... this time she's looking into our closets...

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We are targeted by over 1,500 commercial messages a day, and they seem to work... Americans spend about $21.5 billion a year on toys alone.

We Americans just love our stuff, we can't get enough of it. Until the economy started falling apart a few years ago, we didn’t even care whether we had money to pay for it (much of the time we really didn’t).  But what will happen to all this stuff in 100 years, 200 years, 1000 years, 1,000,000 years? And does that stuff actually improve the quality of our lives anyway?

Do I Need This examines our culture’s excessive, often questionable acquisition of possessions and asks the viewer to stop and examine what they buy and whether they actually need what they are purchasing - does your newborn really need that baby wipe warmer? Does your dog need another overpriced squeeky toy...do you need that hot dog cooker you found in the Sky Mall catalog...will that uncomfortable pair of new shoes be a good idea simply because they were on sale?  

Using humor, quirky and engaging characters, and no preaching, Do I Need This pushes viewers to think beyond today, beyond the instant gratification of walking away with a shopping bag or carload of stuff and to look at the impacts of our endless world of purchases, on ourselves as well as on our planet. The film will engage viewers who may not view themselves as environmentalists but can still make a world of difference with changes to their buying habits.

Do I Need This is broken down into five chapters:

1. Wow, We Sure Have a Lot of Stuff - Subjects include a lively bunch - a woman with a closet the size of an average living room, a bachelor with all the latest gadgets, tortured Christmas shoppers, new moms driven by maternal guilt, hoarders who can’t move for all of their belongings, this list goes on...  

2. Why do we buy all this stuff and is it improving our lives? - Companies spend more than $200 billion on advertising in the U.S. each year, playing at our guilt, our insecurities, our quest for happiness, and our desire to keep up with the Joneses.  We have been highly trained to spend, and we, as a nation, have become very obedient in doing so. There is just so much to discuss here, and we'll start by interviewing psychologists, economists, marketing experts and more.

3. Where does all our stuff go? - While many films have successfully addressed mankind's impact on the planet... Do I Need This attempts to reach the viewer in a new way, focusing primarily on our own country, our own communities, our own beaches, and our very own overflowing landfills.

4. How can we get reduce what we take? - We look at creative and practical ways to reduce what we 'take' - from reusing, to repurposing, to completely rethinking.

 5. How can we reduce what we make? - Thinking about a total revamping of our consumer culture, rethinking planned obsolescence and objects that are no longer made to last and/or be passed down through the generations.  We also look at responsible advertising and marketing and seek ways to change the economic motivators that have been driving businesses, large and small, to sell us more stuff. 

Ultimately, Do I Need This will send viewers back to their own lives and shopping malls with one very simple but life-changing phrase in mind... Do I need this?

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Outreach - Do I Need This will have an extensive website with games, resources and ideas on how to cut down on what we use and what we buy.  It will include forums for children to discuss their ideas about the future of the planet.

We will hold screenings and discussions and will both overtly and covertly distribute informative and provocative literature at shopping malls and superstores.

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Thank you for making this project a reality!

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Follow us on Twitter @do_i_need_this

Garbage 1 by Kate Schermerhorn

Useless Objects by Kate Schermerhorn

We love this song kindly donated by Sven Eberlein... we definitely need some funny music like this to use in the film. Thank you Sven!

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    10 backers

    FRIENDS FOR GARBAGE - Donate $1 AND send our Kickstarter link to your friends and family - those on Facebook, Twitter, or even the ones you actually know. In exchange, we'll pick up 20 pieces of trash in your name. Just CC us on your mailing and we'll start cleaning up other people's garbage for you today.

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    11 backers

    GET OUT OF GUILT FREE CARD - Despite our best intentions we all get confused sometimes...use your Get Out Of Guilt Free Card next time you accidentally put a compostable into the recycling bin. We'll send you a custom made digital card for use anywhere, anytime. Plus you will receive the added joy of receiving no new objects that could clutter up your house or get thrown away.

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    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD AND SPECIAL THANKS - Be among the first to see 'Do I Need This' - receive a waste-free digital download upon completion of the film plus on-screen special thanks.

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    11 backers

    MAGICALLY TURN JUNK INTO ART - I admit it, I have too much stuff in my life. I'll donate a piece of it to charity or a good home in your name, but first (since I happen to be a photographer), I'll photograph it and send you a digital copy of the junk that your donation magically turned into art. Also includes waste-free digital download of 'Do I Need This' upon completion of the project and on-screen special thanks.

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    10 backers All gone!

    MAGICALLY TURN A WHOLE GARBAGE PILE INTO ART - We will pick up 100 pieces of garbage from our local beaches and open spaces, each piece lovingly picked up and removed (and where appropriate recycled) in your name...and because I pride myself in the ability to make anything look beautiful in a photograph, I will do my best to turn this pile of garbage into a beautiful photo (and a digital file of it for you). Also includes digital download of 'Do I Need This' upon completion of the project and on-screen special thanks.

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    2 backers Limited (23 left of 25)

    FINE JUNK ART - Take advantage of a rare opportunity to affordably add a fine art piece to your collection. We'll send you a signed and numbered 5"x7" limited edition print of one of Kate Schermerhorn's latest photos - GARBAGE 1. (larger print available at $250 level) Scroll down to the bottom of the project description for a sample of the piece. Also includes a digital download of "Do I Need This" upon completion of the project and on-screen special thanks.

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    FINE JUNK ART - Take advantage of a rare opportunity to affordably add a fine art piece to your collection. We'll send you a signed and numbered 8"x10" limited edition print of one of Kate Schermerhorn's latest photos - GARBAGE 1. Scroll down to the bottom of the project description for a sample of the piece. Also includes a digital download of "Do I Need This" upon completion of the project and on-screen special thanks.

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    2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)

    CHILDREN'S ECO-ART - Together with the creative geniuses in the family, my children, we will make you a fabulous sculpture for your garden (their past sculptures have included dogs made of discarded mailboxes and men made out of insulation tubing). Shipping not included. Also includes digital download of 'Do I Need This' upon completion of the project and on-screen special thanks.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    1 backer

    YOUR OWN PERSONAL JUNK IMAGE - Send me your most shameful purchase, the one you really never needed in the first place... I'll photograph it to make it look tasteful and attractive before donating it to a local charity in your name and sending you a digital file of the image so you can remember your mistake forever. Also includes digital download of 'Do I Need This' upon completion of the project and on-screen special thanks. (postage not included)

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    0 backers Limited (15 left of 15)

    USELESS OBJECT LIMITED EDITION PRINT - I have photographed a lot of 'stuff' in my day, including a series of photographs of useless objects purchased from the Sky Mall Catalog (and then returned with a friendly note saying I didn't actually need the item because it was useless). You might have noticed them in our Kickstarter video. You can own one of these limited edition 16"X16" prints today. Also includes digital download of 'Do I Need This' upon completion of the project and on-screen special thanks.

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    I NEED LOVE, I NEED FAMILY - What do you really need in life? Love. And sometimes you need your love documented. I will spend the day photographing a day in the life of your family - from the time your sleepy child rolls out of bed in the morning until the family sits down to eat dinner together in the evening and everything in between. And, in case the reality of your life also includes bickering siblings, I will also take a happy but candid family portrait, just to be safe. Also includes digital download of 'Do I Need This' upon completion of the project and on-screen special thanks. Travel outside of California not included.

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    THE ART OF GIVING AWAY - We will come to your house and help you decide what you need and what you don't. We will spend a day helping you de-clutter, pack up, donate, store, sell, recycle and trash your unneeded belongings. We will help you answer the $5000 question - "Do I need this?" And just to be sure you won't ever miss it, we'll photograph some of your favorite items for you because, after all, images last longer than bellbottom jeans. Also includes digital download of 'Do I Need This' upon completion of the project and on-screen special thanks. Travel outside of the United States not included.

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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/SUPER-GIVER - Really make this project happen and become the executive producer of 'Do I Need This.' Be part of the entire creative process - we will send you periodic updates, photos and film clips throughout the production process. Once we start editing the film, you'll be invited to sit in on edit sessions to give your opinion and feedback on the direction the film is taking. Upon completion of the film, we will hold a private screening for you and your friends. We will bring bubbly drinks, popcorn, entertainment, and celebration dinner for 10 people. You will receive tickets to all festival screenings and events, digital downloads for you and 100 of your friends, and an onscreen executive producer credit. Travel outside of the United States not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)