About this project
Who we are
Christian Gridelli and Hunter Norris. We're a pair of filmmakers from Chicago who've been working under the banner of DimeStore Films for nearly a decade. We've written/produced/shot/edited over a dozen short films and commercials. Christian's got a formal education in Film and Video from Columbia College Chicago, as well as hands on experience associate producing and shooting content for The History Channel, Biography Channel, and Comcast OnDemand. Hunter has a degree in rhetoric from a Big 10 university and his recent letter writing campaign to Dr. Pepper has been rewarded with a free pencil. Some examples of our work can be viewed at our website. We also have some choice selections from our narrative and commercial work peppered throughout below.
About the Project
The Origins of Wit and Humor is our first feature length film, looking to begin shooting fall 2013. It's about a comedy writer, Les Candalero, struggling to find his identity when so much of his time is spent trying to please an audience, which to him, is everyone. If he’s not trying to make someone laugh what does he have to say? Beyond that, there are failed relationships, homages to the history of comedy, elements of magical realism, an array of eccentric characters to keep things interesting for our protagonist, and flourishes of visual eccentricity to keep things interesting for our audience.
Oh you want the official breakdown? Ok, we have that for you, too:
Logline: A comedy writer’s desperate need for approval leads him into increasingly bizarre scenarios as he tries to explore his own worth outside of the writer’s room.
Synopsis: After the abrupt end of a five-year relationship, professional comedy writer Les Candalero melts into a puddle of self-doubt. He made her laugh; what could have gone wrong? Even finding a new flame to validate himself won’t work, since he’s too unsure of himself to even begin negotiations. That is, until he sees an ad in the back of an old book; a tonic that will grant the user a sense of humor that will be impossible for women to resist. The product works — too well and Les soon begins to resent his purchase. It casts doubt on the only thing he ever prided himself on, his sense of humor. Are they laughing at him or the tonic? He sets out to flush this aphrodisiac out of his system and return stasis -- or at least honest laughs -- to his world. This proves problematic, and he realizes his error was not trying to find honest laughs but needing the laughs so badly in the first place. Can he still be funny without needing a laugh to survive? Can he be more? Does this hat look funny?
Why should you help us make it though? Very good question.
SCRIPT: We've been honing it for a couple of years: writing, getting feedback, tweaking. After lots of hard work, we're very proud of the results. Don't just take our word for it though,
"When I first saw the treatment for 'The Origins of Wit and Humor', I realized my initial hope of an action-comedy buddy movie with Nicolas Cage and The Rock searching for an ancient Ark of Laughs guarded by a Middle-Eastern-accented Jack Black would not come to fruition. However, I then read the script--and what I found inside was far better than anything that could have been hiding in that Ark of Laughs. Christian and Hunter's distinct voice is part-Woodyesque wit, part-slapstick, part-raunchy, and all hilarity. In addition, their clever integration of the evolution of comedy, along with a Midwestern sensibility that only a local could depict, makes 'TOWH' a film I truly cannot wait to come to life. The Dimestore duo has been making me laugh with their shorts for a few years, but 'TOWH' proves that their writing is meant for the silver screen."
-- Mike Burke. Mike came on board to CoProduce The Origins of Wit & Humor Trailer. He has also produced television shows for the History Channel and Biography Channel as well as coproducing, writing and directing short films in Chicago.
The script alone has gotten us the offer of help from some very competent individuals and a few meetings with production companies. The best compliment we've gotten (repeatedly) is that the script is "laugh out loud funny" and has heart, and that's coming from people who don't owe us anything.
TIME SENSITIVE: The script is very personal -- both in the minutiae of the humor, but also in the emotional content. Being comedy writers ourselves there are honest pieces of us in there. From our attempts to make our main character three dimensional to the examination of our own insecurities. Because of that we want to make it ourselves and make it now. If we made in 5 years would it still be funny? Yes. However there's an immediacy and an intensity that we want to shine through. We're going to make this film as our original vision, and while it still resonates with us.
QUALITY: The prevailing wisdom may be that you should write to your limitations. If you don't have the money to shoot someone's dream, just shoot them talking about their dream. That doesn't sound like something either of us would like to watch, so we don't have any interest in making you watch it. While we don't have any explosions or monsters, we do intend on making this something worth giving your full attention to. We want this film to have some scope. Through our years of making shorts we know we can make something relatively contained and have consistently flexed our DIY filmmaker skills to make something out of nothing. With this feature we want to finally make something bigger. Create something out of something.
We'll be shooting on the amazing RED series of cameras, which are the some of the same cameras used to shoot The Hobbit, Pacific Rim, and Prometheus. What that means is that we'll have a very slick looking visual product, not to mention that Peter Jackson price tag flavor...without the price tag part.
Shatterglass Studios - Shatterglass is an award winning new media development and film and video production company based out of Champaign-Urbana. Once funds are raised, they will be co-producing as well as donating their RED cameras, which is already saving us a lot of money.
Luke Anderson - Luke is an extremely talented, versatile composer who will be scoring the film. He has a formal degree in music composition, performed in a number of musical acts, conducted orchestras, and composed music for a variety of genres of film. We've worked with Luke for several years now, you can hear his work in many of our films.
Cameron Yergler - Cam is an Assistant Editor at the Chicago post production company Cutters. His work there led him to a 2012 AICE nomination in the "Best of Chicago" category for a short documentary he edited entitled, "Jett." Outside of Cutters his work has been seen at the following high profile film festivals: Sundance, Tribeca, Chicago International, and Seattle International.
You! - Whether that's your art on screen, your vote that's led to a prop choice, that character you named, or even that scene where you walk into the bar, you can contribute to the film! Your opinion is valued.
What's in it for you?
You're a straight shooter. We respect that, so since you asked, there are a few things:
1) Excellent prizes and incentives! Look at that list to right, pretty neat huh? We want you to take something away from this beside the warm feeling you'll get from making our dream come true.
2) You're also going to get new, original, and exclusive video content, regardless of the donation level. We don't want to just have an update of how close we are to our goal and how we need more donors. We'll do some of that, but we want to give you a reason to be interested. We want you to know we appreciate any consideration you guys can give us.
3) Participation. We like feedback. Take a close look at the incentives. There are a few gifts that allow you directly contribute to the project creatively.
Play the role of art director: contribute your work to dress our sets and be seen on camera.
Swim in the think tank: Vote on some creative decisions for the film (e.g. prop design, costume choices, etc.)
Or just name a character (within reason and taste).
4) All joking aside, you have our sincerest thanks. Obviously, this project means a lot to us, but making this is the culmination of nearly a decade of working together. Everything has been building toward telling this larger story and we're excited to see what comes next. We're not foolish enough to think we can do it on our own. Whatever you can give, every little bit means a whole lot.
What is the money for?
It's not a shock to anyone that making a feature length film costs a lot of money. This $15K we're attempting to raise is a portion of what we hope the final budget will be. What we plan to do with this seed money is attract further investors and talent and further investors based on that talent.
We had a producer who has worked on films in LA break down our script he gave us a budget estimate of $100K. Coming from our independent and DIY filmmaking background we know we can make it just as good for way less. We ultimately hope to have a final budget around $50K. Could we make it for $30K? Most definitely. Could we do it for $20K? Sure. But if we're gonna go for it lets go for it. Come hell or high water, the film gets shot this fall. The more money we get from the Kickstarter, the more hair we have in the Christmas Cards.
We're not asking you to give us YOUR money to play with while we keep OUR assets protected. We're all in on this. Much of our savings and if need be, selling our stuff, is on the line.
But what does the money go to? Everything. Here are a few things that go into preproduction and production of a film: booking locations, paying actors and if need be, housing them, paying crew, feeding those folks just mentioned, transportation, buying/building props and costumes, equipment rentals, all this and more...and we haven't even touched postproduction and festival entry fees yet.
Incentives on Display & Delivery Details
We have a healthy mix of stuff we can give you right away and stuff we have to wait to give you. Obviously, most digital rewards can get there right away. Physical stuff (t-shirt, magnet, print, etc.) we have to wait till the campaign is finished to get our order size, THEN package and ship. Anything that's dependent on the production (behind the scenes diaries, copies of the movie) will have to wait till post production at the earliest. Our estimated delivery dates are just that. Estimates. We'll keep you updated throughout the process and be as transparent as possible.
How Kickstarter Works
Hey, look at that! To the right! That column is a list of rewards for contributing to our project. Whatever you choose to donate, you'll have our sincerest thanks and take home some really nifty prizes. You'll even get a chance to collaborate on the film.
You can donate anything over $1, not just at the prescribed levels, those are just the thresholds for cool stuff. Pick a contribution level you feel comfortable with and your donation will be processed through Amazon Checkout. Nothing will be charged until we reach our goal.
We can't stress this enough but Kickstarter is ALL OR NOTHING. If we don't hit our goal, we don't get any of the donations and no incentives go out. And that's not even mentioning the emotional ramifications of Christian and Hunter having tender hearts. It's important to spread the word and get others involved if you like the project.
Risks and challenges
Any feature film is a mammoth undertaking. It's a precisely timed collaboration of scheduling, budgeting, and on the fly problem solving. Any problems that arise can be fixed with money, but when you're below the microbudget realm, you dont have that luxury. The production needs to be moving forward constantly. Fortunately, we have a number of factors working in our favor:
Shatterglass has previously produced feature films and, in addition to providing cost saving gear, will be providing their knowledge and experience.
Our own DIY experience - We're used to keeping costs low and filling multiple roles on set. We know how to keep the process moving even when external factors are working against us.
Intimacy with the Script - We've spent a lot of time with this story. This means we know it well enough to make quick decisions about content and tone and what can stay or go from the script without sacrificing quality.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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