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By Mark Brennan
£9,595 pledged of £25,000 goal
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About

WHAT IS TWELFTH MAN? 

Twelfth Man is a short comedy film based on a true story by 'Only Fools And Horses' star John Challis, set during the World Cup Final of 1966 when a theatre company are trying to perform a matinee of William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' while secretly trying to watch the game.

John was part of a theatre company performing many Shakespeare plays at the time, and this particular one included stars such as Sir Ian Holm, David Warner and Dame Diana Rigg. 

Diana Rigg in the original 1966 production of Twelfth Night
Diana Rigg in the original 1966 production of Twelfth Night

It's just one of the incredibly entertaining stories John tells on his touring one man show 'Only Fools & Boycie', where he shares some wonderful anecdotes from his life and career.

I had the pleasure of working with John on my previous short film TEA FOR TWO, which co-starred Amanda Barrie. The film had a great festival run, which included being selected for the BAFTA-qualifying Aesthetica Film Festival and is now available to watch online

John and I have stayed in touch since, and after seeing his show, I knew I had to make a film of this particular story as soon as I heard it. So, I spent some time working on a script with Paul Dixon Barker and a few months later we sent it to him for his thoughts and his immediate response was, "I love it! When do we start?"

So here we are now trying to get it started with all of you!

Against the backdrop of this historic occasion, we have written a host of characters involved in the action on stage, backstage, out in the audience and we even venture out to the pub! [Side note: who wouldn't like to venture out to the pub?]

The ensemble of characters includes gambling addict and Twelfth Night's leading man, Harry (who's placed an ill-advised large bet on a Germany win), the seasoned and stoically professional Diana (who's only concern is impressing a critic in the audience) and Suzie, the bright young starlet playing Viola/Cesario* (in the midst of her own personal crisis that has nothing to do with football or Shakespeare). 

Concept Art by Jepson Arts
Concept Art by Jepson Arts

(*If you want to know why Suzie has male and female character names, you'll either need to read Twelfth Night or watch our film!)

Other characters include the supporting cast of the play, the stage crew waiting in the wings with one eye on the TV and, of course, our befuddled theatre audience watching all unfold before them - in particular Stanley who's been dragged to the matinee by his other half Nora and is desperately trying to keep tabs on the game with his pocket radio.

Concept Art by Jepson Arts
Concept Art by Jepson Arts

The film is a fast-paced, character driven comedy-drama that will pack in a hell of a lot in a short space of time. 

WHO IS ON BOARD?

Director Mark Brennan & Producer Caroline Sax
Director Mark Brennan & Producer Caroline Sax

Caroline Sax of The Hampshire Picture Company is the Producer of the film. She's a writer and director whose work has previously screened at the Sundance Film Festival. The remit of The Hampshire Company is to support emerging filmmaking talent in Hampshire, and I'm delighted that she sees this script and this project as something special to get behind.

Sara Huxley & April Kelley of Mini Productions
Sara Huxley & April Kelley of Mini Productions

It's also wonderful to be working again with April Kelley and Sara Huxley, Executive Producers of the film, co-owners of award-winning production company Mini Productions and producers of TEA FOR TWO. They are both members of BAFTA crew 2017 and their last short film EDITH, starring Peter Mullan and Michelle Fairley, was long listed for BAFTA earlier this year. 

I'm also thrilled to have the support of James Heath of Dresden Pictures, the producers of THE FITZROY and BIOPUNK which were also made possible by the Kickstarter community. 

This script's lofty ambitions are in very good hands, and we're all inspiring ourselves with the famous Twelfth Night quote... "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."   

However, to NOT quote Shakespeare... "with great ambitions comes a great... budget!"

WHY DOES TWELFTH MAN NEED YOU?

The scale of this film goes against all the usual rules of making a short film, which include keeping the action to a handful of actors and shoot in one or two easily accessible locations. We're basically attempting the exact opposite.  

Theatre Royal Winchester
Theatre Royal Winchester

Our ensemble comedy will have over a dozen speaking parts, filmed across two theatre locations - the Theatre Royal in Winchester and The Plaza in Romsey - plus the Milestones museum in Basingstoke, which we will need to exclusively hire for our 5 day shoot. 

In addition, the interesting juxtapositions of the film is what makes it so costly to put together - the 1960's, football and Shakespeare. Not only are we going to have to reflect the 1960's period in locations and fashions, we're also going to have to dress the acting company in very specific Shakespearean costumes. 

Did I mention we'll need a 100-strong theatre audience of extras too? Bloody hell, who's idea was this?!

With all those mouths to feed, we're delighted to have The Travelling Glutton on board, who are looking to make a big splash in the film catering business. They're helping us with an incredible deal to make sure everyone gets fed top nosh throughout the shoot, but we still need help to cover this cost.

The Travelling Glutton are ready to feed Twelfth Man
The Travelling Glutton are ready to feed Twelfth Man

Add to all of this the regular costs involved in making a short film (camera equipment, lighting, sound, transport, insurance, etc) and you can see why we're desperate for help to make a film of this size possible.

WHY SHOULD YOU GET INVOLVED?

We've put together a range of perks to hopefully make helping us worth your while, some that even John has volunteered for (including video shout-outs from the great man himself) to give us the best chance of the film being made. 

Our Editor/Supermodel Carl Austin
Our Editor/Supermodel Carl Austin

We've got signed scripts, set visits, invites to the cast and crew screening, posters, IMDB credits, stress balls (it will be handy having a box of those during the campaign), plus a specially designed football scarf being produced for the campaign - all this and more I hope will entice you to join our journey and spread the word about it to as many people as possible! 

BUT WHY SHOULD YOU GET INVOLVED?

The film will be a great opportunity for the huge number of cast and crew coming together to make it (two football team's worth should do it), and should especially be fun for the audience we're making it for (it's all about the fans).

It's a film that needs to be fully funded in order to get made. That's why we've chosen Kickstarter as the platform to try and raise those funds, as for me it really is all or nothing. There is no cutting corners on a project like this. If I can't raise the full amount, we cannot make this film.

And, despite being an Arsenal fan*, John is one of the greatest gents you could ever wish to meet, so I would dearly love the chance to bring one of his stories to life.

All of us are well aware of the size of the project ahead, and the level of help we're going to need to achieve it - it's a BIG ask - but we know that if we're given the opportunity to make Twelfth Man, you will have helped us to create a very special film indeed.  

You don't need to be a football fan or a Shakespeare fan to enjoy TWELFTH MAN.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our project - we hope you join us for the ride!

Mark 

(*I'm a Spurs fan, sorry John!)

Risks and challenges

Making a short film of this scale requires extensive planning and budgeting, as despite our high target, every penny has been stretched to it's maximum.

We have a fantastic Line Producer on board, Rebekah Renford, who has project managed shoots for such clients as Sony, Volkswagen and Nokia. Rebekah was also Production Manager on the recent Kickstarter-backed 'Biopunk', so should the Kickstarter community give us the opportunity to make 'Twelfth Man' they can rest assured every penny counts.

The main challenges for the film are the size of the production and the fact it has a period setting. The attention to detail to make sure the authenticity of the period is captured will be key, something not often attempted in short film for the sole reason that it is a huge undertaking. However, that is just one more reason we want to make this film - it will achieve something rarely seen in short film.

We will be in constant communication with backers about the progress of the project and delivery of rewards. Many of the team, myself included, have experience of crowdfunding other projects so we know how important it is all our supporters are kept up to date.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $6

    Kick Off!

    You're getting us underway, but instead of a blowing a whistle, we'll thank you with a World Cup-qualifying shout out on social media!

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    Pledge £12 or more About $15

    The Twelfth Man!

    You are the Twelfth Man roaring us on! Be the first to see the finished film with an exclusive early viewing link.

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    Backroom Staff!

    You're key to us doing our jobs out on the pitch! Get an HD download of the finished film, a high-res download of the Final Poster and links to behind the scenes videos.

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    Pledge £35 or more About $45

    Top Trumps!

    As well as a download to the finished film, our final poster and access to behind the scenes videos, you'll also get a set of our custom Top Trump cards for all our cast!

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    Pledge £50 or more About $64

    Golden Boot!

    You're firing us home! Get a limited edition Twelfth Man stress football as well as a copy of the script signed by Mr. John Challis!

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    Pledge £66 or more About $84

    World Cup Winner!

    You're the biggest winner we know! Get the Golden Boot package plus a limited edition Twelfth Man football scarf!

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    Pledge £75 or more About $96

    The Gaffer!

    Your team selection is perfect! You get the World Cup Winner package and a Thank You credit on IMDB.

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    Pledge £100 or more About $127

    Fan On The Pitch!

    Pitch invasion! On top of all previous perks come and be part of the theatre audience IN the film! See Shakespeare's worst performance alongside England's best. (Must be available on shoot days in August 2017.)

    Includes:
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    Front Row Fan!

    You're pitchside for the whole game! Receive all previous perks and also be part of the film on IMDB with a Funding Producer credit.

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    Video Replay!

    Receive a personalised video shout-out from Mr. John Challis to thank you for your support as one of our Funding Producers! Also let us know if you'd like to join us as an extra in the film!

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    Pledge £250 or more About $319

    Fox In The Box

    You've weaved your way into the box, into our hearts, and into the cast and crew screening of the finished film. (Must arrange own travel and accommodation).

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    Pledge £500 or more About $637

    Half Time Team Talk!

    Join us on location during the making of the film, meeting all the cast and crew. (Must arrange own travel and accommodation).

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,275

    Director of Football

    All of the above plus credited as Associate Producer on the film and IMDB.

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    Pledge £3,000 or more About $3,825

    Chairman's Box!

    You are the top dog! All of the above plus credited as Executive Producer on the film and IMDB.

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Funding period

- (31 days)