AMERICAN DREAMSICLE (THE FILM)
AMERICAN DREAMSICLE (THE FILM)
In the wake of a murder three friends discover the limits of friendship, the price of betrayal, and rediscover their lost dreams.
In the wake of a murder three friends discover the limits of friendship, the price of betrayal, and rediscover their lost dreams. Read more
About this project
WHAT IS THE FILM ABOUT?
A feature length film inspired by real events, American Dreamsicle is a story about the current state of the American dream. Three recent college grads: Troy, Grace, and Josh falter in pursuit of it. Struggling to make rent with dead end jobs and stuck living with nightmare roommates, they think life can’t get much worse.
Then, Mercer, a college friend shows up, full of the positive energy the trio desperately needs, but just as inspiration starts to seep back in a traumatic incident ends in murder. Mercer runs away, leaving Troy, Grace, and Josh to deal with the bodies of their hellish roommates left in the apartment. With only the list of things Mercer wanted to see in New York to guide them the trio sets off on a journey all over Manhattan to find Mercer before police do.
In search of Mercer the trio discovers the limits of friendship, the price of betrayal, and rediscover their lost dreams.
WHAT IS THE MONEY GOING TOWARDS?
Making this film possible, is the short answer. The long answer is that in order to achieve the production level we believe this story deserves, and in order to compete with the other films that get entered into the high level festivals every year we need the proper equipment to do so. We have the talent, and the work ethic, and the story, and some of the money, and now we are reaching out to all of you to be apart of taking this last step towards being able to go into production. Here is a break down of the equipment we need to rent or purchase in order to make this film. (Why can't we just use our imaginations?! My brain needs a print function haha.)
•We are very fortunate to be making this in a time that is great for small-budget filmmakers, the quality of equipment available at prices unheard of even just a few years ago is making so many wonderful things possible. The camera we are aiming to film on the Canon 5d Mark II has been used national television production (whole episodes of the show House have been filmed on it) as well as for portions of major motion pictures (such as the subway scenes for Black Swan) and given that our film has a large number of night time outdoor scenes a camera and lenses with excellent low light performance is very important to us. So the 5d Mark II, though not quite as good as the new Mark III, is our camera of choice because we can get it used for around $1,600. (Compared to 3,400 for the Mark III). For lenses I have chosen to budget for three lenses, a 24mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, and a 135mm f/2.0 based on the needs of our production (though in a dream world I’d of added in a tilt-shift lens but even used they were running about a thousand, so if anyone we know has a tilt-shift lens for a canon EF mount they’d let us borrow, let us know!)
Total budgeted amount for camera body and lenses: 3,357
•Next up is camera support and movement. One of the more easily noticeable things that distinguishes great films is not what camera they use, but how they use it. Having the right tools for the job in creating camera movement is essential. I did this part of the budget after I spent a few weeks writing out the shot list so I knew what kind of movement we ideally wanted for our film, I then did research into how to make those feasible. After lots of searching and comparison I decided on the line up of a jib, a glidecam, a slider, and a handheld rig.
Total budgeted amount for support and movement gear: 2,655
•Sound. Nothing makes an otherwise decent film bad faster than crappy sound quality. I will never forget watching A History of Violence with my dad and both of us asking each other, “can you understand what they’re saying?” Then having to put on the subtitles because the sound was mixed so poorly. Now while that was a postproduction fail, good sound starts in the field. Though I was earlier extolling the virtues of the Canon 5d earlier, one of it’s drawbacks is its audio capabilities. For various technical reasons (there are plenty of things to read or watch about it online) the in camera audio recording is less than desirable. So, like one did for film cameras back in the day audio must be recorded separately, so we have budgeted for a field sound recorder, and a shotgun microphone and all the various accessories that make all of that work together. (Dream world, we’d also have lavalieres (those mics you can wear that clip onto your clothes) to make shooting the city outdoor location shots easier to do with minimal crew, but we want to keep our budget as low as possible because really want to be able to reach our funding goal and make this film happen!)
Total budgeted cost for sound equipment: 956
•Lighting, also very important, though we are borrowing a majority of the lighting equipment we need, so this budget line is small.
Total budgeted cost for lighting equipment: 55
•Miscellaneous, the I didn’t know where to put stuff group. Things like gaffer tape, a sling follow focus, and an LCD field monitor (because lets face it who can tell if anything is in focus or properly exposed on that tiny little screen on the back of the camera, especially when shooting out in the sun and that little screen is just reflecting a bunch of light into your eyes).
Total budgeted cost for miscellaneous equipment: 1,228
•Post-production: Because when you finish filming, the real work begins! This category we have budgeted for some software, and some music licenses for the soundtrack. All for the astoundingly low price of… (my Student Advantage card doesn’t expire until September so we are saving a ton like 80% with that, I am such a good bargain hunter! My mom would be so proud.)
Total budgeted cost for post-production equipment: 620
WHAT IF WE EXCEED OUR FUNDING GOAL?
That would be amazing, and would all go directly into the film. In the form of additional equipment to further boost the production level, towards post production costs (such as the musical score) and towards entrance fees for film festivals. (My personal goal is to have the film completed in time for submission to the Berlin International Film Festival, though we also plan on submitting to many other festivals as well).
Our above budget adds up to slightly over our goal, and a few hundred more than slightly when taking into account the 5% processing fee that kickstarter takes out of successful campaigns, but I’ve been saving to pay for that. (I’m also really superstitious and couldn’t resist the ability to put our goal at something with an 888, and hopefully this campaign is ending on 8/8, how perfect would that be?!)
Costs we are NOT raising money for, because we are either borrowing, or paying for out of pocket, or Brighton is paying for:
•Transportation (getting cast and crew to locations, we already have the funding for that)
•Lodging (also already covered)
•Craft services (are you kidding me?! I see this listed on budgets of films trying to raise money, where they already have the camera equipment and I’m left thinking, why are you not just filming already, you can’t feed yourselves? What is this Hollywood? We are feeding ourselves, lots of cliff bars and gatorade.)
•Talent (everyone is working on this film because we believe in the story, and are excited to bring it to the screen for all of you to see, if we want to get paid we will work very hard to make this a film that is worthy of winning some sort of prize or getting distributed, or noticed for future projects, because we are doing this to make a great film, not make money.)
•Props: Borrowed, already owned by cast and crew, or in the case of all that Labyrinth memorabilia and Jennifer Connelly posters for Mercer’s dorm room Brighton is buying that with his own money. (I know such a hardship what will he ever do with all that once the shoot is over.)
•Wardrobe: All being supplied by the cast themselves or borrowed. (And vetted by Brighton to make sure they’re dressed properly for their character).
Film festival submission costs (if we raise over, some of the kickstarter money will go towards this, but if not, then Brighton yet again gets to open up that beautiful argyle duct-tape wallet).
•Hair and make-up: Another DIY! For our lovely cast and crew. Fortunately everyone is already beautiful so there’s a lot to work with.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T REACH OUR GOAL?
Step 1) Cry.
Step 2) Put Adele on repeat.
Step 3) Cry harder.
Step 4) Watch House of Sand & Fog followed by Requiem for A Dream, and Girl, Interrupted (to remind ourselves that other peoples lives are worse so we shouldn’t be such cry babies.)
Step 5) Have a sing-along/ dance party to 90’s pop music to regain our pep.
In short. If we don’t reach our funding goal, the film doesn’t happen.
INSPIRED BY REAL EVENTS?
The genesis of this film occurred during an awesome trip to New York City in August 2011. I met some talented people through my sister who all were trained at the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts School of Film & Television, and crazy things were happening all around us, the American Debt Ceiling Crisis dominated the news, the stock market was falling, the ramp up towards what would become Occupy Wall St. In September was occurring. The homegrown terrorist attack in Norway had just happened at the end of July (which I personally found jarring because Norway is the kind of place you don’t imagine that kind of thing happening in) all of that came together in my mind and I wanted to make a film about all of those issues.
I started writing, and months went by and I finally had a script, but something about it didn’t feel right. I went back down to New York and talked to the people I’d be collaborating with and discovered that the script was focusing too much on terrorism, and from hearing about peoples lives I started to get a clearer picture of what the real threat to the American dream was, and that it wasn’t the looming threat of an attack, it was that in the current state of things people were getting lost in their pursuit, it wasn’t just a work hard and you’ll earn it sort of thing anymore (if it ever even was to start with), it was essentially this labyrinth where the harder you strive sometimes the further away you seem to get, and at every turn there are obstacles designed to hold you back make you lose your way.
This second trip to New York was not just fun and inspiration though, it was a complete nightmare, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I knew now what I wanted the film to be about, but I didn’t have a solid plot. In comes the series of unfortunate events that befall our weekend, from the traumatizing event involving roommates (which is just so shocking we are saving it for the film, but I ended up using it as the inciting incident, in real life obviously (since none of us are in jail) this event didn’t end in murder as it does in the script, but I may have sent a text asking Mike if it was okay if I went Dexter on them… Instead of killing anyone though I started writing down notes. And that is when the plot and storyline as it now is was born.)
The next few days there were incidents of someone getting attacked by a cabbie on the street. People running around New York trying to find each other, fighting imaginary goblins on the steps of the Met, all sorts of things. Everything from Mercer’s list, to the obstacles the trio encounters during their journey were culled from real life. All of which nicely led to a great metaphorical tie in to the labyrinth of the American dream I mentioned earlier. One of the things on the list that inspired Mercer’s list was seeing a Jennifer Connelly movie, Virginia, on it’s opening day, and so I wrote Mercer to be an avid Labyrinth fan which plays into several plot points throughout the story and the trio uses it a clue to finding him. There are tons of other little details like that, symbolism and other things that we also tied into the plot, that I think will make for not only an entertaining film full of drama and action, but also one with layers that you can really think about.
To make this film, and to make it great! We want to work our bums off to make the most amazing film we possibly can. We then want to submit it to film festivals so that as many people as possible can enjoy and opportunity to see it, because we think it’s an important story to tell. An entertaining and heartfelt look at something we are all face, how do you follow your dreams when everything seems to be pushing you in the wrong direction?
WHAT HAVE WE ALREADY DONE?
We are ready to go into production within a week of receiving our funding. Most of the pre-production prep work has already been completed and the rest will be by August 8. We have a script that has been workshopped, gone through table reads and rewrites, it's solid and ready to go. We have cast our leads and other parts requiring more than a single day of filming. We have detailed shot lists, and a preliminary shooting schedule. We have already scouted the majority of our locations. We have started collecting props and wardrobe items we will need. We have our crew assembled. We are ready to go and make this dream a reality!
WHERE WILL WE BE FILMING?
We will be filming in both Vermont and in New York City in August and early September if we reach our funding goal here on kickstarter.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
•You can donate whatever amount you feel good with here on kickstarter, remember your card is only charged if we reach our goal and are actually able to make the film, so if you pledge money you can rest assured that if your money goes out, you will get to see this film.
•Regardless of if you can give money or not you can spread the word, share the link to this page with anyone and everyone, if you’re excited about this project share that excitement along with the link, talk us up!
•If you want to lend us equipment or something you think we might need to make the film, let us know!
•We have cast the leads, but in August if we reach our funding goal we are going to need a few people for extras, more details to come on that later.
•It’s so important I’m going to say it again, SPREAD THE WORD! Though this may seem like a low amount compared to many feature films on kickstarter we still need to reach and get support from a lot of people to reach it. And to us it’s not a low amount, it’s the difference between being able to make this film or not.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO LOOK AT OUR PAGE!
AND ANOTHER THANK YOU FOR THOSE SUPPORTING US, I LOOK FORWARD TO GOING ON THIS JOURNEY WITH ALL OF YOU.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask, and check out our tumblr http://americandreamsicle.tumblr.com , and back here as we add updates on what we are doing to get ready for filming!
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