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A broke, drug-addicted star finds a new lease on life in a run-down section of L.A., inspired by her eclectic neighbors.
A broke, drug-addicted star finds a new lease on life in a run-down section of L.A., inspired by her eclectic neighbors.
87 backers pledged $10,312 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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THE FILM

"Surviving in L.A." is a romantic comedy set in Hollywood - not the Hollywood of film premieres, botox and celebrity excess...it's the world of foreclosures, repos, couch-surfing, down-sizing, all to realize a talent, to try to live a dream. 

Kate, a former TV star down on her luck, loses her mansion in foreclosure and has to move into a funky part of Echo Park.  She sees her neighbors as has-beens and losers, and is desperate to return to her old entitled, drug-addicted lifestyle. 

But the memorable, funny and courageous people she meets in her new upside-down world teach her more important life skills than how to walk the red carpet. And Mark, the UCLA student who manages the "dump" where she now lives, who is alternately infuriated by her and attracted to her, provides the catalyst to truly change her life.

"It's a little jewel...clever, unique and uplifting." Carol Salomon, Petaluma Art News

"Great comedy...I fell in love with the characters...the bittersweet moments made everything so real." Maria Dorianlisma, Arts4All webmagazine

THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED AND ARE NOW PART OF THE "SURVIVING IN L.A." FAMILY.  YOU CAN MAKE A NEW CONTRIBUTION FOR AN AWARD, OR FOLLOW OUR PROGRESS AT SURVIVINGINLA.COM.

STORY OF THE FILM SHOOT

Like all indie films, "Surviving in L.A." has struggled against the odds. Upon completion of shooting, an indie distributor snapped up the film...only to go bankrupt a few months before the planned theatrical distribution. Fortunately, our company, Primitive Dog, retained the film rights. 

It was on to an executive at Universal, who saw it, loved it...and for a brief thrilling moment slated the film into Universal post-production, until she got fired.  

"Surviving in L.A." never went the festival circuit, because of lack of post-production funds.

Now HBO Europe is committed to showing the film on its line-up.  Their timing is flexible if we are able to get into film festivals. The HBO deal has attracted interest from some independent distributors.  If the film is finished, our goal is to give "Surviving in L.A." a small domestic theatrical release in a few major cities.

To take advantage of these opportunities, the producers need to raise money to complete post-production.  The digital version requires money to finish the sound edit, and pay for music rights, the score, and color correction. $10,000 is the bare bones requirement to deliver the film to HBO Europe. You're wondering how the film can be finished for $10,000?  We're starting out with some wonderful donations of time, talent and energy - because so many people believe in this film and want to see it finally out there.

This film was shot on 35mm. This means that any money raised over our minimum will go to finish the movie on film to deliver to theaters.

This romantic comedy has a Woody Allen-like appeal and has done very well in test audiences from marketing surveys run by the first indie distributor.  An audience of UCLA students gave it an amazing 92% thumbs up.  Once it's out on the market, the producers believe it will play very well with the 18-49 year old crowd.

WHO'S INVOLVED

Abbi Lake O'Neill, writer-director, has sold two film scripts to studios, and won the Kodak Award for the best short film on PBS.  Producer Thomas Jaeger has a long career in TV production, and Assistant Producer Lisa Murray is a film festival organizer in England.

OUR CAST

ROBERT WALDEN - currently co-starring in TVLand's "Happily Divorced," he got Emmy nominations for his work in the classic show "Lou Grant." He co-starred in Academy Award nominated film, "All The President's Men."

Ken Kercheval and Robert Walden
Ken Kercheval and Robert Walden

KEN KERCHEVAL - now reviving his role of Cliff Barnes in "Dallas," he has appeared in many episodic shows such as "Crossing Jordan" and "ER."

JAY HUGULEY - some of his episodic TV highlights are in "Army Wives," "The Neighbors," "Brothers and Sisters," and "Treme."

Jay Huguley
Jay Huguley

VALARIE PETTIFORD - has starred as a series regular on "Half and Half" and "House of Payne," as well as appearing in "Glitter," "Hart of Dixie," and "Jumping the Broom."

Valarie Pettiford
Valarie Pettiford

DIANA CIGNONI - has starred in numerous independent films, as well as winning awards for writing and directing two independent short films of her own.  She has also been seen in "The Pretender," and "Diagnosis Murder."

Diana Cignoni
Diana Cignoni

ABBI O'NEILL - starred in the PBS prize winning short film, "Dating in L.A."

Jay Huguley and Abbi Lake O'Neill
Jay Huguley and Abbi Lake O'Neill

EZRA CRUZ - has co-starred in "Weeds" as well as many independent films.

Ezra Cruz
Ezra Cruz

ROSHAWN FRANKLIN - Has appeared on "NCIS: LA," "Grey's Anatomy," and "24."

Roshawn Franklin
Roshawn Franklin

OUR PHILOSOPHY

When did romantic comedy suddenly become an endangered species? How did it happen that the summer, which used to be filled with funny, quirky, poignant hits, is now a wasteland of big event movies? What happened to Hollywood?  Are we doomed to the next twenty years of comic book blockbusters at $300 million a pop?  The studios know that too many "John Carters" and "Battleships" will sink their bottom line.  We encourage the studios to nurture creative writer-directors who are dedicated to making films that genuinely move people, make them cry, make them think, and make them laugh hysterically.  

Sam the homeless man - Jacques Landry
Sam the homeless man - Jacques Landry

Risks and challenges

This film is 75% completed, and the deal it has with HBO Europe is signed. The risk is that the completed DVD of "Surviving in L.A." will not be finished to deliver to HBO Europe.

The 25% that needs to be done involves replacing the classic jazz songs of this Woody Allen-ish film with original songs from new singer-songwriters. This is necessary because the rights to the classic jazz songs are expensive, while the upcoming singer-songwriters are willing to accept a small fee up front to get their music heard. This music replacement requires some inspiration and some great songs to keep the energy and flow of the original rough cut. Adding sound effects and score is more straight-forward. With less money, the score is done electronically, and not with live instrumentation, so the effect may be flatter.

With this small amount to be raised, $10,000, and the efforts of post-production staff already committed to this project, this limited goal is achievable.

The larger goal of a theatrical distribution depends on funds raised over the $10,000 mark. These funds will be carefully allocated so that the film can be readied for a distributor for the smallest possible post-production cost. But even a "shoestring" for theatrical distribution in a couple of theaters is about $150,000.

Independent film is a gamble because the way we hear about a great new film always involves money - marketing, publicity in film festivals, theatrical distribution of some kind. This film could stall at any of these stages because of the lack of money to drive it forward. Also, it might not get into film festivals. This is where a wing and a prayer comes in, to mysteriously guide any work of quality so that it can find an audience that would be inspired by it.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Hey, thank you! You are actually taking a movie from oblivion and putting it out there to be seen. That is huge. Our sincere thank you on our website and Facebook page.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You're a part of our team. We'd like to keep you informed about our progress through festivals, distribution, and awards with a subscription to Primitive Dog's digital newsletter which gives weekly progress of the film. Plus our big thank you!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    You're first in line. You receive the first copy of the DVD of the completed movie. You will have the autograph of the director, plus all the above gifts, to say that you're part of the "Surviving in L.A." family.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Yes, we have a Primitive Dog T-shirt. The name of our company came from a small theater group and it stuck. We have some great T-shirts which are just a token of saying, you made a movie happen. Receive this as well as the above gifts.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Our CD original soundtrack of "Surviving in L.A." includes a host of unknown but amazingly talented L.A. singer-songwriters. You will love the music, I guarantee you, and beginning with this CD, you can follow their career. You receive the CD with this donation, as well as the above gifts.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    This is an opportunity FOR YOU to participate creatively in the film process. If you are interested in editing, come help our editor for a day in post. Have your original song considered for the film. Have a day with the director working on the final cut. Meet the people behind the scenes and get YOUR FIRST SCREEN CREDIT doing what you want to do, depending on your skill set.

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

    The producers of "Surviving in L.A." issue a special invitation to you to the film's premiere. AND come to the Awards with us, whatever we win! This film has powerful acting performances, it could be in the running for major film industry awards. It's funny and it's very dramatic, it could win a major nomination for Robert Walden or Valarie Pettiford or the rest of this gifted cast. Free tickets for you and a friend - be there and be part of film history. Join us and meet and greet the film's stars. This is our big moment and we want you there with us. This includes all the above gifts.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Be a permanent part of the "Surviving In L.A." team with a credit as Associate Producer on the film. With that comes an invitation to the premiere and all festival screenings and awards shows, plus all the above gifts.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Take a professional step into the film industry with an Executive Producer credit on this marvelous film. With that comes an invitation to a VIP dinner with cast and crew, as well as all the above perks. Become a part of our professional team and go for the inside experience of festivals, premieres, publicity, cast events and screenings. And with that, a knowledge that you produced a film, you finished it and brought it to the world. We welcome you!

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Funding period

- (35 days)