Middle_Americans is a seven-episode web comedy created by me, Rachel Morgan. It's about two European friends, Guter Helmut and Aslaug Slaug, who try to fulfill their life-long obsession to become dancing legends all over the world. Recognized--even glorified--as European celebrities in the underground minimalist dance world, Guter and Aslaug's dreams are sorely tested when the North Dakota oil boom-town fails to appreciate their dances—and their eccentric personalities. The satirical tone of this web series is rooted in the cultural misunderstandings between the girls and their new home in North Dakota.
Web Series Synopsis:
Middle_Americans is a web series about two odd German dancers who relocate to the oil fields of North Dakota to promote their absurd minimalist dances at a local strip club. Definitely out-of-place in Middle America, Guter Helmut and Aslaug try hard to fit in without taking off their clothes.
After the local exchange worker program misplaces their paperwork, Guter and Aslaug's only option for survival in a town with an acute housing crisis is to live in a motel built in the 1950's and willfully work the awful day shift at a dingy strip club called Bordello's. Guter and Aslaug grab attention with their slow motion, themed dancing consisting of repetitious head turn and gradual karate chops.
When the other girls at Bordello's make clear they do not like Guter or Aslaug, the girls try make friends by volunteering to teach their robotic dances at the town's nursing home. When that goes awry, they distribute junk mail, dig random holes for their suspicious neighbor Steve, DJ on the Native American radio station, work in the oil fields at D-Cups (an icehouse turned mobile coffee stand) and play bingo.
Back at the club, White Trash Billy, a hip-hop oil worker, has developed a fondness for blond-haired Aslaug and asks her to dance at his bachelor party. Guter becomes jealous, performs a violent dance routine for Billy, and gets suspended from Bordello's. To make matters worse, Aslaug becomes miserably homesick when she learns her estranged father was released from the German prison where he built Ikea furniture. Guter knows Aslaug's father is living in America, but to keep Aslaug dancing in North Dakota, she withholds the secret. Until Aslaug sees a photo of her father on the bingo hall bulletin board...
If you are a fan of David Lynch, The Kids in Hall, or Spinal Tap, Middle_Americans will have you on the floor in no time!
Who's Doing It?
Middle_Americans is written, directed and produced by Rachel Morgan.
The series features Sarah Tyler as Guter Helmut and Rachel Morgan as Aslaug Slaug. And if we get Kickstarter funding, I will be able to involve filmmaker/actors: Adam Ginsberg, Todd Sklar, Alex Rennie, Stephen Gurewitz, Cole Koehler, Danica Andler, Carlen Altman, and if my recurring dream comes true, maybe even Scott Thompson.
Why I Need You:
I am asking for a very small amount of money compared to the big projects I have worked on in the past. I am asking for your financial support and for you to spread the word about the project. Here's why:
The money I raise on KICKSTARTER will help cover the costs of the production.
I will shoot the web series with a bare bones crew in my rural hometown of Park Rapids, MN. 70% of the talent will be local. We will eat food raised and prepared on my parents' organic farm. I'm even involving my family! My older brother will build the interior sets. My sister-in-law will be the extras wrangler.
It is a Not-For-Profit web series. Over half of the money I raise will be spent at my hometown's lumberyard, hardware store, craft supply store, motel, grocery store and cafes.
Film shoots are a fiscal stimulus to any community, big or small. My kickstarter money will go into my community. This is what my empty pockets cannot do--which is why I NEED YOU.
The project is already in full swing. However, it would be fantastic to have a legitimate budget to cover production costs. Comedy is a lot like baking cookies: you need the proper ingredients to make it taste good. Who wants to eat cookies without sugar, or butter or eggs?
Middle_Americans needs the right actors to make the show funny. All of the speaking roles were written for actors I've met working professionally over the years. With the proper budget I will be able to get them (and the camera crew) to northern Minnesota for two weeks at the end of June to shoot the web series.
In this case, Bigger is Better. Surpassing the $6,000 goal will help provide the Middle_Americans with funds for post production. The larger the budget we have to work with, the better the final project will be. It will take money to edit the episodes, build a website, get a sponsored Youtube Channel for viewing, hire a publicist and get this awesome project out into the world.
We--the actors, extras, crew and my hometown--won't be able to make Middle_ Americans without your help!
How Will Your Contribution Help Middle_Americans?
Your donations will help us with:
Locations – We need to rent a motel, bingo hall, limo, night club, and commercial office. Most places are willing to giving me a discount, but I still need to pay for using these spaces.
Production Design – We have a list of materials and props that will transform a local bar into the story's major setting, the fictitious strip club. I have a talented production design team ready to turn our locations into visually stunning spaces. We don't want to rent an actual strip club as we won't be showing any nudity, but want to design our own club and shoot all the interior scenes in my hometown.
Costumes and Wardrobe- We need to purchase full body suits, which, unfortunately, don't grow on trees in northern Minnesota.
Equipment rental – We need to rent additional lighting gear and sound gear to make this project look and sound funny. Additionally, having constant access to equipment will allow us to shoot more efficiently. Park Rapids, MN, is far from any major city, so it is impossible to rent gear on a daily basis. With financial support, we will rent gear for the full two weeks and focus on filming.
Transportation - Even though the setting takes place in the oil fields of North Dakota, I don't think we will be able to pump oil for free. And gas prices rise in our neck of the woods during in the summer, so we need to budget money for gas to transport crew and cast. We also need to rent a van to move gear and equipment from location to location.
Taking care of Crew and Cast - We have talented people working on this film for free, but they like to eat and sleep in beds. When you have 20 people on set, food expenses become a significant part of the budget.
Post Production – We need to cover post-production costs of editing, hard drives, websites and publicity.
When Will Middle_Americans Be Filmed and Released?
After the completion of a successfully funded Kickstarter in late May, we will begin shooting Season One’s episodes on June 23, 2013.
We will premiere our first episode streaming on the internet in mid-September and upload subsequent episodes weekly.
Where Can I See Middle_Americans?
On the Internet. With your donations I will be able to build a website and post weekly episodes to a YouTube Sponsored Channel.
Why I Want to Make Middle_Americans:
To make people laugh. Most people only know what life is like in the Midwest from watching the movies like FARGO (which is an inspiration to me) but we need more films to be topical. People on the coasts don't seem to know America has a middle portion to it, especially booming with oil.
Growing up in the middle of nowhere, I had to use my imagination to entertain myself. For instance, when I was a kid, I used to ride my horse Charmin (yes, named after the toilet paper) around my farm and pretend I was all the characters in a crazy wild west town. Twenty years later, I need to tell these stories.
I want to contribute, but I'm poor too!
You can help in other ways. If you share Middle_Americans' Kickstarter page on twitter, facebook, tumblr, or even the old-fashioned "word of mouth" way, THAT WILL HELP!
Risks and challenges
One of the biggest challenges will be to coordinate cast and crew schedules. Since it is a low budget project, people's time will be limited.
Standing out will require clever marketing, but with my dance skills and proper funding, I will make sure Middle_Americans gets the best publicity team to get out in the public's eye.
People may wonder if the subject matter is an X-rated kind of thing. I think it's rated more PG-13.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)