“Better Living Through Chemistry” is an experimental narrative short film exploring the role of corporations and propaganda in our society. Our “hero” is Bob, a seemingly ordinary individual whose inability to distinguish fantasy from reality threatens to destroy his life when he is unable to take his medication.
The Story So Far:
Several years ago Jim Crose and his writing partner had an idea for a short film in the guise of the still frame education film strips they both recalled from elementary school (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filmstrip ). The simple idea was to put mature content into the rubric of something for kids, including audio of the children and teacher “viewing” the filmstrip along with the audience. They developed the initial narrative of Bob running out of medication and acting more and more crazy throughout the day, however dropped the idea pretty quickly upon realizing that watching a ten minute short of still frames would be, quite frankly, boring.
Sometime later as Joe Hart and Jim went back through their respective wasteland of half-formed and rejected film ideas, Joe came up with the twist that re-energized the project – if all stills would be boring, let’s put motion in it. From there they came up with a strict set of internal guiding principles around which the script was rebuilt. Anything that happens in Bob’s Real World is a still shot in black & white. Anything that is in his fantasy world is in color and full motion. As the film progresses we move more and more fully into this imaginary, yet far more visually interesting, fantasy.
Even with the improved script, “Better Living Through Chemistry” could not be produced until a bit later when Jim fortuitously met Tim Daust while assisting on the set of a music video he was directing. One evening they were pitching potential projects to collaborate on and Tim immediately liked the weird little filmstrip. Joe and Jim quickly learned that not only was their vision possible, but so were some technical tricks they hadn’t even considered. They quickly went back to the script again, with Tim acting as a debate moderator, and refined the satire and propagandist subtext to incorporate the additional visual lattitude.
Finally, with a script that all three are very happy with, it’s time to shoot. Joe set up a meeting with a professional Director of Photography that he had worked with several times and he came on board as well. They then invited Matt Adair on board as Art Director to handle all of the design work, such as set design, costumes and future marketing elements. With all the key technical pieces in place pre-production began in earnest and Jim and Joe discovered what they already knew – this movie was going to cost more money than they had.
Why We Need The Money:
In addition to an entertaining story and concept, the "filmstrip" conceit and narrative devices will enhance the likelihood that the film will be noticed, despite the crowded field of indie shorts. Many artists are donating or discounting their time for Visual Fx, Photography and Post-Production Audio so that they can demonstrate their skills and knowledge in an ambitious project. If this were not true, this movie would cost a great deal more than it will.
The preliminary budget/schedule has four days of principal photography split between locations and a green screen set. It will require an additional two days of skeleton crew to handle the still frame only portions of the filmstrip. The DP is providing his HD camera (SONY PMW-EX1 W Letus 35mm Adaptor & NanoFlash drive) and some equipment, but each of those days will require rental of additional equipment such as a dolly, and for the night shoots high-end lighting. Several of the key technical positions will be paid and of course everyone must be fed. Everything possible is being done to minimize costs, but set dressing, wardrobes, and gas will require available cash. The $6000 from Kickstarter will be combined with startup capital from the directors, generous day rate discounts from the crew, and free post-production work. Your contribution will allow this film to be made in a way that will bring its message to festival audiences across the multiverse.
Why it Will be Awesome:
As Bob progressively loses his grip on reality, the audience will see a juxtaposition of real world locations and dialogue with fantasy elements, all within the same frame. For instance, early in the film Bob goes out on a blind date. This real world location will be in black and white. Midway through the scene his mother appears beside him -- since she is a fantasy (or nightmare) in Bob's head she will be moving in full color even while the rest of the shot remains still and black and white. The film climaxes as Bob's fantasies propel him on a depraved rampage that ends only when his loyal secretary provides his magic prescription medication. The final scene refers back to the filmstrip setting, observing for the unseen children watching in the classroom that it's important to remember their problems can be solved with a pill.
Thank you in advance for any support you can provide to help us reach our goal. Even $5 or $10 will help greatly. If you have any questions at all Jim and Joe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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