Act Social: Improv Comedians Heal the Divide
A documentary feature film starring Colin Mochrie (Whose Line is it, Anyway?) that explores the use of improv for conflict resolution.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, June 14 2019 3:59 AM UTC +00:00.
ACT SOCIAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FUNDING: PRODUCTION PHASE
Sometimes you have to improvise to compromise.
Civil discourse is vanishing from modern society; Act Social explores the healing potential of applied improvisation. Features famed improv comedian Colin Mochrie of Whose Line is it, Anyway?
↑↑↑↑ WATCH OUR TRAILER ABOVE ↑↑↑↑
Then check out more videos at: www.actsocialfilm.com
In improv, everyone's ideas have equal worth; this is what starting off on the right foot looks like.
Improvisation tools are already working in conflict resolution and mental health facilities, but on a small scale. Could they be used to heal the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or help 40 million people in the USA to get off of psychotropic drugs?
· Republican Karl Rove performs improv with Colin Mochrie and endears himself to a room half-full with Democrats.
· Dr. Daniel J. Wiener brings couples back from the brink of divorce using improv.
· Bob Kulhan, author of Getting to Yes And: The Art of Business Improv, teaches 40 Senators on their annual retreat to aid in their cross-aisle reaching.
· Brendan Fitzpatrick’s dad died in 9/11; he uses improvisation to help him overcome the tragedy.
· Doctors help patients cure depression and social anxiety with improv techniques.
These stories and more combine to create a documentary about applied improvisation that entertains, enlightens, and offers a concrete, actionable solution to our tendency to de-humanize people with whom we disagree.
30% of the people we interviewed in a random cross-section of the population didn’t know what the word “improv” means. The other 70% had no knowledge of how improv is done. Not a single person we interviewed mentioned the key principle of improv: “Yes And.”
Digging a little further, I found that improv comedy classes are an extremely niche activity, with less than 5 million people taking part worldwide. In comparison, 265 million people currently take part in organized soccer leagues.
To the general public, improv is a mysterious and unknown entity even though the sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live, which stars top improv comedians, gets at least 8 million viewers a week, and the improv comedy show Whose Line is it, Anyway? averages 2 million viewers a week. Act Social will explain the public’s lack of interest in learning how to do improv.
Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation have had an explosion in growth in the last two decades. The medical establishment has embraced mindfulness as a healing modality and patients can have those types of activities covered by health insurance. If studies have shown improv to have the same kinds of therapeutic effects as mindfulness, why are so few doctors recommending it? Act Social will explore this disparity.
Applied improvisation specialists have had success reconciling refugees of genocidal civil war…so why aren’t the United Nations using more applied improvisation? Act Social will explain why.
There a few unique styles we’ll use to serve different parts of the story:
In the section where we tell the history of improv, we’ll use fun animations.
The stories of our main subjects will be told through filming of behavior, archival footage, and confessional interviews.
Whenever onstage improv performance is shown, we’ll use rockumentary style shots.
Interviews on the street will have a “Good Morning America” feel, as we connect to the general public to test their improv knowledge.
Project Stage and Timeline
Development. We have shot over 40 hours of interviews with star Colin Mochrie, and top applied improvisation teachers like Bob Kulhan, Barbara Tint, and Brad Fortier. This summer we will shoot with Mick Napier of Annoyance Theatre, Patricia Madson, author of Improv Wisdom, and original SNL writer, Anne Beatts. We'll also do additional shoots with our main protagonists like Brendan Fitzpatrick of Tuesday's Children.
We’ve already shot improv for conflict resolution classroom footage, as well as person-on-the-street interviews. I have read every improv book I can get my hands on and researched the history of the art dating back to the early 1900s.
We will culminate our shooting with a performing and teaching tour that will end up at the United Nations and Capitol Hill.
We will wrap up production by early Summer 2020, and be ready to submit to Sundance in Fall 2020.
Audience and Distribution
Distribution and Marketing Strategy
We have a bona fide television star in the film, Colin Mochrie. We will use his interest in the field of applied improvisation to promote the film. There has been an explosion of stand up comedy specials on Netflix and as we mentioned before there is a huge interest in improv comedy in this country.
Our main target is lovers of stand up, improv comedy, The Office, Whose Line is it, Anyway? and Curb Your Enthusiasm fans. That market is in the tens of millions in the U.S. alone. Beyond that, we want to set up special screenings for people dealing with social anxiety disorder or depression.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
I feel very strongly about getting 100 million people improvising by 2025. In the next six years, if we can train 1 million teachers to competently teach a Level 1 theatre improv class, and each of those teachers trains 100 students in the seventh year—we’ve hit 100 million improvisers.
That concrete goal is great to shoot for, but philosophically for me it’s less about hitting a number and more about getting “Yes And” thinking diffused into the vernacular of everyday speech—with those saying it having had the physical experience of Improv Level 1 to back up the words.
We will encourage our audience to find the improv school in their city—and we plan to start an online improv school for those in rural communities. One of the places we hope people will be able to go one day is to an online “Rec Room” to meet other members of the Act Social Club. There, people could pick an avatar and improvise with others from around the world.
Sean A. Mulvihill is known for creating and starring in the 2007 docu/drama feature film, Living Luminaries: On the Serious Business of Happiness. The film stars Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now), 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements), and Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith. www.livingluminaries.com
Sean resides in New York City and is the Artistic Director of the Exuberants Improv Comedy Team which tours the greater NYC area. A trained actor, clown and mime, Sean is fluent in Italian and holds an MFA in Physical Theatre from the Accademia dell'Arte in Arezzo, Italy and a BFA in Acting from the University of Southern California. www.seanamulvihill.com
Fundraising Strategy and Crowdfunding Impact
We are piecing together the additional funding needed by submitting grant proposals to Sundance Institute and IDA. If we don't receive the institutional funding we have requested, we may launch a second Kickstarter for post-production funds next year. Any remaining money will come from this current crowdfunding campaign and from my own investment.
Funding to Date
So far, I have put about $20,000 of my own money into the project.
Amount Requested/Funding Impact of Production Phase
We have already met our base goal of $5000. Thanks to those who have pledged already. This money will be used for 3 things:
1. Production expense of a film shoot on-location in Chicago with Annoyance Theatre founder, Mick Napier, famed improviser Susan Messing, and applied improviser, Dr. Kristin Krueger.
2. Animation to illustrate key portions of our story.
3. Production expense of a film shoot on-location in Washington, D.C., where we'll lobby politicians to give improv a try.
We reached our goal! Now it's time to STRETCH!
I believe the most important thing we can do with Act Social is to give people from all walks of life a chance to try improv. Most improv schools are in cities and the rural segment of the population does not have easy access to them. So we want to take the improv to them!
We plan to hit the road and go on tour to bring free improv shows/workshops to rural communities more than an hour’s drive from an improv class. We'll bring our cameras and tell the stories of these people learning improv for the very first time.
It will cost around $2000 to get our cast and crew to each city on the tour, so the more we raise, the more towns we can improvise with!
Please visit our website www.actsocialfilm.com to see the videos there which we’ve made to explain our project and the task at hand.
“Your film is cool but…what’s in it for me?”
Rest assured we have AMAZING rewards for backers of this campaign. Read on for some highlights:
Pledge $10 or more
Alphabet Scene Based on Your Name
Cast member(s) will record and perform an improvisation Alphabet Game scene based on your first and last name. The two characters in the scene must use the letters of your first and last name in order to start each line of dialogue. So for the name Sean it might go:
"See my shorts?"
"Every time I see you in those Bermuda shorts, I think about Jamaica."
"All those nights at the tiki bar"
"No worries, just mojitos and Elvis impersonators."
The first letter of each line spells out S-E-A-N. You'll get a scene with your whole name!!
Pledge $25 or more
Extended Edition Digital Download
You’ll be able to download and enjoy the feature film for as long as you live.
Plus you'll be the first to own the extended special features with tons of exclusive content including extended interview footage with our stars:
Colin Mochrie of "Whose Line is it, Anyway?"
Barbara Tint of Applied Improvisation Network
Bob Kulhan of Business Improv
Andy Eninger of Second City
Norm Laviolette of Improv Asylum
Mick Napier of Annoyance Theatre
Dr. Daniel J. Wiener, author of Rehearsals for Growth
Pledge $50 or more
Online Solo Improvisation Training
This 2-video series from acclaimed Second City solo improv star, Andy Eninger, will focus on the solo improv skills that can get you up to speed as an autonomous, 1-person show! Andy's solo show format, The Sybil, is famous worldwide and he coaches internationally for Second City as well.
Pledge $65 or more
Autographed copy of Getting to Yes And by Bob Kulhan
Bob will write a special inspirational message in the book especially for you.
Pledge $65 or more
Autographed copy of Making Shit Up by Norm Laviolette, Improv Asylum CEO
Norm will write a special inspirational message in the book especially for you.
Pledge $65 or more: Autographed Copy of Improv Wisdom
Patricia Madson, the author, is a professor emerita at Stanford University where she teaches improv. She'll write a special inspirational message in her book, "Improv Wisdom," just for you.
Pledge $75 or more: E-Signed Director's Cut Digital Download
This limited edition download will be "e-signed" and “doodled” by hand by the director using an Apple Pencil. He'll include a special drawing and inspirational note just for you. This will contain a special director's cut of the film and an exclusive blooper reel!
Pledge $100 or more: 2 Gala Premiere Tickets
You'll get 2 tickets to the gala premiere of Act Social. We'll screen the film and have a party where you'll get to mingle with the stars of the movie (Travel not included)!
Pledge $150 or more
1 Hour Coaching Session with Rehearsals for Growth author Dr. Daniel J. Wiener
Dr. Daniel J. Wiener has helped hundreds of couples and families with his Rehearsals for Growth modality, which uses improv games in family therapy.
Pledge $150 or more
Mentorship Call with Barbara Tint of AIN
Barbara is a trained improviser and the President of the Applied Improvisation Network--and she'll be calling you to give you her expert input on...whatever you want to talk about! On this 1-hour call you can pick her brain about improv for conflict resolution or exchange ideas for creative projects.
Risks and challenges
The main risk/challenge associated with this project is that if we don't raise all the money we need, we could end up with a half-finished project, or a project at a much lower quality than we hoped for. This is why we are setting a goal which gives us enough to shoot all the footage we need and create the animations essential to our film's storytelling. We are expecting the finishing funds for post-production to come from our institutional funding requests that are currently pending.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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