"You are intelligent beyond your boldest expectations."
In Wide Awake, Darren wakes up on the morning after his college graduation. Trying to reassemble his patchy memory, he resolves to find the identity of a mysterious girl he met at last night's party.
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The film is a simple story, but it's also about more than just a 22-year-old's quest to find a girl. As any young person can probably tell you, such a chase often comes about fulfilling something internal -- a need for something that that other person comes to represent in your perceptions. For our protagonist, Darren (RJ Brown), that "something" is an overwhelming sense of displacement only exacerbated by his college graduation. He envisions this girl, who he remembers at first only by a scarf left over in the remnants of a house party, as the key to his new identity, post-college.
With the collision of young talent in this project, we believe we can elevate Wide Awake to a professional level and develop the experience of those involved while leaving a lasting impact on our viewers. Now we need you, so that we can raise the money necessary to fulfill this project's true potential.
Where your money goes:
Making films, at any level, is an expensive business. The good news for us is that it's steadily become cheaper to do it well, with professional camera and lens technology becoming more affordable on a rental level for a low-budget production like ours. The bad news for us, though, is that everything is still pretty expensive relative to how much recent college graduates in their early to mid-20s are making.
We're turning to you in the hopes that you can help us achieve the level of film we've been working hard towards, and that in the process you can get something in return to know just how much you made our film possible.
Some of the costs we have to cover include: camera and accessories rental, lens rentals, light kits and accessories, expendables, travel expenses, power and electricity, data and video storage, costume design, location rental fees, meals for cast & crew, technical crew, production design, and numerous smaller costs that add up along the way.
We are working hard to save money where we can on each of these items without sacrificing the production value of the film, but we need your help to get that far. Every contribution helps, and we can't express how much we appreciate your generosity.
Who we are:
ANKUR SOHONI (@asohoni) - Writer/Director
Ankur graduated in 2012 from the University of Michigan's Screen Arts & Cultures department as part of dual degree with the Ross School of Business BBA program. During his time in school, he explored entertainment journalism as an Arts Writer and 2011 Film Columnist for The Michigan Daily. In his senior year, he wrote the short film Blue Yarn and started work as Executive Producer of the short film Zug written and directed by Perry Janes. With Ankur and Perry's work on the film stretching into 2013, Zug was recently awarded a 2013 Student Academy Award. Ankur doubles as a budding film and digital photographer; his current work in that medium can be seen on his Flickr page. To see more of his work, visit www.ankursohoni.com.
RJ BROWN (@rjbrownjr) - Lead Actor / Producer
RJ Brown is a recent graduate of the Musical Theatre Department at the University of Michigan. His Ann Arbor Credits include playing Donovan in the Student Academy Award-winning film Zug, where he worked with writer/director Perry Janes and Wide Awake's current Director of Photography Benji Dell. He has since moved to New York City where he landed a recurring role on The Carrie Diaries as Thomas West. In addition to filming The Carrie Diaries' second season, RJ is producing a show he created entitled Press Play, which is making its Off-Broadway debut in October at the American Theater of Actors. Follow him at @rjbrownjr on twitter and check out his show at pressplaytheshow.com.
CLAIRE HALL (@hall_cl) - Producer
Claire is a recent graduate of the English and Economics programs at the University of Michigan. In 2012, she completed a Senior Honors Thesis entitled Tradition Transformed: The Pastoral in Marvell’s Mower Poems, which examined renaissance era metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell's portrayal of the pastoral in his four "Mower" poems, arguing for a disconnect between the traditional pastoral and the actuality of 17th century British culture. After graduating, Claire currently works as a Transfer Pricing Experienced Associate for the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Detroit, Michigan. As a creative outlet, Wide Awake is a chance for Claire to put her business and leadership skills to good use and explore the ins and outs of the independent film industry.
BENJI DELL - Director of Photography
Benji graduated from the University of Michigan's Screen Arts and Cultures program in 2010. Since then, he has lensed dozens of projects ranging from music videos to features. His past projects include the Butcher Brothers' soon to be released film, Raised By Wolves, and recent Student Academy Award winner Zug. Working in both Los Angeles and Detroit, he has had the wonderful opportunity to come back to Michigan on several occasions for different film projects.
ATUPELE NDISALE (@AtupeleN) - Composer
Known as the musical artist Atu, or αtμ, Atupele in entering his senior year at the University of Michigan, where he studies Economics and Math. While he started making music as a hobby, he's quickly found a widespread audience through his Soundcloud and social media. With his Los Angeles-based label Soulection, he released his first album Pictures of Silence in March 2013 -- that can be downloaded here or on iTunes. Here are two tracks off that album:
ASHLEY HEITMAN (@AshleyHeitman) - Production Designer
Entering her fifth year at the University of Michigan, Ashley is pursuing dual degrees in History of Art and Screen Arts & Cultures. Ashley is an advocate for several cancer charities, is an aspiring world traveler, and has a love for all things creative.
The film is a beginning for me, as my first project as a director, and hopefully only the start of my filmmaking career outside the confines of a University. Getting to work with so many amazing people in this first outing is, thus, an incredibly fortuitous thing. For all of us, though, this project is also very much here and now, a project that we want to passionately bring to fruition and fill with life. A lot of people use the short film medium as a springboard to careers in feature-length projects or television, and as a result, the short is often seen as lesser than those forms. Some see the form's length constrictions and the unusual way in which an audience interacts with and analyzes a short as a limitation on characters and story arcs. I see it as freedom. Freedom to explore the little stories on a small scale, and to use those limitations to explore the minute flows and chops of the film's rhythm. With Wide Awake, I'm trying to start that exploration.
Risks and challenges
Filmmaking is frought with risks, no matter the size of the production. That said, our production is naturally positioned to limit some of those. We have one indoor location for the film and five actors, meaning that our shooting days can be spent almost entirely on set and not lost to travel time and weather or scheduling problems. That said, our challenge is to keep our filming schedule and budget efficient, as both of these plans involve the most important limited resources -- time and money. There is always a balance between resources and professionalism in filmmaking, and therein lies the greatest challenge -- to achieve production value while not burning through cash. With your help, and with the cast and crew volunteering or working for limited pay, we believe we can overcome that challenge and make the film we want, how we want it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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