Grady Lee Jr. is a struggling reclusive farmer who has never wanted to be married or have children. He lost his mom when he was a young boy and by the time he was 13, his father and step-mom died in a car wreck separating him from his stepsister, Marry Ann. Randy, his father's best friend, took Grady in and raised him as his own and kept the family farm sustained. One day, Grady discovers his late father's hidden journal, which contains secrets of Nikola Tesla and the plans to a machine that works off of electro-magnetism and frequencies, called Jack. Grady believes it could increase productivity by drastically reducing the time it takes a plant to grow. He believes that this could be the answer to saving his farm and helping the county, when in fact this could change the world. With the help of his friend, Boudreaux, they begin to work on the device. Boudreaux, of Native American decent, can sense a change is coming for Grady. After a call from an attorney, Grady finds himself a beneficiary to his late step sister's last will and testament, just to discover he is custodian to a special 6 year old boy, Kai. Those that meet Kai are drawn to him, all except for Grady. The kid is a distraction he would rather not have, and keeps him from Jack. Being from the city, Kai is a stranger to nature, but, his mom remembers the farm and believes this will be the perfect environment for his ability to mature.
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Something to work with.
Clayne and Sonny have had aspirations to make movies together since they were in acting classes and doing theatre in Hollywood at the ripe age of 18 years old. They are the subjects on a documentary production, 6 years in the works, where we follow a journey of 2 men traveling through Peru on a quest of self-discovery. In 2010 Clayne was lead in Sonny’s film short which was part of a 48 hour film festival.
So, when it came time for Sonny to take a break from reality TV and commercial productions, "Tinker" was seeded through a conversation between Sonny and Clayne. Sonny took that seed and the idea grew towards an unexpected direction, and opened up the possibility for an original story. This is when he presented it to the producer, Tom Bhramayana. Sonny and Tom took 40 pages of backstory, shooting script, and character development, written by Sonny and turned it into a story that captured Clayne right away.
Not only did Clayne accept, practically volunteer, the lead role, but, he opened the doors to the city of Clay, Alabama, his hometown, and connected the production team with city officials and his family. With Clayne’s help, they were able to lock down a variety of great locations that fit the ultra-low budget. In fact, the majority of the film took place on his farm.
Christian and Sonny have been close friends since 2004. While on the set of Tinker, Christian told stories of when they first got into the industry with Christian writing lyrics and playing around with arrangements for the songs for his future album, at Sonny's old house in Laurel Canyon. Kane is a great person to work with and had the team laughing till they cried with his story telling and the poker face propositions. (Inside Story)
Sonny and Executive Producer Nick Stathakis go back as far as high school in Greenville S.C. and have dreamed for this moment ever since. Although their personalities are polar opposites, they always believed that they would make the perfect team. Gretchen ,Nick's wife, worked with KoCreo Productions as locations manager for a reality TV show and on several other projects before coming on board as an EP on Tinker.
These are just a few of the core relationships that make this film possible.
Clayne Crawford as Grady Lee Jr.
Clayne has an extensive resume in television and feature film. He is currently a lead in the second season of Sundance Channel's new hit series "Rectify".
His most recent film was "The Baytown Outlaws", where he played the lead alongside Billy Bob Thornton and Travis Fimmel of History channel's hit series Vikings. Baytown Outlaws presented Clayne with a new level of opportunities and offers. In July he begins his next film "Spectral" with Legendary Pictures.
Christian Kane as Boudreux Weaver
Boudreaux is not originally from Clay, but, moved into town at an early age when his mother left the tribe when he was young.He’s proud of his American Indian heritage and although he is not an ordained shaman he is a student of the spiritual realm, is knowledgeable with gems, and knows Grady has a lot of change coming fast and warns him. Grady visits Boudreaux pretty regularly, since he is the owner of the local salvage yard. Grady usually gets reclaimed parts, from old cars, and uses them on his pet projects.
Christian has an extensive resume where he was featured in films starring Angelina Jolie, Robert Duvall, among other significant roles that he played with legendary actors and actresses. He has also worked closely with Hollywood greats such as Stephen Spielberg in the mini-series "Into the West" and Jim Wilson of “Dances with Wolves” in "50 to 1". He was the narrator for the series under Spielberg and is also going to be narrating a portion of "TINKER".
Christian had a number of television and feature film appearances, with his first long television run on the hit series “Angel”. He later had his breakout role making him a household name, with TNT's T.V. series 'Leverage'. Currently, he is in production on the worldwide hit T.V. show "The Librarians". Christian is also the lead singer in his country rock band, that has two successful independent album releases and toured both the U.S. and Europe. He has graciously offered the use of a few singles for the Tinker Soundtrack.
Wilmer Calderon as Manna
Manna is the help on Grady’s farm. He’s a war veteran from the Afghanistan war and suffers from PTSD and depression. Originally from south Florida, he is completely out of his element in the country and gets by on the few dollars Grady can afford to pay him. He was traveling through Clay when he lost control of his car and nearly killed himself. Grady was the first on the scene and pulled him from the car. The wreck changed Manna forever. He’s a good guy, just broken.
Much like Clayne and Christian Wilmer's resume is extensive. A quote by Sonny Marler
"He is one of the most fearless actors I have ever witnessed and now have the privilege to have worked with him.
Wilmer has been directed by James Franco and other major directors of big budget films such as "Annapolis" and "Need for Speed'. He has worked in almost every genre in the entertainment industry and, as always, has positive reviews from his work. Wilmer is well known throughout the industry and known to go as far as the director asks to go and the same applies to his role as Manna in 'Tinker', Sonny asked a lot from Wilmer and he always rose above any expectations. It didn't matter if a two page monologue was thrown in his lap an hour before a scene began. Wilmer would take the dialogue and situation, and make it magical.
Colton Crawford as Kai
When casting for the part of Kai, it was a given that Clayne's son Colt was the best fit for the role. The two together were magical.
In Kai’s short 6 years of existence all he has known is the company of his mom, Mary Ann. The bond they share as mother and child is unbreakable, but the circumstances change when she falls fatally ill. However, instead of Kai going to an orphanage, she chooses to send him to a place very dear in her heart and that’s Lee Farms. As a child she remembered how peaceful it was when she and Grady Jr. were a kid. Kai is a gifted child and the center of this world we created. He represents the innocence, fragility, and curiosity of man-kind, with an ability to see, feel, and hear what most people cannot. He is mankind’s future. While searching for Kai’s character, Sonny discovered PMH Atwater’s book “Children of The fifth World”. Sonny later discovered that PMH was a dear friend to his grandmother, a native American medicine woman, and was fortunate enough to interview her, to help develop the character’s gifts.
Chalet Lizette Brannan as Abutona
Chalet Lizette Brannan of "The Sparrows" and "A Horse for Summer" is a rising you actress who has acted in nearly every genre of film and television.
Abutona, Boudreaux’s niece, who is also a member of the Choctaw nation, becomes Kai’s young female friend. She represents the advancing changes that are taking place with todays children, in all cultures. She is a gifted artist, however, after coming in contact and spending more time with Kai she begins to have visions of the future, where he's concerned, and expresses these through her painting. She is the comforter and a best friend to Kai, now that his mother has passed away. Abutona becomes the soul reason Kai is able to control, harness, and understand his gifts. She has a way of quieting his mind in a way that no one, not even his mom, could do. Until Abby came into his life, the ever growing evolution of his senses was too much for him to handle. They combine their efforts to construct Kai’s very own device, which could eventually take Grady's to a higher level.
"Tumbleweed" Smith as Randy
Randy was Grady Jr.'s father’s closest friend since childhood. After the death of Grady Sr. and his second wife, Lynnie Corrigan, Grady Jr. and Mary Ann, their children were split up by the state. Randy adopted Grady and raised him as his own but Mary Ann was remanded to a foster home. Randy is revered and considered "father of the town". Most know him through the services he provides repairing small engines in his shop, but they also know he’s a God fearing man. In his off time, he works at social help clinic for recovering alcoholics and addicts. He was a good father to Grady Jr. but Grady never recognized Randy as his father. He accepts this realization and lives with it.
Caitlin Smith as Casey
Casey has returned to the hometown to open a mom and pop mercantile grocery with hopes of providing products from the locals such as fruit and vegetable produce, crafts, and commodities. She grew up in Clay Alabama until she was 6 and was forced to move away when the local employment plummeted and her father relocated his business operations in Birmingham.
She remembers Grady from her childhood and is invited to a local community BBQ where she sees Grady for the first time years. She’s attracted to Grady, but his nervous reactions to her presence sends mixed signals. She decides to let Grady help her round up local vendors to supply her store once she has her grand opening. She of course loves Kai and after spending a little time with him she can see this extraordinary gift in him that is being ignored or rejected by Grady. She seems to begin a mission to help Grady open up his eyes and see the love he has around him.
To Be Cast
Grady Lee Sr. was an extra ordinarily bright young man. He finished high school at the age of 15 and at the age of 17, he wrote his own theory of a fractal universe inspired by the myths of Sumerian, Babylonian, Greek, and indigenous American cultures. He submitted this paper to the most popular scientific publication at the time, in 1965. Shortly after, his papers submittal, he received a draft card for the United States military. Grady found himself being tested by an intelligence agency and was being evaluated by people who didn’t appear to be in the military. He excelled beyond everyone’s imagination, and was soon part of, and later in charge of a think tank that would decipher, engineer, and manufacture the stolen inventions of Nikola Tesla. Grady Sr. started to make a journal of his own that harnessed the technology of Nikola Tesla into a machine that would change the way farmers would grow their crops. The majority of the journal contained an engineered machine that he named after his favorite childhood story ‘JACK’. Jack was a simple looking device that was made of complicated configurations of different elements of Tesla’s work.
During his secluded service with the agency, he felt imprisoned and planned his release by staging and accident, and pretending to have amnesia. When the agency releases Grady, he was dropped off in the middle of the Nevada desert.While traveling back to Alabama he met an American Indian who prophetically told him “time is a river that runs in a circle. The past, present and future are all running through you at this very moment”. He went on describing things that would unfold and decisions that he would make along his journey that would result in his legacy being the instrument that began a change the world.
To Be Cast
Mary Ann Is Kai's Mother. Her life outside of her relationship with Kai appears to be full of secrets. It's as if she only exists to assist Kai in finding his specific path and purpose that she has planned for him. She has knowledge that no one else has about Kai’s unique abilities. Strangely, from the very moment of conception she had a realization. She has been preparing for several years with the knowledge that she is going to die, exactly what Kai needs and where he needs to be. The moment comes with a phone call and she becomes almost vulnerable instead of feeling sad she feels a sense of urgency. The urgency turns to sadness when she sees Kai from a distance, because she knows her time with Kai is coming to an end. Her illness seems stronger when she is alone or away from him. She is essentially a teacher to Kai and does what she can to prepare him for his future. Kai, dreams of his mom and her wisdom and applies her teaching to his personal project on Grady’s farm. This dream state is beyond a heightened state of conscience. It’s a constant state of heightened senses that he tries to control through his tinkering.
Ingredient for Success
This story starts with the combined efforts of dreamers and the support of friends and families willing to take this journey with us. Anyone in this industry can tell you there’s nothing easy about making your first feature film, or your second, or your third. But, it’s the first one where you break down the wall between wanting to make movies, and making movies. When working on a film that has a budget that’s less than your actor’s rates, everyone trusts you with their reputation and that my friends should never be taken lightly. This is a legacy we are living and aspire to provide a film that reflects the fight, struggle, camaraderie, fatigue, discovery of new friends, discovery of self, the hurt, and the love, that transpired during the making of this film. Like all dreams, it starts with a vision of a few, and the support of many. This is the truth about Tinker. We ask that you join our journey as we complete Tinker to share with everyone in 2015.
Director - Sonny Marler
Producer - Tom Bhramayana
DP - Ryan Purvis
Production Designer - Will Drummond
1st AC - Diego Monteal
Gaffer - Chad Sullivan
Props – Edward Gurney Jr.
2nd AD - Kimberly Tompkins
Sound Mixer - Kevin Smith , Michael Slater
Nick Stathakis and Gretchen Stathakis
Music - Hans Theessink for letting us use "The Planet" as part of the trailer. WWW.THEESSINK.COM
Vincent Dunne - Greenville, SC
Camera and Lenses - Old School Cameras Burbank, CA
Grip Truck - Department Blue Chattanooga, TN
City Of Clay - Mayor Webster
PMH Atwater's Author: "Children of the Fifth World"
Peter Schenk of Aquaware 4.0
Tangible perks such as posters, T-shirts, stickers, scripts, and extra appearances, will be fullfilled sooner than the DVD’s, Private Screening, and after parties. We just couldn’t identify multiple delivery dates.
What will we do with the funds from this campaign?
Because of your generosity, we will be able to:
- Finish last pick up scenes introducing 2 main characters Grady Sr. and Kai’s mom, Mary Ann. This includes airfare and hotel accommodations.
- Title Cards
- Have a composer provide a score exclusive to the film “Tinker”.
- Secure songs that will be part of the soundtrack.
- Hire a foley artist to provide a unique sound design.
- Create computer animation for a couple scenes. (We are not a CGI heavy film)
- Have narrations and ADR completed.
- Pay the post house edit the final cut that is in a format and resolution worthy of theatrical viewing.
- Finalize our press release packages for festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, Torronto, AFM, etc…
Tinker is Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) signatory.
All travel and hotel accommodations will be the responsibility of the contributor, not the production company.
Where can I learn more about the project?
Please visit our official website, www.tinkerthemovie.com! There you can find a full synopsis of the story, filmmaker bios, our blog and a wonderful selection of behind the scenes photos and production notes!
Is my pledge amount publicly displayed?
No. Only you and the project creator will be able to see your pledge amount.
If I donate, when can I redeem the incentive?
All incentives, big and small, will only happen if our goal is met. If we do meet our goal, immediately after our deadline we will start to manufacture and ship all physical merchandise directly to you. All other perks that are time sensitive to the completion and distribution of the film.
What if I don’t want the incentive, I just want to support?
No problem, there is a button that you can select if you just want to support Tinker.
Can we exceed the goal?
YES! We know exactly what we would do if we exceed our set goal. Exceeding our goal would allow us to make a better movie. Kickstarter will allow as much money as is given before the deadline. We are looking to complete the last leg the film.
Can I increase my pledge once it’s been made?
YES! Once you donate to our campaign, and want to change your incentive reward to a different one, or increase your pledge amount. To do so, go to Kickstarter and sign in. If you go to our campaign page, the green “Back This Project” button has been replaced with a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click it and you can enter a new amount, or choose a new incentive.
Can I Gift An Incentive?
YES! That’s very sweet of you. If you would like to donate to the film but give the reward to someone as a gift, go through all the normal process of making a donation in your name. For billing purposes, this action must be in your name. After our deadline, we will send a message to you on Kickstarter. (It will be forwarded to the email address you provided) We will request things like your t-shirt size and address from you at that time. Please reply with all the person’s information that is to receive the reward. We will make sure they are the person who receives the reward.
What happens if the money isn’t raised in time?
If our goal isn’t met before the deadline, no money changes hands and Tinker will be substantially delayed or not completed as intended. We want to avoid this scenario at all costs!
Who does the money go to?
Every penny (minus the fees for Kickstarter’s involvement) will go directly to the “Tinker” movie budget - i.e. Your money goes directly to the funding of this film.
I'm not in the US. Can I still pledge to projects?
Yes. You can pledge from anywhere and please tell your friends.
How do we contact you?
Glad you asked! Please go to our website for the film www.tinkerthemovie.com and go to contacts. We will quickly get back to you!
Risks and challenges
The largest challenge is scheduling. In a perfect world we like to bring all the original crew back to finish the film. But, we worked with professionals that are in demand and their schedules reflect it.
Even more challenging will be scheduling around Clayne Crawford and Christian Kane's busy schedule.
We have met with post houses willing to help us with the final cut, but finding the best, for what we can afford could be tough since the foley design, computer animation, and score, cannot be compromised.
Once we have a final cut, we plan to submit Tinker to specific festivals to attract quality reps for international distribution. This is a time consuming process requiring a lot of travel expense.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)