Watch the above video.
My name is Gary Clarke. I played Steve on the 1960's western television series "The Virginian." Right now, with the help of a whole lot of people, I am spearheading our “Billy and the Bandit” project. I wrote the screenplay and will direct the pilot and our intention, with this show, is to bridge the generation gap between children and their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
What happens when you find that a popular television show from 50 years ago is still popular today? Let me tell you what might happen. Fans might think of ways to bring back the story in a new form…and they might think of ways to bring back the original stars! Then they just might find the wherewithal to bring it all to life. Well, that's exactly what happened.
Darryl Bartlett, a dyed-in-the-wool “Virginian” fan, came up with an idea. He brought Nancy Thomas, another DITW fan, on board to help him flesh out the story. Next thing I knew, I was writing the screenplay and getting more and more excited with every keystroke. James Drury and Roberta Shore read the script and were immediately on board. The excitement was contagious and spreading. We raised some interim funding and hired an amazing production company. The momentum was building exponentially.
Let me tell you just a bit about the story. Not too much, though. Don’t want to give away the surprise.
Confined to a wheelchair, and with the help of his oh, so wise grandfather, young Billy escapes to a world of adventure in the old west, joining forces with The Virginian, to see that good triumphs over evil, while old-time lessons are learned that will enrich and guide him powerfully in his modern-day life.
There's animation, there's live action, and a wonderful story to tell. And many more are being written, even as we speak. We've come a long way and are almost there. Join us in becoming a part of making television history, of bringing this show to life, and giving our children something wonderful to watch.
We have a fun and wonderful selection of contribution amounts from which to choose, offering you project-related and specially tailored-to-the-film rewards. Let me say that the rewards in each category could never express my appreciation for your support. Each reward is simply meant to say "THANK YOU!"
So, let's review the rewards.
"Thank You" postcard from the cast.
A "Thank You" with your name displayed on the "Billy and the Bandit" Web Site (with your permission, of course).
- Two (2) "Billy and the Bandit" badge stickers for the kids.
Everything in $10 category, plus...
Two (2) 8"x10" photos of the cast from the "Billy and the Bandit" film location.
Everything in $25 category, plus...
Three (3) 8"x10" photos of the cast from the "Billy and the Bandit" film location.
A photocopied page from the Script of the Pilot Episode with stars' signatures.
Everything in $50 category, plus...
"Billy and the Bandit" Toy Horse.
Everything in $100 category, plus...
"Billy and the Bandit" Badge.
Letter of Appreciation signed by James Drury, Gary Clarke, Roberta Shore, and Jordan Elsass.
Everything in $250 category, plus...
Your choice of one DVD of complete season (seasons 1, 2, or 3) of "The Virginian" television series, autographed by James Drury, Gary Clarke, and Roberta Shore.
Everything in $500 category, plus...
DVD of Interview with Writer/Director Gary Clarke, autographed by Gary Clarke.
Everything in $1,000 category, plus...
DVD of Outtakes and a Peek Behind the Scenes, autographed by Gary Clarke.
Everything in $2,000 category, plus...
Special "Thank You" in film credit with your name.
Everything in $5,000 category, plus...
A personal "Thank You" phone call from each James Drury, Gary Clarke, and Roberta Shore.
Everything in $7,500 category, plus...
Attend premiere screening of the pilot and meet the cast and crew of the show. Includes two nights of hotel accommodations. You are responsible for any other travel costs such as airfare, etc.
Where the Money Goes
We are well into our pre-production stage now: completed script, cast and crew lined up, and animators competing with each other to work with us. With much of our funding in place, we still need another $35,000 to complete our live action portion and extend the animation. We believe that the combination of these special ingredients is what makes this television pilot so appealing.
Since I discovered the Kickstarter fundraising platform, I have noticed communities and interested individuals come together on Kickstarter to support projects that they care for and are passionate about. It took me no time to witness and be inspired by how people with common interests can achieve impossible dreams, and, as the cliché goes, "make this world a better place in which to live."
It was only natural for me to launch my project on Kickstarter. Through all the years of attending major events celebrating "The Virginian," I have met so many of you who loved those good old TV westerns, and who still yearn to watch value-based, family-oriented shows as you did when you were growing up. And, if you've read this far, you may have found something that resonated. If that's the case, I would love to have you support our production of "Billy and the Bandit."
The second advantage of coming to Kickstarter is that by utilizing its fundraising platform, we can develop our stories as we choose. And who better to make those choices than the people who lived them and grew up with them? The Kickstarter platform simply enables you, the viewer, to enable us, the production team, to tell these stories the way they should be told.
Risks and challenges
Of course, there are risks and challenges. Can you think of any venture worth its salt that isn’t? Particularly in this business. So, here is what I did: I looked at the concept and found it to be something I hadn’t seen before. The screenplay worked. We found the perfect cast without which this project would not be possible. The perfect production company came on board. Everything has fallen into place. Yes, even in the face of unexpected challenges. Everyone involved, from investors to volunteers, believes with all their heart that “Billy and the Bandit” will soar.
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