About this project
It's just old postage, right?
When we started Freaks and Errors: A Rare Collection, we set out to make a film about a quirky, little known sub-culture. Armed with three main questions: one, do people still collect stamps? Two, why hasn't anyone ever made a documentary about this 170 year old past time? And three, why did someone just pay 10 million dollars for this?
We wanted to find out if contemporary shifts in work-life dynamics, family structure, digital media, and other factors threatened the relevance of this hobby, like it has so many others. Recent generations belong to fewer organizations that physically meet, barely know their neighbors, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with families less often. What does the future hold for stamp collectors, and does it matter to anyone except for them?
Jim's knowledge of stamps and postal history is unmatched, as is his self-deprecation.
Collectors, accumulators, dealers, auctioneers and voyeurs all come together to make up a billion dollar world that most people don't know exists.
If you like teapots, you’re going to love Ian. Ian is one of the most passionate, excitable, and knowledgeable collectors you’ll ever meet, in any hobby.
We began our search for passionate, lifelong collectors and started barraging them with questions. Why do they collect something that's really just a receipt for service? Is it an escape from the daily grind? Is it a way to connect with others? Is it a thirst for the purity of analog knowledge? We soon found out that it was a resounding yes to all of the above, and as we spent more time with our group, we realized that it went deeper than the obvious meditative and educational aspects and it all began with Irwin...
Irwin is just one amazing piece of the story the Penny Magenta, philately and our film. Everyone involved represents a different segment of the stamp collecting world and together, they are the "Quiet Excitement".
You'd have a hard time creating a character like George
We started to see a clear pattern that all collectors seem to share—stamps were the main vessels for their social interactions, and social interactions didn't come easily for most. Collecting quenched a persistent need to categorize, organize and be able to control even a small part of their lives.
With the rapid decline of physical mail, as well as most major postal services, how many people still collect and for how much longer? We found out that millions do, but you wouldn't know it. Why? Because most are too embarrassed to admit it, just ask Maria Sharapova.
What and how we collect is a driving force behind the human condition. It shows how we rely on our common interests to spark and maintain our interpersonal relationships.
This film uncovers the common traits that connect stamp collectors, and whether nurture, nature or both is the driving force that triggers the "collector's gene.” In addition, we unveil the global world of the philatelic business, including record-breaking auctions, famous collectors, mysteries and scandals.
And that $10 million dollar stamp?
That's the rarest stamp in the world, the 1¢ British Guiana (AKA the Penny Magenta, AKA “an ugly smudge on paper.") This stamp hadn’t seen the light of day in almost 30 years, and was previous owned by the multi-bazillionaire, mentally ill, wrestling-obsessed, murderer John E. DuPont (of "Foxcatcher" fame.) The stamp was put up to auction last June at Sotheby’s in New York. A couple hundred people got together to watch a fabled piece of philatelic history go up for sale, and be sold only 5 minutes later—to an anonymous buyer. The legend of the Penny Magenta is worthy of a pulp mystery and for us.
Why Kickstarter and why are we asking for this amount?
We are about 75% done with the production of this film and, up until now, the film has been completely self-funded. We have shot for nearly 3 years and we’re so close to wrapping the production. The surprise sale of the Penny Magenta has added something wonderfully unexpected to our film, and we need to follow up on this historic philatelic moment with follow-up interviews, b-roll, and content to resolve the story.
Where does it go?
Our experience in commercial production has allowed us to create a fairly tight budget—every dollar goes towards the completion of filming and the start of our post-production. We have an established post-production studio and, as you'll see from the clips we'll be uploading during this campaign, we have edited a large portion of the film already. As we weave the story together, there are portions of rights-managed material that we will have to license, as well as the necessary production help to source, collect and convert the footage. Our budget takes into consideration what needs to be done before final sound design, composition and color correction.
In addition to the amount we are asking for, we have forecasted what it would take to get the film release ready and have added a couple of stretch goals:
When it comes down to the rewards, we thought long and hard about being entertaining, educational and thematic. All of our awards have a philatelic theme and we will post images as they're created. We are designing postcards, posters, custom stamp albums with stamp starter kits and here's a sneak peek at a few of our t-shirts:
Thank you for checking out our campaign! Check back for more clips, production/award images, and updates. Please pass it along to as many people as you can—it's the best way to get this film delivered!
Risks and challenges
We've been in commercial production for many years and are all too familiar with set-backs, obstacles and the occasional mishap. We are also familiar with constant communication, improvisation, and we are absolutely dedicated to providing updates on production, post-production, release, screenings, and everything in between.
Thank you so much for taking the time to check us out, and we hope we can count on you for support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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