Ok, that new video up above this is ridiculous. We know. But we had fun with it. Whatev's.
HI!!! Wow, we've been completely blindsided by the amount of support we've received over the past week. Fully funded in 8 days, amazing!! This is a testament to the power of this community, so many people asked us how we would get a bunch of frugal people to help pitch in. We showed them! It's not that we won't spend money, it's that we won't part with money unless the purchase is a life necessity or the reciprocation brings us value, and lots of it! So, we see this successful kickstarter as a huge vote of confidence from y'all that you believe in this project, and we can't thank you enough. Phew!!! That certainly takes the stress down a few notches, so thanks for that! Plus, this means the film is officially going to be finished. Boom.
Now that we have the opportunity to continue to raise money, you may be asking yourself.... "where is the extra going?". Well, we have some grand plans to share! All the icing on the cake will be put right back into the documentary. We plan to put together a 10-city screening tour across the country, we want to bring the party to you! The more we raise, the more fun the party. And perhaps we will be able to increase the amount of locations we can visit! But of course, travel, venue rentals, food, posters, etc.... these things cost money. Even when we pinch pennies and travel hack our way around, costs arise. And we can't do this alone, so the extra funding will allow us to continue to pay our people as we have since DAY 1.
SOOOO, we have extended a few of the backer levels, come up with some new ideas and added a new stretch goal! Let's see if we can get there! Thank you for all the continued support!
We are making the first feature length film about FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early).
Playing with FIRE follows 35 year old Scott Rieckens, his wife Taylor, and their toddler Jovie as they embark on a year-long odyssey to understand the rules of this sub-culture and test their willingness to reject the standard narrative of adult life, which basically prescribes: “Go to college, take out tons of student loans, buy a new car, take on a mortgage, buy another car and all kinds of other things, then work for 40+ years to pay for it all. If you’re lucky you might be able to retire at 65 and have a few years left to hit the golf course.”
When Scott hears a prominent leader and “early retiree” in the subculture--Mr. Money Mustache—interviewed on the Tim Ferriss podcast, he enlists his wife to abandon everything they’ve been taught about the role of money in adulthood and instead focus on pursuing financial independence. But doing so requires an about face since their current path has them spending every dime they make living in an expensive San Diego suburb, driving luxury cars, and eating at fancy restaurants. Although everything they are doing is sanctioned by their friends, traditional education, and broad society, Taylor agrees something is wrong when it becomes clear she’ll need to sacrifice the precious hours of her daughter’s childhood and work 40+ hours per week to continue paying for their lifestyle. She agrees to uproot their lives and spend a year traveling around the country to meet the subculture’s mentors while living rent free to save as much as they can.
The “F.I.R.E.” subculture (“financially independent, retired early”) is a stunning phenomena that has emerged in developed Western nations thanks to the Internet and simple, efficient ways to invest and grow money. Rooted in cultural traditions of simplicity and values-based appraisals of what makes life truly worth living, the FIRE sub-culture was born from the minds of engineers and computer programmers who favor life optimization and personal freedom over “stuff.” Today their followers number in the millions, gobbling up every detail of advice on popular blogs and podcasts. These men and women have proven--through a series of simple life hacks and time-tested investing strategies--that it’s possible to buck the system and walk away from mandatory work decades before the standard narrative would suggest is possible. Once they reach “their number” (investments equaling 25x annual expenses), they are securely positioned to abandon mandatory work and pursue a life on their own terms. But getting to this place requires significant personal sacrifice, a radical reappraisal of the role of money in our lives, and what truly brings happiness. Not everyone is cut out for the challenge.
We've spent the last year travelling the country, meeting the amazing characters who have illuminated the path to Financial Independence. From Vicki Robin to Mr. Money Mustache, we've done our best to find the most compelling and informative stories to help uncover the world of FIRE and try to make sense of the framework for a mainstream audience. The intention of this movie is to inspire people to take a look at their financial health and ask themselves if they can do better. It's to uncover this wild and wacky world of FIRE and present the soul of the community to the world. We want this to be a calling card for all those who are ALREADY practicing a FIRE lifestyle, but may feel alienated or unprepared to share their story with their friends, family or loved ones. Perhaps they've tried, but were met with the ugly truth. Our society's relationship with money is completely broken. So we went to the experts to learn how we can work to fix this.
Financial Literacy is more important than ever. It's time to share the FIRE framework with the world.
This project is as much for the FIRE community as it is for all those who still need to take control of their financial lives. We firmly believe there are too many people out there just like us, who had no idea how simple it was to get their financial world in order, and ultimately free ourselves from stress, shame and mandatory labor decades ahead of the prescribed schedule. But simple doesn't make it easy. We are hellbent on eliminating excuses through our own journey, sharing our tips, tricks and coping mechanisms and ultimately learning from the best, the existing FIRE community! The FIRE community has lived in fear of retribution for far too long. It's time to address the tough (but logical) questions and fears people have head on, and give our friends, family, neighbors, etc. the gift that we have all been so lucky to receive. The gift of financial freedom. And beyond the subsidization of this project, this is ultimately what you'll be supporting. This is an opportunity to pay it forward and give back, grab that life karma. Because FIRE is better when shared with others!
Oh boy, do we have some goods. We've done our best to provide the most value for you, incentivising you to help us. After all, we know you aren't typically excited to part with your money. SO, while we don't fashion ourselves as retailers, we've given it our best shot!
From coffee mugs, to bike bags, stickers to luggage tags, we've tried to make things you will USE. Function over all else. And in that spirit we also offer one on one time with your favorite FIRE experts, and a chance to be a part of our team!
We are doing EVERYTHING humanly possible to bring a film, book, podcast to market while running quality control on the narrative and approach to encapsulating FIRE into a 90 minute film, 50,000 words and 10 episodes. This effort would be wasted without a healthy amount of press to share the story, an amazingly talented team and the support of the community it's meant to celebrate.
We are currently in rough cut stage, and will quickly be turning that into a beautiful director's cut, followed by a final cut. Once we've washed, dried, polished, buffed and waxed the beauty, we will send that off to experts who will color grade the footage and mix the sound so your eyes and ears stay super happy. At that point, we will need to send the product through a legal filter and ensure we get closed captioning and other various odds and ends to deliver the final product to you.
This is the crux of our current position. We need your help to hire the best and brightest. The more polished this film is, the more seriously it will be taken. The more respect it gains, the more it's talked about. The more buzz we generate, the more validation the community will have at large. The more validation, the more people will become interested in FIRE and the community. And this gets to the heart of our goal, to empower everyone to live a rich, happy and fulfilled life. This is about paying it forward! Imagine FIRE events popping up all over the country, making frugality and living within our means commonplace amongst our neighbors. Imagine watching the stress lift off the population, and a whole generation of people empowered to live their best life. This film has the potential to bring that story to the masses, and facilitate the nexus of that reality!
This is the last piece of the filmmaking and book writing process, but marks the beginning of a new chapter, marketing, selling, promoting... basically making sure everyone knows this thing exists in case they are interested! We can't let this endeavour be a sunk cost, we've devoted too much of our most precious resource, time. SO we are here... asking for your help.
Building an Audience
Here we are, we've finally completed the film. We are wrapping up the book. We're head down in post production, getting the stories tight, ensuring accuracy and inspiration are abundant. And while we've been incredibly connected to the community through events, emails, late night phone calls, international texts and Skype calls, we've been fairly quiet on the outbound side. That's been by design. We didn't want to string y'all along too long! We knew this project would take the better part of 2 years to complete, so we wanted to focus on the creating. But now, we will be sharing our experience. Our social media's will be getting a little love, and hopefully we can all enjoy the launch of this project together. As we are currently teaching our 3 year old... sharing is caring. So, sharing this Kickstarter campaign is the first thing you can do to help bring the superpowers of FIRE to those who need it most!
We are currently prepping a 10 city screening tour, and theatre release! We will be roaming the country, creating pop up FIRE parties. Hopefully you'll allocate a few bucks in early 2019 to join us! Just think, a red carpet event for the very topic that you consume daily! Perhaps a few of your personal finance hero's will show up. Perhaps we will have giveaways, Q&A sessions, accompanied by food and libations... Just maybe.
To sum it up, if you've read through to this point, you may be thinking.... "that seems expensive". Well, you would be right. This is going to cost money to complete. So for us, it's a sliding scale. The more money we raise, the more we can accomplish. If we raise the minimum, we will be able to execute the film. If we raise more, it will go right back into making this film the best and biggest we can make it!
Who We Are
Executive Producer | 2-Time Emmy® Nominated Filmmaker
Scott found FIRE through Mr. Money Mustache, and immediately connected to the philosophy, lifestyle and hope it offered him and his family. Scott has spent the last decade leading teams on creative concept, brand strategy and production. He is currently the founder of 99 Bravo Productions.
His work has generated millions of views, 2 Emmy nominations and countless other awards. Most notably, he directed the documentary "Inventing to Nowhere" aiming to dispel mythical attacks on America's intellectual property landscape. Scott has been trusted by some of the biggest brands in the world, including Facebook, NBC, Taylor Guitars, FOX, Microsoft and WIRED Magazine.
And now, he's focused on producing "Playing with FIRE", a documentary that uncovers the growing community of frugalists, mustachians and valueists choosing a path to financial independence and early retirement.
Director & Executive Producer | Multiple Emmy® Award Winning Filmmaker
Travis started his own journey into FI/RE a decade ago when he was fed up with student loan & consumer debt and realized something had to change. He is an award-winning film and television producer best known for his work showcasing unique individuals and cultures bent on self-actualization and excellence. Credits include the highly acclaimed Emmy®-winning unstructured docu-reality series, Life Below Zero (NatGeo), Top Gear USA (History) & Top Gear America (BBCA), Ice Road Truckers (History) Deadliest Catch (Discovery), The Wild Within (Travel Channel), Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie and Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth (both on PBS). Film credits include the documentary feature Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me and the award-winning narrative feature film All That Remains. Shakespeare’s work has been honored with multiple Emmys® and the 2011 James Beard Award for his work on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie. He holds a BA in English and French from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Director of Photography | 3-time Emmy® Award Winning Filmmaker
Ray believes that every story he tells has an opportunity to inspire positive change in the world. He has collaborated with brands like Lyft, Apple, CBS, Facebook and T-Mobile; pushing the limits of what good people and good storytelling can accomplish together.
From 30-second commercial spots to feature-length documentaries, he has been nominated for over a dozen Emmys and worked with some of the largest companies in the world in telling those stories.
Risks and challenges
Risks: The single biggest risk we currently face is lack of funding. We have the product nearly ready to ship. It's so close. It's going to cost close to $40,000 to finish editing, motion graphics, coloring, mixing, and prepping the film for release. We've been on or under budget on the entire film up to this point and decided early on to devote a considerable amount of resources to the production of the film. Without a great story, post-production didn't matter. We also chose to future proof the film and shoot 5K footage. This is not your average documentary. We had always planned to use crowdfunding to get us over the finish line in post-production. We've put ourselves at risk by assuming the existing FIRE community would be excited about this film and come to our aid to support us when we need it most. It remains to be seen whether we overshot our assumptions. Plus, we had originally planned to use the power of the community to help us share the film. If that doesn't take hold like we plan, we may need to spend additional funds to expand our reach.
Lastly, Taylor and Scott have risked their anonymity, and their reputations to be as transparent and open as they possibly could to hopefully help people relate to a FIRE lifestyle, show the realities and inspire people to learn more about personal finance and about themselves. But who knows, perhaps the internet trolls will fry us up in a frying pan, chew a bit and spit us out. It's scary as hell... So we are really hoping it was all worth it!
Challenges: Like any creative project, the subjective tastes of so many can make it difficult to make safe assumptions, ultimately leading to undershooting budgets and overestimating success. We feel we have the experience to avoid the typical traps, but that same experience comes with a certain humbleness that we can't control everything. We have called in so many favors and hedged our bets on this project. We are running out of those favors, and getting into the type of work that does NOT come free. Also, we are new to the independent distribution model, and it's proving a challenge to learn exactly how to distribute a film in the currently disrupted and ever-changing landscape. We are doing everything we can to solicit help from the best sources, but you never know who is there to help and who is there to capitalize.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)