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Captures the truths and dispels the myths of the growing culture known as FIRE: Financial Independence Retire Early
1,088 backers pledged $101,779 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$101,779

1,088

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!

-PWF Crew

We are making the first feature length film about FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early).

In the field
In the field

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.

Time is our most valuable resource. FIRE helps make the most of your time.
Time is our most valuable resource. FIRE helps make the most of your time.

 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. 

Scott, Taylor and Jovie
Scott, Taylor and Jovie

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!

The Goods

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!  

The Documentary
The Documentary
The Book
The Book
Sticker Pack
Sticker Pack
Coffee Mugs
Coffee Mugs
Luggage Tags
Luggage Tags
Bike Bags
Bike Bags
Playing Cards
Playing Cards
The whole kit and kaboodle
The whole kit and kaboodle

The Plan

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. 

Post Production

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.

We are currently at 30 TB of footage, we are dangerously close to maxing them out. Thankfully we are wrapped with filming!
We are currently at 30 TB of footage, we are dangerously close to maxing them out. Thankfully we are wrapped with filming!

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

Screening Tour

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

SCOTT RIECKENS

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.

TRAVIS SHAKESPEARE

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.

RAYMOND TSANG

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.

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    5 Spot

    This means the world to us because we know every dollar can be traded for time. We value your time and ours. As sincere as a kickstarter backer level thank you can be…. THANK YOU 🙏 . Share your twitter handle with us, we will be sure to shout you fam.

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    Lean FIRE

    We’ve self funded to this point, and deferred salaries to make this thing happen. It’s a tad ironic that we are pursuing financial independence and not making money. We understand that. Please…please help. We’ve made a huge mistake :)

    You'll get EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY BACKER UPDATES from us through the rest of this project. And we don’t mean lame every few months “oh we’ve been busy” updates. We’re talking updates from our director, cast members and constant communication on developments in licensing deals, press, screening tours etc. that you won’t get anywhere else.

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    FIRE

    Let’s cut straight to the chase here. You are getting early access to the MOVIE and EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY BACKER UPDATES.

    ** This stream will be available PRIOR to the official general release, for a limited timeframe - TBD based on our premiere and general release. Backers will get exclusive updates as we get closer to our release, and will receive a private email link with instructions on how to view. **

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    Fat FIRE

    You like to live it up. Living large and in charge. Well, we can dance. We aren’t afraid. You are getting early access to the MOVIE, early access to the DIGITAL or AUDIO BOOK and EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY BACKER UPDATES.

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    Barista FIRE

    Get your mits on this exclusive coffee mug, limited only to the Kickstarter. Be an OG on the coffee scene, impress your friends and get your camping on. Also includes everything from the FAT FIRE level.

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    Mustachian

    Here we are offering a custom bag to add to your favorite mode of transportation. Perfect for keys, wallets, phones and bottle openers. Also includes everything from the FAT FIRE level.

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    Game Night

    What’s better than you own custom deck of playing cards to encourage “a nice night in”? We will do limited runs of these, so get your hands on them now. Also includes everything from the FAT FIRE level.

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    Travel Hacker

    We see you, you travel hacker you. We know you have a million travel points banked, and can’t wait to take a free vacation to the Bahamas. More money for cocktails! Well, we kept you in mind too. Your luggage is ready for a little spice. Get this exclusive, custom leather luggage tag to ensure you end up at home with that favorite shirt you found at the local thrift shop. And nod to the passerby as you notice theirs. Also includes everything from the FAT FIRE level.

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    Stick to it

    Stick these buggers everywhere, let's get people talking about FI. You'll receive a sticker pack with 5-7 stickers. Also includes everything from the FAT FIRE level.

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    Hollywood (on a budget)!

    Here is your chance to be acknowledged in your future favorite film! We can't do with without the community, and we love giving credit where credit is due! Back us on this level and we will include your name in the credit roll at the end of the film! Also includes everything from the FAT FIRE level.

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    FU Money

    You’ve already FI’d out, or you are damn close. And its about time you indulge a bit. Why not use that spending money to support your favorite FIRE project? This level gets you a credit in the film, early access to the movie, early access to the digital or audio book and EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY BACKER UPDATES. Additionally, you’ll receive a care package with 1 of every item previously mentioned and a personal hand written thank you from us!

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    Afford Anything

    The ever inspiring and amazingly generous Paula Pant will personally coach you through any of your financial ailments. She will offer a minimum of an hour of her guidance over Skype with a personal touch only she can deliver. If you happen to find yourself in Las Vegas, she will meet you in person if you like! You’ll also receive early access to the movie, early access to the digital or audio book and EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY BACKER UPDATES and a personal hand written thank you from us!

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    The FIRE is Spreading

    Fan of the ChooseFI podcast? Brad and Jonathan want to up the ante. First, you will have the chance to tackle the Friday Roundup “Hot Seat” on iTunes #10 ranked personal finance podcast. Whether you are a fan of the show or a new blogger looking to kickstart some exposure, this is your chance to shine in the spotlight. But wait, there’s more! You’ll also receive early access to the movie, early access to the digital or audio book and EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY BACKER UPDATES and a personal hand written thank you from us!

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    The Simple Path to Wealth

    JL Collins wrote THE book on FIRE’s favorite investment vehicle, low cost index funds. But perhaps you have questions regarding asset allocation, market timing, or maybe you want to have a healthy debate! This is your chance to talk directly to the man, the myth and the legend himself. You’ll have the chance to spend an hour, over Skype, picking his brain, hearing light-hearted jokes at your expense and being completely enlightened by our favorite investment expert. You’ll also receive early access to the movie, early access to the digital or audio book and EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY BACKER UPDATES and a personal hand written thank you from us!

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    Your Money or Your Life

    Many people began their FIRE journey through the amazing book, Your Money or Your Life. Why not use this opportunity to thank one of the authors, Vicki Robin. Vicki has transformed so many lives, and we can say from experience, an hour with her will undoubtedly leave you enlightened, engaged and inspired. You’ll have the chance to spend an hour, over Skype, learning from the poet of life energy herself. You’ll also receive early access to the movie, early access to the digital or audio book and EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY BACKER UPDATES and a personal hand written thank you from us!

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    Community Above All

    Enjoy a trifecta experience, 1 hr consultations with Paula Pant, JL Collins and a chance to tackle the hot seat on ChooseFI! This is a bundle you’ll never find again. You’ll also receive the "FU Money" goodies bundle, early access to the movie, early access to the digital or audio book and EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY BACKER UPDATES and a personal hand written thank you from us!

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    Mini- Chautauqua

    A very special backer level, you will join the unique Mad FIentist, Director Travis Shakespeare and Scott and Taylor on a mini-chautauqua. In this one day vacation, we will spend the day together starting with breakfast, activities, and a presentation from the man himself, the Mad FIentist. After lunch, you’ll get one on one time to check your math, ask questions and seek advice, and there may even be some surprise guests to join in. We will cap off the day with another adventure and a fancy dinner while enjoying a private screening of the movie and nightcap with cocktails and dreams. This is going to be a fun one! Location & details TBD based on backer locations and all parties availability.

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    FIRE Starter

    Hi there you Associate Producer you. Back us at this level, and you’ll also be enabling us to indulge in our favorite collaborators to create custom scores, Hollywood blockbuster level editors, colorists and sound mixers. This will catch the eyes of the people on top, who decide which films are worth supporting. And thus, the FIRE will spread. Plus, you will become part of the team! You can choose to be acknowledged in the credits, and invited to join us at any event, with VIP status anytime and anywhere. You'll get the insider scoop and be listed on IMDB as our award-winning film rolls out across America. PLUS VIP tickets to our premiere and after-party. Also includes everything in our FU Money level. Want to pledge at this level (or above), but have something else in mind as a special reward? No problem! Contact us at hello@playingwithfire.co to talk more!

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Funding period

- (25 days)