What's missing from the comedy/horror genre? Well, we've had films about sharks, birds, fish, dinosaurs, spiders, snakes, sheep, rats... And many more. What is missing from the enormous list of comedy/horror animals are KILLER KOALAS, or Drop Bears as we call them in Australia! But with your help - we can fill this latent gap. Let us tell you how...
DROP BEARS - Attack! of the Killer Koalas - is a comedy/action/horror feature length movie (90 mins) from Writer/Director Stephen Banham and Producer Peta Astbury (The Marriage of Figaro, 2009). Here comes the short synopsis:
A group of young backpackers go camping in the wild Australian outback. However, our hapless travellers have inadvertently wandered into the habitat of the DROP BEAR – a rare and ferocious cousin to the well-known cuddly koala. Now they must fight or become the creatures’ next meal. But can they all survive the night?
Sounds very cool, right? Well if you answered "yes" you must have great taste! Bravo!
Stephen has not been developing this movie in his bedroom (not that there is anything wrong with that - lots of great films we love have). No, this script has been through a very exhaustive development process. It was developed with the financial assistance of the South Australian Film Corporation with script/story advisors and editors including - Stephen Cleary, Chryssy Tintner and Australian comedy legend Tim Ferguson. So with all this love and attention towards it, you’ve got to know that by now we've got a cracking story that's screaming to be told!
Watch the DROP BEARS teaser we created for basically nothing, thanks to our lovely cast, crew and supporters. BTW we also shot the teaser in a single day!
And here’s the concept poster:
OK, SO IF THE SCRIPT IS SO GOOD, WHY KICKSTARTER?
There are many great reasons to launch this project on Kickstarter which we will explain in more detail, but the crux of it is that by supporting this project, you will allow it to grow uninhibited and provide us the flexibility to deliver the movie you want, in the way we imagined!
Producer Peta Astbury has been interested in crowd-funding for over 10 years – ever since she heard the story of Karyn Bosnak. She loves the idea of many people making small donations to fund a greater goal and has been waiting for the perfect crowd-funding project. When Kickstarter opened its doors to Australia in November 2013 - the time had come - killer koalas are a completely new subject matter for the comedy horror genre and she knew it would be a perfect Kickstarter project. Especially as the genre also fits the low-budget model.
Peta knows low budget well! She produced the low-budget feature (The Marriage of Figaro, 2009) and saw it through to a cinema release with lots of help from the public via social media (word of mouth), with traditional media complementing that work. Peta understands intimately the power of the people! Which is why Kickstarter is so great! And it's powered by people like YOU! Hooray!
For Peta, while she definitely thinks that traditional distribution models still have a place, she understands from experience that they don’t necessarily work for films that fall into the low-budget category. Especially as in most instances, the people on these films do not get paid (or if they do, it's minimal) and once they sign a film over - there's minimal chance of any money trickling back to the team involved. So with self-distribution or a mixed model - the rewards can flow back to the people involved - to help them to make more films! (Yes we want to make more!)
So one of the many great things about crowd funding is that it enables filmmakers to have more control over the distribution of their films. Conversely, the majority of film financiers require you to be set up on a traditional distribution model - and rightly so - they have an investment to protect. And what do you know about self-distribution anyway? In this, we are different.
Peta has an MBA. So what?!!! More importantly, her first film (made for AUD 65,000) was privately financed and she initially self-distributed it in Australia - opening with AUD $24,000 off two screens in Adelaide, South Australia, adding 14 more screens across Australia before signing it over to a distributor two weeks later. While she didn't set out to be a distributor, she gained a whole lot of experience that has equipped her to be able to follow through the entire process this time.
So by funding us through Kickstarter, you will allow 'us' to be in charge of the distribution window. Distribution windows are important as unless a popular film/series is distributed throughout the world on the same day (pretty much unheard of for a low-budget film), there are problems with pirating. We know that YOU want to pay for things YOU want to see... However, lots of people aren't as honest and up-standing like you are. By supporting us you will help us bring the rewards back to the people who'll put the blood, sweat and tears into DROP BEARS – Attack! of the Killer Koalas - espescially the blood! So we can make more movies! (Cue Mariah Carey’s ‘Hero’!)
I'M INTERESTED! HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?
Glad you asked! Our goals for Kickstarter are quite modest:
AUD $90,000 (approx USD 81,000, EUR 59,000 or GBP 50,000 - as of 24/3/14) is our goal. With this amount, we can make a great film, but not with the same level of special effects as we would like – but they will still be there – this is a comedy/horror after all! What's more, even though we have incorporated good working conditions into this goal budget (including transport and catering) everyone on the film will be working for love/fun/favours/the promise of a future return*, which is not ideal. We will have to find people who are happy to work on this basis, who may leave us for paid work. Of course we would be understanding if this happens. But these are our problems and have no fear - it will still be a great film that you will love (see below)! This amount will also cover fees, charges and the cost of the rewards (where there are direct costs). And of course, by just getting to this goal, does not stop us from leveraging this amount to get support from other places too if required (without changing the ideas contained within).
With a stretch goal of AUD $200,000 (approx USD 181,000, EUR 132,000 or GBP 110,000 as of 23/3/14) we can include more live action special effects!!!! We can also pay everyone at least half of the award minimum** (excluding us). Being able to pay people something as they work on the film will help us to access and lock in people, which should in turn help us deliver it sooner.
With a further stretch goal to AUD $400,000 (approx USD 363,000, EUR 263,000, or GBP 220,000 as of 23/3/14) we have a fully funded film! We can have all the special effects we would want!!! We can also pay everyone including ourselves*** which will mean we can lock in everyone we want and turn it over as quickly as you can turn over a film – possibly quicker! And in the world of film-making – AUD 400,000 for a fully funded feature is not really much at all!
If an absolutely amazing thing happens and you decide to support us over AUD $400,000 (approx USD 363,000, EUR 263,000, or GBP 220,000 as of 23/3/14) we will be well on our way to access the Australian Government’s Producer Offset (minimum AUD 500k spend), which we will reinvest in the film’s distribution and marketing.
However the crowd chooses to support us, please know that we always punch above our weight, so you can be sure that YOUR money will be going much farther than the total amount we get – from the original goal to the fully funded stretch amount!
- *everyone will be on deferral.
- **the balance will be on deferral.
- ***we are still working on minimum award amounts here for everyone and if we have to cut our pay to make a better movie - we will.
IF YOU ACTUALLY WANT MORE THAN AUD 90,000 - HOW CAN WE BE SURE YOU CAN MAKE A GOOD FILM IF YOU DONT GET ABOVE THIS?Again, great question - you've been here before!
OK, IM IN - WHAT NOW?
Watch (and share) the teaser if you haven't already, check out our cool rewards and decide how much you want to donate to this project - by choosing your reward option.
Thanks for supporting us! Please share our story with your friends and encourage them to be a part of it too!
ABOUT STEPHEN BANHAM
After studying film-making and its history, Stephen Banham wrote & directed shorts, music videos and the micro-budget short-feature ‘Adelaide’. After this, through the South Australian Film Corporation’s Writing for Film initiative, he was selected from over fifty writers to develop ‘Drop Bears’. Stephen was recently selected to work as David Michôd’s (‘Animal Kingdom’) Assistant on ‘The Rover’ (Guy Pearce/Robert Pattinson), shadowing Michôd from pre-production to the final day of shooting.
ABOUT PETA ASTBURY
Peta Astbury has over 13 years experience in the content industry (TV, web, radio, post-production, IP licensing & film) and holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA Adel). Her debut film, low-budget comedy hit ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ was released on 19 screens across Australia. Peta successfully self-distributed the film in cinemas for the first 3 weeks before handing it over to a distributor. The film was later released on DVD, iTunes & screened in-flight on JetStar and on national TV with Channel Nine Australia. It also screened at the London Australian Film Festival 2010, Dungog Film Festival 2010.
Risks and challenges
There are inherent risks and challenges in making any low-budget independent movie – access to people, equipment and locations are some of them. What sets this project apart is that the script is honed like a F1 engine (which will attract cast and crew), the Producer has extensive low-budget experience and has Produced a successful low-budget film previously. We also have access to great mentors and guides that we will utilise along the way. Further, South Australia (where this film will be made) is a very supportive and accommodating place to make movies. We heart South Australia!
While we don’t see any risk in this movie ‘not’ being made, we don’t know the exact date when we will start shooting as that depends on a number of factors including how much money we raise here through your participation.
Regarding rewards, we have teamed up with a qualified partner to create and print anything we can’t do ourselves. For everything else, we and our friends, families and helpers will be working day and night to deliver the rewards, structuring them to maximise the amount of money that will flow back through to the project.
We can only hope that you feel as excited about this project as we do. Please join us to create the world’s first Drop Bears comedy/action/horror!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)