UPDATE: 'THIS.IS.PROGRESS' IS NOW ENTIRELY FUNDED! ACTUALLY IT'S AT 109%!!!
THIS.IS.PROGRESS. is a feature-length documentary that charts PROGRESS Wrestling's ascension to the heady heights of the UK independent wrestling scene. The film dissects what makes them, their wrestlers and the fans stand out as some of the most exciting and unique in the world.
So who the hell are PROGRESS anyway? Good question...
In 2011 comedy agent, Jon Briley and stand-up comedian Jim Smallman, decided to take their love of professional wrestling one step further by putting on their own independent wrestling show in London. They were told professional wrestling didn't work in London, but their first show, ‘Chapter 1 - In the Beginning’ was a sell out, they never looked back.
After that first show, actor Glen Joseph came on board as PROGRESS' third co-owner. Little did the three friends know that from humble beginnings PROGRESS would go from strength-to-strength. Now they consistently sell out 700 capacity shows in minutes. Their on-demand service has thousands of subscribers and they promote events across the UK and internationally. In September 2016, PROGRESS achieved its biggest success to date when they sold out London's historic Brixton Academy. 'Chapter 36: We're Gonna Need A Bigger Room...Again', was the biggest independent wrestling show held in the UK for a decade.
Key factors to this success include a commitment to working with, and establishing new British talent. The use of a harder, stronger style of wrestling, normally found in Japan. Their loyal (and loud!) fan base who create the special, addictive atmosphere of a live show. Their creative merchandise has established a brand that stands out as unique and cool among the many other promotions vying for attention.
Why this project needs to be realised.
Perhaps the most important question when trying to understand PROGRESS is 'who are PROGRESS?' When we started filming in June 2016 the focus of our story was on the promoters, their wrestlers and their fans. All 3 elements work in symbiosis of one another, if you take one away, the other two couldn't survive. We wanted to show how PROGRESS works, via three of the most important gears driving the machine forward.
Hence, the intention of this observational documentary was to follow PROGRESS owners Jim, Jon and Glen. As well as wrestler and former PROGRESS champion Mark Haskins, and passionate 'Ultra' fan Paul Lee. But what is of most importance to us is portraying the human aspect of these lives by documenting them during some of the biggest, most important moments of their lives and professional careers.
A little background... Where did the idea for the film come from?
'Beyond the Mat' was one of the first documentaries that really spoke to me. Barry Blaustein’s film is about the real people in the crazy world of professional wrestling, it involved me emotionally with the way the characters were portrayed.
In 2016 I completed my first feature documentary, ‘GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution,’ a socially and politically charged film about a controversial subject matter. I then began putting the pieces together for my next feature…
A chance listen to an episode of the Distraction Pieces podcast with Scroobius Pip introduced me to Jim Smallman and PROGRESS. On the back of that I went to one of their live events and it all just clicked. After experiencing the atmosphere of one of their live shows I felt like PROGRESS was something that was waiting for me. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t already a documentary about them so I knew in that moment that this would be my next film.
Initially, we approached Jim, Jon & Glen to make 'THIS.IS.PROGRESS.' as a documentary short. Which we actually finished and released for free in December 2016 on PROGRESS' Youtube Channel. FOR FREE! The public and wrestling industry response to this short was phenomenal and meant that we were on the right track to pursuing a feature version. And you can see it below...
After spending time with the promoters, and Mark and Paul, we started to see a much larger story form. We found ourselves documenting the very human realities of being involved with a wrestling promotion.
It also enabled us to tap into some other interesting aspects of the PROGRESS story too, such as:
- The proliferation and strength of women's wrestling.
- The ProJo, PROGRESS' training facility for up and coming wrestlers.
- The role of the internet in contemporary wrestling. And being able to build (and reach) an audience online without the need for a television deal.
Plus right now the British wrestling scene has the world's eyes upon it as it experiences a boom period. And PROGRESS is at the forefront of the charge. Amongst others they have:
- Forged alliances with many other independent wrestling promotions including establishing a working relationship with the world leading World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
- Championed British talent with some of the best wrestlers and matches in the world.
Therefore, this documentary couldn't be better timed. With PROGRESS going from strength to strength, establishing global partnerships and helping to develop a new generation of exciting British talent...
Now is the time to see a feature documentary that shows this pivotal and exciting movement.
How can I help?
Website - www.progressdocu.com
NEW EXCLUSIVE T-SHIRTS ADDED!
'The Electric Ballroom' tee INCLUDES:
- Ltd Edition T-Shirt
- Screening Ticket
- Digital Download
- End Credit Thanks
- Social Media Shoutout
Here are some of our other awesome t-shirts and posters by PROGRESS designer, Rob Dobrowolsky:
New Exclusive Rewards:
£300 - Matt Riddle Tutorial comes with:
- Ltd Edition Wrestling Tutorial
- Screening Ticket
- Digital Download
- End Credit Thanks
- Social Media Shoutout
Limited Edition Coffee Table Book: UPDATE - SOLD OUT!
Own a part of PROGRESS history.
We're really excited about this one! We have collaborated with James Musselwhite and his 'Portrait of a Wrestler' series to compile this beautiful, 50 page coffee table book looking into a 'day in the life' of a PROGRESS live show with all of the atmosphere and emotion that only a live PROGRESS show brings. All photos taken at the PROGRESS Wrestling show: Chapter 47 'Complicated Simplicity'.
This reward is a Kickstarter exclusive so you can only get a copy during this campaign! STRICTLY LIMITED TO 20 COPIES.
What we need the funds for.
'THIS.IS.PROGRESS.' is 80% filmed already as we have been self-financing and documenting the PROGRESS story for 11 months already! This is where we need your help though. We have a few more shoot days scheduled in order to capture the final act of the documentary. After these we will have wrapped principal photography!
Therefore the majority of the funds we are looking to raise are 'finishing funds'. This means the money would be used for remaining production shoots and essential post-production costs.
In order for the film to be finished to the extremely high standards we have set, we need funding to cover the following:
Once we hit £25k we've got further plans... our stretch goals:
Our intentions for the film...
To put it bluntly, we want this to get out to as many people as possible! We see this documentary not as something just for wrestling fans, but for a far wider audience, informing them about the amazing things that are happening in this grassroots, punk-rock pro wrestling company. For more on where the film will go, please see our ‘risks and challenges’ section below.
- Late June 2017 - Start editing
- September '17 - Finish production
- February '18 - Complete editing
- Spring/Summer '18 - Take THIS.IS.PROGRESS to film festivals
- Summer '18 - Limited cinema release
- Autumn '18 - Global release via video-on-demand
Comedian, writer, voiceover artist, husband, parent, tattoo canvas. 1/3 of PROGRESS and the loud one who bangs on about nonsense in between the matches.
Former comedy promoter, now 1/3 of the team behind PROGRESS Wrestling. Soft-spoken cyborg.
Hey, I’m Mark Haskins, professional wrestler, proud father, amazing husband, genius/modest bio writer and expert dinosaur hunter. I’ve been fortunate enough to live through Pro Wrestling since I was 18, and in the past ten years I’ve been lucky to travel the globe and compete for some of the biggest companies against some of the hottest performer’s going. Through This.Is.Progress you get to take a closer look at my life, how being part of the Wrestling business affects those close to me, some of the struggles we go through, what it’s like to be a part of Progress on their meteoric rise and sure we’ll shoot some dinosaurs on the way.
My name is Paul Lee and I am here to represent the PROGRESS ultras, which is a huge honour as these fans are the best in the world! I was born and raised in Middlesbrough but traveled to New Zealand with my father when I was 14 and had many a good year there including finishing off my schooling and also went to university there. Just over 7 years ago I made my journey home to the 'Boro. At Sonisphere festival a few years back I went to my first PROGRESS show and basically fell in love with the company from there on in.
Dale Beaumont-Brown's (Director/Producer) documentaries have screened at film festivals globally. His feature-debut, 'GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution' has won awards internationally taking the Grand Jury Prize at both the Norwich Radical Film Festival and Cinebis Film Festival. It was also recognised further at Cinebis with the 'Hemp Horticulture' award for best industry representation on a global stage and 'Best Film Focusing on life improvement with Cannabis' at the Maine Cannabis Film Festival. 'GrassRoots' has been sold to broadcasters worldwide and has been released via Amazon on VOD/Prime in Japan, Germany, UK and the USA.
Founding member and principal of Elixir Media Production in Norwich, UK, Dale has been producing compelling and emotionally involving documentaries for 10 years. His next feature documentary, 'THIS.IS.PROGRESS', profiles the UK's leading independent wrestling promotion PROGRESS Wrestling, and their meteoric rise to prominence as told from the perspective of a promoter, a fan and a professional wrestler on the brink of stardom. A 22 minute proof-of-concept short has already garnered over 25k views on YouTube.
Dale graduated with a BA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Derby, UK and lives with his wife and daughter in Norwich, UK.
Ross started working for Elixir Media Production in January 2011 as a production assistant and photographer. However during the production of Elixir's first feature documentary, 'GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution', he transitioned to the role of co-editor. A role that Ross has continued on 'THIS.IS.PROGRESS'. Ross is also the associate producer and researcher behind the scenes on the PROGRESS documentary production.
Andrew Jones runs [ACMESOUND] a music-focused sound studio that specialises in composition and sound design for picture. Combining a minimalist approach to live instrumentation with the warmth of vintage synth and dynamism of thick low end [ACMESOUND] have established themselves as a innovator in contemporary film and television composition. Andrew also works in radio production within the world of boundary-pushing electronic music and as a DJ.
Rob Dobrowolsky is a graphic designer based in Norwich. Among working on different design jobs, the ones that involve wrestling is where he is most at home. Graduating from the Norwich University College of the Arts in Norwich in 2010, Rob has been working as a designer for Progress Wrestling for the last 3 years and also works with a number or the Uk’s top wrestling talent producing merchandise and graphics.
Gwilym Perry is the founder and creative director of sound post company Doppler & Dubbs. He is an experienced sound designer and mixer with an award winning portfolio covering film, TV, advertising, animation and VR. Films include work on 'Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader', 'World War Z' and 'GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution' for Elixir Media.
His 10 years of industry experience has placed him at facilities such as Goldcrest Post, Shepperton and Twickenham Studios. One of his most recent films won a BAFTA, and was nominated for the 2017 MPSE Golden Reel Award in LA for excellence in sound editing. He is very proud to be part of the Elixir Media team, and with Dale as the director and creative force behind every story he is excited for this next venture into the world of wrestling.
Risks and challenges
In the past year, since we started filming, we have built an incredible fan base of supporters, both in person and online. We have also established contacts within the UK and international wrestling scene and released a 22 minute 'proof of concept' documentary short that has been watched nearly 30k times since release. All of which has been done for little or no money! Now we have nearly exhausted our resources and need you to help make this film a reality.
Whatever way you look at it, £25,000 is ALOT OF MONEY. But, it is the minimum we need in order to finish 'THIS.IS.PROGRESS.' to the extremely high standards we have set. The high standards we allude to are that of the film industry itself as we see our documentary appearing in film festivals around the world, cinemas and theaters and also eventually appearing on high end video-on-demand platforms such as Amazon, Netflix et al.
Plus, we have a proven track record of raising funds for a feature documentary via Kickstarter and releasing it to acclaim too. Our production team (director/producer, editors, composer and sound designer) all worked on raising £19,562 to bring 'GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution' to completion in 2015. Due to these funds being raised our team was able to finish the film to extremely high standards, enter film festivals around the world (even winning a few awards in the process!) Not only that but the film has now been sold to TV broadcasters around the globe and is currently available on Amazon Video in Japan, Germany, UK and the USA. This just shows what happens when a good story meets the generosity of the Kickstarter community... and we intend to repeat this process with 'THIS.IS.PROGRESS'.
If we reach £25k, trust us, we have grander aspirations for what some additional funds can do for our project. We would love to be able to put these into play, they can be found in our push goals breakdown.
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