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Last year, Kickstarter backers helped us transform 'Guys Reading Poems' into a feature film. Now, we need your support to complete it.
After four years of work, two successful crowdfunding campaigns and a year on the festival circuit, GUYS READING POEMS opens theatrically on April 28th at Arena Cinemalounge, here in Los Angeles. Thank you. And...wow!
After four years of work, two successful crowdfunding campaigns and a year on the festival circuit, GUYS READING POEMS opens theatrically on April 28th at Arena Cinemalounge, here in Los Angeles. Thank you. And...wow!
113 backers pledged $19,035 to help bring this project to life.

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Completing 'Guys Reading Poems' (2015)

$19,035

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More than two years ago, I began working on an idea to explore masculinity and poetry in a cinematic piece. We gathered a great team (including award-winning cinematographer Michael Marius Pessah) and shot creative interpretations of 35 poems in July, 2013 with an excellent cast of up-and-coming actors. The resulting film (never seen by outside eyes!) was so compelling that our editor Patrick Kennelly suggested that the material was telling us that it wanted to be more than a relatively small-scale art project. After watching it many times, I saw that Patrick was right and decided to develop the project into a full-fledged feature film.

Gopal Divan in 'Guys Reading Poems.' Cinematography by Michael Marius Pessah
Gopal Divan in 'Guys Reading Poems.' Cinematography by Michael Marius Pessah

For several months, I brainstormed, then came up with the idea for a story that could interweave with the poetry in a compelling way. I then wrote a narrative script and, surprisingly quickly, we attracted some fantastic, well-known actors to play the new roles, including Patricia Velasquez ("The Mummy" series), Alexander Dreymon (the upcoming BBC America show "The Last Kingdom"), Lydia Hearst ("The Face"), Christos Vasilopolous ("Banshee") and Rex Lee ("Entourage"). Then, we needed to figure out how to finance the additional 12 days of shooting.

Patricia Velasquez in 'Guys Reading Poems.' Cinematography by Michael Marius Pessah Costume designed by Shpetim Zero
Patricia Velasquez in 'Guys Reading Poems.' Cinematography by Michael Marius Pessah Costume designed by Shpetim Zero

That's where you came in! Last time around, we raised more than $40,000 from 291 backers and were able to shoot our feature! Now, as of July, 2015, the movie has been shot. Edited. Picture Locked. It's almost ready to go to festivals and to distributors...BUT...

We successfully ran a crowdfunding campaign in April, 2014 to transform 'Guys Reading Poems' into a feature film.
We successfully ran a crowdfunding campaign in April, 2014 to transform 'Guys Reading Poems' into a feature film.

...we didn't have quite enough funds for the final stages of post-production, like color correction and post-audio work, along with the costs of a digital cinema print. Yes. Even black-and-white films need color correction. :) 

Lydia Hearst in a still image from 'Guys Reading Poems' Cinematography by Michael Marius Pessah Costume by Shpetim Zero
Lydia Hearst in a still image from 'Guys Reading Poems' Cinematography by Michael Marius Pessah Costume by Shpetim Zero

As a first time feature film director, I underestimated some of these post-production costs and there were additional funds intended for post-production that had to be used to secure our location for the 12-day shoot and for other unexpected production expenses.

So here's what we need:

$4,500 - Additional ADR/foley work, prep for foreign stems for post-audio.

$2,500 - Film festival application fees, screeners, shipping expenses.

$2,250 - Color Correction expenses (quote). 

$2,118 - 4K Digital Cinema Print - 'Guys Reading Poems'

$1,862 - Marketing fees. Reproduction of one sheets, media kits, marketing materials.

$1,500 - Negotiated rate with major record label for the publishing and performance rights to a crucial song for the soundtrack of the film.

$1,200 - VFX. Quote to rotoscope out a few items from the film that we need to remove from the image.

$1,170 - Estimate of the cost of the Kickstarter fees (described as 5 to 8% of funds raised)/campaign expenses.

$900 - Estimate from our graphic designer to adjust graphics, one sheet, main and end titles, end credit scroll. 

Total = $18,000

With 'Guys Reading Poems,' you can see that we're ALMOST to the finish line. The additional funding will ensure its swift completion! We've shown the fortitude to come this far and need just that one last push to help us go into the world.

Christos Vasilopoulos & Luke Judy in 'Guys Reading Poems.' Photo by Michael Marius Pessah
Christos Vasilopoulos & Luke Judy in 'Guys Reading Poems.' Photo by Michael Marius Pessah

If we raise any funds beyond the $18,000, they will be used to support the marketing of the film. If we raise $50,000 beyond our goal, we'll be able to self-distribute the film theatrically! 

I want to pay special tribute to our creative team - including cinematographer Michael Marius Pessah, composer Joachim Horsley (whose original music you hear in this trailer), production designer Nathaly Lopez, costume designer Shpetim Zero, editor Patrick Kennelly and so many other artists who tirelessly worked in front and behind the camera on 'Guys Reading Poems.' It's been amazing! And we're almost there...

Sincerely,

Hunter Lee Hughes

Director, "Guys Reading Poems"

Risks and challenges

Luckily for us, the lion's share of work has already been done on 'Guys Reading Poems.' We do not need to shoot anything else. The film has been edited and has achieved picture lock. However, speaking honestly, we've already experienced delays in post-production on 'Guys Reading Poems.' And the prospect of another delay due to workflow issues in post with the color correct or post-audio is possible. But we've learned so far that with filmmaking - perseverance is key. Although we've had setbacks, we've never lost our resolve to make an innovative, aesthetically compelling feature film. And so we believe our determination and willingness to learn and adapt will guide us through any unexpected turns that may happen in these final stages.

The final risk and challenge associated with 'Guys Reading Poems' is...letting go. For more than two years, we've been working on the film, using our imagination and skills to create a worthy, original product from the ground up. I've seen directors hold onto their first features for two years, then four, even five. They'll tell you they're just trying to make the film 'perfect,' that there's just a few shots that still 'bug' them or the rights to a certain pop song might come through any day now. But oftentimes, I find that - like children - it's hard to see your film 'grow up' and enter the world....without you. So after we raise this money, clean up the few remaining tasks on the film, our job is partially to let go and give the film to you - the audience - rather than holding on to it ourselves.

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    You’ll receive our sincere gratitude for helping out a worthy project and we’ll send you a digital copy of one of our production stills. You'll also be listed in the ‘Support’ tab of our ‘Guys Reading Poems’ website as one of our patrons!

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    You’ll receive a personal thank-you email from the director, along with a digital copy of two of our production stills. You’ll also be listed in the ‘Support’ tab of our ‘Guys Reading Poems’ website as one of our patrons!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You’ll receive a digital download of the film (when commercially available), a personal thank-you email from the director and a digital copy of two of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be able to have your photo/graphic and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may connect with you...or your business. Even before the film’s release, we’ve had more than 14,800 hits on our website so far - patronage is good for business!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    You’ll receive an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster, a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). PLUS, you will receive a ‘Special Thanks’ credit in the credits of the film! Very cool! You’ll also get a personal thank-you email from the director and a digital copy of two of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may connect with you...or your business. Even before the film’s release, we’ve had more than 14,800 hits on our website so far - patronage is good for business!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You’ll receive an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster signed by at LEAST three cast members, as well as a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). You’ll be listed in the ‘Special Thanks’ credits of the actual film and will also get a personal thank-you email from the director and a digital copy of two of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may connect with you...or your business. Even before the film’s release, we’ve had more than 14,800 hits on our website so far - patronage is good for business!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE ACTOR PACKAGE. You’ll be invited to a Los Angeles screening of ‘Guys Reading Poems’ attended by at least three cast members. Have fun and network with other movers and shakers! You’ll also receive a FULL MONTH of acting classes taught by ‘Guys Reading Poems’ director Hunter Lee Hughes through Fatelink’s new StoryAtlas division. We'll send you an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster signed by at LEAST three cast members, as well as a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). You’ll be listed in the ‘Special Thanks’ credits of the actual film and will also get a personal thank-you email from the director and a digital copy of two of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may connect with you...or your business. (Travel and accommodations not included - you must be in the Los Angeles area to take part in the acting class and/or attend the party).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE PRODUCER PACKAGE. You’ll be invited to a Los Angeles screening of ‘Guys Reading Poems’ attended by at least three cast members. Have fun and network with other movers and shakers! You’ll also receive a 50 minute consultation from our line producer Bradley R. Bernstein (in Los Angeles or via Skype) on the craft of film budgeting. Plus, we'll send you an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster signed by at LEAST three cast members, as well as a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). You’ll be listed in the ‘Special Thanks’ credits of the actual film and will also get a personal thank-you email from the director and a digital copy of two of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may connect with you...or your business. (Travel and accommodation for consultation and/or party is not included).

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    THE MOVIE MOGUL PACKAGE. You’ll be invited to a Los Angeles screening of ‘Guys Reading Poems’ attended by at least three cast members. Have fun and network with other movers and shakers! You’ll also receive an hour-long consultation on the art of movie fundraising by our producer Debbie Vandermeulen. We'll send you an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster signed by at LEAST three cast members, as well as a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). You’ll be listed in the ‘Special Thanks’ credits of the actual film and will also get a personal thank-you email from the director and a digital copy of two of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may connect with you….or your business. (Travel and accommodation for party and/or consultation is NOT included).

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE PHOTOGRAPHY PACKAGE. You’ll be invited to a Los Angeles screening of ‘Guys Reading Poems’ attended by at least three cast members. Have fun and network with other movers and shakers! You’ll also a photo shoot from our producer Jason Fracaro through his company SodaPopJerks. You’ll receive two different looks - great for actors, businesspeople or start-ups that need imagery for promotion purposes! We'll send you an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster signed by at LEAST three cast members, as well as a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). You’ll be listed in the ‘Special Thanks’ credits of the actual film and will also get a personal thank-you email from the director and a digital copy of two of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may learn about you or your business. (Limit - 5 packages. Travel and accommodations for photo shoot and/or party are NOT included. You must be in the Los Angeles area for your photo shoot.)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE HOT TUB PACKAGE. You read that right! You’ll be invited to an exclusive HOT TUB party hosted by at least five cast members AND you’ll be invited a Los Angeles screening of ‘Guys Reading Poems’ attended by at least three cast members - that’s a lot of fun and networking with movers and shakers! You’ll also receive two of the four special packages (The Actor Package, The Producer Package, The Movie Mogul Package, The Photography Package). You get to choose which two of the four packages that you want. Your name will go into the ‘Very Special Thanks’ credits in the film. We'll send you an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster signed by at LEAST three cast members, as well as a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). You’ll be listed in the ‘Special Thanks’ credits of the actual film and will also get a personal thank-you email from the director and a framed copy of one of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may learn about you...or your business. (Travel and accommodations for both parties and all classes/consultations are NOT included.)

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    “YOU ARE AN ASSOCIATE PRODUCER” PACKAGE. You’ll receive credit on the big screen and on IMDb as an associate producer of ‘Guys Reading Poems.’ You’ll also be invited to a screening of the film in Los Angeles AND an exclusive HOT TUB party hosted by at least five cast members - that’s a lot of fun and networking with movers and shakers! You’ll also receive three of the four special packages (The Actor Package, The Producer Package, The Movie Mogul Package, The Photography Package). You get to choose which three of the four packages that you want. We'll send you an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster signed by at LEAST three cast members, as well as a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). You will also get a personal thank-you card from the director and a framed copy of one of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be highlighted on our page and able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may connect with you...or your business. (Travel and accommodations for both parties and all classes/consultations are NOT included.)

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    “YOU ARE A CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER” PACKAGE. You’ll receive ‘Co-Executive Producer’ credit on the big screen and on IMDb as a co-executive producer of ‘Guys Reading Poems.’ You’ll also be invited to a screening of the film in Los Angeles AND an exclusive HOT TUB party hosted by at least five cast members AND you’ll be invited to our exclusive ‘Guys Reading Poems’ party in Malibu - that’s a lot of fun and networking with movers and shakers! You’ll also receive ALL FOUR of the four special packages (The Actor Package, The Producer Package, The Movie Mogul Package, The Photography Package). We'll send you an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster signed by at LEAST three cast members, as well as a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). You will also receive a personalized thank-you card from the director and a framed copy of one of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be highlighted on that page and able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may connect with you...or your business. (Travel and accommodations for both parties and all classes/consultations are NOT included.)

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    "EXECUTIVE PRODUCER" PACKAGE. You will receive a prestigious ‘Executive Producer’ credit on the big screen and on IMDB for ‘Guys Reading Poems.’ You’ll also be invited to a screening of the film in Los Angeles and an exclusive HOT TUB party attended by at least five cast members - that’s a lot of fun and networking with movers and shakers! You’ll also receive ALL FOUR of the four special packages (The Actor Package, The Producer Package, The Movie Mogul Package, The Photography Package). We'll send you an 11” by 17” ‘Guys Reading Poems’ poster signed by at LEAST three cast members, as well as a DVD copy of the film AND a digital download of the film (when commercially available). You’ll receive a personalized thank you card from the director and a framed copy of one of our production stills. Not only will you be listed on our ‘Support’ page as one of our patrons, but you’ll be highlighted on our page and able to have your photo and hyperlink included on the list, so that others may connect with you….or your business. (Travel and accommodations for both parties and all classes/consultations are NOT included.)

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Funding period

- (36 days)