About this project
ORIGIN OF THE PROJECT
When I decided to direct "Guys Reading Poems," our cast and crew expected it to be an Internet project with 35 separate (but related) pieces released online. After we put together the rough cut (which ran 60 minutes), our creative team gathered in the dark and screened our mindbender poetry film on the big screen...and soon realized we had a visually striking and innovative feature on our hands (see our trailer in full HD glory here).
So I fleshed out an interweaving narrative between the pieces...and here we are...seeking the funds on Kickstarter to complete a dream-come-true project. Within weeks of finishing the rough cut, I screened clips of the film for Alexander Dreymon of "American Horror Story." He loved the project and my pitch for the secret society storyline. Two conversations later, Alex agreed to play one of the lead roles in the interlocking narrative.
He joins a terrific ensemble of guys who've already delivered raw, powerful performances. Our original cast (seen in the video) includes: Blake Sheldon (who just filmed a role in Fincher's "Gone Girl"), Justin Schwan, Vincent Montuel, Jerod Meagher, Jason Fracaro (also one of our producers), Gopal Divan and yours truly. More casting announcements are on the way!
WHAT WE NEED AND WHY WE NEED IT
We need about 25 minutes of additional footage to flesh out the material and transform it into a viable narrative feature film. Our producing team (including Fracaro, J. Parker Buell, Bradley R. Bernstein and Sammy Kusler) has determined that we should shoot at least six more days to finish "Guys Reading Poems." That's where you come in!
Here is a breakdown of our expected costs:
- Camera/Lighting/Grip/Sound equipment rentals - $11,675
- Cast/Crew Payroll (SAG-AFTRA ULB contract) - $12,065
- Production Insurance - $2,200
- Location Expenses - $3,000
- Production Design/Art Dept. - $985
- Wardrobe - $850
- Make-Up Dept. - $300
- FilmLA Permit - $625
- Craft Services - $1,800
- Legal - $2,500
- Contingency - $4,000
Obviously, the additional amount needed for a second shoot was completely unexpected, which is why we're here. If we raise money beyond $40,000, it will go towards additional shooting days and/or our post-production and marketing costs, like editing, sound mixing, music and film festival application fees.
We're proud of our Kickstarter video...and think it hints at how our final product will look and feel.
Still need to see more of our work? No problem. We have websites for "Guys Reading Poems," plus our Facebook and company websites - Fatelink and StoryAtlas. You can check out our Vimeo page, as well as sites for some of our previous projects, including "Winner Takes All" and "Dumbass Filmmakers!" as well as my own personal site as a filmmaker - HunterLeeHughes.com. Take a look at the work of our incredible cinematographer Michael Marius Pessah and selections from our brilliant editor, Patrick Kennelly, our fashion forward costume designer Shpetim Zero and our sharp-eyed production designer Nathaly Lopez.
"Guys Reading Poems" will always be a rather unique project, but we feel the new narrative, Alexander's presence in the film and the quality track record of our collaborators make us an interesting option for film festival programmers and audiences of the suspense/mindbender genre (not to mention those who love poetry).
There are enough cookie cutter movies out there. And the studios ...and "stars" of the studio system...certainly don't need your help to fund them. We do...and will deliver a worthy film. And so, on behalf of my entire team, I humbly ask you...will you back a real indie film that's truly unique? If so, please donate...and share.
Hunter Lee Hughes (Director, "Guys Reading Poems")
Cover storyboard by: Anthony Sturmas
Risks and challenges
We've been extremely lucky that Alexander Dreymon from "American Horror Story" is attached to play one of the leads in the narrative that we need your help to shoot. But one of the risks in working with someone who's got a big career going is the possibility of having to shuffle shoot dates to accommodate their availability.
We're mitigating this risk by creating some flexibility in the schedule in case we need to move things around. Luckily, most of our second shoot takes place in the same location so if we had to switch scenes, we could do that. Having all the storyboards and shot lists created in advance will mitigate this risk.
Also, as mentioned in the video, a suspense/high art/mindbender film isn't exactly the most commercial genre of film (especially without James Franco involved). However, it is a piece that we think that film festival programmers will admire. So that's why we're reaching out to audiences NOW to build a fan base for this film. That way, if we do win acceptance at some festivals, we can leverage your interest into that ephemeral quality of "buzz" to help the film succeed in the marketplace.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We wanted to create a Kickstarter trailer that was an experience of the material as much as a traditional pitch. The feature film "Guys Reading Poems" dives into worlds that blur the lines between imagination, memory and reality so we wanted our Kickstarter video to reflect, rather than explain, those ideas.
Plus, we were very influenced by Monte Patterson's theories over at "The Final Image" and wanted to create an experience of the trailer based off the haunting image of Gopal traversing through the lonely hallway. Once we locked that image as our "final image", we knew that seeing talking heads just wouldn't do.
But you can catch a glimpse of the production team in the video, since Jason and I both act in the piece! :)
We are confident that we'll find the investors we need to create "Guys Reading Poems" so our first priority is protecting the audience's experience of the film when it comes out. When you're creating a suspense/mindbender piece, fundraising on Kickstarter can be difficult because people naturally want to know as much of the story as possible. But knowing TOO much of the story can take away from the experience of the audience watching the film, especially in this genre. We're trying to balance the two in seeking funding from you. And, in this case, we believe that we should err on the side of "less is more" due to the nature of the film.
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