$4,106
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64
backers
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Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, November 12 2018 9:00 PM UTC +00:00
Nick LeavensBy Nick Leavens
First created
Nick LeavensBy Nick Leavens
First created
$4,106
pledged of $15,000pledged of $15,000 goal
64
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, November 12 2018 9:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

ABOUT HEADPHONE SPLITTER

Headphone Splitter: A Pop Slasher Requiem is a pop-opera meta-horror mini-series following the murders of a serial killer targeting people wearing headphones.

The series is one of the last projects created and composed as by the late Matt Marks with the screenplay written by his long-time collaborator and friend Nick Leavens who is set to direct. 

In Headphone Splitter: A Pop Slasher Requiem composer Matt Marks tells us the story of an afternoon outing with his girlfriend, Baby, in which he is the sole witness to a grisly murder. The only witness to the gruesome killing, Matt tells Baby and the police, but without evidence, he becomes the prime suspect. As evidence mounts against him, Matt tries to investigate the real killer. Who is the elusive axe murderer chopping down unsuspecting music fans wandering innocently listening to their headphones? Is it a new type of serial killer? Is it Baby? Is it a demon descended upon Brooklyn? Or, is Matt having a psychotic breakdown and blacking out while he goes on killing rampages through his favorite neighborhoods?

Inspired by the mad visualizations of Dario Argento and the rock/pop-opera films like Jesus Christ Superstar and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg this limited-series is a mashup of slasher pic and music video, set all against the backdrop of the greatest city in the world, Brooklyn. 

This campaign is to support filming of the first three episodes composed and recorded by Matt Marks. The full series of nine episodes would include three final episodes composed by Mary Kouyoumdjian rounding out the story and vision Matt began. 

Preproduction will begin with this campaign and continue until primary production in late 2019. The series will be distributed on the web so it can be watched from anywhere by everyone.

Poster exploration by Seth Moore insta: @Thom_E_Rose
Poster exploration by Seth Moore insta: @Thom_E_Rose

A NOTE FROM MATT:

“Headphone Splitter is inspired by my love of genre cinema from the 70s and 80s, particularly slasher movies and gritty New York City-based crime dramas. Films such as Death Wish, Across 110 Street, and The New York Ripper are just as much an influence as Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp, and Italian slashers like Suspiria and Opera. The film is also a love letter to my adopted home of Brooklyn, and the story takes us to different points of interest across Brooklyn – Prospect Park, Marine Park, Downtown Brooklyn, etc. – as the character Matt Marks finds himself seemingly followed by a series of grisly murders. The story is told in a sung-through rock/pop-opera style, as in Hamilton, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, but uniquely traverses a number of different musical styles, such as R&B, bubblegum pop, ballad, country rock, and classical.”

  • Matt Marks, 2017

EPISODE 1 SNEAK PEAK:

WHY SUPPORT

If you love horror, pop opera, film, new music, or genre bending mash-ups, you will love “Headphone Splitter.” In one of his last composed works Matt created an opera-horror-thriller-love-letter-to-Brooklyn. This mini-series will break expectations and genre, giving you something you never knew you wanted. 

All the money raised goes directly to production costs to making something brilliantly bloody and boundary pushing right here in Brooklyn that can be streamed to your home. 

“Headphone Splitter” will be an epic new vision of horror and pop opera. Don’t want to take our word for it? You don’t have to. Here’s some killer press…

“...wonderful and extreme.” - Time Out NY, House of Von Macrame

“...next in line with the likes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” - Interview Magazine, House of Von Macrame

“...unabashedly boppy, baroquely multireferential, then suddenly sentimental.” -The New York Times on Matt Marks

“...staggeringly creative...” - The New York Times on Matt Marks

“...brilliantly simultaneously creepy and funny.” -Sequenza21.com on Matt Marks 

“...the series you need to be binge watching." - Pride, Unicornland

Inspiration fuel: Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA. We love the lighting and insane murders.
Inspiration fuel: Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA. We love the lighting and insane murders.

A NOTE FROM NICK ON THE SERIES HISTORY

In 2017 I reconnected with Matt while working on the show Unicornland. We had worked together years earlier on the hit pop-horror-musical, The House of Von Macrame and would occasionally see each other after. Matt came to the launch party of Unicornland and after the screening came up to me. “Nick, that was amazing. I am so happy I was here for that. I have an idea I want to run by you.” A few weeks later he sent me the first track of Headphone Splitter, we met to talk about it, and he asked me to direct. “What was cool with what you did with Unicornland was it wasn’t your story and you went full tilt with it. I loved it. I wanna see what we can do with this crazy idea I have.”

And so we started. Matt began to walk me through the music he was building, with his first track as the foundation. We began plotting a series, something unlike anything we knew, drawing from inspirations in horror, music, and weird serialized stuff we liked. Matt always had the market cornered on weird, and as we went further down the road of his inspirations, my aesthetic and the types of work I was paying attention to began to broaden and change. His openness to the unusual, the bold, and often odd works, of which he had an encyclopedic knowledge, allowed him to hone into specifics which made the music or film special and important. Extract this element from this film and this other thing from this song, mash them together and we’ve made something new. Everything, no matter how off the wall, tacky, lofty, artistic, or otherwise suddenly had importance as we crafted the plot and Matt composed.

Over the course of a few months, we met sporadically, sometimes watching films, sometimes having listening and notes sessions. We brought on a collaborator from Von Mac, the amazing effects designer, Waldo Warshaw, and dreamed up magical ways to murder people in each episode while further fleshing out the meta-plot of the relationship between Matt Marks the composer and Matt Marks the character we were writing.

We went through periods of quick development and lulls in productivity as we’d take turns being distracted by other projects, travel, or life. But the project brought me closer to my old friend and collaborator. Earlier this year I got a call that Matt had passed away unexpectedly at the age of 38. We had seen each other for a movie outing just a week and a half earlier.

If it had been the other way around, I would have wanted Matt to finish the project without me and I feel that he would want the same. We had planned for nine episodes, each presented in three episode blocks. Matt composed and recorded the first set of three which this campaign hopes to fund. With permission from the Marks family and his fiance Mary, I hope to film those first three episodes, as we envisioned, in 2019.

I hope this project can be a lasting imprint of Matt's singular voice, his passion for the collaboration, and his love of the truly weird.

THE TEAM

 Matt Marks was a composer of darkly comic opera-theater works and instrumental/electronic music that experimented with narrative and pop idioms. A founding member of Alarm Will Sound, he also performed as a French hornist, vocalist, and keyboardist with such acclaimed new music ensembles as the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), ACME, the Brooklyn Brass Quintet, the Argento Chamber Ensemble and the Wordless Orchestra. He recorded for Universal Music, Warp Records, Nonesuch, Cantaloupe Music and New Amsterdam, among many other independent labels. 

Matt appeared as a soloist with the LA Philharmonic and live on This American Life at BAM. As a composer and arranger, Matt’s work has been called “staggeringly creative” by The New York Times, “obsessively detailed” by New York Magazine, and The LA Times wrote that there is “no fighting this music.” His work has been presented at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Lincoln Center, The Barbican Center, The Bang on a Can Marathon, 21st Century Liederabend, and live on WNYC radio. Commissions included those from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Alarm Will Sound, HERE Arts Center, the Bushwick Starr, Hotel Elefant, and JFund. Artist residencies of Matt’s included the University of Rochester (2016) – where he was also a visiting professor – and HERE Arts Center (2014-17). 

Matt was also on faculty at The New School. His recent album, the post-Christian nihilist pop opera, The Little Death: Vol. 1 was praised as “cheerily seductive” by The New York Times and “unabashedly boppy, baroquely multi referential, then suddenly sentimental” by Time Out New York. Other sizeable creations of Matt’s include his most recent opera Mata Hari which was produced for Prototype Festival – with the support of NYSCA.The New York Times acknowledged the opera as a work of “striking innovation” with a “bold mix of vocal styles”.  Matt also recently presented an album of his vocal and ensemble works, Songs of Love and Violence,  in collaboration with Hotel Elefant and was involved in significant stage works including a setting of Berthold Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children” and “The House of Von Macramé,” a low-budget slasher musical. In addition to his work as an artist, Matt was also a community organiser, initiating fundraisers and concerts such as the New Music Bake Sale and festivals such as New Music Gathering. Matt lived in Brooklyn where he also worked as a freelance arranger and producer. 

 Nick Leavens is a director and writer in film and theatre. After years working in script development and directing in theatre, his series debut Unicornland has been a streaming success, receiving international acclaim. His next slated project is Headphone Splitter: A Pop Slasher Requiem, a horror mini-series with his longtime collaborator, composer Matt Marks. He’s also working on a sitcom and a feature film yet to be announced.

In theatre Nick has directed at the Ensemble Studio Theatre (where he had a NY Times critics pick for his work on the 2015 Marathon), Atlantic Theater, Naked Angels, HERE Arts Center, the Bushwick Starr, The Flea Theatre, Studio 42, The Brick, The New York International Fringe Festival, Stella Adler, At Hand Theatre, CAPS LOCK Theatre, Crashbox Theatre, the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, and Vital Theater. Directing highlights include: Lieutenant of Inishmore (Assistant Director, Broadway/off-Broadway), The House of Von Macrame (The Management at the Bushwick Starr). 

Nick's writing has been seen at The Flea Theatre, Oregon Performance Lab, CAPS LOCK Theatre, Fault Line Theatre, The Vital Theatre, and the September Play Festival.

He was the Founder and Artistic Director of |the claque|, served as the Artistic Director of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival, programming director for the Sheen Center, project manager for Anna Deavere Smith’s Pipeline project, and consults on series development and casting for independent film and television projects.

 Mary Kouyoumdjian is a composer with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new. She has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alarm Will Sound, Roomful of Teeth, the American Composers Forum/JFund, International Contemporary Ensemble [ICE], Brooklyn Youth Chorus, REDSHIFT, the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble, the Nouveau Classical Project, Music of Remembrance, Friction Quartet, Experiments in Opera, and Ensemble Oktoplus. Her documentary work was recently presented by the NY Philharmonic Biennial and her residencies include Alarm Will Sound, Roulette/The Jerome Fund, Montalvo Arts, and Exploring the Metropolis. Kouyoumdjian is pursuing her D.M.A. in Composition at Columbia University, holds an M.A. in Scoring for Film & Multimedia from New York University and a B.A. in Music Composition from UC San Diego. She is a co-founder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering. 

Waldo Warshaw Waldo Warshaw, special effects designer, president of Show Effection Inc, has been designing special effects for theatre and film since 1986. His many credits on and off Broadway include; “The Lieutenant Of Inishmore”, “Evil Dead, the musical”, St Ann’s

Warehouse production of “Macbeth 2008”, “The Magician”, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”, “The Lonesome West”, “Treasure Island”, “The Coward”, “Toxic Avenger, the musical” His understandings of special effects geared for both theatre or film have greatly influenced his unorthodox approach. Mr. Warshaw holds a patent on an alternative to the bloody pyrotechnic squib hit. Designer of the patented, Det-Less Bloodhit System, used on theatrical and film productions worldwide.

Most recent special effects contributions include “All The Little Things We Kill”, 2018. “Mudbound”, 2017.

 BUDGET 

The $15,000 goal - The goal of this campaign will cover half of the cost for three episodes of “Headphone Splitter.” This includes:

  • Lead actors
  • Featured extras
  •  Artistic staff/crew including:  
    • Director of photography
    • Art direction
    • Costume design
    • Gaffers/crew
    • Assistant director
    • Unit producer
    • etc.
  • Equipment rentals
  • Pre-production costs
  • Poster design
  •  Post production: 
    • Editing
    • Color correction
    • Festival submissions
    • Promotion
  • Kickstarter Fees

STRETCH GOALS

$30,000 - The first three episodes fully funded as detailed above without having to pursue outside funding, partnerships or grants.

$60,000 - The second set of episodes would be fully funded, including commissioning costs of the composer(s) and filming of the episodes.

$90,000 - The final set of episodes to be composed by Mary Kouyoumdjian would be fully funded, including commissioning costs of the composer and filming of the episodes. Most importantly the project would be able to have a new life in full completion of Matt’s vision.

Artist Seth Moore's first steps into story boarding.
Artist Seth Moore's first steps into story boarding.

SHOW INSPIRATION

During the month of October, Matt would always do #31daysofhorror, watching a different horror film every day of the month. Some members of the team are watching inspiration films, cult classics, and new releases during the campaign. Feel free to watch with us, join us for in person screenings, or follow director Nick Leavens' thoughts on twitter @sporadicstache. 

October 1        Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye, Antonio Margheriti

October 2        Bay of Blood, Mario Bava

October 3        Suspiria, Dario Argento, in person screening

October 4        The Perfume of the Lady in Black, Francesco Barilli

October 5        The Love Witch, Anna Biller

October 6        Bird with Crystal Plumage, Dario Argento

October 7         Opera,  Argento

October 8        Don’t Torture a Duckling, Lucio Fulci

October 9        Death Wish, Michael Winner

October 10      Mandy, Panos Cosmatos, in person screening

October 11      The Cat o’ Nine Tails, Dario Argento

October 12      Sleepaway Camp, Robert Hiltzik

October 13      Killer Clowns From Outerspace, Chiodo Brothers

October 14      The New York Ripper, Lucio Fulci

October 15      5 Dolls for an August Moon, Mario Bava

October 16      The Shining, Stanley Kubrick

October 17       TBD, in person screening

October 18      Deep Red, Dario Argento

October 19      The Monster Squad, Fred Dekker

October 20      Inferno, Dario Argento

October 21      Friday the 13th, Sean S. Cunningham

October 22      Scherzo Diabolico, Adrian Garcia Bogliano

October 23      Halloween (new release), in person screening

October 24      Hellraiser, Clive Barker

October 25      The Return of the Living Dead, Dan O’Bannon

October 26      The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire, Riccardo Freda

October 27      Children of the Corn, Fritz Kiersch

October 28      Child’s Play, Tom Holland

October 29      Vampire in Brooklyn, Wes Craven

October 30      Hatchet for the Honeymoon,Mario Bava

October 31      Suspiria (remake), Luca Guadagnino, in person screening

Risks and challenges

Producing any type of film project comes with a great deal of risk. They range from those which are financial, like raising the money to film the project, to logistical, like acquiring proper permitting to shoot in special locations, or the personal challenge of working on a project created by a lost colleague.

This will be a challenging undertaking and not a small one. But we are confident in the team we have and the one that we are building. Our network of friends, collaborators, and supporters like you, are some of the best and most experienced.

You will see the project and the team grow during the course of this campaign and after. We are confident this project will happen and will be done with the best talent and to the highest standards. We're excited to make something ridiculous and beautiful with your support.

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Funding period

- (34 days)