Allston Xmas gets its name from the night of the First of September, which is moving day in Boston. Have you ever been moving and wanted to leave half the things you own on the sidewalk? Well, in Allston, people do that. Residents call the night "Allston Christmas" as they browse all the abandoned goods -- and it turns into an epic neighborhood-wide holiday of scavenging, up-cycling, and finding new life in other people's trash.
The majority of leases in Boston begin and end on the First of September. That means that entire neighborhoods are moving on the same day. Tens of thousands of people are navigating narrow streets at odd angles, old buildings with no elevators, and Boston's late summer heat and humidity. It's a truly miserable ritual.
Allston Xmas is a webseries that takes place on moving day. An anthology of twelve interconnected episodes, it follows a group of young people as they strain under the weight of their friendships, relationships, and attachment to material things.
Shane and Bekah can't agree on which of their many possessions have sentimental value and which are trash. Hartley is moving in with Brendan despite his mother's accusation that he's "slumming it." Jason is giving up and moving back in with his folks, but isn't getting far because his friends refuse to help him pack. Jim entertains his nephew. Talli and Marshall avoid the chaos.
In the spirit of Allston Christmas -- the fun of finding something awesome for free -- we'll be releasing Allston Xmas online as a free webseries. Plus, if we reach our stretch goal (see below), we'll pass on the name, websites, and half the money to another team of filmmakers to find new life in Allston Xmas for next year. So please donate, and help us tell a moving story about one of our city's worst ideas.
We're currently casting! Please check our Updates page to see our casting announcements as we find actors. We're looking for a cast that is as diverse and talented as Boston itself, so if you're interested in auditioning, please send a headshot and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Director Jared Vincenti, Producer Kenice Mobley, Cinematographer Fred Young, Music Supervisor Perry Eaton, and more have worked together on various short films around Boston.
We have a rockstar team that has worked on everything from major movies to no-budget indies, and we're very excited to embark on our first web-based project together!
Day of Youth, Jared's first feature film, was a recent collaboration by our team. Funded by a successful $7,000 Kickstarter campaign last year, we're finishing our final sound edit and mix to prepare to send the film to festivals. You can see our trailer here, and follow Day of Youth on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.
What's more, the Day of Youth soundtrack contains 20 songs from Boston bands, and is free to stream and download here thanks to Allston Pudding, Boston's coolest local music blog. We hope to make Allston Xmas just as much of a showcase of local musical talent as Day of Youth. We were also profiled in a cover story in the Boston Phoenix, which you can read online here:
$10 - Thank You! We'll thank you on facebook or twitter, and in the credits to one of our episodes! Plus, we'll mail you some rockin Allston Xmas stickers!
$15 - Spectator Sport. Inspired by the Allstonians who spend the First of September on their balconies, watching the chaos, we've put together the Allston Xmas spectator pack: Allson Xmas sunglasses and drink koozie. So you can be as comfortable as possible while you watch others suffer. Limit 100. (P.S. We have to order these in bulk, so we're going to have 100 of them, so tell your friends they want sunglasses and koozies!)
$50 - Become a piece of Allston history! We'll thank you on social media and in all episodes and send you stickers, PLUS we will find a piece of furniture on the street in Allston and attach a message of your choosing to it. Who knows where it might end up? DISCLAIMER: We have no idea where it might end up. We'll take a picture of your message and post it online to prove it's done. Also, people are usually tired after moving all day in Allston, so please only leave nice messages. Limit 20.
$60 - Looking Cool! We'll thank you on social media and in all episodes, PLUS you'll get one of these stylin' orange Allston Xmas tank tops and some stickers. See above for a mock-up. Colors may differ in final product, standard sizes only. Limit 200.
$80 - Before They Were Cool. "I backed them before they were big!" You hear it a lot, but now you can prove it with a Kickstarter-only blue edition of our Allston Xmas tank with a modified logo. These will ONLY be printed for the first 60 backers who order! (Plus we'll thank you on social media and in all episodes!) See above for a mock-up. Colors may differ in final product, standard sizes only. We'll throw in some stickers too. Limit 60.
$100 - Pizza! How many times have you helped a friend move and gotten no more than pizza in return? Well, now you can get pizza--at a wrap party with our cast and crew, no less. And you don't even have to help anybody move! You can also pick up the tank of your choice and some stickers at the party! (BOSTON ONLY). Limit 20.
$300 - Product Placement! That's right. Want us to mention your restaurant? Have a character wear your band's t-shirt? This is the reward for you! Please contact us to discuss before choosing this reward. We want to make sure we're all on the same page. Limit 12.
$500 - Producer! That's right, you'll be credited as the producer on one of our episodes. How cool is that? We'll even send you a postcard signed by the cast and crew of your episode, plus one of each tank top and some stickers! Limit 12.
$1,000 - Executive Producer! You'll be credited as the Executive Producer of Allston Xmas, on every episode. We'll also send you both tank tops and a pile of stickers. You know what's the best part? Executive Producers are very busy people. Nobody ever asks them for help moving. Ever. (We can't promise that last part). Limit 4.
We know that we can deliver this project on a budget of $6,000 -- we've worked on enough no-budget film and web projects to know how to do it. That said, $6,000 is probably just enough to get us by for props, food, transportation, and water for our 12 episodes. Anything more will cost more, so we have two stretch goals:
$12,000: EVEN MORE PRESENTS
We've got a lot of things we'd like to do for Allston Xmas that we probably won't be able to for budgetary reasons. We'd like to make an extra Behind-the-Scenes episode. We'd like to run extra shooting crews on the First of September to capture great footage. We'd love to get some helicopter footage of moving day. If we make $12,000, we'll make sure that the extra funds go toward things you can see on the screen (though we might need help with the helicopters).
$24,000: PASS IT ON.
We've already said that the spirit of Allston Christmas has moved us to release the finished product for free online. But you know what would really be in the spirit of Allston Christmas? Letting another team of filmmakers take over the series when we're done, and get new life out of the concept.
That's why if we meet our reach goal of $24,000, we'll take a full 50% of the money we net and set it aside. Once we wrap, we'll find a new team of Boston filmmakers and pass on the money, the websites, and the name of Allston Xmas. That way, you get another season of Allston Xmas, and a whole new team of actors, crew, and musicians get to be seen by a growing audience.
We know that this is an ambitious goal, but can't think of a new tradition that would be a better fit for this neighborhood's artistic spirit.
Risks and challenges
Let's be honest, trying to do anything on the First of September in Boston is a challenge. Trying to shoot a film--even just the outdoor scenes that need to be shot with the background of moving day--is like deciding to go out and photograph a tornado. All the reasons why moving is hard are also going to make shooting hard--traffic, heat, fatigue, etc. Based on our experience as filmmakers (and experience on moving day), though, we're confident we can plot a realistic shooting schedule.
The most disruptive thing that could happen is that it could rain on moving day. In this case, we'd need a lot more props and a lot more crew to stage moving day as we need it for the film. The upside of this is that we'd encounter fewer of the logistical challenges that we would on moving day. We'll have a contingency plan for rain in place, and just hope we don't need to use it.
Once the shooting is done, the usual challenges of post-production apply: it's hard to tell how long it will take to finish a project until you can sit down and see what you have shot. We learned this the hard way with Day of Youth, where post-production has been prolonged by the challenge of rebuilding the audio from poor production sound recording. We'll pay closer attention to sound on Allston Xmas, and give ourselves a realistic timeline for releasing the finished product online.
Finally, if we do meet our Stretch Goal to pass on Allston Xmas to a new team of filmmakers next year, we'll probably need some legal counsel on how to structure things with regards to money, rights, etc... but that would be an excellent problem to have.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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