And Introducing is an art book that collects over 2,500 unlikely, unfortunate, or unintelligible casting credits from almost a century of cinema history. Or at least, it will be—with your help! [dramatic musical sting]
From 'Exuberant Mourner' (Analyze This) to 'Arthritic Cowboy' (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), 'Sad Woman with Horns' (Guardians of the Galaxy) to 'Man Shot in Head 3' (The ABCs of Death), movie history is replete with curiously named characters bringing up the rear of the cast list. And Introducing is a survey of those bit-part and background character credits, organising them into almost 100 categories—some predictable (men, women, bystanders, henchmen) and some more surprising (screaming characters, toothless characters, characters whose names are simply their one line of dialogue).
An accompanying essay will explore the people and circumstances responsible for these credits, featuring input from screenwriters, casting directors, and actors.
"This Kickstarter checks all my boxes: is it ridiculous? Yes. Am I left confused as to why anyone would take the time to do this? Yes. Is the thing itself something I would enjoy having in my own home, to proudly spring upon unsuspecting dinner guests as a means for creating confusion? Oh, very much so." — Birth.Movies.Death.
The book itself will be a 160-page perfect-bound softcover with a digitally printed interior, foil-stamped cover, and black painted edges. It will be presented in the Academy Ratio (1.375:1, or 7.5" x 5.5") and printed by Hemlock in Vancouver, BC—a masterful and environmentally conscious printer likely responsible for producing half of the beautiful magazines on your coffee table.
The interior layout will mimic a traditional credit sequence, with one important addition: a complete index of every movie referenced throughout the entire book, enabling you to confirm that Nicole Bilderback did play 'Ready to Have Sex Girl' in 1998's Can't Hardly Wait.
Yes, but... why?
A very sensible question. In short, I'm interested in making art with large bodies of found text in the hope of revealing something about the places I found them.
By way of example, my first book Dictionary Stories (Harper Perennial, 2018) was a collection of short fiction entirely composed of example sentences taken from the dictionary. Example sentences are provided by dictionaries to demonstrate the probable usage of words, but removed from their original context and combined with one another in a new format, interesting connections are revealed and sentences can be appreciated for their surprising literary merit as well as their educational rigor.
And Introducing is a survey of the kinds of characters that have existed on the periphery of movies almost as long as movies have existed. By gathering thousands of these credits and organising them into categories, we can see patterns and connections across both time and genre. We can see through a very specific lens how filmmakers and screenwriters rely upon things like gender, race, age, and beauty in order to fill in the narrative gaps between lead and supporting actors.
Also, not to undercut all that fancy talk too much, but, y'know, the book's funny.
ART PRINTS—I've commissioned three wonderful illustrations by three wonderful illustrators, who chose their favourite credits from the book and interpreted them as they saw fit. Eleni Kalorkoti chose 'Additional Ducks' from Howard The Duck, Roman Muradov chose 'Uncomfortable Waitress' from Her, and Simone Noronha chose 'Big Ugly Bastard' from The World's End. Backers at the Lead Actor level and above will receive a set of 7x5" prints of each of their pieces, ready to delight and confuse visitors to your home.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE—The whole dang book is about credits, so it's only fitting that multiple rewards will get you a digital or physical credit. Every backer will be listed at and-introducing.com, but those backing at the Lead Actor level and above will receive a credit in the book itself—you can suggest some options, or I'll write one for you. Back at the Executive Producer level and you'll get that custom credit and be specifically, prominently featured as an Executive Producer, letting everybody know exactly how much disposable income you have. If you're a business, you can back at the Professional Services level and secure a place for your logo/URL at the tail-end of the book, like you were Dolby or the Motion Picture Association of America or something. A real big shot.
POSTCARDS—A handwritten postcard from me to you, which I will probably write late at night and after a drink or two, so prepare to feel very loved and appreciated.
🖼 $12,000: Additional Art Prints—Hitting this goal will allow me to commission three more illustrators to contribute portraits to the art print set that all Lead Actor backers (and above!) will receive, bringing the total to 6 prints per set.
⬛️ $16,000: Litho-Printed Interior—At this level, the interior of the book will be litho-printed (a print process commonly reserved for reigning monarchs or astronauts) with two hits of black UV. How much more black could this be? The answer is none. None more black.
🔐 Additional Goals—There are a couple extra stretch goals that would be wonderful and ludicrous, but frankly, let's cross that violently unstable bridge when we come to it.
And you are?
My name is Jez Burrows, and I'm a British designer, illustrator and writer living in San Francisco. My first book Dictionary Stories: Short Fictions and Other Findings, was published earlier this year by Harper Perennial. I've designed books, identities, maps, playing cards and more, and in the past I've worked with The New York Times, WNYC, Cards Against Humanity, and many others. I can quote the movie Sneakers (1992) with frankly upsetting accuracy, but my favourite movie of all time is still Harvey (1950).
Risks and challenges
All the credits have been found and the design of the book is already in a place I'm happy with. I've printed several books with Hemlock over the years and have no doubts about their ability to deliver a beautiful final product in a timely fashion.
The main outstanding element is the book's accompanying essay about the world of background character credits. I've already completed some interviews with casting directors and actors, but I'd like to speak with more people. This is the main reason the delivery date is somewhat far out, but I'm confident about hitting that date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter