Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 18, 2013.

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A character-driven sci-fi short film about risk, redemption, exploration and daring to dream beyond Earth's horizon.

The Story

DREAMERS is about two kids who grow up chasing a dream to one day fly in space. As adults, they work together to design a revolutionary spacecraft to travel to the moon, but must overcome crashes, boardroom politics and other obstacles that threaten their ultimate goal. Will they succeed? Or will they be forced to shelve that dream and finally face the realities of adult life?

Some Background

I've been fascinated with space and human spaceflight since I was a kid, and this thesis project is my opportunity to make a film about a subject I am deeply passionate about. Who are the explorers of today? What frontiers remain to be explored? What obstacles and problems hinder them? These are just a few of the questions I attempt to answer in my film. DREAMERS is an intentionally ambitious and challenging film — the story and technical requirements will require myself and my amazing crew to push ourselves and our equipment to the limit to get the story from script to screen.

The film also represents an incredible opportunity to take big risks and do some crazy things we might not normally attempt — the short film format allows for an experimentation and creative freedom that isn't always possible with class assignments or the rigid format of longer feature films.

For example, we needed to get "space footage" to composite outside the spacecraft cockpit windows once the film gets to post-production, so we decided to launch a weather balloon 15.7 miles above western Massachusetts with two cameras on-board to capture the curvature of the Earth. A combination of careful planning, several sleepless nights, the tireless efforts of good friends and some plain old luck and the results speak for themselves:

Imagine what we will be able to accomplish by applying that same work ethic and creativity to this film as a whole. There's still a full-size spacecraft cockpit to construct, shots that will occur entirely underwater, and some exciting visual effects to work out.

The view south from a height of 15.7 miles above central Massachusetts. New London, CT and Montauk, NY are visible at the water's edge in the center.
The view south from a height of 15.7 miles above central Massachusetts. New London, CT and Montauk, NY are visible at the water's edge in the center.

The Pitch

And that's where you come in. Filmmaking has been a profit-driven enterprise ever since Edison slapped a patent on his kinetoscope and started churning out peep shows. Small-budget student filmmaking is a slightly different story.

DREAMERS is a zero-budget undertaking — every single dollar you contribute will go straight towards purchasing or securing the items and services necessary to produce this film. We're not pocketing anything and anticipate no profit from this venture. Most (if not all) of my crew and actors will be volunteering their services free of charge, and the school provides us with free equipment, but there are a multitude of other costs that add up very quickly:

  • Meals for cast and crew for each day of shooting (When you're not paying anyone, a well-fed crew is a happy crew!)
  • Gas and vehicle rentals for transporting people and equipment
  • Hard drives to store and backup the footage
  • Wardrobe (Helmets, spacesuits, gloves, jackets, etc)
  • Props (Bags, picture frames, lights, model rockets, etc)
  • Makeup (To make characters look good or appear aged for certain scenes)
  • Constructing the X-58 cockpit set from scratch and filling it with awesome lights and gadgets
  • Possible location rental fees
  • Additional equipment rental fees and purchasing consumables like batteries, blackwrap, gels or diffusion for lights

These are all small and manageable costs on their own, but stack up to a pretty formidable number. And that's just production. There's still post-production costs like color-correction, copying DVDs and submitting to festivals. This thing's gotta get seen, after all!

Balloon on descent over the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts
Balloon on descent over the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts

Your generous donations will help defray the total cost of the film to me. I'm currently working two jobs to put the cash together for this film, but work-study and minimum wage plus tips can only go so far. You can help me get the rest of the way. And fifty years from now when I hobble on stage to accept my Academy Award (I can dream, right?) you can point at the TV screen and yell drunkenly to everyone else in the nursing home's TV room "I Kickstarted that dude's first movie ever!" Or something like that.

But this whole party's for nothing if we don't hit our goal, so even if you don't back our project, please show it to your friends or coworkers or people you know who secretly love movies or moviemaking but would publicly rather be hipster baristas and draw in latte foam all day long.

Our fundraising campaign will run for the next 30 days through May 18, and production is planned to take place here in Boston during the last week in June.

And check out the new shirt design by Eric Doctor (ericdoctor.com) for APOLLO-level backers and above:

To Conclude

This film is about the choice and hesitation and fear that comes right before jumping in, taking the first step of a long journey, or doing something nobody has ever done before. This film is about the pitfalls along the path of progress and the rewards that stand to be gained if one perseveres in spite of them. This film is about inspiration and opening the gate and blazing the trail so others may follow. This film is about dreamers. This film is about you.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I can't wait to share this movie with y'all.

Joe Dwyer
Writer and Director

"You remembered to turn on the GPS tracker ...right?"
"You remembered to turn on the GPS tracker ...right?"

Get production updates, info and behind-the-scenes peeks on the DREAMERS Facebook page at facebook.com/dreamersthemovie

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

No film production is perfect, and Murphy's Laws are always in full effect on set. Here's a list of possible issues that we'll be dealing with over the course of production and the measures we're taking to prevent anything bad happening.

• SPACE FOOTAGE — Launching cameras on a weather balloon into near space (15.7 miles up!) and recovering them safely without breaking any windows, causing traffic accidents or getting sucked into a jet turbine? Check. By far the hardest and most uncertain part of the film, we already took care of it back in November. Next please.

• BUILDING THE X-58 COCKPIT — This is the largest remaining hurdle for the production of this film. A scale model has already been made to give an idea of the planned dimensions and layout. This cockpit is a tangible and therefore doable. We will find a way.

• UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY — Several shots in the film occur in and around water. We will be sure to cast talent with good swimming ability and keep safety equipment and personnel on-hand in case of emergency. In terms of film equipment, we will rigorously test, learn and prepare for the underwater shoots. Joe is also SCUBA certified.

• WEATHER — The film is set largely indoors. Outdoor scenes are at night and inside cars. Weather shouldn't be an issue during production.

• FINISHING FILM ON TIME/AT ALL — Production is scheduled for late June 2013. My lease is up July 31. So that's a pretty firm deadline. Additionally, I've invested too much in student loans on this MFA/pursuit; failing to finish the film is not a possible or acceptable outcome.

• WHAT IF THE MOVIE SUCKS — This is my first major project. It will not be perfect. What's important is to make my mistakes as quickly as possible, learn from them, and immediately apply that knowledge to my next project (whatever that may be). That being said, none of us are setting out to make a stinker. We all believe strongly in the film and the story and want to make the best film possible. Dreamers will be my calling card for the foreseeable future; I don't want to be handing people a turd. Here you're helping me get started and giving me some financial breathing room to realize my cinematic vision and make the movie the best it can be. You are my first audience, I don't want to let you down.

FAQ

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    LIFTOFF — Every dollar helps us get closer to space. You'll get a shoutout on our Facebook page (facebook.com/dreamersthemovie – go "Like" it if you haven't already!) and a "Special Thanks" credit in the film.

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    10 backers

    MERCURY — You'll get our eternal gratitude in the form of a badass handwritten Dreamers-themed postcard from the director, plus a shoutout on our Facebook page and a "Special Thanks" credit in the film.

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    33 backers

    GEMINI — A pristine, packaged DVD copy of the film is all yours, plus everything above.

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    12 backers

    APOLLO — A limited edition hand-screened Dreamers t-shirt designed by Eric Doctor (ericdoctor.com) and screened with love by the director, plus everything above.

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    SKYLAB — A cinephile-worthy, limited edition hand-screened Dreamers movie poster designed by Eric Doctor (ericdoctor.com) and screened with love by the director, plus everything above.

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    4 backers

    VOYAGER — By pushing the outer limits of the solar system (and your wallet), you'll receive a bound book of full-color production stills picked and assembled by the director. Perfect for any coffee table. Or as a doormat. Plus you get everything above.

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    3 backers

    SHUTTLE — Open the payload bay doors wide to receive a bound "Making Of" book from the director that features production stills, storyboards, a copy of the shooting script, director's notes and more. Plus you get a "Producer" credit, along with everything above.

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    SPACE STATION — Great things aren't accomplished without a little help and collaboration. We'll submit Dreamers to a film festival close to where you live. If it gets in, so do you. (Personal transportation not included in reward.) Even better, if you're in Boston, I'll buy you dinner and we can talk all about the film. Plus you get a "Producer" credit, along with everything above.

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    SWAG TEAM — Shine on, you crazy diamond! You'll get an actual prop used in the film. We'll let you pick with the director's help. Plus you get a "Producer" credit, along with everything above. Make it rain.

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    HOLY ROLLER — Going into space is expensive, so allow us to repay your generosity with a helmet or spacesuit used in the film. Plus you'll get an "Executive Producer" credit and an invitation to the film's premiere (Airfare's on you if you live far away, but that shouldn't be a problem, right?) along with everything above. Also, can I ride in your Ferrari?

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Funding period

- (30 days)