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Two coworkers head out to negotiate a deal. They soon realize the other party will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Two coworkers head out to negotiate a deal. They soon realize the other party will stop at nothing to get what they want.
84 backers pledged $9,400 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Rules of Exchange - A Thriller Short Film by Mark Kwak project video thumbnail
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$9,400

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Plot Overview:

Brian and Ron are coworkers negotiating an exchange. While the job seemed simple enough, they soon find themselves in a precarious situation, facing a powerful group of people who do not see the deal as equitable. Brian and Ron’s goals start to shift from winning a negotiation to simply leaving the negotiating table unharmed.

Brian (Frank Wang) & Ron (Marlon Cowart)
Brian (Frank Wang) & Ron (Marlon Cowart)

My Story:

My name is Mark Kwak, the writer/director of Rules of Exchange, and thank you so much for visiting this Kickstarter page for my first ever short film! 

Definitely not the best angle of me.
Definitely not the best angle of me.

This short film is something I had been yearning to make for many years, but never had the courage to actually execute on. Despite dreaming of being a filmmaker one day, I started working in tech/business six years ago, and as each year went by, I pushed my creative drive aside again and again. Eventually, I got a kick in the face from some very wise people who challenged my assumptions that a successful career was incompatible with pursuing other passions.

Ultimately I decided it was time to do this, not just for myself, but to encourage others to pursue their own passion projects, regardless of the little voice in their head saying "You're just too busy, it costs too much, it's not practical."

By the grace of God, I ended up finding an amazing producer (Cameron Mark Lewis of Coffee and Catchup), an incredibly talented cinematographer (Jason Joseffer), and a fantastic production manager (Lani Carnill) and together we built a magnificent team to actually get this thing off the ground!

Director, DP, Producer doing some scouting!
Director, DP, Producer doing some scouting!

So where’s the money going?

I always knew I wanted to make a short film with feature-length quality and production value. As I pursued this mission, I learned it would take a substantial investment of time and money, and I committed my savings account to make the quality film I envisioned.

Wait what do you mean the pocket square costs $100?
Wait what do you mean the pocket square costs $100?

I'm confident the investment is worth it, but this film isn't just about me. It won't be a true success without the support of a broader community. Join me!

Here are some of the costs your contributions will cover:

  • Production insurance 
  • Colorist 
  • Sound mixer 
  • Film festival entry fees 
  • Production design 
  • Location permits 
  • SAG fees 
  • Music licensing - I hadn’t realized that getting even a Jackson 5 song licensed for 30 seconds is more than $20,000!! Suffice it to say I will now be using a less-known band’s song :) 
  • Composer for film score 
  • Camera stabilizing equipment and handling expertise

This is in addition to the other, more expected, costs of this film:

  • Compensation for the production cast and crew 
  • Camera and lights packages 
  • Meals for cast and crew 
  • VFX and makeup kits 
  • Post production editing 
  • Location 
  • Props and wardrobe 
  • Transportation 
  • Incidentals
All the equipmentz!
All the equipmentz!

All this to say, your contribution of any amount is essential to this project. We’re not finished yet, so every dollar will help provide equitable pay for the hard-working crew and ensure the extra final touches that can make all the difference in producing an incredible film. I am so grateful for your help, we can't do this without you!

Cast & Crew:

I can't say enough good things about this stellar cast and crew. Every single person is from the Bay Area - support your Bay Area film folks!!

CREW

  • Writer/Director - Mark Kwak
  • Producer - Cameron Mark Lewis
  • Director of Photography - Jason Joseffer
  • Unit Production Manager - Lani Carnill
  • 1st Assistant Camera - Jonathan McDermott
  • 2nd Assistant Camera - Eric Greer
  • Sound - Sage Bilderback
  • Boom Operator - Ryan Kotzebue
  • Gaffer - Ernie Simpson
  • Key Grip - Juan Ruiz
  • Grip - Ryan Nelson
  • Production Designer - Abbie Betz
  • VFX Artist - Julian Bonfiglio
  • Makeup Artist - Blais Lewis
  • 2nd Assistant Director - Nolan Hunt
  • Production Assistants - Derick McGee, Julia Chang, Renee Wong, Venkat Mocherla
  • Editor - Eric Hsiao
  • Co-Producers - Dan Hunt, Cary Woodworth
  • Casting Associates - Joanna Kay, Marina Modlin, Jon Snyder

CAST

  • Brian - Frank Wang
  • Ron - Marlon Cowart
  • Christoph - James Hiser
  • Ray - Pete Fitzsimmons
  • Benson - Ed Sheets
  • Trunk - Simon Callan

What’s next?

The film is at its “make or break” stage in post-production, and the support of this community is paramount!

We’ll use the Kickstarter contributions to edit this thing seamlessly, color-grade the film to beauty, mix the sound so no one questions where they’re hearing what, and add a wonderful score to enhance the overall experience. And after all that - we’re ready for submission to the top film festivals out there (Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, etc.). And of course we can’t forget our incredible Bay Area supporters. We want to host a magical premiere where cast, crew, supporters, friends, and others come together to see the film for the first time and hang out together enjoying delicious cocktails and tasty hors d’oeuvres.

We look forward to enjoying these next steps with you guys!

Sorry Ed.
Sorry Ed.

 

Risks and challenges

The major hurdle to completing the film - principle photography – is almost complete. While we may need some ADR (re-dubbing the dialogue) or re-shoots, I’m confident we have the content for a successful film.

There are a few risk factors – not being able to pay key post-production crew like the colorist, sound mixer or composer, needing to re-shoot scenes – that can easily delay the release of the film.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Thank you!

    Thank You! A personalized handwritten thank you letter via snail mail from the director. Remember to include your home address!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    See the movie!

    Digital download of Rules of Exchange before it goes through festival submissions and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Where it all started!

    A copy of the official Rules of Exchange script (several iterations so you can see the process) plus a digital download of the movie and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Premiere time!

    Two tickets to the amazing celebration that is the San Francisco film premiere / wrap party (local theater/cinema like an Alamo Drafthouse). This plus a copy of the official script, the digital download, and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    27 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Use Dropbox?

    You get 25GB of Dropbox space in perpetuity! This in addition to a pair of tickets to the amazing celebration that is the San Francisco film premiere, a copy of the official script, the digital download, and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    See your name in lights!

    Special credits in the film! Along with this, you’ll get 25GB of Dropbox space in perpetuity, a pair of tickets to the SF film premiere, a copy of the official script, the digital download, and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Learn about the filmmaking process!

    Dinner at a $$ restaurant with the Writer/Director - bill on him! He'll tell you anything/everything you want to know about the filmmaking process that he learned. Alongside this, you’ll get 25 GB of Dropbox space, a pair of tickets to the SF film premiere, a special thank you credit on screen, a copy of the official script, the digital download, and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Love cocktails?

    The director happens to be a huge cocktail enthusiast himself. He will host you and three friends at his humble abode in San Francisco (or he can come to you as well if in the Bay Area) to a night of high-end cocktails. Alongside this, you’ll get 25 GB of Dropbox space, a pair of tickets to the SF film premiere, a special thank you credit on screen, a copy of the official script, the digital download, and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Make your voice heard!

    Be a guest on The City Cast podcast. Bay Area podcast hosted by Venkat Mocherla and Mark Kwak. See http://thecitycast.org. Alongside this you'll get 25 GB of Dropbox space, a pair of tickets to the SF film premiere, a special thank you credit on screen, a copy of the official script, the digital download, and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Need a wardrobe makeover?

    Menswear wardrobe review for an afternoon. Closet evaluation and shopping consultation provided. Makes a fantastic gift! See http://simplerman.com. Alongside this, you’ll get 25 GB of Dropbox space for life, a pair of tickets to the SF film premiere, a special thank you credit on screen, a copy of the official script, the digital download, and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Associate Producer credit

    You are an Associate Producer on the project. And you get all awards, accolades, IMDB page, etc. associated with the title. Alongside this, you’ll get 25 GB of Dropbox space, a pair of tickets to the SF film premiere, a special thank you credit on screen, a copy of the official script, the digital download, and a personalized thank you letter from the director.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    The Big Boss credit!

    Executive Producer title on Rules of Exchange and all awards, accolades, IMDB page, etc. associated with the title. Plus you can pick and choose anything you want in the tiers above.

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Funding period

- (30 days)