Have you ever stepped into an elevator and prayed it got stuck, just so you could escape your tyrannical boss and cage of a cubicle where all you’d do is count the seconds as your 9-5 day draws to a close? Have you ever been screamed at in Italian because your boss doesn’t approve of the amount of foam on the cappuccino you walked 30 minutes to fetch for her? Have you ever started a Monday sprinting after a bus in high heels, across desolate avenues with the wind hitting you across the face, construction workers yelling at you to “smile baby!” when finally, praise the Lord, you arrive at your office only to step in a giant pile of horse sh*t because the police horse stables are right next door?
We have. And so have the characters of Labeled.
We are Lindsey Goodman and Jessie Katz, the founders of Piano Factory Pictures, LLC, and the creators of the online comedy series Labeled. Labeled follows the ragtag employees working one of the most “glamorous” jobs in the world for a famous Italian fashion company – though, as we quickly learn, the reality of their actual lives is much more than just a label. While it's based in the fashion realm, at its core Labeled is the very relatable story of the 99% percent clocking into a 1% world, who struggle each day to retain their authentic selves (and sanity!) in a business that is anything but. It’s the job everyone would die for…that’s slowly killing them.
We actually did have this job once, and it’s where we first met and started scheming together as future writer/directors – which was easy, considering that every day at work was just more material to inspire us. Moreover, we found that our real-life experience in the fashion industry was entirely different than the glamorized made-for-TV version that Hollywood tends to promote. But quite honestly, most of the sh*t that happened behind the scenes was straight up weird! From outlandish fashion editors to wacky interns, sexually ambiguous PR men to hot-tempered CEOs, we were unknowingly absorbing the wacky details of a world we are now satirizing, no holds barred.
Getting behind the camera to create Labeled has been an incredibly uplifting experience, which has way more to do with being able to follow our passion as natural born storytellers than throwing it back to our former bosses. The impulse to create started at a ripe young age for both of us, the highlight of which may have been family get-togethers spent commandeering the camcorder and directing younger sisters and cousins in epic living room performances. After overlapping for three years working for a luxury fashion brand as PR minions, Jessie went off to film school and by the time she returned to New York City, we were ready to join forces.
There were pages of notes, email exchanges and endless stories collected over the years to fuel our first brainstorming sessions. Yet, while we had a world of inspiration to work from, it was an entirely different exercise bringing the world of Labeled to life. We started by writing a TV pilot script in 2012; though the feedback for the pilot was often enthusiastic, a couple of years of hearing "LOVE IT!...but not for us" from executives (or, more likely, their assistants) made us realize that it was time to take matters into our own hands. We decided to adapt Labeled as a web series and saved up just enough money to shoot the first three episodes this past summer. Hard work, lots of favors and an incredibly talented group of people helped us stretch dollar store budgets to bring Labeled to a small screen near you. You can check them out here on YouTube!
As we say in our Kickstarter video, Labeled is the story of the 99% who wake up each day and clock into a 1% world – which is basically what being a filmmaker feels like. It truly takes a village to create this kind of content, and though most of our cast and crew generously donated their time and talent to us for the first three episodes, they all have rents to pay – staggeringly high New York rents, to be exact. And this is why we need you: every small donation to our Kickstarter will get us that much closer to being able to show the entirety of this world we’ve only just begun to expose. In fact, we've already outlined all remaining episodes in season one. There is so much absurdity to this story that is left to tell, from the rare perspective of people who worked inside the belly of the beast and lived to talk about it. And to do so we need the help of our extremely talented cinematographer, production designer, stylist, make-up artist, sound recorder and cast - plus wardrobe, props, catering, equipment, locations and more. Our funding goal is the absolute minimum amount needed to ensure the filming of our remaining episodes as well as post-production with editing, sound mixing, color correction and music licensing – all the things that unfortunately can’t be bought with a hug and a slice of Lindsey's famous double chocolate banana bread.
For years, we were told we had the job everyone would die for, even while it was slowly killing us. People are fascinated by the fashion world and it makes for great entertainment. With Labeled, your investment is going towards a commercially-viable product that appeals to a built-in audience looking to get a glimpse behind the curtain from a fresh, unfiltered voice. With the funds raised, season one of Labeled will be completed by 2017 and will set us on a course for many more seasons to come!
By giving to our project you’re also showing a huge sign of support for women filmmakers who are attempting to share their unique view of the world that doesn’t always make it through the gatekeeping that has defined the creative industry for far too long. In fact, this series was born out of the experience of waiting...and waiting...for those gatekeepers to “greenlight” our idea. Until we finally realized, while taking an epic hike through Runyon Canyon one evening, that we were done waiting.
Thank you all for your time and support. PLEASE reach out to us if you have any questions or want to chat further!
FOLLOW LABELED ON....
THE STARS OF LABELED
BEHIND THE SCENES
Risks and challenges
Pretty much everything that's happened with Labeled has far exceeded our expectations. In the beginning, all we had was a story and a dream. The idea to shoot our first three episodes for the web started out as bare bones as it comes - maybe we could beg a few friends to dress up, act and let us tape them on our iPhones. Now we have three beautifully shot episodes performed by an insanely talented group of actors wearing designer duds. And believe us, no one was in it for the money. People had faith in us not only because they believed in our vision but also because of our professionalism. We are artists with a plan. It took hard work, organization and especially resourcefulness to get to where we are and while we're confident that it's just the beginning, we're realistic about all the challenges we face trying to make our mark in this uber-competitive industry.
Here's a list of potential obstacles and how we would plan to tackle them:
Challenge #1 – Maintaining our cast
Even since our first shoot, several of our lead actors have gone on to increasingly high profile projects in film and television. While they have continued to pledge their time and talent to us in whatever free time they can spare, we understand that no amount of love for this project can outweigh a major call from Hollywood. This is why time is of the essence. We are so fortunate to have caught these actors in the just-about-to-break moment they’re in, and so we must work to have these episodes shot, edited and presented to the world quickly so we can bring Labeled to the next level where it becomes not just a passion project, but viable work for all those involved as well. And while it would be truly unfortunate to lose any of our actors that are now involved in the project, we are nimble enough to flip the script and write in anything we have to should we need to introduce a new character.
Challenge #2 – Going over budget
In film as in real life, the less you have, the more you need to stretch. Luckily, we have been through this exercise before for the filming of the first three episodes of Labeled last summer. We were very careful about where and how we allocated our hard earned money. While funds were extremely tight, we were able to anticipate all the major line items in our budget without overspending. When it comes to our Kickstarter funds, we plan to be even more prudent as $10,000 is the absolute minimum we need for filming and post-production. For one, we plan to take advantage of our previous budget and use it as a basis for estimates. Also, even though we are expecting our per-episode costs to go up quite a bit (we were granted a lot of favors the first time around), we can mitigate those costs by writing around our budget and being realistic about locations and other logistical / production details that we can control. While we always fantasize about what we could do with big budgets, having to write within your means is actually a creative challenge that we welcome. For an example of our super low-budget work check out Clock Out, the Labeled spin-off series we've been shooting on the side. We'll be posting new episodes on YouTube throughout the course of this Kickstarter campaign.
Challenge #3 – Getting Labeled out into the world
Having to maintain “real jobs” while pursuing our filmmaking dreams has definitely proven to be more of a blessing than a curse over the years. The biggest advantage that is paying off now is that because we have both worked in PR, marketing and journalism for the past ten years, we have an advantage most filmmakers don’t - and that is knowing how to market and pitch our content to the exact people we want to see it. We aren’t your average starry-eyed dreamers who know how to make great art but no clue how to get anyone to see it. Whether it’s nabbing pitch meetings with producers, getting major outlets to cover us or netting insider advice from some of the most major players in the industry (all things we’ve already succeeded in with just our first three episodes alone), we understand that having a finished product is really just the first step on a very long and steep road to finding an audience. And we are just the right people to see that journey through to completion.
One More Thing – The Terms (our Lawyer made us add this)
If you are spending a day on the set, we are planning to shoot in New York, NY, and we will update you as to the dates we are shooting. You will need to be available on one of the dates we are shooting and provide your own travel and accommodations. The dates and locations are always subject to change, however we will let you know of any changes as soon as reasonably possible.
You must be over 18 or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to visit the set.
Some rewards may require additional paperwork. If you are visiting the set or appearing in the film, you will have to sign a release.
For the walk-on role ($500 pledge), you must be a US Citizen, over 18, and not be a member of SAG/AFTRA. While we intend the walk on role to be featured in the final cut of the episode, various issues in filmmaking can arise, (ie., in editing and distribution), and so we cannot guarantee it.
For the Original Video ($1,000 pledge), the content of the video is at your direction, but at Lindsey and Jessie’s sole discretion. They can refuse the right to say or do what you request if they find it inappropriate or it violates any applicable laws. The video will be filmed in New York, NY, and you must provide your own travel and accommodations.
If our campaign is funded, we anticipate delivering seven episodes by 2017. The episodes will involve the work of many talented individuals and valued third parties. While we will provide a good faith effort to complete the 7 episodes (and do so by December 2017), it is always possible that schedules get delayed or unforeseen issues arise, and we reserve the right to modify our campaign timeline at any time at our sole discretion. If any such changes are made, we will keep you updated via backer updates.
Labeled is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents either are products of the writers’ imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, businesses, locales or events is entirely coincidental.
Piano Factory Pictures, LLC is the creator of this Kickstarter Campaign. Lindsey Goodman and Jessie Katz are members of Piano Factory Pictures, LLC, and any reference to Lindsey and/or Jessie in this campaign refers to Lindsey and Jessie, in their capacity as members of the LLC.
Under SEC laws and as Kickstarter explains in its Kickstarter Basics, project creators keep 100% ownership of their work, and campaigns cannot offer financial incentives or equity.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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