JESSE HEIMAN: World's Greatest Extra Documentary
A feature-length documentary following a year in the life of Jesse Heiman, Hollywood's most recognizable background actor.
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- Nick and Emily
WHY KICKSTARTER?Kickstarter is a powerful tool in crowd-funding some of today's most prevalent films and special projects. Funded films have made their way to Cannes and Tribeca, subsequently making into it major theatrical or VOD distribution.
Because Kickstarter is an ALL-OR-NOTHING tool (meaning if we don't hit $65,000 worth of pledges, we don't get anything), we are held to high level of accountability, as filmmakers. We've spent 2 months devising a detailed approach to marketing our Kickstarter program. If you're here -- reading this -- it means we're doing something right in our marketing, but this film needs your financial support to become a reality.
If it's within your means, please take the time to donate $1, $100 or even $1,000 to the campaign -- it will be a worthwhile investment. Thank you for considering making a contribution! You are appreciated.
In the high stakes game of dreams – Hollywood style – billions hinge on one elusive quality: the look. Producers, casting directors, and studios spend endless hours, searching high and wide for a seductive glance, a courageous swagger, or a sway of the hips unlike any other. No one knows quite what the right combination is, until they see it. But when it hits... when it truly hits... it’s a look that launches ships, a look that utterly seduces, a look that erupts into belly laughs, or tears. There is no formula, no recipe, no road map – Only this is true: When they find it, when the look works, its stupendous. Witness please:
The eyes (Hepburn, Newman)
The smile (Roberts, Cruise)
The curves (Monroe, Vergara, Jolie)
And think how these looks changed them – and us.
The chance to be one of these rare creatures is the stuff of legend. Its promise has attracted legions to Hollywood, all in hopes that their look – their particular physical charms – will be the one that sticks out.
This documentary is the story of one such face -- highly unlikely one at that. A passionate writer, after having landed in Los Angeles at the age of 21 -- but after losing his first job -- took advice from his roommate: sign up for background extra work.
This advice changed his life.
Jesse Heiman, an unlikely star, has since worked steadily, on hundreds of films and television series alongside some of the most prominent names in the business. Directors from Spielberg to Fincher have placed him in the center of the frame for their highest profile projects – albeit as a wholly anonymous presence. From Old School to The Social Network, Catch Me If You Can and Spiderman -- Jesse has offered up the face dreammakers sought: homely, earnest, innocent, and brave. Over time, Jesse’s pure determination has made him an unlikely, irresistible worldwide face.
This utterly heart-rending portrait film exploring the courage, risks, fun and the truly wild leaps Hollywood culture demands in order for Jesse to achieve his ambitions -- it is also about the fascinating things one distinctive look can do. A young man in search of dreams can inspire a public that seeks out a face to mirror their own desires.
Jesse -- a Boston native, a Texas transplant -- made his way to Los Angeles on the thinnest of hopes. He lacked any training as an actor, and to say he had no encouragement from anyone is an understatement. He knew not a soul in the business.
The qualities he possesses -- a reckless, adorable combination of earnest naivete, a devoted work ethic, and a resilience that allows him to dodge (or completely ignore) collective wisdom -- instilled in him the ability to keep at the extra game... for eleven long years.
Were his parents worried to death? Of course. (Wouldn’t you be?) Did they stop him? No.
Act I of the film will seek to explore how drive, ambition and faith serendipitously converge in beautiful ways. Family interviews, archival work, stories told by those who took him on and gave him chances will all tell the story of Jesse. It will trace his first, notable appearances (including roles in Old School and Spiderman), in the early moments when he first arrived in Los Angeles. It will document how he was cast again and again.
But Jesse’s story took a turn; a weird and hilarious turn. One person. One solitary soul, one lone fan, in a small town in Sweden helped make Jesse’s story rare and unique.
Amazingly, the fan had recognized Jesse in the hundreds of silent, split-second roles he had played, and compiled a video, calling it The World’s Greatest Extra. Some Jesse moments could best be called a blink, others a total blur, which makes noticing him something short of remarkable. But his fan did, nonetheless, and thus, Jesse Heiman launched exactly one ship.
Within a few days, the Swede’s video had traveled worldwide, and was viral. Within a week it had been seen by half million viewers. By month’s end, just under two million had seen it.
Fame strikes like lightning-- and this story was no exception. Jesse went from unknown extra to an extended guest shot on Leno.
And with that, came his moment: A highly memorable Lead Role in a 2013 Super Bowl Commercial... french-kissing a supermodel.
Now comes the crucible -- the moment when the sudden plunge into notoriety either burns out like a comet, or it lasts.
The odds are against him, but in Hollywood, that's always been the case. This act will trail Jesse's life in this one vital year, following the Superbowl commercial fame. It will follow his moves, the choices he and his career management team make and the harder work that now is required to do. Jesse, if he is to really succeed, must prove that he is more than just a look, he must show he has chops, as an actor and as a public figure.
If he can handle those incredible challenges, if he can roll with the punches -- and there will be many, because Hollywood is a rough town on a good day.
Act II is about the fearlessness and self-preservation. Jesse appears to possess the courage and he has the look, but will it add up to something more?
The moments here will prove to be either soaring - or truly heart breaking.
They depend on fearsome, worrisome factors: sheer luck, trepidation, tunnel vision, finicky tastes, and not near-perfect, but prefect timing.
Jesse has hidden in plain sight for a decade now. If he comes out into the light, will he be embraced? Or sent back into the shadows where thousands before him have gone?
WHAT'S OUR OBJECTIVE?
The objective of Jesse Heiman: World's Greatest Extra is to explore the emotional place where hearts from all over the world converge, the world of dreams. In this case, it's Hollywood's version -- where the money is big and the players vulnerable.
The camera lens will capture Jesse's life as he experiences this -- for the first time -- it will also capture the struggle and those who fight alongside him and those who, unwittingly or otherwise, pull him down.
In this film, the silent face is the pure focus of the frame. As Jesse wants to move beyond the title of "World's Greatest Extra" -- with this documentary, we will get a rare chance to see if he is able; we will see what the audience craves and rejects; and when the two world's meet, whether it's true love.
WHAT ARE THE REWARDS?
(Remember, a portion of your donation is tax-deductible. Check back for more info on how this affects your 2013 tax return.)
*ULTRA TRENDY -- SCREEN PRINTED, POWER WASHED -- JESSE HEIMAN GRAPHIC TEE & TRANSLUCENT STICKER, featuring the original artwork of Everett Brodbeck
*ANDY WARHOL (who coined the phrase "15 minutes of fame") inspired POP ART WALL PRINTS, featuring the original artwork of Sarah Gonzalez.
* THE OFFICIAL JESSE HEIMAN 2014 CALENDAR
*20 PAGE PRODUCTION BOOK
EXTRA MILE PACKAGE*
For anyone who donates $70+, you'll get the EXTRA MILE PACKAGE (6 Minutes of Fame), which includes:
+ Special mentions on Twitter, Facebook, our website
+ Access to private production blog
+ First look at "The Making of: WORLD'S GREATEST EXTRA"
+ Limited Edition Jesse Heiman sticker (pictured above)
+ Special Thanks listing in film's credit roll
+ HD digital download OR DVD (preference is yours, upon release)
+ Limited Edition T-Shirt (pictured above)
+ Limited Edition autographed 8.5"x11" pop art-inspired wall poster (pictured above)
* Please note a fee of $20 will be added to your pledge for shipments outside the Continental US!
HOW WILL YOUR MONEY BE SPENT?
Making movies isn't cheap. Here's a rough breakdown of the expenses we will incur over the next 8 months in order to make our 90-minute film:
+ Fees (e.g. Kickstarter, Amazon Payments, Legal, Licensing, Insurance)
+ Crew & Travel Expenses (e.g. flights/car travel, meals, crew rate, etc)
+ Equipment (e.g. additional camera equipment, audio package, expendables, etc)
+ Marketing/Kickstarter Fulfillment (e.g. hard costs, postage, etc)
+ Music & Sound (e.g. soundtrack/composer)
If we raise more than $65,000, we will begin to apply those dollars to post-production expenses, like colorist, sound mixing, original music composition, and a host of other filmmaking elements which require money.
Weis is a self-taught filmmaker from Louisville, KY. Through trial and error, he's created powerful, heart-wrenching documentaries, like his most recent editorial work in The Potter's Field. His innate passion and naturally creative eye is a true gift. He is a co-owner in Magic Happens Productions, established for the purpose of making WORLD'S GREATEST EXTRA.
Weis' approach to filmmaking is fearless and playful.
Carroll's approach to filmmaking is meticulous and well-organized.
Heavrin is an artist from Louisville, KY, working in film, performing arts and music. He recently spent several years in New York City working in theatre and film, and co-wrote an original play, "Letters From India," which received an Off-Broadway staged-reading, at Urban Stages, in 2008. His first documentary film, The Potter's Field, screened to a sold-out theater of over 500 people, at the 2013 Flyover Film Festival.
Heavrin's approach to filmmaking is straightforward and unapologetic.
Risks and challenges
Time is a challenge on this project. We've filmed periodically throughout the last four months but we need to follow his story for at least a full year. Eight additional months of filming will ensure a cohesive story, involving all the people, places, and things that are important to Jesse and to shaping the outcome of his career.
Part of the expense is having the equipment needed to capture the magic of a beautiful shot or pick-up audio on an important conversation... the other part of the expense is affording the people who can use the equipment to make magic happen. Luckily, the core team on this production is incredibly hard-working, budget-conscious, and committed to seeing the project completed and given back to the audiences who made the film possible.
Jesse risks a lot by doing this film. Giving us access to his private life would be difficult for anyone to do. Full disclosure can be a scary thing, but as we've seen through documentaries like "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" and "The Kid Stays in the Picture," it is also liberating and captivating. Hollywood is a volatile place and we don't get to see the real-time rollercoaster ride of how people attempt to build their careers in the madness of it all. As Producers, our relationship with Jesse is one of trust and understanding, which has been cultivated by dedicating our time and attention to sharing his story.
For Producers, we risk a lot, too. Our reputations as filmmakers, however short they may be at this time, are on the line.
Lastly, YOU are sharing risk, as well. If this project doesn't get funded, audiences risk losing access to one of the most fascinating stories that Hollywood has offered in a long time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)