About this project
I've spent most of my creative life writing, performing, and recording music (http://michaeljepstein.com), but have always dreamed about filmmaking. I've been obsessed with low-budget movies since I was a young lad and have always dreamed of using the B-movie aesthetic to make a film that is approached completely seriously. Over the past year, I've had an opportunity to make several short films and music videos and am now eager to make my first feature to tell a story with the depth and complexity I've always hoped to be able to attempt.
Recently, the historic Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA) held a trailer-making competition. We worked to develop the above two-minute trailer for a non-existent film TEN. It was a tremendously fun opportunity to work with a really talented cast and crew of friends and make something in a short time (on almost no budget) that we were very proud of. We were extremely honored to also be selected for Brattle Creative Director Ned Hinkle's "Curator's Choice" award.
Now, we're looking to make this film a reality.
Some more info about making the trailer: http://blog.michaeljepstein.com/2012/07/ten-movie-trailer-for-brattle-theatre.html
While the trailer is a little bit unstructured (in terms of revealing plot), we did outline the full plot while working on it, and it quickly became apparent that we had the workings of an interesting feature film. We're ready to move forward to develop the script over the next several months and shoot near the end of 2012. Some of the cast and crew involved in the making of the trailer will return (some already confirmed, to be announced during this campaign). We also have strong interest from some really talented camera and crew folks. I'll announce everyone involved here as we progress through this campaign and they officially sign on to production.
Note: The trailer was shot on a Panasonic HDC-HS900 High Definition Camcorder. The film will be shot on DSLRs (something along the lines of 5D/T3i/T4i).
As for budget, here is roughly what we're looking at for absolute minimum production cost. This campaign goal is set to that minimum. If we do not raise at least $11,000, this film WILL NOT get made. Your contribution is what can make this a reality. Let me emphasize: without your contribution, there will be no film.
Absolute minimum budget: Cast - 10 roles - $4000
Crew - DP, Sound, PAs, Makeup, etc. - $3000
Location/lodging - $2000
Food - $1000
Props - $1000
We have talent and crew that we can work with within this budget, but it is below what will allow us to pay everyone "fairly." We realistically need to raise closer to $20,000 to pay everyone appropriately, to cover rewards, to cover Kickstarter fees, and to position ourselves well for post-production costs. The more we raise, the more we can involve professionals in post-work like editing, effects, and color correction (taking it out of my limited-experience hands and making for a better final product).
Production Manager Sophia Cacciola and I are used to working on music projects on a tiered financial model. I.e., the more money we have budgeted for a project, the more it can be realized in an ideal way, but we can also work with a minimum pool. Sophia and I won't personally take any pay for this project. All funds raised will go toward film costs only: production (the minimum goal listed), post-production, promotion, etc.
About our film trailer (and why we hope to make a feature): Ten women are stranded and killed off by a mysterious murderer, The Butcher. They soon realize that the killer may actually be someone among them. The story (set in the 1970s), explores our creepy psychological association with the disturbing content of children's nursery rhymes, particularly focused on those involving pigs. There are a lot of complex ideas associated with the imagery that are to be explored in the feature film that couldn't be thoroughly examined in the 2-minute trailer, including: the irrational, unusual behavior resulting from survivalist paranoia, ideas associated with both pigs (animals, greedy, filthy, overeating, chauvinism) and women as pigs (meat market, etc.). In short, most of the important ideas remain as pure subtext in the short trailer form and I'm very eager to get a chance to tell this meaningful and important story.
Note: Kickstarter doesn't allow backers to make multiple pledges (although you can always upgrade your pledge to another level, even after making it). If you want to work something out to combine multiple rewards, please send me a message. Also, please send along any questions!
As much of our notoriety lies in the realm of music, we are offering a lot of rewards taking advantage of our music expertise. We are also offering reward levels that allow for ownership of unique instruments that we've used heavily on recordings and/or for live shows.
Thank you so much for taking the time to consider helping out with our film! We hope you decide to be a part of making it a reality.
Swine and Roses,
Michael J. Epstein
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