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Model Citizens is a feature-length documentary about model railroaders, the world's most compelling underground community.
Model Citizens is a feature-length documentary about model railroaders, the world's most compelling underground community.
175 backers pledged $30,001 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$30,001

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The Project

Welcome to Model Citizens! Not only do the members have great stories, but the visuals can't be beat. Don't just take my word for it. Check out the videos below and those I've posted so far to the Model Citizens website: http://modelcitizensmovie.com/

So you don't know much about model railroading? So what? I didn't either when I decided it was worth spending the next couple years documenting. You don't have to be a model railroader to find Model Citizens a great story. You just have to be human. 

Background

Without a doubt, model railroading is no longer the mainstream pursuit it was decades ago, but it is more vibrant than most people think. There are clubs in almost every sizable community across the United States and in many nations around the world.

Spend any time at all in the model railroading community and you'll get at least some sense of its sheer size and scope. I've spent close to two years connecting with clubs, conducting interviews and touring layouts, yet so far I've seen just a small selection of what's out there. The more tours and interviews I do, the more I realize I still need to do. If successful, this campaign will help me see and do a whole lot more. Of course it would take a lifetime to see everything. 

That said, model railroading is at a crossroads, enjoying strong popularity among baby boomers without younger people poised to take their place in equal numbers. Those inside the hobby often worry that model railroading will die out with the older generations that grew up loving trains. But once you get a taste of this multi-faceted world with connections to engineering, art, history, sociology and psychology, you won't be able to imagine life without model railroaders, their clubs and their incredibly well-connected communities.

Status and Timeline

So far I've paid for all equipment, travel and production expenses out of pocket. I'd estimate my current investment—including cameras, microphones, lighting and studio equipment, hardware, software and travel expenses—at around $15,000. That's about a quarter of the total estimated production and post-production cost. 

After months of shooting, I now have hundreds of hours of footage, and I still have countless hours of shooting ahead of me. I expect to keep shooting through the end of 2014, then start post-production (which will likely require another Kickstarter campaign) in early 2015. 

When Model Citizens is finished, I will enter it into the film festival circuit. Ideally, this will bring wide distribution for the film. 

Current Needs

If successful, this campaign will support three main types of production needs: travel, hardware and licensing. 

Although I've already done a lot of traveling for Model Citizens, I still need to visit several clubs and layouts that are more than a day's drive from my Southern California home. I also need to attend a few more important model railroading events in other parts of the United States. Expenses will include the cost of transportation, lodging and equipment shipping or rental.

This campaign will also fund new, larger storage devices for unedited and edited video. The need is critical and immediate, as my current drives are nearly full. A 32 terabyte disk array will provide enough space to safely backup existing and new footage.

Finally, this campaign will also raise funds to license archival footage from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and other historic archives. Licensing can cost upwards of $35 per second.

Stretch Goals

Any funds raised in excess of the $30,000 campaign goal will go toward post-production. Post-production expenses include editing assistance, the development of a musical score, sound mixing and expenses related to preparing for and submitting Model Citizens to film festivals. 

Risks and challenges

I have every confidence this project will be completed by spring 2015, especially if adequate funding is secured. More support will mean more production and post-production assistance and an earlier completion date. In any case, Model Citizens will get made.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Show you're a model railroading fan and you'll be a friend of Model Citizens forever.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    You'll receive a Model Citizens logo mug.

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    You'll receive a Model Citizens logo T-shirt.

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    You'll receive a Model Citizens logo T-shirt and baseball cap.

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    You'll receive a Model Citizens logo T-shirt and mug.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You'll receive a signed Model Citizens DVD and a "special thanks to" credit at the end of the film.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You'll receive a Model Citizens logo T-shirt and a "special thanks to" credit at the end of the film. The T-shirt will ship in October 2014.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You'll receive a Model Citizens logo baseball cap and a "special thanks to" credit at the end of the film. The cap will ship in October 2014.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You'll receive a Model Citizens logo mug and a "special thanks to" credit at the end of the film. The mug will ship in October 2014.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You'll receive a signed Model Citizens DVD, a logo T-shirt, baseball cap, sweatshirt and mug, as well as a "special thanks to" credit at the end of the film. The T-shirt, cap, sweatshirt and mug will ship in October 2014.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    You'll receive a signed Model Citizens DVD, a logo T-shirt, baseball cap, sweatshirt and mug, as well as a producer credit at the end of the film. The T-shirt, cap, sweatshirt and mug will ship in October 2014.

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  12. Select this reward

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

    You'll receive a signed Model Citizens DVD, a logo T-shirt, baseball cap, sweatshirt and mug. You'll also receive a producer credit at the beginning of the film. The T-shirt, cap, sweatshirt and mug will ship in October 2014.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    You'll receive a signed Model Citizens DVD, a logo T-shirt, baseball cap, sweatshirt and mug, as well as an executive producer credit at the beginning of the film.

    The filmmaker will visit your layout or club within 150 miles of San Diego and create a custom 15-minute video exclusively of your layout or club, as directed by you. (Those beyond the San Diego area are encouraged to inquire about the possibility of travel.) You'll receive five DVDs and a digital download of the completed video, to which you will own all rights. The T-shirt, cap, sweatshirt and mug will ship in October 2014.

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Funding period

- (30 days)