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"Portal: Origins" combines the worlds of the video games "Portal" and "Dishonored" to explore the origins of the original Portal device Read more

Atlanta, GA Shorts
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This project was successfully funded on August 25, 2013.

"Portal: Origins" combines the worlds of the video games "Portal" and "Dishonored" to explore the origins of the original Portal device

Atlanta, GA Shorts
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About this project

Before Chell, before GLaDOS, before Aperture, there was the Door to Nowhere

UPDATE: Thank you everyone so much for helping create this project! Remember, the more we get, the better this will be. There's a good bit of time left, so keep spreading the project!

"Portal" (Valve) has become one of the most popular games of this generation, and with that, it has gained an enormous following, some claiming to know everything about this Portal universe. But what if everything about Portal started much sooner in a much different time and place? That is what we plan to expand upon with "Portal: Origins."

This short film has grown from a fan-fiction a friend of mine, Zakk Martin, and I wrote together in regards to a certain Easter Egg found in the also popular video game "Dishonored" (Bethesda). We don't want to spoil the game for those who have not played, so just take a look and see what we're talking about (video from IGN)!

Pretty interesting right? We thought so too. From this, Zakk and I expanded the world of "Dishonored" and, thus, this short film was born.

The story follows the natural philosopher and inventor Piero Joplin as he goes about his Door to Nowhere project. Things are not easy for Piero, as this is a project no one has attempted before. The same goes for us with this short film. NO ONE has created a short film quite like this.

So...what is the ultimate goal here?

Well, this film is going to be approximately 7-10 minutes in length, and upon its completion, the short will be posted on YouTube for all to see (we can't put it anywhere else with copyright laws protecting the property of Valve and Bethesda). However, we want this film to be so professional and well-done that you know your money was well spent helping us.

But why are we doing this?

I'm a filmmaker, and I have been for the past decade. It's not just a job for me, it's a way of life and something I love to do! And, luckily, it's the same way with my crew for the project. Of course, it's a way to get our names out there and show you all what we can do, but it's much more than that. We have a passion for making films and entertaining audiences, and we know you will love this short film! Here are some early sketches and concepts of for the film:

Why exactly do we need money?

One of the biggest things I have learned from making skits about Portal in the past is that the audience wants EVERYTHING to be spot on with the game. Now, while things can never perfectly translate over to live-action as they did in a game, I definitely want this to be as true as possible with both the Portal and Dishonored universes.

Your donations to our project would go to helping with:

Travel, location permits, equipment rentals, props, costumes and wardrobe, make-up, food for the cast and crew, and any unforeseen expenses.

It may not sound like much, but I guarantee you that in order to finish this project and have it up to speed for the fans of both "Portal" and "Dishonored," the money is necessary.

We want you to know that we know what we're doing, and, as said in the video, we created a proof of concept to show just that.

Even if you only donate a single dollar, you're helping us out tremendously on our path to achieve our goal. 

We are currently promoting through the Kicking it Forward Movement.

We cannot thank you enough for at least considering helping us out! 

Our Cast:

Piero Joplin: Valin Brenwen

Philosopher, inventor, man of science, Piero has had a lot on his mind recently yet no clearance on how to complete his latest project.

The Outsider: Adam Eltarhoni

"Part Devil, Part Angel." Not much is known about this supernatural being; many worship him, even more fear him. But, it's through his guidance that Piero is able to continue.

Christopher: Mario Avani

Hired help of Piero to assist with the testing and creation of the original Portal device in the project code-named the Door to Nowhere.

Cave Johnson: Ashley Renfroe

"Industrial, Southern Guy." The eccentric billionaire and founder of the famous Aperture Laboratories. There's more to him than you know...

Caroline: Tabitha Kilgore

Direct assistant to Mr. Johnson (as she normally calls him). Though she sounds happy, things are quite different under the surface.

Chell: Michelle Brannon

The protagonist of the "Portal" series. Who, or what, is she? We may never know.

Our Crew:

Director, Writer, Producer: Michael McMullan

Co-Director and Producer: Zakk Martin

Co-Producer: Anthony Mack

Assistant Directors: Evan Storch (1st), Daniel Milana (2nd)

Director of Photography: Eric Ugland

Assistant Camera: Daniel Peppers (1st), Evin Fowler (2nd)

Location Sound: Matt Braue

Gaffer: Anthony Mack

Production Designer: David Howard

Key Grip: Ryan Sloat

Make-Up: Adam Vandyke, Christina Leung

Editor: Andrew Freedman

Visual Effects Supervisor: Michael McMullan

Graphics: Jaime Hawkins

Original Music and Audio: Luke Truan, Jason John, Cole Moore

What about the backer rewards?

We are currently in the process of designing our designs for buttons, shirts, and other items you all will receive as a backer of this project!

Designs below are not final and are subject to change

Risks and challenges

A passion for filmmaking does not allow us to escape every problem we may in the production process. However, we have dedicated ourselves to creating a schedule and being prepared for the unforseen obstacles that may come our way. It's happened before with other films I have, and others, have created, but there is always a way to overcome and complete the project.

Our biggest issues may include:
Equipment Rentals such as lighting and electricity for said lighting (don't take electricity for granted!)
Transportation and living accommodations: much of the crew is coming from the Savannah, GA area, and they will need places to stay during our filming.
Crew or Actors backing out: as much as I hope this doesn't happen, it has before, and I can't take it out of the picture here!
Location Permits: We may find a perfect location, but not be able to get a permit to film!
Murphy's Law: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." It may sound pessimistic, but its something to keep a sharp eye out for and know ways to resolve issues!

Myself and others on the cast and crew will be making sure that we have a strong plan, and even backups from Plan A to Plan Z, all to make sure that things run smoothly, and we create the best project possible.
Everything will be reviewed at the beginning and end of the days to make sure we know our situation for the next day of filming and where we stand before going into post.

In terms of rewards, the project may have setbacks in the post-production process, so we cannot guarantee the dates of some rewards, but we will always keep our backers informed of when issues arise, how we will fix them, and when their rewards will get to them.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • Yes! We have check with the creators of these games and made sure that what we are creating falls in their terms of use and other legal information. To quote from Valve's video policy:

    "We encourage our users to make videos using Valve game content, such as playthrough or instruction videos or SFM movies. We are fine with publishing these videos to your website or YouTube or similar video sharing services."

    "Use of our content in videos must be non-commercial. By that we mean you can't charge users to view or access your videos. You also can't sell or license your videos to others for a payment of any kind."

    Thus is why our project will be available to everyone upon it's completion. We do still need funds to create the project, and thus is the reason for creating this Kickstarter.

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    A personal thank you email sent to you for backing our project! Every dollar counts
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    Access to the original scripts, documents, sketches, and any other digital item used in the production of the short film, including the soundtrack.

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    Early access to the film, either online or through a digital download! Get to see what you helped create before anyone else, plus all previous rewards.

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    4 backers Limited (46 left of 50)

    A limited edition button recognizing you as a backer of the "Portal: Origins" Project, plus all previous rewards.

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    9 backers Limited (21 left of 30)

    A limited edition "Portal: Origins" Tee, recognizing you as a backer of this short, plus all previous rewards.

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    Get a printed copy of the final "Portal: Origins" poster, signed by the Cast and Crew, plus all previous rewards.

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    Receive a Blu-Ray copy of the film, with even more exclusive features (you will not receive a DVD at this tier) along with a personalized thank you video on the disc, plus all previous rewards.

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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    Receive one of three of the special props used during the filming of "Portal: Origins," including the Prototype Portal device (originally designed for the film), the Aperture Portal device, and the Portal Jump-Suit, all signed by the cast and crew (first come, first served), plus all previous rewards.

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Funding period

- (30 days)