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A bilingual sitcom set in Beijing about the misadventures of two FOB college dropouts, their Chinese landlord, and his daughter.
A feature film set in China's wine country about 3 friends who thought running away from their problems to China was a good idea.
A feature film set in China's wine country about 3 friends who thought running away from their problems to China was a good idea.
129 backers pledged $30,590 to help bring this project to life.

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Wok In Progress (中西一家人) | Bilingual Sitcom Series project video thumbnail
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Wok In Progress (中西一家人) | Bilingual Sitcom Series

$30,590

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Beijing Hutong Charm
Beijing Hutong Charm

 Distribution

"Wok In Progress" already has Youku (China's Youtube) lined up to distribute our series in China and WebTVAsia promoting us to the rest of the world on Youtube. In the U.S., we have local networks in L.A., San Francisco, and New York ready to broadcast "Wok In Progress" as well as a VOD aggregator waiting for us. "Wok In Progress" will also have it's very own VOD channel. Every day brings new opportunities and possibilities to bring "Wok In Progress" to a wider and wider audience.

Why We Need Your Help

We were able to self-fund the pilot thanks largely to the support we got from Jun and Tavey of 4corners, and our industry friends and their camera and lighting equipment. Unfortunately, these favors are not of an infinite nature.

That's where you guys come in. We have written the scripts for the next five episodes and are working towards writing and producing a total of thirteen episodes. Please help us by donating whatever you can so that we can keep this series alive and kicking. There's so much more to come. You'd also be participating in China's first fully bilingual sitcom series. And we would like to think that there is something special and even historic about that.

Where Your Money Would Go

We know what you're thinking, and you're right; this is a lot of money for a handful of sitcom episodes. To make a television-quality production, though, isn't cheap, and it takes a lot longer than most of us would like, too. Here's why we're asking for $30,000.

- Each episode's pre-production stage will consist of writing, storyboarding, casting, breaking down the script, planning and scheduling.

- Building of sets and location access: The location where we shot the restaurant and apartment scenes in the pilot, 4corners, has been partially reclaimed by the landlord. 4corners looks totally different now, so we can longer use it as a set. We will rent a studio and recreate the real locations we filmed in as well as other locations in the script. We will also need to rent some filming locations as well as pay for permits to film in places like parks. Not everyone is as awesome as Jun and Tavey from 4corners for giving us access to their fine establishment. And yes, a park features into an upcoming episode.

- Basic crew and cast wages: The concept of just 'helping out' on a project for the sake of getting experience and exposure is not common in China. We were fortunate enough to get a lot of help for the pilot, but this generosity is not everlasting. People still need to eat and be rewarded for their contributions. Running a film crew is like running a small army; without the weapons and with a lot more sarcasm.

- Lighting and camera equipment: We are shooting with 3 camera crews at once. The pilot was shot with 5Ds, but we'd like to upgrade for the next episodes. We also need to rent lenses and other camera-related equipment as well as lights and other nerdy stuff like scrims. This will also include vehicle rentals.

- Food and board: We obviously need to keep everybody well fed and two of our actors require accommodation because they don't live in Beijing.

- Post production: Once we've filmed everything, it's not over. The "auntie" in the park hasn't sung yet. We still need to edit all those shots together to tell a cohesive and hilarious story; refining and refining until the final result is polished to perfection. Then, we have to sweeten and mix the audio; while at the same time, color correcting and color grading the image.

Quick Breather Between Takes (Scotty Cox, Kara Wang, Victor Muh, Murray Clive Walker)
Quick Breather Between Takes (Scotty Cox, Kara Wang, Victor Muh, Murray Clive Walker)

The Pilot

In the pilot episode, Melvin and Larry, having just arrived in Beijing, are on the hunt for a suitable apartment. They find the perfect place but not the perfect landlord. Mr. Lee is not only grumpy and stubborn, he has also never met a foreigner before. Convincing Mr. Lee that they are worthy of his humble abode will be no mooncake walk. Fortunately, Lingling, Mr. Lee's daughter agrees to help the hapless duo. But can they chinesify themselves enough to win Mr. Lee over? Time will tell.

check out the trailer:

The Cast

Larry (Murray Clive Walker) comes from South Africa, but was studying in the U.S. before deciding to move to China. He's a notorious skirt chaser who thinks of little else. Loyal most of the time except perhaps when there is a girl in the mix. Can be irresponsible and impractical about life in general – basically just likes living for the moment without thinking of the consequences. He thinks himself cooler than he really is.

Melvin (Scotty Cox) is an American, who is, for the most part, quite level-headed and responsible. He is a bit on the heavy side and has lost his confidence with women, struggling to regain it. This makes him a lovable-loser in this respect. He is sensitive and often takes things too personally. He likes to be organized. He has no fashion sense, yet is quite proud of his sense of fashion. Him and his ever-so-useful fannypack are inseparable.

Larry (Murray Clive Walker) and Melvin (Scotty Cox)
Larry (Murray Clive Walker) and Melvin (Scotty Cox)

Mr. Lee (Fu Hongjun), at the start, is weary of foreigners but begins to realize their worth later on. He comes across as abrasive at first, but he has a kind heart and is able to appreciate the good in others. A single father, he loves his daughter more than anything in the world. He runs a noodleshop in Beijing called Journey to the West. He is proud to be Chinese, of Chinese culture, Chinese heritage, and, above all, to be from Shanxi.

Lingling (Kara Wang), Mr. Lee's daughter; is pretty, intelligent but a bit stuck-up. She hates working in her father's noodleshop, because she thinks it's beneath her. Her dream is to study fashion in France although her father will never allow it. She is straight-talking and, at times, a bit crass. Much smarter than her father, Melvin, and Larry; Lingling is able to manipulate them as part of her master plan. Unfortunately, she is not match for Larry and Melvin's capacity for creating chaos.

Mr. Lee (Fu Hongjun) and Lingling (Kara Wang)
Mr. Lee (Fu Hongjun) and Lingling (Kara Wang)

The Production Team

Victor Muh (director/co-producer): Victor is a multi-lingual, multi-cultural, award-winning director who has created content for Saab, Salomon, Quiksilver, the Austrian Government, Audi China, Peugeot China, Citroën China, Yahoo! Sports, Split Works and Swire Properties. His work has been seen on movie screens around the world as well as on Fox Sports, Fox Sports Asia, Star Sports, MCM International & MCM France, CNBC, Eurosport, Current TV, Surf Channel, and M6 France.

Murray Clive Walker (writer/co-producer/"Larry"): Murray is South African born but did his acting training in Vancouver. He has spent the last 10 years in Taiwan and China learning the language and working as an actor. He mostly acts in Chinese TV shows but has landed roles in movies such as Legendary, an English-Chinese co-production and Dragonblade, China's biggest budget movie.

More Beijing Hutong Charm
More Beijing Hutong Charm

A Bit of History

After living and working in China for almost ten years, we've grown to love the Chinese culture and language. The adaptation to such a foreign environment, although exciting and meaningful for the most part, is still often fraught with challenges and frustrations. Westerners and Easterners have very unique cultural backgrounds which leads to weird and wonderful perspectives on this thing we call life.

We wanted to create a sitcom that would address these cultural discrepancies, but also convey the idea that although culture is important, sharing the same culture is not paramount to getting along with each other. Yes, we are all different, but it's these differences that make us interesting and unique. Failing to bridge the cultural gap is inevitable, but it's how one tries to breech the gap that is important. Cherishing the similarities and relishing the differences is the theme of our sitcom.

Risks and challenges

Our pilot episode proved that we are skilled enough to adapt to the many obstacles and challenges that present themselves during any film production, not to mention a production in Beijing, China. Variables like location management and actor scheduling can cause problems with the production timeline.

Speaking of locations, the restaurant where we shot the pilot has been reclaimed by the landlord. He is planning to convert it into an apartment where he can live out his retirement. We not only lose the restaurant but also Melvin and Larry's apartment which was shot in the restaurant's back room. This means that we will have to construct sets for the rest of the season.

We know. You've backed a crowd-funded project before and that was the last you heard of it. So how do you know backing this project will actually lead to a finished product?

We have always made the most of our resources and have been making quality, and even award-winning content, for the silver screen, TV, and the internet for over 15 years. We are going to do this on a bigger scale.

We have the infrastructure to produce the content, the funds we are raising are for production and production quality. That means most of the dollars will end up on the screen, which is exactly where you want them.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    We'll send you a postcard from Beijing. And if you want it in Chinese, Mr. Lee will write it.

    Plus rewards #1 and #2!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A password giving you access to the first 3 episodes of Wok In Progress on its VOD channel and behind-the-scenes and out-take footage from the show.

    Plus rewards #1, #2 & #3!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Interested in filmmaking and acting? Who's your favorite Wok In Progress actor? We'll send you autographed pages from the actor’s on-set script.

    Plus you'll get a high-five whenever & wherever we see you, we'll thank you on our Facebook Page, we'll send you a postcard from Beijing, and you'll get access to our first 3 episodes on VOD!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    PDF of the movie shooting script the day each episode of episodes 1-6 of Wok In Progress is released!

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    A stunning 8"x10" poster autographed by the cast.

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    In the West, we have Valentine's Day. In China, there's that plus May 21st, the Qixi Festival, November 11th, and probably more opportunities for guys like Larry and Melvin to muck things up. So, why not get Larry and Melvin to make a 1-min. video explaining why you messed up on your behalf? Send this video to your partner as a more creative way to apologize.

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Immortalize yourself in our show! We'll use your personal name for a day player character.

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    We'll send you a Wok In Progress T-shirt designed by the graphic goddess Aida Perez Vazquez!

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    This one is very cool! We'll take random photos of Beijing for you with a disposable camera and then send it to you. We're not going to tell you of what, that's a surprise. But don't worry, it will be savory.

    Plus you'll get a high-five whenever & wherever we see you, we'll thank you on our Facebook Page, we'll send you a postcard from Beijing, and you'll get access to our first 3 episodes on VOD!

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Wanna learn Chinese like Larry and Melvin? We'll arrange a 30 min Chinese lesson with a qualified teacher via Skype.

    Plus you'll get a high-five whenever & wherever we see you, we'll thank you on our Facebook Page, we'll send you a postcard from Beijing, and you'll get access to our first 3 episodes on VOD!

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    This one is super cool, too! We will bring a disposable camera (with your name on it) to the shoot, shoot the roll of film inside, then mail the camera to you. When you develop the film you will have one-of-a-kind stills from the shoot that are yours do to with what you please.

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    The Mormons used the Urim and Thummim. Egyptian scholars used the Rosetta Stone. Now, you can own your very own replica of the source from which Wok In Progress sprung; a carbon steel wok made in China.

    This replica of our original wok is the same 14” version made proudly in China out of 18 gauge carbon steel with an 8cm, dark gray, Wok In Progress logo electrically engraved into its side. It features a tubular handle for comfortable use and firm gripping, and a hanging hole for convenient storage/prominent display.

    Plus you'll get a high-five whenever & wherever we see you, we'll thank you on our Facebook Page, we'll send you a postcard from Beijing, and you'll get access to our first 3 episodes on VOD!

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    Two invitations to our Wok In Progress screening in Beijing which will include a great burger and beer combo dinner (travel and accommodation not included).

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    10 minutes of fame! We'll let you interview us. Ask any question you want about the show, shooting in China, the challenges, obstacles etc. and then put it out there for the world to see on an online platform of your choice.

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Beijing care package! We'll put together an awesome collection of Chinese souvenirs. It will include: Chinese tea, ornate chopsticks (4 set), old Beijing postcard book, Mao's red book of quotations, fiery hot instant noodles a funky Great Wall key chain and one mystery item we're not going to tell you about!

    Plus you'll get a high-five whenever & wherever we see you, we'll thank you on our Facebook Page, we'll send you a postcard from Beijing, and you'll get access to our first 3 episodes on VOD!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Thinking of an acting career? We'll give you a cameo part in a future episode, earning you a listing on IMDB.com. It won't be big, but it will be fun and memorable. You must obviously be in Beijing for this.

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Ever thought of producing? We'll credit you as a Wok In Progress Associate Producer, earning you a listing on IMDB.com.

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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

    How about producing and writing? We'll credit you as a Wok In Progress Co-Producer. Then think of a cool story idea for an episode, and if we use it, we'll credit you as co-writer for that episode, earning you two listings on IMDB.com. Feel free to come by the set one day to see how we roll.

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    And if you're really wanting to produce! We'll credit you as a Producer, earning you a listing on IMDB.com. Drop by the set whenever you like, and you'll get full access to the project during the post production process.

    Plus you'll get a high-five whenever & wherever we see you, we'll thank you on our Facebook Page, we'll send you a postcard from Beijing, and you'll get access to our first 3 episodes on VOD!

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  20. Select this reward

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

    Your generosity knows no bounds! We'll credit you as a Wok In Progress Executive Producer which will earn you a listing on IMDB.com. Drop by the set whenever you like, and you'll get full access to the project during the post production process. Then, think of a cool story idea for an episode and if we use it, we'll credit you as co-writer for that episode, earning you another listing on IMDB.com.

    Plus rewards #1, #2, #3 & #5!

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  21. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10,000 About $10,000

    Come experience China for yourself like the hotshot hutong Executive Producer that you are! We will fly you coach to Beijing, arrange transportation from your home to your hotel in the hutongs, provide up to 6 nights of accommodation and 7 days of authentic Chinese meals, and take you for a tour of the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

    Drop by the set whenever you like, and you'll get full access to the project during the post production process. Plus, you'll earn an executive producer listing on IMDB.com. Think of a cool story idea for an episode, and if we use it, we'll credit you as co-writer for that episode, earning you a co-writer listing on IMDB.com.

    If you come to China during the production of Wok In Progress, you can have a cameo appearance in the episode we're shooting.

    If you come to China during a Wok In Progress screening, you and your guest are invited to the screening at 4corners and will be treated to a burger dinner.

    Interested in the process of shooting a sitcom, and shooting a sitcom in China? Come during the production of Wok In Progress and be a part of our crew.

    Plus you'll get a high-five/hug whenever & wherever we see you, a thank you on our Facebook Page, a postcard from Beijing, access to our first 3 episodes on VOD!, a PDF shooting script of episodes 1-6, a 8"x10" autographed poster of the cast, a Wok t-shirt, a Skype Chinese lesson, and an awesome collection of Chinese souvenirs.

    Limited to 2 Executive Producer positions per episode.

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  22. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10,000 About $10,000

    VIP CORPORATE SPONSOR REWARD: Have your company be our sitcom's elite backer. This means your company's, 30-sec. maximum, TV commercial will run once during the 3 commercial breaks in each episode of Wok In Progress for a total of 3 TV commercial spots per episode, for as many episodes as we produce during season 1, for 2 years minimum.

    Your company's logo will be featured on all press kits, email newsletters going out to fans, posters, flyers, banners at Wok In Progress events, and all other marketing materials not specifically mentioned here; and will receive preferential sizing and 1st priority placement ahead of other corporate sponsors for 6 months after the end of the first season.

    Your company will also have the opportunity to distribute promotional items of your choice (pens, t-shirts, hats, etc.) at select Wok In Progress screenings in China.

    Your company will also receive 8 invitations to our Wok In Progress premiere in Beijing which will include an exclusive and delicious Nam Burger dinner (travel and accommodation not included) with the creators of Wok In Progress and its Executive Producers.

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Funding period

- (31 days)