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Small Star Seminar is a crowd-generated concert doc road-film about a musical motivational speaker with a very different message.
Small Star Seminar is a crowd-generated concert doc road-film about a musical motivational speaker with a very different message.
211 backers pledged $12,613 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$12,613

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Small Star Seminar will be a crowd-generated road film, concert film, documentary and narrative. I will travel across the US and through select countries as a singing representative of the Small Star Corporation, a company that urges people to give up their goals, stop reaching for the stars and start looking for the stars within their minds.

All live events will be crowd generated. I will be passed between event organizers and supporters like a baton in a relay race. Artists in each location will capture footage before, during and after the regional seminars that they will help coordinate. These images and recordings will be used to create our story. 

illustration by Jonathan Ashley (NYC)
illustration by Jonathan Ashley (NYC)

In 2012 I began the global arts collaborative, Captain Ahab’s Motorcycle Club. The club was constructed through member-generated artwork, music, film, photos and live events. The objective was to create a global collective that could produce elements for a feature film. The club itself was a success. It was presented at festivals worldwide and was developed in part through the Sundance Institute. The Small Star Seminar film production will embrace the strengths of Captain Ahab’s Motorcycle Club while supplying the collaborative with a project that I am very excited about.

photo by Dunvael Photography (Wrocław, Poland)
photo by Dunvael Photography (Wrocław, Poland)

Small Star Seminar premiered as a musical stage performance in Wrocław, Poland in March 2015. The music was released as an album in April 2015. Both the performance and recordings have received critical acclaim. Lyrics from the Seminar have since been translated into different languages by artists and supporters throughout the world. The meanings behind these songs have been interpreted in various and surprising ways. The possibility of various interpretations opens a door for unexpected changes in this story. Though a plot-line is in place the story will undoubtedly mutate and evolve as the process continues. This promises to be a fun and entertaining film experience like no other. This campaign is to raise the bare minimum necessary to launch this project. You can preview the music for Small Star Seminar at corymcabee.net. The collection is also available on iTunes and Spotify.

Recent press quotes / Illustration by Cory McAbee
Recent press quotes / Illustration by Cory McAbee

 Join the project. We need backers, contributors, creators, DPs, PAs, coordinators, audience members, friends on the road and more. Please sign up HERE.

The collaboration for Small Star Seminar has begun! In early April I posted the first "Small Star Corporation" video. The presentation embraces a growing trend in online entertainment and music. It is now common practice for record companies to pre-release songs online as lyric videos with text and music only. Since its release the lyrics have been translated by artists and supporters around the world. This video is currently available in English, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Korean, Swedish, Persian, Romanian, French, Hungarian and Maltese. A stage presentation can also be modified to any language with lyrics projected on screen in time with the music. 

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Risks and challenges

This entire project is both a risk and a challenge. These are two of the reasons why I find it interesting. I have never done a project like this before. I don’t know anyone who has, but as long as I continue to adapt as this film develops there will be no permanent problems. I have had to put projects on hold, but I have never quit one.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Three vinyl silk-screened 4inch x 4inch stickers of The Smallest Star logo. (design by John Borruso)

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    I will sing your name in an episode of The Smallest Star podcast. (My apologies in advance to anyone whose names are mispronounced) + 3 stickers.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    An original hand painted stencil postcard by McAbee, sent to you through the US postal system + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    DNA CAPSULE. Fingernail clipping from the director, Cory McAbee, encased in a decorative metal capsule for your key chain, necklace or charm-bracelet.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    DNA capsule + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast + 1 hand painted postcard.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Four consecutive frames from McAbee’s first animated short, Billy Nayer.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Four consecutive frames from McAbee’s first animated short, Billy Nayer + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast + 1 hand painted postcard.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    1 original hand-drawn page from my Stingray Sam storyboards + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast + 1 hand painted postcard.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    2 consecutive hand-drawn pages from my Stingray Sam storyboards + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast + 1 hand painted postcard.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    An official letter from Buckingham Palace ensuring that a DVD of The American Astronaut would be laid before his royal highness Prince William. Composed on official Buckingham Palace stationary. Envelope included. Postmarked June 13 2005. + 1 original hand-drawn page from my Stingray Sam storyboards + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast + 1 hand painted postcard.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    A letter from NASA stating that a DVD of The American Astronaut would be redirected to the Astronaut Crew Quarters at Kennedy Space Center. Composed on official NASA stationary. Envelope included. Postmarked May 12 2005. + 1 original hand-drawn page from my Stingray Sam storyboards + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast + 1 hand painted postcard.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A personal letter of recommendation for Cory McAbee. Handwritten in 1999 by Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) on Alternative Tentacles stationary. Suitable for framing. + 1 hand-drawn page from my Stingray Sam storyboards. + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast + 1 hand-painted postcard.

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    1 original hand-drawn page from The American Astronaut storyboards + 2 consecutive hand-drawn pages from my Stingray Sam storyboards. + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast + 1 hand painted postcard. In addition you will receive items created by senior CAMC members. This includes - a first edition hardcover copy of Ashes to Ashes signed by the author Benjamin Busch + a signed limited edition print by Ferguson + a signed print by David Tomb + a CD from the Lee Vilensky Trio, signed by the real Lee Vilensky.

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

    The original storyboarded screenplay of The American Astronaut embellished with a handwritten critique by writer Stewart Stern (Rebel Without A Cause, The Ugly American, Sybil…) This copy was given to me by Stewart at the end of the June 1998 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. + 2 consecutive hand-drawn pages from my Stingray Sam storyboards. + 3 stickers + your name sung in the podcast + 1 hand painted postcard.

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Funding period

- (30 days)