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An indie documentary about a wandering traveler turned full-time maker magician. Monkeybots, suitcase machines, and more.
An indie documentary about a wandering traveler turned full-time maker magician. Monkeybots, suitcase machines, and more.
321 backers pledged $36,432 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$36,432

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NOTE: Each and every one of our backers will be listed on the Building Magic website. ALL BACKERS Of $100 or more will be listed in the CREDITS OF THE FILM!

Building Magic: an indie documentary about inventor Mario the Magician. It's a deeply personal story, yet speaks to anyone who has ever pursued a dream.

A FILM BY KAL • SOUNDTRACK BY THE HEADLOCKS

"This is one of those great meetings of art and technology that illuminates the maker movement so well." -MAKE Magazine

(photo by Dylan Hundley)
(photo by Dylan Hundley)

In discussing ideas for a feature-length documentary, we realized right away that in expanding Building Magic from a 5 minute short film to a 60 minute documentary, we would have to delve into Mario's past, a time before his first magic trick, a time when Mario wrestled with his faith and hitchhiked across the United States searching for identity and meaning in his life. Set to the rhythm of an original soundtrack provided by THE HEADLOCKS, we see the film as a story with a rich past and a fascinating present, a story that would resonate with young and mature audiences alike. As Kal describes it, Mario's journey trips into darkness and then is flooded with light like a tractor trailer's high beams thrown on in the middle of a cold night.

About the project:

Building Magic has evolved from a 5 minute short film, to an 11 minute short film, to what we hope will become a feature-length 60 minute documentary. In December of 2012, the 5 minute version debuted to wild applause at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center in New York City. Since then, thousands more have watched the short film online. Mario has received hundreds of emails, comments, tweets, and Facebook messages from people all around the world who have been genuinely touched and inspired by his story. Based on this overwhelming feedback, Kal suggested extending Building Magic to an 11 minute exclusive version for film festivals. On July 1st Building Magic became an official selection of the 2013 DC Shorts Film Festival and will screen at the US NAVY Memorial Museum Theater at Penn Quarters in Washington, DC this September. The extended short received a perfect score of 100 from all three admission judges! These are their comments:

"This entertaining narrative film about a street magician is a must see film. It is highly creative, well done and keeps your interest throughout the film. Definitely a magical film!"

"This is a wonderful documentary about Mario the Magician, a self-taught magician in New York City who entertains children. The film is narrated by Mario and the narration is superb including descriptions of his philosophy of magic, how he designs and builds his magic tricks from common materials, and how he entertains children. Mario is incredibly creative and this comes through. This is a film that will be thoroughly enjoyed by both children and adults. Highly recommended!!"

"The magician gives a personal account as to how he builds his magic tricks and carries them to his largely child audiences. This film is a crowd pleaser on all counts. I liked everything about it."

Our dream is to make Building Magic into a feature length documentary. We have the stories. We need your help to raise the funds to complete this film.

About our subject:

Mario "the Magician" Marchese is a husband, father, performer, maker, inventor, artist, creator. His livelihood is his children's magic show, which has influenced many an NYC area child. His performance style reminds many of old-time vaudevillians, but his presence is way more than a throw-back. He has earned attention from the likes of MAKE Magazine for his unique, handmade props, many of which include cutting edge technology like 3D printing and Arduino microcontrollers. NYC's renowned Lincoln Center has hosted several of Mario's performances for their public programming, and he just completed a run of NYTimes-recommended performances at Metropolitan Room as well. Read a review.

Here is Mario's website: www.mariothemagician.com

(photo by Dennis Kleiman)
(photo by Dennis Kleiman)

What we need:

Filmmaking is expensive! We are trying to raise a relatively humble amount of $35,000 to complete the feature-length version of Building Magic. After Kickstarter/Amazon Payment fees, that amount goes toward:

pre-shoot creative development and location scouting

• filming

• audio narration

• post-production logging, editing, color correction, audio editing, revision

• compensation for music rights

• DVD production + duplication

STRETCH GOALS!

We have kept our budget at a minimum for this campaign, because we REALLY want to make this movie! But, if we are able to raise an extra $5,000, we'll be able to include 1-2 trips to shoot on location at areas significant to Mario's story. If we raise an extra $10,000, we'll be able to do even more traveling, tracing some of Mario's past, and/or get awesome design work done for posters/DVD, and maybe even some free live events for our supporters.

THANK YOU. Sincerely. We've been overwhelmed by the response to our promo version of Building Magic. Our thanks to each and every person who reached out to give us their feedback. We're absolutely humbled. The feature-length version of this would be a dream come true for all involved, and we appreciate every single pledge so much, no matter the amount.

•••

Rewards:

Among the options, we are offering:

• Mario the Magician wooden nickel

• Mario the Magician portrait by artist Johanna Goodman

• tickets to a LIVE NYC show by Mario the Magician

(photo by Dennis Kleiman)
(photo by Dennis Kleiman)

• handmade wooden magic wand by Mario

• 3D printed three shell game, designed by Mario, printed on his own personal MakerBot Replicator 2

• live levitation at your event

• 3D printed Astor Place NYC Cube, designed by Mario, printed on his own personal MakerBot Replicator 2

Risks and challenges

As our project is quite straightforward, with few people involved, our risks are minimal. As long as Marcel the Mechanical Monkey doesn't come to life and devour us all, the movie WILL get made in a timely manner. Please, see the progress of our film up to this point, with the short versions already completed, and take that as evidence that we are serious about this!

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FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    BEHIND THE SCENES! • access to our private behind-the-scenes Instagram account, where you'll get to see exclusive photos every step of the way. Who doesn't love a good Mario Insta-face?

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    WOODEN NICKEL! • a custom Mario the Magician wooden nickel, redeemable for one magic trick, live, on the spot, if presented to Mario in person anywhere (except for at one of his magic shows) + a handwritten thank you postcard suitable for your fridge door

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    MARIO PORTRAIT! • a print signed by Mario of the spectacular Mario the Magician portrait created by artist Johanna Goodman • PARENTS: get one to hang on your child's bedroom wall! (www.johannagoodman.com)

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    EXCLUSIVE BONUS MATERIAL! • access to bonus footage via digital download, because we know you all can't get enough of Mario and his antics - ALSO... wooden nickel + behind-the-scenes Instagram access + digital download of photo introductions to some of Mario's inventions that don't make it into the film

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD + THANK YOU TWEET! • a digital download of the completed feature length film and Mario tweets a thank you with your name

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    SIGNED DVD! • the fruit of our labor, a DVD of the completed, feature-length film, signed by Mario

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DVD + PORTRAIT COMBO! • a DVD of the completed, feature-length film AND a print of the Mario the Magician portrait by artist Johanna Goodman, both signed

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    Limited 14 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DVD + HEADLOCKS ALBUM COMBO! • a DVD of the completed, feature-length film AND a digital download of "Cuckoo Bird" album by The Headlocks, who will be providing Building Magic's original soundtrack

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A TWITTER FOLLOW! • Mario the Magician follows YOU on Twitter for at least one year. He reads your tweets. Who knows, maybe he'll even RT, reply, or DM every now and again. (And as if that weren't enough, we'll send you a DVD of the completed film, too.)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    TICKETS TO SEE MARIO THE MAGICIAN LIVE! • four (4) tickets to an NYC live children's/family performance by Mario the Magician (date(s)/location TBA via email)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    TICKETS TO NYC SCREENING • two (2) tickets to a private NYC screening of the completed film, followed by a Meet & Greet with the filmmakers and our star! Mario the Magician (available date(s)/location TBA via email)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    3D PRINTED THREE SHELL GAME • custom designed by Mario, this classic of street performers everywhere, the three shell game, will be printed for you on his own personal MakerBot Replicator 2

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    DVD + PERSONALIZED VIDEO! • a DVD of the completed, feature-length film AND an approx. short personalized cell phone video by Mario the Magician for your self/child/friend/relative/coworker/whoever (delivered via email)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MARIO-MADE MAGIC WAND • limited edition handcrafted natural wooden oak magic wand, finished with all natural oils, made by Mario himself, perfect for the street performer in you

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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    15-MIN GOOGLE LIVE HANGOUT! • a live 15-minute web hangout with Mario the Magician for you and whoever you want to invite - he'll show what he's been working on lately, and answer your questions

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    3D PRINTED ASTOR PLACE CUBE • Mario designed this miniature desktop model of "the Alamo," the famous spinning cube sculpture in NYC's Astor Place, as seen in our film! Mario will print the miniature for you on his own personal MakerBot Replicator 2

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    CHILDREN'S NON-SPEAKING ROLE IN THE MOVIE • our film about a children's performer wouldn't be complete without children themselves. This reward offers your child (ages 4-10) a non-speaking role in the film as well as a chance to work and meet with Mario in person (must be able to travel to NYC area for filming)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    30-MIN VIRTUAL MAGIC SHOW • a 30-minute virtual children's performance by Mario the Magician broadcast live via Google+ or Skype, perfect for your non-NYC area birthday parties! Great for those of you who are Mario fans but don't live in the NYC area

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    YOUR CHILD ON THE BIG SCREEN! • our film about a children's performer wouldn't be complete without the perspective of children themselves. This reward offers your child (ages 4-10) an on-screen interview in the film + the chance to be selected for a larger role! (must be able to travel to NYC area for filming)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PRIVATE MAGIC LESSON • (NYC metro only) a private one-hour children's DIY magic lesson by Mario for up to 10 kids of a similar age between 5 and 10 years old at the location of your choice in the NYC metro area

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

    LEVITATION • (NYC metro only) Mario + Katie will perform a classic levitation at your event, a beautiful display of ages-old street performing, inspired by buskers in India, a country that magic owes so much to

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    BRING MARIO TO SHOW & TELL! (NYC metro only) • your child gets to bring Mario the Magician and Marcel the Mechanical Monkey to their school for show and tell + you receive an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER credit for the film (solely in title, no monetary returns or other involvement)

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

    PRIVATE SHOW OR CONCERT • (NYC metro only) a private children's performance by Mario the Magician (ages 4-10) OR a private performance by The Headlocks in your home/venue + you receive an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER credit for the film

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

    SHORT FILM STARRING YOUR CHILD • you get a live birthday party performance by Mario the Magician AND filmmaker Kal films the party and creates a 5-minute "short film" for you starring the birthday child (NYC metro only)

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    DELUXE THANK YOU • we cry tears of gratitude + a send you a deluxe thank you package with the signed DVD, portrait, wooden nickel AND an assortment of inspiring vintage magic ephemera AND an object designed and 3D printed especially for you by Mario + you receive an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT for the film

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Funding period

- (30 days)