When Tim and I were 18 years old, we cut open our fingers with a rusty razor blade and swore a blood oath that we would move out to LA after college and make films. A lot of people make these types of promises. Start a business. Open a bar. We were going to different colleges. Tastes change. Ambitions change. I wanted to study engineering, he wanted to study history.
But our love of film only grew. We worked our way through AFI’s top 100. The filmography's of our favorite filmmakers. Each movie brought about that much more interest and hunger. We shared our new discoveries. We discovered new filmmakers. Tim fell in love with the photography. I loved the voice and story. He wanted to shoot. I wanted to write and direct. We dropped our respective majors and immersed ourselves in film.
Five years later, I left my house in the Chicago suburbs for Tim's 300 sq. ft Los Angeles studio. It was smaller than my freshman dorm. I bought a clunky Ikea bunk bed off a UCLA student for $50. I had a couple thousand dollars. I didn't know anyone. Everyone back home thought I'd be back within a year. LA was a fantasy.
We're still here.
There are people who do and people who help others do. Doing takes time. Doing takes money. Doing is a rite of passage. Most of the filmmakers we admire were in the same exact position as we are--doing whatever it takes to get their project made.
In the last ten years we've each watched over 3,000 movies. Nearly 4,500 hours or 200 days worth of viewing. All of this was study. It was all in preparation for this moment. We love film. We have dedicated our lives to the pursuit. This movie is the culmination of everything we have studied, watched, and done with our lives over the last ten years.
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Check out the HD version of our concept trailer here!
Road to the Well opens on Frank, who's mired in the bureaucracy of mid-level management at a Los Angeles shipping company. He’s a philosophy grad-school dropout with few friends and an empty and superficial relationship. When his boss demands that he relocate to a job up North, Frank's passivity lacks the leverage to refuse.
That night Frank gets a random call from his old friend Jack who's desperately in need of a ride. Frank's confused. Jack lives in New York. He heads over to a decrepit part of town and finds Jack meeting with some questionable company. Frank encounters a gorgeous woman, Ruby. He becomes enamored. He can't take his eyes off her. Before he can get a word in Jack pulls him away. The pair head off to a party where Frank catches his girlfriend in bed with his boss.
Jack and Frank head to a bar. Jack reveals that he forfeited his affluent life out East in order to travel the country. Frank doesn't understand. Then Ruby reappears. Frank can't stop looking. He finally approaches her. They hit it off and head into Frank's car for some privacy. As the moment peaks, they're attacked. Frank blacks out.
He wakes and finds Ruby dead in the trunk. How would the situation look? He’s drunk. He’s all alone. He calls Jack in a panic who convinces him of the implications. Jack's unmoved. It's clear he was involved in some way. He demands they get rid of the body. Frank will take his job and they'll bury her on the way up.
They take off in the middle of the night, ending up deep within the Northern California mountains, reuniting with old friends and running into strange characters all along a dark and cerebral journey.
On the outside, the story explores the humorous and absurd situations which arise from longstanding relationships. The banter, the honesty, the inability to drop past fights and disagreements. At its core, this film is about friendship. How far will you go for someone else? What is the breaking point? What secrets do we keep from those closest to us? What are the limits of trust?
Throughout the last eighteen months, I have been distributing our business plan to our closest friends and family. After a long twenty months we’ve successfully raised 60% of our budget. We’re now turning to Kickstarter to raise the remainder and share our journey with all of you.
I've worked in Digital Media for the last three years. I took a job with start-up Maker Studios, where 18 of us making no money, working seven days a week/12 hours a day helped to turn this company into a 400+ international company with offices in London, Los Angeles, and New York. We're now considered one of the largest digital media companies in the world.
I've seen the power of social media, where communities of like-minded individuals can come together and share in the creation of something personal and unique. We want to begin our journey as storytellers. We want to emulate the lives of all those who inspired us. This is the first step.
Of course, what's the good in helping unless you get some great rewards? On top of providing you with some amazing art work and a digital download of the film, we've partnered with clothing company - Beard Apparel - who has designed us an amazing t-shirt! Purchase now and you'll also receive DIGITAL PRODUCER credit in the film.
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Jon Cvack: Writer/Director
Graduated with degrees in both Philosophy and Film. His work has been included in the Beverly Hills Film Festival, Oaxaca Film Festival, Hollywood Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, and Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Film Festival. Road to the Well recently advanced to one of the top screenwriting festivals in the world - Austin Film Festival. Jon currently works as Content Manager at Maker Studios where he began as one of the earliest employees. Maker was recently acquired by Disney in an unprecedented deal.
Tim Davis: Director of Photography
Tim Davis Media
Tim's passion for cinematography began the moment he saw Barry Lyndon and realized it's what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Tim began as a photojournalist at his university's newspaper and is now working as a Set Lighting Technician in Los Angeles. He has amassed thousands of hours working on film, commercial, and music video sets, developing a wide array of skill sets and expertise.
OTHER MEMBERS INCLUDE:
Nick Mathews: Co-Producer Nick has been working in production for almost a decade. He began at Chelsea Entertainment, where he worked commercial sets for clients such as David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express; Eastbound and Down) and music videos for performers such as Katy Perry and Timbaland. He currently works as the Equipment and Stage Manager at Maker Studios. He trains in Muay Thai and recently won his first fight.
Brittany White: Make Up and Effects
Brittany is a graduate of Tom Savini's Douglas Education Special Effects Program. Over the years, she has worked on Art & FX for a variety clients, such as Red Bull and Ralis Kahn. She now manages Maker Studio's Make Up and Effects Department, where she specializes in hair, molds, prosthetic, and practical effects.
Remington Brimmer: Art and Effects
Fuzz and Feathers
Remy's also a graduate of Tom Savini's Douglas Education Special Effects Program. He's currently an Art Specialist at Maker Studios, where he aids in set and prop design. He also specializes in puppeteering. His series Stuffed - which he co-created and designed - is currently picking up interested across LA.
Amanda Hosler: Wardrobe
Amanda is an alum of ASU and the FIDM, with degrees in both Marketing and Fashion Design. She's worked for NVIDIA and Frontline Design, along with a host of short films and features, where she designed and fabricated their wardrobes. She currently heads up Maker Studio's Wardrobe Department.
Patrick Aubin: Distribution Programmer
Patrick Aubin developed the Point of Sale software for Chicago's Congress Theater before doing agency work at Doejo. He now works at SeatMe in San Francisco which was recently acquired by Yelp. He's currently helping to create Road to the Well's distribution and marketing software. Click here for more info!
Elizabeth Gilmore: Distribution Design/Photography
Elizabeth Gilmore did design at Doejo. She presently works as a designer at Facebook and is also helping to design Road to the Well's distribution and marketing software. Click here for more info! She's also an avid photographer.
In 2010, we went to our friend and co-producer’s cabin on Donner Lake. This is the spot where the Reed and Donner families were forced into cannibalism while journeying out west for gold. It’s an eerily beautiful location up in the Northern California mountains where we’ll be shooting two-thirds of the movie.
Placer Film County Commissioner has also agreed to assist us with acquiring as many locations as possible. We will be shooting in bars, old town main streets, mining towns, railroad stations, and so forth. The pictures do the locations more justice than these words. Check out our photo album here.
Given the story’s scope and our limited budget, we need ensure that each and every shot is absolutely necessary for the story. We want to cram as much information into each setup in order to preserve the momentum and keep the movie interesting on all fronts - from the performances to the photography.
When it comes to film production, it’s either fast, cheap, or good - pick two. While neither myself, Tim, or the producers are getting paid a single dime, we have to make sure we hire an efficient, talented crew.
LA is an expensive place to shoot. So while we could pay thousands of dollars for a single location - one bar quoted us at $5000 per DAY - we’d rather spend our money housing our crew in Northern California, which allows us to shoot for free in some of the most beautiful locations we've ever seen.
Of course, food is just as - if not more - important, and it takes plenty to fuel people working six days a week. Other items include post-production costs, props, music licensing, sound mixing, color grading, special effects, and transportation. All in all, you will help us employ twenty individuals for a month's worth of work!
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You don't have to back us financially to receive a reward. If you sign up for our mailing list, we'll send you a special link you can share with friends and family. Sharing the link will provide you the chance to win exclusive original artwork that cannot be obtained any other way.
We invite you to come on this journey with us. Thank you so much for reading, and please share this with your friends!
Risks and challenges
As with any low budget production, we will confront a variety of obstacles. Some anticipated; others unforeseen. In order to retain the momentum of our ambitious schedule, we need the entire team to work at 110% at all times. Falling behind is not an option. However, such things inevitably occur. Equipment breaks, locations drop out, weather takes effect. Unfortunately, we won't have the money to buy ourselves a solution.
That's why our pre-production team is already developing Plans B, C, and D for each and every scene. Where do we go if the first location drops? What do we do if a performer gets sick? What happens if the camera overheats? What happens if the scene's not working? We have no desire to figure this out that day. I rather plan for the worst and prepare for the best.
Our strategy is to highlight the most important scenes and do everything in our power to avoid any problems - a strategy that might require a bit of extra money, time, and attention. For those which are more flexible in location and creatively less demanding we will create a hierarchy of reserve plans. Whether it's secondary locations, doubling up on an existing location, utilizing someone from the community to fill a role, or schmoozing our way into some additional food or lodging, we will do whatever it takes to solve each and every problem by having the most thorough battle plan possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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