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The first feature film by Koo (dir. of The West Side, founder of explores the high-stakes world of youth basketball.
The first feature film by Ryan Koo explores the high-stakes world of youth basketball. In Pre-Production (still!) but moving forward every day.
The first feature film by Ryan Koo explores the high-stakes world of youth basketball. In Pre-Production (still!) but moving forward every day.
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2,336 backers pledged $125,100 to help bring this project to life.

A conversation with Kickstarter, and podcasting the making of AMATEUR

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Hello Kickstarter backers,

At the Sundance Film Festival this week I sat down with none other than... Kickstarter! For more on the amazing Netflix news, as well as the long journey I've been on since you all backed me years ago, here is my in-depth conversation with Kickstarter about AMATEUR:

For more on The First Feature, a podcast specifically about AMATEUR I'm very much looking forward to sharing with you all, here's the announcement episode:

If you'd like to subscribe to my podcasts, you can do so through iTunes, Soundcloud, or whatever application you use to listen to podcasts (they are also at The show overall will cover a variety of filmmaking-centric topics that you may or may not be interested in, so I will also of course share the AMATEUR-specific episodes here as Kickstarter updates.

And in case you missed the huge news about Netflix at sites like Variety, you KNOW it's real when we're on Marie Claire (note: they are making some release date assumptions!).

Exciting times — but busy times. I've worked every day of the past month, including weekends and new year's, except for one weekend which seems like a distant memory... But that hard work is yielding results. More on the film soon!




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We are casting basketball players in AMATEUR and can use your help!

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We are currently doing a casting search for basketball players for AMATEUR!

There are more details here (the article is about the scout we are working with to find players):

Man Who Discovered Anthony Davis Now Searches for Another Kind of Talent

"Most sports movies star actors who aren't convincing practitioners of the sport, and the believability of the film is damaged as a result," Koo said. "We're looking to audition elite basketball players instead of actors who list basketball as one of many skills."

We're looking for high-school aged players (and those that can pass for high school-aged) of various races. If these older players have a noticeable foreign accent that is great. AMATEUR's lead role is an African-American middle schooler — actors should be age 13-16 — so we are also looking for younger American players.

In addition to working with a basketball scout, we have a great casting director — but we can also use your help! If you know any players interested in acting, send them our way at If you don't know any players, you can still help us out by sharing the article by email, on Facebook, or Twitter. In fact you can just click here to tweet (you can edit before sending).

Thank you all for the support! More news as we have it!


Exciting developments, and why "push" is a four-letter word


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It's starting...



That wouldn't be a great basketball stat. And that would be a lot of shots to take in one game, ball hog!

But that is actually the number of days I spent in NYC recently, I realized: three out of forty-two. The rest were spent on the road writing, researching, traveling for meetings, and doing this:

This is a pretty uninteresting picture of me... taking pictures. But what it means is we're location scouting! This includes looking at a lot of gyms and courts -- it's a basketball movie after all -- and figuring out which work for the film.

But it's not quite so simple, because AMATEUR (formerly MANCHILD -- see the last update about changing the title!) takes place at multiple schools, which for budgetary reasons you may or may not shoot at one school (or you might shoot two schools for four schools, etc.), which means doing stuff like this:

That's us figuring out which school will work for which scene settings. And then once you look at a bunch of schools you look at the overall picture of what the state offers... and we're still deciding on that. 

Anyway we will have a LOT more updates soon, but I know it's been a while, and the reason I haven't sent any updates is A) I've been working so hard and B) I want to have ANSWERS in an update! For example, an answer to the question: where are you shooting? I don't know for sure yet, but we're working on it, and there are many exciting developments on their way. Much more (more exciting developments than this) soon!