About this project
We're live at 9pm! Live stream of the campaign's conclusion here!
UPDATE: The campaign just hit 100%!!! It's still going until the deadline, the only change is I can't guarantee you'll get unique frames (it depends on how long the finished film is). ALL of the other rewards are still available! THANK YOU!!!
Last chance to help make history with over 2,000 others! Man-child will become the most funded project in Kickstarter's narrative film category!
Also, check out this press release, which welcomes 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson and Los Angeles Lakers EVP Jeanie Buss as backers!
What is Man-child about?
Man-child is an independent fiction film (not a documentary) that takes place in the surprisingly high-stakes world of youth basketball. I hope to shoot it independently in North Carolina (where I grew up playing basketball) next summer. My entire life has been leading up to this point, and so I'm asking for your help!
In 2009, the NCAA lowered the age limit on who can be considered an official basketball "prospect" to include 7th graders. While there have been a number of basketball films made about high school, college, or pro athletes, today's recruiting -- legal and illegal -- begins much earlier. It's a fascinating and treacherous world which often leaves big decisions in the hands of little kids.
The film explores sports, education, religion, and sex in America through the eyes of a talented 13 year-old basketball player (sexuality, I should note, is not presented in any sort of exploitative manner, and factors organically into the "learning personal responsibility" storyline). While it is narrative fiction, it explores a very real world.
HERE'S A SYNOPSIS OF THE PLOT:
An amateur video of 13 year-old Terran "TJ" Jackson playing basketball hits the internet and turns his life upside down. TJ is soon nationally ranked among other 7th graders and declared to be "the next Dwayne Wade" despite being in middle school.
As a result of this exposure, free athletic gear and various hangers-on find their way to the doorstep of his small, predominantly-black Christian school. While TJ navigates the religious curriculum -- and simultaneously a sexually active relationship with his girlfriend -- he learns about the youth basketball world and the recruiting machine that powers it. With his newfound fame, he must choose between educational institutes, father figures, and belief systems.
A few years from now TJ could be a millionaire, but right now all he has is basketball. It’s a lot for anyone to handle -- much less a 13 year-old.
Is it going to be good?
It's totally going to be good! I'm very happy to share that the script for "Man-child" was just accepted to IFP's Emerging Narrative Program, which provides mentorship and access to producers. Around 350 scripts applied and only 20 were accepted, so I would like to think this is a solid step toward Not Sucking (percentage wise, that's harder than getting into Harvard. Just saying!). I'm also honored to have been selected as one of 25 filmmakers invited to participate in the inaugural Emerging Visions program at the Film Society of Lincoln Center this October -- also because of this script.
For the IFP event, an oft-requested supplement is a “lookbook,” wherein writers pull still images from existing sources in order to convey what they want the movie to look like. Instead of using still images, however, I decided to make a multimedia look book: a collage of film and TV clips to demonstrate the aesthetic of Man-child. Because it’s intended for producers, it gets a bit technical, but I hope you’ll find it interesting. At the very least, I hope you like the 1970s basketball clip — short shorts are always funny:
If this fundraising campaign is successful, with the help of the IFP and Lincoln Center programs I hope to be able to bring the right personnel on board to make this film as good as it can possibly be, and to reach a wide audience with the film as well.
I talk about myself plenty in the video, but if you'd like a bio of what I've done film-wise so far in my life, here's a third-person bio.
How can I help produce the film?
- The goal of this campaign is to raise $115,000. See the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) at the bottom of this page for exactly where all this money will go -- it's NOT going to me, it's going to the production of the film. As far as movies go -- especially sports movies -- this is a very small amount of money with which to make a feature film.
- The campaign has a hard deadline of 11:59pm on September 23rd.
- If you decide to help, you pledge whatever you want in exchange for cool rewards (for example, a DVD of the film when it's done, an HD download, your name in the credits, a blog post on my web site NoFilmSchool... the list goes on!).
- The more you pledge, the better the rewards! Take a look at the column on the right to see what's available.
- If I make the goal by the deadline, your credit card is charged what you pledged (but not until then). I get to make the movie, you get your rewards, and everyone's happy. I'd be more than happy, obviously -- I'll be more ecstatic than I've ever been in my life, and hopefully you'll feel good too.
- If I don't make the goal by the deadline (falling even a penny short), your credit card is not charged, I get nothing, you don't get any reward(s), and the world doesn't find out what it's like to be 13 year-old, basketball-playing Terran "TJ" Jackson.
What is this 1 frame per dollar thing?
- An 80 minute film is 115,000 frames [24 frames per second X 60 seconds a minute X 80 minutes = 115,200].
- If the movie is longer than 80 minutes -- which it's 99.9999% certain to be -- each dollar will actually equal MORE than 1 frame. I'm estimating a short 80 minute runtime to ensure you're sponsoring at least one unique frame for every dollar pledged.
- No matter what amount you pledge, you will be sent the UNIQUE frames of the movie that you made happen. 5 bucks = 5 frames, 24 bucks = one second of the film (and the full DVD with special features!).
Another way you can participate (other than backing the project) is to SPREAD THE WORD about the project! E-mail a friend, share it on facebook, post it to an online forum, make smoke signals... any way you can get the word out is a HUGE help.
Feel free to ask me any questions you have by using the "send message" link at the top of this page (there are also some answers to common questions below).Thank you for your support!
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