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$33,545 pledged of $297,000 goal
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By Scott Keneally
$33,545 pledged of $297,000 goal
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About this project

Obstacle racing is everywhere. It's on the Today Show. It's on Wheatie's boxes. And in December, the Spartan World Championship will be televised on NBC Sports. In 2013, upwards of 4 million people will brave an obstacle course. Which is incredible when you consider the fact that in 2010 that number was around 40,000. The speed with which sufferfests have charged into pop cultural consciousness is nothing short of staggering. So it was only a matter of time before someone made a documentary that asked:

WHY the hell everyone is suddenly paying for pain?

There are many interesting possibilities: narcissism, loneliness, media saturation, outsourcing of manual labor, and so on. To help drill down to the root of it all, I'm assembling a dream team of experts, athletes, insiders and everyday people. And while I certainly don't presume this journey will lead to a single answer, I believe the OCR phenomenon holds a mirror to life in the digital era... and that this discourse is important.

For more on the why? of it all, read "You still Alive? Prove it," a brilliant column about this film by Mark Morford, the San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate's award-wining culture critic.

And check out Outside magazine's interview with filmmaker Scott Keneally.

A BIT OF BACKSTORY
The truth is, I never expected to dive THIS deep into OCR. My dream was to become an experiential humorist, penning confessionals like this one for the NYT Styles about my struggles with sweaty pits.

Tough Mudder seemed like another uncomfortable experience to write about, so I trained up, ran one, wrote a comedic essay and figured that would be that.

Little did I know that while reading up on the company, I’d stumble upon a lead and spend the next year reporting on the industry for a cover story in Outside. And you can imagine my surprise when that led to a gig consulting on a segment for 60 Minutes Sports, and a speaking engagement at Stanford Business School.

It has been a wild ride, and I feel incredibly blessed to have discovered such a fascinating sub-culture of mud-minded maniacs. And one that grows with every hour, every event. OCR is a tapestry of compelling narrative threads, and as a storyteller, I’m excited and honored to shine a bright light on some of them. 

Including, but certainly not limited to:

The Painted Warrior, the most colorful man in OCR.

OCR superstar Amelia Boone, whom I wrote about for the November issue of Outside.

And Mr. Mouse, the Original Tough Guy. He's a huge reason why millions of us look like Rambo on Facebook, and is - hands down - the most interesting man I've ever encountered.

While these are just a few of the stars, I'm also looking forward to telling the stories of everyday people for whom obstacle racing is a transformative experience. People like... YOU.

IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT MUD!

WE NEED YOU!

As you probably know, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition. If I don’t reach my goal of $297,000 during my 40-day campaign, I won’t see a penny of it. Because of this, several friends have urged me to ask for $100,000 and hope for more. But the reality is that in order to make the kind of incisive, definitive documentary that this community has earned for all their blood, sweat and tears - and one with incredible production value - we’ll need at least $275,000. (Note: the $297k factors in the 8% fees for Amazon and KS.) OCR isn't just an American pastime, after all, but a global phenomenon. And in order to tell the full story, there will be quite a bit of travel involved. Both domestically and internationally. And I’d also like to team up with a great post-FX house to create mesmerizing motion graphics, animations, and bring this Mr. Mouse character to life for key sequences.

THE TEAM

Keith Lancaster - Cinematographer

With Cinematography credits on a feature-length documentary and two feature films in 2012 and 2013 alone, Keith is a great addition to the team. Aside from shooting commercials and films with the likes of Harrison Ford, Ice T, Danny Trejo, hip hop mogul Scarface, he is currently in production as the DP of a documentary about Bill Nye the Science Guy, and in post as the Director of his own feature-length narrative he recently shot in Paris, France.

Originally an editor for films, documentaries and commercials, Keith studied both photography and cinematography at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA, allowing him to bring both his post production experience and his love of distinct visual style to the Rise of the Sufferfests production.

Jerry Dugan - Executive Producer

Whether you love snowboarding or hate it, few people are as responsible for its rise in the 90s as director Jerry Dugan. Starting in 1989, he produced ten hugely influential flicks. His Fall-Line Films' narrative-driven movies followed the best boarders across the world, celebrating the sport’s lifestyle and culture, while mobilizing a generation of Gen Xers to drop out, flock to the mountains and shred.

His successes led to gigs shooting extreme sports for ESPN2 and MTVSports, and soon grabbed the attention of ad agencies who hired him to direct commercial spots. Over the years, he has worked on successful campaigns for blue-chip brands like American Express, Burger King, AT&T and Coors Light. He also directed two viral “Xtreme Booking” spots for Hotels.com. His wealth of experience, storytelling abilities, and production skills, make him an ideal EP/mentor for this project.

The Painted Warrior - Branding/Design

Not only is Stephen Sinek one of the stars of the film, he's also been involved with all aspects of our branding. From logos to memes to Facebook cover photos, The Painted Warrior has his fingerprints all over 'Rise of the Sufferfests.' Needless to say, we feel incredibly grateful for his design wizardry. 

Risks and challenges

During the dozen years I've worked as a treatment writer for music videos and commercials, I've been around production enough to know that obstacles arise. Be it an unexpected monsoon (Katy Perry's "Part of Me" video) or moody celebrity subjects (as if I'd say), every production faces unexpected challenges. That said, given my experience and industry contacts, I'm confident we will find creative solutions to whatever comes our way.

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    DEEP GRATITUDE + AIR HUG Every little bit counts. And without your help, this film could not be possible. Thank you!

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    VIDEO THANK YOU
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    MINI SUFFER CLUB SWAG BAG
    We'll send you an embroidered patch for your gym bag, a rubber wristband for the course, and a few stickers for good measure.

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    **BAY AREA**

    TICKET TO THE HEALDSBURG ADVANCED SCREENING Hooray for a locals-only screening of Rise of the Sufferfests where you'll not only see the movie, but be treated to a Q&A with Scott Keneally and SF Gate culture critic Mark Morford. We'll also give you the digital download.

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    THE STAND-ALONE T-SHIRT
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    THE SUFFER CLUB SWAG BAG
    Along with the digital download of the film (when finished), we'll send you the patch, the bracelet, and stickers all in a reusable TSC-branded drawstring tote.

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    OFFICIAL ROSF T-SHIRT Choose from two designs by Painted Warrior Stephen Sinek, and receive the Suffer Club wristband + the digital download of the film (when finished).

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    OFFICIAL ROSF T-SHIRT
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    LIMITED PRODUCTION ROSF BACKERS HOODIE The first 100 people to choose this reward will have their name included on a rad ROSF/Suffer Club HOODIE designed by the Painted Warrior himself, and shipped to you post haste. (You'll also receive a digital download of the finished film.)

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    THE SUFFER CLUB POST-RACE CARE PACKAGE
    You did it! You finished the race! Now you need to clean up. At this reward level you'll get a Suffer Club beanie, tank-top, boxer briefs (or boy shorts), socks, and a branded, aluminum water bottle, in a handy reusable TSC-branded drawstring tote. (We'll also send you the digital download of the film when finished.)

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    THE MR. MOUSE LOVER’S PACKAGE
    Mr. Mouse is a Folk Hero Waiting to Happen, and to advance this cause, we commissioned LA-based pop artist Dave Dexter to capture the legend in two unique designs. We'll send you a poster sized, frame-ready, limited edition signed print of both, as well as an Original Tough Guy Tee and a Mouse Trap Tee. Plus the digital download, of course.

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    EXCLUSIVE ADVANCED SCREENING
    You will receive a magical code that will allow you to screen Rise of the Sufferfests in your living room with all of your friends, and then have a one hour FaceTime Q&A with the filmmaker. (Not so bad if all those friends chip in!)

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    BE IN THE MOVIE!
    Send us your favorite OCR action shot and we'll put it in the film! You'll also see your name in the credits, and receive a digital download of the film.

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    DOUBLE DATE WITH THE FILMMAKERS
    You and one guest will be treated to dinner by Scott and Amber Keneally at one of their favorite Bay Area Restaurants. You will also, of course, receive the digital download of the film.

    Travel not included. Subject to scheduling.

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    PRIVATE SCREENING (IN YOUR HOMETOWN) Want to throw a party for all your Sufferfest friends? Scott Keneally will bring an advanced copy of the film to your town, watch it wherever you see fit, and talk shop afterwards. Subject to scheduling.

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    'BE A HERO' We know that for some of you, an obstacle race is a bucket list experience. So why roll the dice and *hope* a course photographer snaps an epic action shot of you? With our 'Be A Hero' reward, we'll send a great action sports photographer on the course to capture you in all your glory. And if the documentary is not yet finished, we'll include your best shot in the film. You'll also receive a free ticket to this race, the swag bag, the post-race care package, the ROSF backer's hoodie, professionally edited digital copies of your best moments, and an Associate Producer credit on the film.

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    PRIVATE SCREENING OF FILM + COCKTAIL CLASS IN YOUR HOME (WEST COAST ONLY) - One of the country's most famous mixologists, Scott Beattie, will host a cocktail class for up to 10 friends in your home, whilst Scott Keneally holds court on all things OCR. In addition to a private screening of the documentary, all attendees will receive the Suffer Club Swag Bag. And YOU will receive an Associate Producer credit on the film. This reward is NOT a gift of alcohol, but rather a tutorial on what to do with your spirits, plus the promise of a fun evening with friends. **All alcohol must be provided by host, though Scott Beattie will bring mixers, infusions, fruits and flowers. Must be 21 or older to participate. Please contact us for more information.**

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    'BE A HERO' WITH JAMES APPLETON This is similar to our 'Be a Hero' reward, but even better as we'll fly ROSF star, James Appleton (a 3x Tough Guy champ and world class photographer), to just about any race in 2014. He will run the course with you, coach you along, and snap hero shots along the way. In addition to free race entry, you'll get the swag bag, the ROSF backer's hoodie, a photo book of your best moments, and an IMDB Producer credit on the film. And so long as the documentary is not yet finished, we'll include your best shot in the film.

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    WINE COUNTRY WITH THE FILMMAKERS. We are blessed to live in the heart of Sonoma County wine country, and we love showing people around. In addition to an IMDB Producer credit, a weekend with the filmmakers will include a private screening of the documentary and dinner at our house, as well as a custom designed tour of our neck of the vines during which we'll be sure to take you to some of our favorite sporty adventure spots. You can bet you're going to get the Swag Bag and backer's hoodie as well. And so long as you book this trip far enough in advance, we'll put you up in one of Healdsburg's luxury boutique hotels. Otherwise, we'll have to get creative.

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Funding period

- (40 days)