Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 10, 2013.

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Old school demon hunter Gabriel and his assistant Melanie take on a cursed carnival troupe intent on stealing the souls of the living.

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Make sure you check out our UPDATES as there is some awesome stuff in there including concept art, photos and videos!

Actors, visit our Star Now page to apply for roles!

The Carnival of Sorrows

Gabriel Cushing at the Carnival of Sorrows is the third web series outing for the intrepid demon hunter Gabriel Cushing and his assistant, Melanie Lancely.

The eight parts follow Gabriel and Melanie as they work to uncover the dark intentions of a cursed carnival troupe who prey on the souls of the living.

Several unexplained disappearances draw them into an investigation, and as they delve deeper they reveal the Carnival’s disturbing past and frightening portents of its future.

Their every step hounded by demonic clowns, terrifying beasts, freakish living dolls and other twisted creatures, they must hurry to unlock the secret to stopping the troupe forever.

The Seven Members of the Carnival Of Sorrows
The Seven Members of the Carnival Of Sorrows
Concept art of The Troupe
Concept art of The Troupe

Following in the tradition of Gabriel Cushing vs the Zombie Vampires and Terror of the Killer Carnivorous Coat, Carnival of Sorrows will combine good old fashioned horror with thrilling action and adventure and a twist of humour.

This Kickstarter will generate the funds we need to shoot and produce the series. The money we raise here will go directly towards what you see on the screen, while our own investment and private funding sources will cover the behind the scenes expenses.

The world of Gabriel Cushing: Demon Hunter

Gabriel’s world is filled with dark forces which lurk in the shadows. If you’ve heard a scary story about it, the chances are it probably exists, somewhere, and it's people like Gabriel who fight it.

For Gabriel, it’s not the brawn that counts, it’s the brains. He may be handy with a stake, but it’s out-thinking his opponent that makes sure they’re the one on the pointy end. His compendious knowledge of all things arcane is a deadly weapon in itself. His companion Melanie isn’t afraid to get stuck in with elbows and fists though; she’s no one’s victim.

Gabriel made his first appearance in our short film, Terror of the Killer Carnivorous Coat, back in 2011. When we shot the film in 2009, we really had no idea how many more stories he would have to tell. From that carnage filled debut he has gone on to fight Zombie Vampires in his first web series and rid a haunted theatre of a banshee with a grudge in his first comic book; A Fright at The Opera.

Later in 2013, Gabriel will return for another series of mini adventures in a second web series, Strange Encounters. He’ll also make his written word debut in the first novel set in the Gabriel Cushing universe; Mime.

To explore the world of Gabriel Cushing, visit gabrielcushing.com

The Cast and Crew

Casting for the film will be taking place in June, and backers will get updates on the cast as the roles are filled. Of course, David Curtis and Sam Herbert will be returning as Gabriel and Melanie.

Producers Chrissey Harrison and Helen McIntyre head up the production team for Carnival of Sorrows, along with writer/director Mark Adams, Director of Photography Felek Werpachowski, and Sound Recordist Rich Jeffery. Joining them will be a veritable legion of special effects designers, make up artists, prop and costume makers, lighting and audio assistants and general helpers.

Scroll down to the “Who’s Who” section at the bottom of this page to read more about the people involved.

The Great Escape Team on the set of Strange Encounters
The Great Escape Team on the set of Strange Encounters

Production schedule

Filming is scheduled to take place over the month of August 2013 with several supporting mini-shoots to provide additional material. Total on set time is estimated at this stage to be 20 days, including 16 within the main August shoot.

Development of the props, costumes and special effects make up will take place in the two months preceding the shoot.

Following the shoot, the post production phase will commence. Video and audio editing, music scoring, digital effects and rendering will take place over an extended time frame with an anticipated completion date of August 2014. The final release date for the series will be October/November 2014, with DVD and download rewards going out at around the same time.

The series will be available to watch free online for a limited period, after which time it will be available as a paid download or via paid streaming services.

Rewards and Stretch Targets

Tell us what rewards you'd like to see here - UPDATE #6

To help you get a grip on what you get with each reward, we’ve included a graphic below which shows exactly what’s included at each level. We’ve also included a few FAQs to help clarify certain aspects.

CLICK TO SEE THE FULL REWARDS CHART
CLICK TO SEE THE FULL REWARDS CHART

We’ve got a load of super exclusive rewards to add over the course of the Kickstarter Campaign, and the more money we raise, the more we can do with it. Our already ambitious budget still doesn’t allow us to do some of the things we’d like to do with the series if we had the resources. Below you can see a list of our stretch goals and what we’ll add when we reach them. We’ll add more details as we get closer to each target.

At £10,000 we’ve decided not to add another limited reward, instead, we’ll give every backer an additional reward item. Although we won't be revealing the details until we get a bit closer, here's a hint: Gabriel always has more stories to tell, and we love shooting them!

Updates

Over the next four weeks, we’ll be sharing more about the project and the people involved in a series of video updates. We'll be posting new content and news everyday, but below you can see a schedule of the video updates we've posted or have planned. We’ll add more details as we go along:

Week 1

- New Great Escape Show Reel - Watch some of our favourite clips and see what it is we do at The Great Escape.

- Behind the Scenes of Gabriel Cushing: Strange Encounters - Visit the set of one of our recent productions and see how we work.

- A personal appeal from Sound Man, Rich Jeffery - Our sound man has lost his sound! Pledge to give him back his voice.

Week 2

- A personal appeal from Producer, Helen MacIntyre - Helen explains why you should back and demonstrates why you should have faith in us.

- Introducing our new Sponsor: Genki Gear - Amy Cummins presents our new sponsor and the sponsored rewards we've added.

- A personal appeal from Director of Photography, Felek Werpachowski - Felek shares why he's excited about Carnival of Sorrows.

Week 3

- Mark Adams on the script development for Carnival of Sorrows

- TBC

- TBC

Week 4

- Sam Herbert on Melanie Lancely

- TBC

- TBC

Who's Who

David Curtis ("Gabriel Cushing")

David Curtis has been performing from a young age, acting and singing. After many productions in youth theatres and various musical performances, David went on to study Drama at The University of Wolverhampton and then continued to pursue his acting career on a professional level.

David Performed in many small scale theatre and musical tours ranging from performances in Schools to the London Palladium. Performing in several short film productions helped David to land his first commercial role starring in an award winning KFC Advert in 2005 (BTAA Bronze award for BEST 30 SECOND COMMERCIAL KFC "99p" made for BBH by Hungry Man). This led to many other featured commercial roles.

David first appeared in one of our short films, Threefold, as a serial killer haunted by the ghosts of his victims. He first appeared as Gabriel Cushing in Terror of the Killer Carnivorous Coat and later in Zombie Vampires. He has currently been working with us to film material for Strange Encounters. David has brought much to the role of Gabriel and has developed his mannerisms over time.

Sam Herbert ("Melanie Lancely")

Sam’s acting career began on the stage from a young age; she has been involved with local amateur dramatics groups since she was at school. In 2011 she joined the Loganwest musical summer school in their production of Fame which performed at the Weston Playhouse in 2011. Sam is currently studying for a degree in Musical Theatre at the University of Chichester.

Sam joined the world of Gabriel Cushing in Zombie Vampires, where she played local girl Melanie who was drawn into the fight against the undead. She has since returned to work with us on more Gabriel Cushing adventures for Strange Encounters.

Sam is also an experienced sailor and accredited lifeboat crewman. She was part of the Portishead lifeboat crew before she moved away from the area to study.

Mark Adams (Writer/Director)

Creator of the Gabriel Cushing universe and lecturer in Film and Television at Brunel University, Mark has a true passion for horror in all its many types.Gabriel’s world has been heavily influenced by Mark’s love of classic British horror films and TV series like Doctor Who.

He is a co-founder of both The Great Escape and comic book publisher Hellbound Media where he has written several comics, including the newly released Gabriel Cushing comic; A Fright at the Opera.

Mark is currently working on a PhD in Cult Television and has a number of academic writing credits to his name.

Felek Werpachowski (Director of Photography)

Freelance camera and Jimmy Jib operator Felek has been our Director of Photography since 2009. He also edits most of our work in collaboration with Director, Mark. He has had a keen interest in cinematography from a young age, working with his first video camera from around the age of 6 or 7.

His industry experience includes working with BBC News during the London 2012 Olympics and on the BBC2 documentary Brick by Brick: Rebuilding Our Past; working with music video production company Luti Media on the video for Little Mix’s recent single How Ya Doin’?, and live events including Birmingham’s International Dance Festival and live music coverage at Brixton Academy.

Felek is currently building his portfolio of work. He is a member of Bristol Crew; a community of freelance film and TV production professionals.

Helen MacIntyre (Producer)

Helen is joining us for the first time as producer on Carnival of Sorrows. With her production company Double Down Flicks, she produced feature film Double Top which the creators then took to the Cannes Film Festival. While Double Down Flicks are in the early planning phases of their next big project, we’re borrowing Helen and her extensive production experience to help us expand our horizons.

Helen also has experience in costume design and cinematography. She is also a screen writer and director and is currently working on a feature film script filled with zombies, explosions and videogamers. She is also available for all your zombie slaying needs.

Chrissey Harrison (Producer and Special Effects Supervisor)

Chrissey is one of the founding members of The Great Escape. In previous productions she’s been the main special effects make up artist, prop maker and special effects designer. With the bigger demands of Carnival of Sorrows, she’ll be taking a more managerial role as producer and special effects supervisor.

Chrissey also runs the Great Escape’s fiction department and publishing business. She successfully Kickstarted our first book, Great Escapes, Volume 1, back in December 2012. She is the author of several published short stories and is currently working on Gabriel Cushing spin off novel, Mime.

Rich Jeffery (Sound Recording and Post Production)

Rich is our resident sound editor, foley artist and boom operator, as well as being a founding member of The Great Escape. He has worked on every project we've done so far, and for Carnival of Sorrows he will be heading up the sound team. When he was 19 he took a media arts course, but after 2 years making terrible films about sorrow and heartbreak he gave up and became an IT professional.

Outside of film production, Rich works as an internal software developer for a technology analyst firm. Obviously, being the technical sort, he developed The Great Escape websites, and therefore spends many evenings trying to fix them when they break.

Ben Langdale (Data Manager and Jimmy Jib Assistant)

Ben is sort of our silent partner at The Great Escape, he is often found doing all the really important jobs behind the scenes like ensuring all the rushes are transferred, stored and backed up correctly. Ben is also an experienced camera operator and photographer and will be providing support to Felek throughout the shoot.

Outside of film making, Ben works as a driving instructor, specialising in getting nervous pupils through their test. 

Matt Warner (Script Editor)

Matt's first foray into the world of Gabriel Cushing was as the writer of the yet to be released Stool of the Damned short, part of the Strange Encounters series. As script editor on Carnival of Sorrows he promises the series will have a good level of (often black) humour, drama and shocks as seen in his comics Kiss Me Deadly, Slaughterhouse Farm and Mandy and the Monster published by Hellbound Media, the small press company he co-founded with Mark Adams.

When not writing horror, Matt is a production journalist based in North Wales.

Amy Cummins (Production Assistant)

Amy is another of the silent partners (although a rather noisy one!) for The Great Escape, and has worked with us in promoting our work and as a general production assistant on numerous projects. She has also featured in small roles in many of our short films, although she would stress this is most certainly not a form of nepotism. Well, maybe a little.

She is also a writer for the fiction side of The Great Escape and has been published in their first anthology, Great Escapes, Volume 1.

Steve Bosworth (Creature Effects Designer)

SFX make up specialist Steve Bosworth will be creating the look of our beast man. He runs his own FX supply business; HobbyFX UK, which specialises in custom made fangs and other teeth veneers. He also designs and makes his own prosthetic appliances and accessories.

Steve has built his business from the ground up and now draws enough business to support himself purely through his effects work. He enjoys working on productions as a chance to put his skills into practice.

Rick Manning (Stunt Coordinator)

Experienced, professional stunt man and stunt combat instructor Rick will be choreographing action sequences for the series.

He got into stunt work when he joined a re-enactment group which was asked to appear as fighting extras in the movie Braveheart. While on set, he discovered a natural flair for stunt combat and went on to appear in more productions including Rob Roy, Gladiator and Lorna Doone. He has appeared in a featured fight scene in the TV series Merlin and helped to choreograph sequences for the show. More recently he has worked on the series Da Vinci's Demons.

About The Great Escape

The Great Escape was founded in 2011 as a collaborative venture in independent film, fiction and comic production. We've continually built our community of contributors and collaborators over the last two years and take on increasingly ambitious projects.

You can explore all of our content at thegreatesc.com

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

A production of this scale is nothing we haven't done before, albiet a little grander in scope. Mark, Chrissey, Felek and the rest of the Great Escape team shot Gabriel Cushing vs the Zombie Vampires in 2011 with a target release date of autumn 2012, which we successfully met. We are currently in the post production phase of series two; Gabriel Cushing: Strange Encounters, which will see release at the end of this year. Meanwhile new producer Helen, as part of production company Double Down Flicks, produced feature film Double Top which they then took to the Cann Film Festival.

We're comited to a release date of Autumn 2014 for Carnival of Sorrows and shooting in August 2013 will give us more than enough time to produce an outstanding end result. Our shoot schedule allows for a certain amount of adjustment to accommodate day to day disruptions like minor illness or equipment failure. However should a major obstacle present itself, such as one of the core cast or crew members being taken seriously ill, or one of our main funding sources falling through we have a contingency plan to push back shooting to Spring 2014 which would still allow us to meet the planned release date.

The post production phase can be one of the most challenging and also the most drawn our part of the production process. Many of the people involved with the post production of our previous projects have had to balance their work on the project with other commitments. This will continue to be true for Carnival of Sorrows, however we are actively recruiting more hands to make lighter work. By increasing the size of the post production team we will be able to reach the end point more quickly and efficiently.

FAQ

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    THANKS! Every little helps and we'd like to say thank you by including your name on The Great Escape's thank you page; The Hall of Awesome. You'll also receive the backer updates.

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    DIGITAL POSTCARD + SPECIAL THANKS! As well as appearing on The Great Escape's thank you page, you'll also receive a digital postcard with a personalised message from the team, and be added to to the Special Thanks page on gabrielcushing.com. We'll also include a link to your blog or website.

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    CHRISSEY'S REWARD #1 - EXCLUSIVE GABRIEL CUSHING SHORT STORY EBOOK - Get a copy of an exclusive Gabriel Cushing short story, written by Chrissey, in a choice of ebook formats. This story will be included in The Great Escape's next anthology, but is only available as a stand alone ebook through Kickstarter. Includes all the rewards below. (NOTE: See the FAQ for how to order multiple rewards if you would like an additional standard reward. Limited rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    MERCH PACK - A set of 3 special edition Carnival of Sorrows postcards and 3 button badges, plus all of the above.

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    CHRISSEY'S REWARD #2 - EYEBALLS!! - Chrissey wanted to offer a fun reward that allowed backers to have something related to the special effects team at a lower level. So grab yourself a prop eyeball. There will be a choice of designs, including "ona-fork", "ona-stick" (aka pencil) and as a prosthetic for face application (great for Halloween). Comes with everything from the lower standard rewards. (NOTE: check the FAQ for how to order multiple rewards. Limited rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD - Receive a copy of the finished series in digital format, plus all of the above. (SEE FAQ 1)

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    EXTENDED DIGITAL DOWNLOAD - Get your digital download version complete with audio commentary and separate soundtrack download, plus all of the above.

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    DOWNLOAD + COMIC SPECIAL - We have a limited number of signed copies of the first Gabriel Cushing Comic; Fright at the Opera. Snap one up along with everything from the £20 digital download level. Comic shipped June 2013. (NOTE - Limited rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    CHRISSEY'S REWARD #3 - CHOOSE YOUR OWN GABRIEL CUSHING ADVENTURE - This one off reward gives you the chance to choose the plot for Chrissey's Gabriel Cushing short story, and you'll be credited for the original concept! The story will be included in The Great Escape's next anthology, but is available as a stand alone only through this Kickstarter! Choose this reward and get an extended download copy of the series, plus all the other rewards below. You'll also get an ebook copy of the short story in a choice of formats. (NOTE: Check the FAQ for how to order multiple rewards if you would like to get another standard reward. Limited rewards are not included in higher levels)

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    MONSTER HUNTING KITS - Which come in a custom box and include many of Gabriel Cushing’s tricks of the trade, a monster hunting guide booklet and a limited edition “demon hunter” patch badge. Also includes the £25 extended download reward and lower standard rewards. (NOTE - Limited edition rewards are not included in subsequent rewards) STRETCH REWARD #3

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    DVD COPY - Receive a DVD copy of the finished series, including "feature cut", extra features and exclusive postcard set. Includes all of the above.

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    DVD + COMIC SPECIAL - We have a limited number of signed copies of the first Gabriel Cushing Comic; Fright at the Opera. Snap one up along with everything from the £50 DVD level. Comic shipped June 2013. (NOTE - Limited rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    GENKI GEAR SPECIAL #1 - Choose from one of four Genki Gear t-shirts that will feature in the series. You'll also get the standard DVD reward and all the standard rewards below it. T-shirt designs will be announced after the end of the Kickstarter, but will be selected from the Genki Gear range currently available on their website. T-shirt shipped autumn 2013. (NOTE - Limited rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    BLU RAY+DVD+DOWNLOAD and MEMBERS WEB PASS - receive a copy of the finished series on Blu Ray (plus DVD and digital versions). You'll also get access to the members only section of gabrielcushing.com where you can get exclusive behind the scenes material and sneak peeks of the series. Includes all of the above.

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    EXCLUSIVE SIGNED COPY OF THE SCRIPT - Get a copy of the script signed by all of the cast and crew involved in the main shoot. Scripts will be comb bound with laminate covers and will include a select number of production stills. Shipping date for the scripts will be Oct 2013. This reward includes the £75 level and lower rewards. (NOTE - limited rewards are not included in subsequent rewards). STRETCH REWARD #1

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    NAME A CHARACTER - You get to name a minor character in the series. Maybe you want to use your own name, or the name of your imaginary friend. All that we ask is that the name is sensible and believable (No naming the character Mr Mushymoo after your pet cat) and not offensive.You'll also get the £75 Blu Ray (Triple play) edition of the series and all the lower standard rewards. (NOTE - Limited rewards are not included in subsequent rewards) STRETCH REWARD #2.

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    **ONE OF A KIND** PRODUCTION PORTFOLIO - As part of the production process, we're producing a series of production portfolios as pitch documents. The thematic binders are being created by Kat Wilson who Illustrated the Great Escape's first anthology. Inside the binder you'll get concept art, cast and crew photos and biographies, a copy of the script and lots more. In fact, to make this a real one of a kind, we'll be adding extra content on top of that included in our pitches. Includes the £75 standard Blu Ray and standard rewards below. (NOTE - Limited edition rewards are not included in subsequent rewards). STRETCH REWARD #3

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    **LIMITED EDITION** BLU RAY+DVD+DOWNLOAD COPY - receive one of 10 hand customised versions of the Blu Ray edition, including themed packaging and pack in items. Plus all of the above. (NOTE - Limited edition rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    STEVE'S REWARD #1 - FANGS - One set of upper teeth veneers, in a style from Steve's standard range which usually retail from £70-£100. Plus you'll get the £75 standard level and all the standard levels below! (NOTE - Limited edition rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    GABRIEL CUSHING VIDEO BOXED SET (and CREDIT THANKS) - Includes the Blu Ray, DVD and digital versions of all three Gabriel Cushing Series (Zombie Vampires, Strange Encounters and Carnival of Sorrows), plus short film Terror of the Killer Carnivorous Coat and a bonus disc packed with extra features. Also includes special edition poster and more. And what's more, your name will appear in the list of "Special Thanks" on the credits of the series itself, and you'll receive a personalised thank you postcard, signed by the cast and crew. Includes everything above.

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    GENKI GEAR SPECIAL #2 - Get a collection of all 4 Genki Gear t-shirts to feature in the series along with the standard £75 Blu Ray edition of the series (which includes a DVD copy) and all the lower standard rewards.T-shirt shipped autumn 2013. (NOTE - Limited rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    **LIMITED EDITION** VIDEO BOXED SET - receive one of 10 hand customised versions of the video boxed set, including themed packaging and pack in items. Plus all of the above. (NOTE - Limited edition rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    PREVIEW & FEEDBACK GROUP + WRAP PARTY - As well as all the above, you'll be part of our preview and feedback group which means you'll get to see parts of the series well before anyone else and your feedback will help shape the final edit. You'll also get 2 tickets to our Autumn 2013 wrap party where you can meet the cast and crew. (SEE FAQ 2).

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    STEVE'S REWARD #2 - EXCLUSIVE BEAST MAN TEETH SET - Steve is designing a custom look for our Beast Man and you can have a matching set, made to fit, including both upper and lower veneers. Includes the Standard £100 video boxed set reward and all the lower standard rewards. (NOTE - Limited edition rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    GABRIEL CUSHING UNIVERSE BUNDLE - Includes the video boxed set plus the Gabriel Cushing comics and books and related items. Plus all of the above rewards.

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    **LIMITED EDITION** UNIVERSE BUNDLE - receive one of 10 hand customised versions of the universe bundle, including themed packaging and pack in items. Plus all of the above. (NOTE - Limited edition rewards are not included in subsequent rewards).

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    PREMIERE SCREENING & DINNER WITH THE CAST AND CREW - You'll receive a personal thank you phone call from the team and we'll invite you to join us as guests of honour at the Premiere Screening Event. As part of the event, you're invited to join the cast and crew for dinner. Also included will be an exclusive Carnival of Sorrows t-shirt that will only be available through Kickstarter. Plus, of course, all of the above. (SEE FAQ 2)

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    RICK'S REWARD - FEATURE IN STUNT SEQUENCE - You'll spend half a day with stunt coordinator Rick Manning, learning a stunt sequence which will then feature in the series! No experience is necessary. This is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a taste of stunt combat or for anyone who just wants to look epic on film! Working with Rick, you'll be learning from an experienced professional. As with the other £500 level, you'll also get everything from the standard £400 level and lower. (NOTE - Limited edition rewards are not included in subsequent rewards) International backers, please refer to FAQ2.

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    VISIT THE SET & FEATURE IN THE FILM - This is not just any old "be an extra" reward. We'll discuss with you how you'd like to be involved and you'll be featured in the series as a victim, minor supporting character or as a featured member of the extended carnival. Plus you get everything from the £400 level. (NOTE - limited rewards are not included in higher levels. International backers see FAQ 2) STRETCH REWARD #2

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    STEVE'S REWARD #3 - SFX TRANSFORMATION PHOTO SHOOT EXPERIENCE - This is an incredible offer from Steve to transform one backer into a creature, monster or vampire. Steve has lot's of options for you to choose from and there'll be possibilities for customisation. The rest of the team will be organising venues and a photographer so you can take home a full portfolio of your day! Not just a rare opportunity, but a great deal too especially since you'll also get everything from the standard £400 level and lower (NOTE - Limited edition rewards are not included in subsequent rewards). International backers please read FAQ 2 - Photoshoot will take place in the UK.

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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Be a true member of the production team by becoming one of our Executive Producers. You'll have an open invitation to all events and shooting dates and you'll get a chance to review the series with the team and help shape the final edit by giving your feedback. You'll get everything from the above rewards, up to and including the £500 level, and you can also choose from any of the limited stretch rewards that will be added throughout the 30 days of the Kickstarter. (SEE FAQ 2)

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Funding period

- (30 days)