About this project
We Did It!
We reached our goal, meaning that The Switch is getting made.
The Switch - A Fantastic Transgender Comedy
The Switch is the first transgender comedy to air on television and the first television show to put a trans actor in the lead role. With your support, we can create a landmark show that celebrates trans actors and trans stories.
This isn't just about making a TV show. It's about tearing down the wall.
Help us tear down the socially-constructed walls that limit trans actors and creators from telling our own stories and representing ourselves in TV and film.
The Switch is a transgender, magic-realist comedy, one that delights in pushing the envelope and in holding a queer & quirky mirror up to our own lives.
And at the heart of it all is Sü, a trans woman trying to rebuild her life. But the show’s not just about her. It’s about her roommate Chris who assassinates oil executives for carbon offsets. It’s about her friend and electrologist Sam, who is incidentally a sorceress. It’s about all the weird, human, and compelling people who enter Sü’s life.
The Switch represents a historic milestone - the first transgender comedy to air on television, and the first television show with a trans lead. It’s sharp, political, a touch confounding, and ready to look critically at intersections of identity + oppression. It touches on poverty, privilege, sex work, dysphoria, access to support services, and resistance against corporate hegemony. It will be available to watch on TV and online.
Last week she was an upwardly-mobile software manager, at a place where her coworkers all knew her as Erwin. Life was normal enough and good enough. When Sü (played by Julie Vu) came out as transgender, she promptly lost her job. Her apartment followed.
Sü called in whatever favours she could, and that’s where our first episode leaves her: an out transsexual, unemployed and sleeping on her ex's couch at the unfashionable bottom of the rabbit hole that is the East Vancouver Queer Underground. Thrown into a world of social inequity, surreality, and quasi-legal employment, will she claw her way back to her old status? Or, to her horror, will she adapt and thrive?
The Switch is being made by Trembling Void, an independent Canadian studio. Trembling Void was founded by queer trans filmmaker Amy Fox. The cast, writing team, and development team have consistently included trans folks and other people with lived experience of our subject matter (well, except for the sorcery - we haven’t worked with any known sorcerers yet). We’re making this show because we want to see ourselves and our communities meaningfully included in media - for a change.
You’ll be able to read more about the team at Trembling Void Studios in an upcoming project update, or you can follow the link here.
Tearing Down Walls and Making Change
We want to do more than just shoot a sitcom. We want to agitate for change, create opportunities for transgender actors, and tear down some of the barriers that trans people face in the world today.
That's why we are creating engaging and socially responsible content around transgender stories. Watch The Switch's cast star in Kieran Strange's “Tear Down the Wall,” music video - a transgender punk rock anthem.
That’s why we’ve been running REACT, a series of acting workshops dedicated to helping actors address and overcome “barriers of castability” (a polite term for the systemic inequalities created by a racist, classist, sexist, ableist, transphobic, transmisogynistic film industry).
That’s why we’ve published FINDING GENDER, a colouring & activity book for youngsters that affirms kids’ rights to navigate and express gender on their own terms. It’s one of our rewards, too!
We’re working to build community, create change, and tear down some walls. We need your help. We can’t do this alone.
Although we have broadcaster commitments, grants and tax credits, to do this show right, we need another $50,000.
Why so much? The first reason is that we’re paying everybody involved with the show a fair wage. Artists deserve to be paid. Actors deserve to be paid. Trans people deserve access to meaningful employment. Too often people are asked to work for exposure, or for the good of the community. That’s not fair and it’s not sustainable. We’re paying everyone what they deserve.
The Switch is airing on television, which means it needs to reach a high production standard. And we’re excited about that! While low-budget, DIY projects are often wonderful, we deserve to see ourselves across a range of media. That includes polished television and other high-budget media.
Much of the money (39%) goes to paying the workers who make the show.
Often in independent film, people are expected to spend large amounts of time working for free. And without set experience, they can never get a promotion or join a union. This system only works for those who are already supported financially. For the majority of the population that can't live without an income, this is an unreasonable barrier that prevents them from even getting into film in the first place. And that negatively affects what films can get made.
At Trembling Void, we pay the workers who make our shows. With crew and actors, there are 40-60 people on set at any given time. Plus editors, our promotions team and all the people who plan The Switch. That's a lot of people, and, as you can see, even paying everyone a little costs a lot. (This said, we also have a profit-sharing system, so if The Switch proves to be wildly successful, the people who make it will benefit.)
Most of the rest of our budget is split between insurance, location fees, making props, renting equipment, moving actors to set, consumables (tape, office supplies, lightbulbs) and feeding the crew.
The Switch spent years in cerebral incubation. The writing team was assembled close to two years ago. We’ve worked hard to get everything ready.
If this project is successful, we start shooting next February. We’ll shoot the whole first season over a three-week period, with everyone working long, long days. Episodes will start airing and streaming by August 2015.
We need your help to make this show a reality
It’ll delight, and it’ll push the envelope in delivering content that’s progressive, nerdy, and queer. It’ll improve the representation of trans people in mainstream media, an important step in overcoming discrimination and bigotry. And when people are doubled over in laughter, when they’re struck by new ideas about gender and sexuality, when they’ve finally got some trans characters to identify with on screen… they’ll have you to thank. You’ll have that warm glow in your heart, reminding you that you made something cool and quirky happen. Oh, and you’ll have awesome swag.
Risks and challenges
Trans people face challenges every day - from harassment in public restrooms to being routinely "randomly selected" for secondary screening at airport security. Fighting these challenges is why we are making The Switch.
We expect to continue to be challenged as we speak up for the rights of transgender people in making this show. These challenges will come in the form of online harassment by trans-phobic individuals to increased scrutiny of our project by potential broadcast partners and backers.
The Trembling Void team is familiar with navigating the murky waters of bringing trans rights issues to the forefront. With years of experience in trans-activism, we are familiar with controversy and will rise to the challenge of facing even the most vocal critics by engaging them with constructive conversation around the issues.
The Switch is being produced by an assembly of Vancouver's most talented and dedicated film makers. We demand the highest production value from our creative professionals and have the budget to ensure that we deliver a product that adheres to the rigorous broadcast standards required for television.
The Switch carries huge significance for our principal cast-members and creatives on the show, and because we are paying everyone involved a fair wage, we know that everyone involved will make the time necessary to make this happen.
In the event that broadcasters withdraw from their commitment to air The Switch, the show will be made available through our digital distribution partners at low cost and for FREE to all of our KickStarter backers.
Finally, there is a small risk that transphobic individuals or groups may petition KickStarter to remove the campaign from the internet. Our response is unequivocally that we are not going anywhere. Our campaign does not violate KickStarter's terms and conditions and regardless of the outcome of our campaign, we will continue proudly fighting for the rights of transgender people everywhere.
The MOST important thing to us is that we speak with one voice and that all of our supporters, even those that love what we are doing but can't support us financially right now are SHARING and LIKING our campaign liberally. If this project means as much to you as it does to us, please take a second to share our campaign with your friends right now.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We have a handful of interns, but we don't rely on them for the bulk of our labour. Interns at Trembling Void pick the days they want to come in, choose the department they want to learn under, are fed, and are included in our profit-sharing system. They are also able to use company resources (and staff mentorship) to make their own projects.
Liability and "errors and omissions" (which allows us to broadcast a TV show in a world where certain soft-drink companies will drag you through court if someone walks by the camera with a can of their product) will run around $8,000
We need to rent a set-space close to transit (a lot of our crew don't have cars). Proper studio space where a set can be constructed comes at a premium. The studio in which we shot Kieran Strange's Tear Down the Wall music video cost us $1000 per day. That will be our biggest locations expense, but fortunately, we are not exclusively shooting in studio. Because we have a lot of public goodwill and people often offer us locations on the cheap - usually for a thank-you and a gift we are hoping to find quiet and accessible locations in the $200 to $500 per day range. We are shooting for 3 to 4 weeks to put that in perspective.
We serve our crew 2-3 meals over the course of a 12 to 18 hour day. At a cost of about $25 per person per day, this adds up to about $21,000. Did we mention that the in-house catering is vegan by default? Fortunately, it turns out that healthy food with lots of whole grains and veggies is cheaper than pizza.
You are definitely still eligible and we would love to host you in this great city. You'll need to arrange your own travel and accommodations, and we'd be delighted to show you around!
Any reward that doesn't include a digital download or physical copy of the show on DVD will be delivered in September 2014. All others will be delivered after we complete post production in July 2015
We will need to seek funding from alternative sources. These include a bigger commitment from broadcasters or product placement. We see these options as less desirable because these stakeholders often demand greater creative control over script and creative decisions. We want to keep this a community-based project in which we get to say how our story is told. And if we over achieve on our target to $80,000 we will shoot a special 10-minute fan-written episode starring all of the cast of The Switch. Please like and share our campaign liberally!
Yes! One of our main characters is Chris, a non-binary assassin living in a condemned apartment complex. Ze uses ze/zir as zir pronoun set. More non-binary characters may be introduced over the course of the first season.
Where can I buy the rewards offered through the campaign - especially, Gender Neutral Bathroom Stickers and Finding Gender, the trans-kids coloring book?
We will activate our online store on our website, www.welovetheswitch.com after the campaign ends. Note that if you consider that many of the rewards are bundled together there is actually greater value to obtaining the rewards as thanks for a contribution to the Kickstarter today.
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