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
- (53 days)