The Switch - a Fantastic Transgender Comedy (see notes!)
The Switch - a Fantastic Transgender Comedy (see notes!)
As of today, Sü is out as trans, unemployed and sleeping on her ex's couch. A comedy about the bottom of the rabbit hole.
As of today, Sü is out as trans, unemployed and sleeping on her ex's couch. A comedy about the bottom of the rabbit hole. Read more
Great news! We have found an alternate source of funding. We are cancelling our Kickstarter and putting our featurette up on Youtube
In Kickstarter, we have found a huge push of publicity which you made possible. It has kept us busy in interviews with online and print media here in Vancouver as well as overseas.
It also helped land us a consultant, who pointed us at some extra funding. This should cover the bulk of what we were asking for on Kickstarter. We don’t want to ask people for money when we don’t need all of it - and since you can’t change the funding goal of a Kickstarter once it has launched, we’re going to cancel the Kickstarter campaign.
So THANK YOU for passing the word along. This Kickstarter brought out huge amounts of community support - social support, emotional support, and volunteer support. And when people did donate to Kickstarter, they donated a lot more on an individual basis than we ever thought. We are deeply honoured
We're going to put the trailer up on Youtube. We're launching a youtube channel. We just want everyone to watch it. So, please do forward it along.
If you've backed us here, we will have something for you as a thank-you present
If you would like to pre-order a copy of The Switch, we're going to have a page up shortly to help you do that. And If you'd like to back us in other ways, we should talk as we may be able to get you a pretty spiffy tax credit
Meet Sü. 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 came out as a transsexual, she promptly lost her job. Her apartment followed.
Sü called in whatever favors 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 marginal living, social inequity 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 a magical-realist transgender 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, the weird experiences she has, and the people she shares them with.
Season One consists of six half-hour episodes. With your help, it will be shot in Vancouver, Canada over the Summer of 2013.
At the helm of Trembling Void Studios is Amy Fox. She’s bringing multiple talents to The Switch, as a writer, producer, and actress. The season writing team is further comprised of Corey Essen, Vanessa Tara, Ryan Elias, Susan Chiv, and Shevon Singh, with the original script by Amy Fox and Elizabeth Marston. The production team is rounded out by Hannah Gordon and Jack Fox.
About half of the team members are trans*-identified themselves. The show’s content is often irreverent and quirky, but it’s born from intimate awareness and lived experience. The folks working behind the scenes share a lot in common with the characters in the show: a group populated by queers, activists, trans* individuals, kinksters, weirdos, and East Van rabble-rousers.
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.
The Switch needs your help. A TV show is a big undertaking, with a big price tag attached. Personal investments have allowed Trembling Void to shoot and finish a teaser episode of the show, but to complete the first season (6 half-hour episodes, and, hopefully a host of extras including mini-documentaries and fun shorts) - all with paid staff rather than asking people to work for free - is going to cost another 180,000 dollars - most of which is covered by a private backer and Canadian tax credits. But for the rest - that’s where you come in.
With your help, this show can become a reality. It’ll delight, and it’ll also push the envelope in delivering content that’s progressive, nerdy, and queer. In exchange for your pledge, you can receive some pretty delicious perks: high-def downloads, physical DVDs, your name in the credits, and other swag.
If this project succeeds, The Switch will be released on DVD and possibly broadcast, and Trembling Void will be make it easy for people to show The Switch in public. And when people are doubled over in laughter, when they’re struck by new ideas surrounding 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. Don’t forget about the swag.
Most of it (over 65%) 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 is a viable system only for the financially independent. 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 20-40 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.
So do you not have interns?
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.
How much does insurance cost?
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
How much do locations cost?
We need to rent a set-space close to transit (a lot of our crew don't have cars) but away from large trucks, and that will run $2000-2800 per month. That will be our biggest locations expense 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.
This is good because locations are expensive. Amy once helped produce a comedy where the crew needed to shoot at a remote lake without motorboats. There was no power, running water, and they weren't allowed to use the outhouse (or swim in the lake). The company she worked for got a heck of a deal by "only" spending $4,500 to use the lake for four days. It's ridiculous, but that's how it goes.
How much does it cost to feed people?
Labour and food to keep a cast and crew of 30 nourished throughout production costs at least $16,000.
(Fortunately, it turns out that healthy food with lots of whole grains and veggies is cheaper than pizza. Did we mention that the in-house catering is vegan?)
The Switch spent years in cerebral incubation, and the writing team has been at work for months. The teaser episode (above) was shot in mid-December, with editing and post-production following almost immediately after.
If this project funds successfully, shooting for the first season will start in late June 2013. We’re anticipating that the first episodes will be complete in September 2013. From that point, episodes will be released on a regular schedule (likely every other week). This schedule is made possible by the fact that this will be the full-time job for many involved with the project during this period.
Risks and challenges
This is a huge undertaking, and as a result there is a wide spectrum of problems that could could arise. The key to The Switch’s success won’t be to hope for a problem-free run, but rather to be prepared to tackle problems when and wherever they appear.
There are six directors lined up to shoot this show: two shooting two episodes each; two shooting one episode each, one for the documentary shorts, and one for some fun extras. There’s the possibility that individual directors might cancel their involvement or experience burn-out, but this risk is mitigated in part by having a roster of capable professionals who could step in as replacements.
The Showrunner (Amy) and the Production Coordinator (Susan) are supported by two additional people on the production team, which coordinates about sixty more people. It's possible that key people (producers, technical staff, or actors) could experience illness or other complications. While these eventualities could result in production delays, it wouldn’t put an end to the project: we have contingency plans, and the teams already assembled for this project are capable of carrying on the project as necessary.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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