Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on June 9, 2013.
About this project
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Final Kickstarter Statement: Holy shit, running a Kickstarter is incredibly difficult! I really gave it my balls but it didn't work out -- boo hoo and applicable regret of time better spent doing other things, like working on the final rewrites and revisions of the screenplay and reading a precipitously growing list of great literature and other stuff. But GOOD NEWS! Everyone who pitched in (and those who didn't but helped out in other incredible ways) will receive a totally FREE limited exclusive hand-numbered copy of the movie, with thank you notes and happy faces and all of the super duper extra features and stickers and some surprise goodies. You'll also still receive special thanks on the website and in the credits (I can't afford to make the t-shirts or movie posters, so sorry about holding out on that one).
EVEN BETTER NEWS! The mind-blowingly talented Ian Forester and Marika Engelhardt are now set to star in You (Plural)! Principal production will begin within the month! So I'll be very busy plus I'm starting grad school in August but I vow to thee and thine and to you O egalitarian forces of the interwebs that have abrogated the dearly esoteric and potentially unwatchable You (Plural) for better Kickstarter movies like Zach Braff's thing and I vow to all mine dearest kin and compatriots who have suffered discussions of this movie for many blue moons even though you now flee when I speak the word "You" in anticipation of something uninteresting to you but captivating and vexatious to me (and your rolling eyes are as and more insufferable) that I will work with severe diligence and assiduous ardor as I take mine pen and stab through the 400 pages of the screenplay to make the greatest final revisions I can, that as I hoist the camera to mine eye and whisper the perfectest direction to the brave and noble Ian and Marika who must leave their wonderful homes and enter the murky dungeons of Fresno for a fortnight and a half that I will make the best choices I can and listen with wide ears to their advice always sage, and that even after many months with nose-to-screen editing away in Premiere and compositing and other stuff in After Effects I will not blink! I will not blink! so that finally after these by now fucking years of effort, I can deliver to yall the greatest movie I can. Sincerest thanks again to everyone!
You (Plural) "Plural" T-Shirt Design (black ink on dark grey)
You (Plural) "Ulysses Bloom" T-Shirt Design (black ink on dark grey)
You (Plural) is an exciting project which takes James Joyce’s Ulysses as a primary source, but attends to Joyce’s own main structural and thematic inspirations for Ulysses – Homer’s Odyssey, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet – and combines them in a fresh way which stays true to the complexity of each author. Yet, whereas Ulysses functions as an homage to the entire history of literature, the fine arts, popular and classical music, the sciences, &c., my adaptation is an homage to the arts which came after the fin de siècle. But, I need your help.
For the first time in the history of civilization, people can readily come together from all over the globe, without ever meeting each other, and collaborate to create works of art that have never before been imagined. A musician from France, for instance, can send his guitar tracks to a drummer in Japan and create a song. Or a filmmaker from India can send his video to a film editor in LA and create a sort of Bolly-Hollywood movie. But, from a different perspective, people that see potential in an engineer’s invention, a sculpture’s dream, or a game designer’s fantasy can be a crucial part of the team that brings the idea to life through a service like Kickstarter. That's where you come in.
(In addition to the allusions above, in the "Oxen" chapter we trace the entire history of dramatic cinema, recreating shot-for-shot scenes from more than 70 auteurs)
While the quality, the aesthetic, and content of cinema in the US has remained hampered by the grip of the studio system, filmmakers can now come team up with like minded supporters through Kickstarter and work outside the studio system to create something truly new, pure, and remarkable, which less than a decade ago would have been absolutely impossible. Projects headed by filmmakers such as Charlie Kaufman (author of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich), Paul Shrader (author of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull), Zach Braff (Garden State), and the 17 films, funded here, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, were only made possible by having you join the team as a part of a respectful community through Kickstarter. Your contributions will go toward securing experienced actors, a composer, sound editor, and crew.
A Bit About Me
My name is David Vaipan. I’m now twenty four years old. I received my Bachelor’s in English from California State Fresno (magna cum laude) and will begin work on my Master’s in Literature this fall at San Francisco State (only relevant because of this project's literary focus). Since one of my earliest movies titled Live Hard, a parody of Die Hard I made at eleven years old in which I played Bruce Willis and my dog Hershey played the bad guys, I have written, directed, and edited more than seventy movies, or over sixteen hours of completed projects (see http://vaipan.com for a complete videography). These movies have ranged from amateur science-fiction, horror, comedy, and action I made with friends, to social and political satire, documentary and film essays, professional music videos, and experimental movies influenced by international avant-garde cinema.
Although I’ve written several full-length screenplays, I knew I had some maturing to do before I made my debut feature-film. The first time I read Joyce’s Ulysses was over spring break week in 2009 (Harmony Korine and I have different spring break rituals) and it radically altered my perception of what literature can be. The next time, that seven-hundred-plus page novel took me a month. For this project, not including writing, I spent five months on Ulysses with, among many other resources, Stuart Gilbert’s study, Gifford's Ulysses Annotated, and Jeri Johnson’s Oxford edition scholarly work. I love Joyce. Joyce is evocative while esoteric. He is mundane, but profoundly mundane. He’s dark, but not impermeable: light shines through. Best of all, he’s hilarious. Perhaps what I love most about all three works I’m adapting is the sense of humor Homer, Shakespeare, and Joyce share.
I believe Joyce deserves a cinematic adaptation which does justice both to the themes and the stylistic innovations he pioneered. I believe that some of the political and social philosophies behind Hamlet can use a bit of modern day adaptation. For instance, I adapt the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy from an Atheist’s perspective (I also have a gripe with gender roles in all three works (see below)). And Homer’s Odyssey is just way too good to overlook. No one else but Homer has the epic hero, Odysseus, disguised as a beggar in his own home, have a footstool thrown at him by a guy who will very quickly regret it, and then rekindle his relationship with his son, wife, and father by way of mass slaughter.
A Bit About You (Plural)
Maybe the first thing people ask me when they hear about this project is, “Listen David, I haven’t read any of those works. Will I still get it?” But I’m sure most people who saw There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Forrest Gump, or even the blockbuster Jurassic Park, probably didn’t read the novels, but notably, also didn’t get less enjoyment because they hadn’t read the novels. Indeed, I believe a mistake on a filmmaker’s part would be to create a movie that requires prerequisite knowledge of the adapted work. I want to be all inclusive, yet still occasionally esoteric. I want to introduce Joyce's genius to people who’ve never even heard of Joyce. There’s nothing that’s more important to me than presenting Joyce in a way that’s still challenging and maybe difficult, but ultimately rewarding and human.
Near the end of May I will begin casting for this movie. By the end of June, I’ll begin shooting. The shooting schedule, accounting for some delays which are inescapable, is twenty days in addition to a week of voice over work. I’ll begin editing as soon as we wrap. As I finish the final cut, there will be some additional post-production work with the actors. Based on experience, I expect to be completely finished with editing by the start of September. Finally, I’ll send out the final cut to film festivals and, depending on the taste of curators, You (Plural) will premiere in the spring of next year. If you’re donating and receive a DVD or Blu-ray, you will get to see the movie before anyone at the film festivals (unless we get into one of the very big festivals).
A Bit About Funding
I already have all of the props, costumes, and access to video equipment necessary to see this project to fruition. I even have a bit of money saved that can afford some first-time actors. That’s where you come in.
While I have been paid to create or collaborate on various movies for people in the past, I often do the work pro bono if I believe in its potential. As opposed to some filmmakers, I don’t make something with dollar signs in my eyes. I create something because I have the undying urgent sense that it needs to be created. I will receive absolutely no money from this. Yet, all professionals need to make a living, especially if they’re dropping everything and devoting more than a month of their lives to a project. So, Sixty-five percent of your contributions, and what I've saved up, will go directly to actors.
While it is possible to garner performances from actors who are just starting out in the business, the roles in You (Plural) are challenging enough without having to guide an actor through the basics of filmmaking. Working with beginner actors can also seriously interfere with completing a movie in a timely manner because of simple things like memorizing lines or being able to consistently follow both stage direction and character direction. Most important of all is the pure magic that an actor can provide to a character. We’ve all seen our favorite actors on screen change the movie into something ineffable. We’ve also seen the inverse.
The rest of your contributions will go to hiring someone to do the soundtrack, hiring someone to do sound editing, and crew. What I want to stress is that if we receive more than the amount I’m asking for, it will go directly to better quality actors and a better sound editor and composer. Who knows, if we all come together maybe we can afford enough to hire someone very famous.
If you have any questions, constructive criticism, or enraged rants about how I'm simultaneously ruining three of the greatest works of literature, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
Risks and challenges
This project faces many challenges. One is casting. For every ten people I meet with, maybe one might have potential. Finding that perfect actor is always a challenge and a risk. When I was casting for the test shoot of You (Plural) I had actors literally cut and paste information about Ulysses from Wikipedia or just invent plot points out of thin air, as if I, who studied the novel incessantly for nearly a year, wouldn’t realize he was lying. Some actors can also get very angry, both in person and in e-mail, upon rejection. That’s always very scary. One actress brought her infant to the audition and asked if she could bring him along while we were shooting. I wouldn’t have even had a problem with that if she was a better actress.
Another challenge is what’s known as “guerrilla filmmaking.” It’s not legal to shoot at most places without a permit, and it’s definitely not legal to shoot a scene inside of a Wal-Mart or Whole Foods, although we do both in You (Plural). Guerrilla filmmaking is memorizing the scene, running into a place and, before we get caught, shooting that scene, and running away. However, I’ve had extensive experience with guerrilla filmmaking. I’ve been chased out of Starbucks, McDonald’s, malls, car dealerships, even prisons. One music video required me to shoot outside of several prisons. Only upon arriving at a prison did I realize that if I ran up to the prison fence to shoot the prison, as opposed to shooting something from almost any other fence in the world, I might actually be shot at by prison guards with real guns. One woman’s prison I went to told me that I couldn’t shoot from the fence because the women inside would see me and cause some kind of disturbance. On the dejected long ride home I imagined a riot somehow being started because I was shooting which I then realized was very flattering. Most often, though, an easy way to work around requiring an expensive permit is to slip a security guard a twenty dollar bill.
Editing is always a challenge. But I’ve been editing since I was twelve years old and I absolutely love it. I remember for one project when I was fourteen I spent three days straight staring at the screen without leaving my bedroom. I had my brother bring me food and water occasionally. The computers back then were slower and had less memory than my iPhone does now. But the setup I have now cuts through high-resolution video like butter.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (30 days)