UPDATE: We are only 11% funded and there are LESS THAN 2 weeks left! Please help us out; just clicking the "Share" button below the video counts! It's getting down to crunch time guys.
Before reading, check out our video above!
Who are we?
Nathan Grebe: A "normal" teenager from rural Wisconsin, in a small town called Minocqua. Nathan has never been outside the United States before, and the furthest he's been from home is Arizona. He is an aspiring filmmaker/photographer and has had experience making assorted small projects (check out his work at YouTube.com/GrebeProductions), including an unreleased short film, but is looking to expand his portfolio to gain experience in preparation for a career in filmmaking. Nathan recently competed in the statewide Visual Arts Classics competition for photography, and received a first at regionals and a second at state.
Steven Zhang: Nathan's friend, who has been to China before and participated in the Dandelion School summer camp last year. As a Chinese-American, he has always wished to make the Chinese culture more relatable to others.
David Zhang: The parent of Steven and will be directing the major load of the project, though many of its elements will be carried out by minors. He will be overseeing all aspects of the project though and will supervise the whole thing.
Both Nathan and Steven live in Minocqua, WI, which has a population of only 5000 people. The only public high school in the area has an enrollment of about 800 students. Needless to say, very few of them have ever visited China.
What is this film about?
This film is a documentary about Nathan’s experience of living in another country for the first time. And not only another country, but also the biggest city in the largest country. He will have to go through a period of adjustment, learning how to live in a completely different country and setting.
Hopefully, we will learn from him what it's like to be dropped into Beijing and have to live there for three weeks. Since Nathan is just a “normal” American teenager, you will all be able to relate to his experience and thus draw from it what Beijing really is like in your own eyes.
About half of our time in Beijing (10 days, approximately) will be spent teaching English at the Dandelion School summer camp for financially disadvantaged migrant children. A short clip of last year's camp is shown in our video at the top of the page. The other half will be spent simply living in the city itself amongst the people, and experiencing the quintessential elements of the city, documenting Nathan's experience throughout. Thus we are able to experience the full spectrum of the city, and the contrast between teaching at the Dandelion school and living in the city itself will be apparent.
The entire thing will be filmed on a Canon T4i and 60D, using RODE video microphones to capture audio. Shoulder rigs and a flycam will be used to minimize unwanted motion, and the footage will be edited in as professional a manner as possible in Adobe After Effects and Premiere. We will do our very best to ensure that this is as much of a professional quality documentary as possible.
Why should you back us?
From this film, you will be able to take away an essence of what the world's largest city (in the world's largest country) is truly like, without having to wear the "American goggles," bypassing the American media. This documentary is really a raw and unfiltered look at Beijing that you can experience for yourself.
But in order for us to be able to unlock the city of Beijing for you, we need help. Your help, to be exact. So please, check out our reward offerings on the right side of this page. It doesn’t matter how much you pledge (though more is always better) so long as you do pledge something. Our rewards are pretty awesome though (and they get better the more you pledge); we promise that all of them will be of top notch quality, and yes, you will get your rewards. We guarantee it.
Also, keep in mind that we would appreciate your input as to what you would like to know about China. We will do our best to answer your questions.
Note: When appropriate, we will be sending out a survey to all of our backers for relevant information regarding your reward packages such as shirt sizes, etc.
What will we use your money for?
The majority of the money from Kickstarter will be spent on travel expenses, and buying/renting equipment. It will also be used to pay for your rewards and other miscellaneous expenses that may arise in the process of filmmaking. No worries though; we promise that your money will go to good use.
We need your help, Kickstarter. So if you think this project is worthwhile, pick a pledge amount from our tiered offerings to the right, and you will become a part of something great and unique. Thank you.
Risks and challenges
1. Having all of the equipment we need and getting on the plane and making sure it is all functional after the flight. We will address this issue by safely packing all of our equipment and forming backup plans (i.e. bringing extra equipment) in the case that something goes awry.
2. Transportation. We need to make sure we get to the places we need to go. Public transit is plentiful in China, so as long as we have money and we aren't lost we should be fine.
3. Whether or not the weather is suitable for filming. We will tackle this by staying up-to-date on weather forecasts, and filming on the suitable days and making the most of less suitable days by either filming indoors, if applicable, or working on the editing process for the film. We will also bring protection for our equipment.
5. Production delays. Some of us working on this project are minors and high school students, so we are busy during the school year but we will dedicate a large portion of our time (especially during the summer) to finishing this project for you, our backers!
There are always risks, challenges, and other problems that so arise during the process of filmmaking, and even more so in documentary filmmaking, but trust us: We are prepared for anything, and your support will ensure it.
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