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Everyone has heard of Jim Morrison, the rock star, but who was James Douglas Morrison, the human being?
170 backers pledged $50,801 to help bring this project to life.

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BEFORE THE END: JIM MORRISON COMES OF AGE

Wild Child. Erotic Politician. Young Lion.


The Shaman. The Lizard King. The Changeling.

Hippie Adonis. Bozo Dionysus. Mr. Mojo Risin’.

Amazing lyricist. Pretentious poet. Beautiful wreck.

The epithets affixed to legendary iconoclast Jim Morrison, many by his own tongue, reveal a genuine paradox: Morrison appears to have been whomever his audience demanded he be at any given moment. Nearly 50 years after he seized the zeitgeist amidst one of history's most revolutionary decades, and based solely on his having fashioned [however ironically] the quintessential rock star prototype, his impact as a performer remains largely confined to the domain of parody. And yet Morrison's electric ghost haunts each new generation. Such a persistent enigma deserves investigation. But where does that leave James Douglas Morrison, the human being? In the independent documentary film Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age, the spotlight is turned on the flesh-and-blood man behind the myth, as well as the boy who begat the man.

Jim Morrison is one of the twentieth century's most mysterious and misunderstood figures. Morrison tore the seal off of reality and functioned as a blind taste tester for a counterculture that, through experimental daring and the questioning of authority, contributed immensely to societal evolution. But that was just one facet of his fascinating life. Following his reported death of July 3, 1971, his brief chameleonic existence of 27 years left his legacy open to vast misinterpretation, a practice that continues to this day.

"WHOEVER CONTROLS THE MEDIA, CONTROLS THE MIND." ~ JDM

For almost a half-century, a mountain of media has accumulated in Morrison's name. He is an enduring figurehead who was forged during the incendiary 1960s and is best known as the primal and profound singer-songwriter of The Doors. Foreshadowing the punk movement, Morrison screamed, incited riots, ingested hallucinogens, and drunkenly spat at his followers. He also crooned, gave erudite interviews, studied theatre and film, and strove to be acknowledged for his poetry. Endemic to controversy, with each passing year his notoriety only grows. So where does truth end and lore begin? Who was Jim Morrison, really? When did he choose to embrace such contradictory extremes? What set him on his mercurial personal journey? Why is he continually portrayed as a one-dimensional sex-drugs-and-rock & roll cliché? And is there actual proof of his death in Paris? With Morrison not present to defend himself, his methodology has been appropriated by the speculative powers-that-be, not to mention those in the business of keeping him chained to the image of a crowned lizard in leather pants.

The story of The Doors has been told numerous times. Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age documents Jim Morrison, with particular study given to his formative years, childhood through college, via the family and friends who experienced him as a person, as opposed to a persona.

"A TRUE FRIEND IS SOMEONE WHO LETS YOU HAVE TOTAL FREEDOM TO BE YOURSELF." ~ JDM

  • BTE features exclusive interviews with those who knew Morrison the boy and/or man, and not just the rock star myth: Bryan Gates, Ron Cohen, Jeff AllenJohn Huetter, Jim Merrill, Bill Thomas, Randy Maney, Stan Durkee, Bonnie Randall Boller, Linda Burns Gremminger, George Greer, Nick Kallivokas, Jim JonesPhilip O’Leno, Rosanna Norton, and Katie Miller, among many others.
  • The majority of those interviewed elected to speak about Jim on-camera for the first time, including his brother, Andy MorrisonJeff Morehouse, Jim's childhood friend and George Washington High School classmate; Ash Jones, his Alameda High School swim team coach; Ralph Turner, his medieval history professor at Florida State UniversityBill Adams, Morrison's UCLA film instructor; Elizabeth Buckner, friend and star of Jim's first UCLA film; and Gareth Blyth, roadie for The Doors.
  • Hours of off-the-record conversations with Jim's first girlfriends, Tandy Martin and Mary Werbelow, helped put puzzle pieces in place. Further illuminating off-the-record discussions were shared by Anne Morrison-Chewning, Jim's sister and executor of his personal estate, Frank Lisciandro, Jim's friend and film collaborator, who helped copyright owners of his poetry gather his work for posthumous publication, and Alain Ronay, Jim's UCLA roommate and friend who visited him in Paris just prior to July 3, 1971. All were generous with their time and personal memories.

The truly real Jim Morrison is finally coming into focus...
Be a part of his legacy by helping produce the definitive documentary on James Douglas Morrison!

WHERE IS YOUR PLEDGE MONEY GOING?

We are hoping to raise $50,000, technically a small sum in Hollywood terms, but a huge amount to us! It takes a lot of money to make a quality documentary film, particularly for an independent, husband-and-wife production team. From the gear and on-location filming [professional video cameras, audio equipment, lighting, etc], to travel [air fares, rental cars, meals, and lodging expenses], to the post-production [film editing, transcription, sound design, graphic effectscolor correction, dvd productionmarketing/advertising, film festival costs, and hiring a celebrity narrator], to the big one: legal fees.

If we are to create the definitive Jim Morrison documentary, we must work with the attorneys and representatives of Morrison's estate in order to license the rights to archival film, photos, poems, lyrics, music, letters, drawings, etc, some of it never before seen or heard! The funds we’re requesting barely begin to cover the spectrum. And that doesn’t include the time, energy, and money we’ve personally spent and will spend on this labor of love. We are grateful to work toward sharing Jim Morrison's true story with you, especially in today's corporatized world, where Jim's strong example of never having sold out shines like a strange beacon from another time. Jim Morrison challenged authority in all its forms, even his own, and he vehemently protested against ignorance. With that in mind, we believe a candid inquiry into his personal and professional life is important to history, and thus a worthy investment.

WHY SHOULD YOU FUND US? 

The more donations we receive, the more comprehensive the documentary will be. We are pouring our heart and soul [not to mention our own money] into this project, and we’re doing our absolute best to bring you the most insightful look into Jim Morrison that we can create. We’re already blown away by what we’ve learned about Jim via his family and friends' recollections, and we can’t wait to share them with you and have you be acknowledged for helping make this documentary a reality! Our goal is to release Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age on July 3, 2014, in commemoration of Jim's passing and celebration of his life. Ideally, the film would see a limited run in independent or art house movie theaters, but we plan to distribute it digitally, as well as on DVD, at the very least.

For over three decades, myriad articles, books, biopics, and documentaries have promised to render the "real" Jim Morrison, but they've generally amounted to hyperbolic, gossipy rock-star depictions of Morrison's tenure with The Doors. Few have delved into Morrison's formative years. And none have fully fleshed out Morrison, the human being, and who he actually was as a person. During the early pre-interviews for the film, Jim was described as “a fucking jerk” and, conversely, “a lovely person inside.” [Those two descriptions alone came via two separate sources in the space of three hours!] But no one is “black or white,” and we suspect the real Morrison looms in the gray areas between. Collaborating via Kickstarter will allow us to explore those areas and make it possible for the human Jim Morrison to reemerge.

WE GREATLY THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT & APPRECIATE YOUR VOTE OF CONFIDENCE!!

Sincerely, 

Jeff & Jess Finn
Los Angeles, CA

July 2013

REWARDS FINE PRINT:

* MEMBERSHIP SECTION: Please note that the membership section of the website most likely will not be activated/available until after Before the End has been released, as we don't want to pre-release interviews and photos/video that will appear in the film. Once BTE has been released, you will receive a password [by email] that will instruct you on how to access the membership website. If we can activate and add anything to the BTE membership website before the film's release, we'll contact you via email.

** ASK ONE [1] QUESTION: The question should be answerable, i.e. "Did you ever see Jim cry?" and not "Did Jim go to heaven when he died?" or something similar.

*** LITHOS: Contributed by Doors.com

Risks and challenges

As an independent, husband-and-wife production team attempting to afford Hollywood-caliber legal fees and licensing of copyrighted archival materials that are vital to fleshing out a high-quality documentary film, we've learned to believe in our goals. After tallying budgetary costs, we firmly agree that reaching our Kickstarter funding goal will allow us to bring the human Jim Morrison to you in all his vibrant complexity.

We believe $50,000 is the minimum amount we'll need to complete this documentary. Our greatest risk is the possibility that the movie may consist entirely of "talking-head" interviews [albeit fantastic talking-head interviews featuring wonderful insights into Jim Morrison] without much supplemental footage [vintage Morrison photos, poems, lyrics, etc]. Our biggest challenge is to secure and implement that supplemental footage while working within a very limited budget.

This is not the first time we've been presented with this situation, as we made our previous documentary, Strange Septembers: The Hill Abduction & the Exeter Encounter, on an extremely limited budget with very little supplemental footage. So as not to release a movie that was essentially comprised of talking heads, we overcame that obstacle by thinking outside the box in terms of graphics and animation. Strange Septembers has garnered interest from distribution companies, so our creativity is proving successful.

We so appreciate your contributions! And our pledge to YOU is that we will create a lasting, true portrait of Jim Morrison’s human side, and in the process hopefully undo four decades of lies, hype, and misinformation. With you on our side, we will secure the funding that is necessary if we are to take on the various legal fees, archival licensing, and copyright clearances.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    THE PONY EXPRESS ~ A shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    THE HORSE LATITUDES ~ A digital download of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THE TAPE NOON ~ A DVD of the movie, a promotional postcard, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    THE LIZARD KING WAS HERE ~ A copy of "The Lizard King Was Here: The Life and Times of Jim Morrison in Alexandria, Virginia," autographed by the author, Mark Opsasnick. This fascinating book is an in-depth study of a greatly overlooked period in the mercurial life of Jim Morrison.

    Also, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    THE NEGLECTED KIDNEYS ~ One [1] limited-edition, professionally-printed lithograph*** printed on heavy paper. Each lithograph is of an original Jim Morrison drawing from the 1957/58 Alameda High School era artwork and is reproduced exactly as it was drawn. The attention to foolproof replication is incredible. Each print is hand-numbered and embossed with a unique 'JDM' seal attesting to its authenticity. Also, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE LORDS ~ Your name in a special "thank you" credit at the end of the film.

    Also, a promotional poster signed by filmmakers, Jeff & Jess Finn, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    THE NEW CREATURES ~ Members Only access to our website* which allows you to watch supplemental material including behind-the-scenes, raw and unedited footage, more complete interviews, and other cool stuff.

    Also, your name in a special "thank you" credit at the end of the film, a promotional poster signed by filmmakers, Jeff & Jess Finn, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    THE FEAST OF FRIENDS ~ Collectible 1991 book, "Morrison: A Feast of Friends," autographed by author and Jim's friend and collaborator, Frank Lisciandro. This book peeled back the layers and showed Jim in the most real sense without sensationalizing the myth. [Please note: softcover book is vintage and NOT in mint condition]

    Also, Members Only access to our website* which allows you to watch supplemental material including behind-the-scenes, raw and unedited footage, more complete interviews, and other cool stuff. Plus your name in a special "thank you" credit at the end of the film, a promotional poster signed by filmmakers, Jeff & Jess Finn, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE HOUR FOR MAGIC ~ Collectible 1982 book, "Jim Morrison: An Hour for Magic," autographed by author and Jim's friend and collaborator, Frank Lisciandro. Frank has drawn on his own personal memories and photographic archive to provide an unique pictorial tribute, providing a new insight into the life of Jim Morrison. [Please note: softcover book is vintage and NOT in mint condition].

    Also, Members Only access to our website* which allows you to watch supplemental material including behind-the-scenes, raw and unedited footage, more complete interviews, and other cool stuff. Plus your name in a special "thank you" credit at the end of the film, a promotional poster signed by filmmakers, Jeff & Jess Finn, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    THE DRY WATER ~ Ask one [1] question. We will field that question to as many people who knew Jim as we can and ask them to answer it**.

    Also, Members Only access to our website* which allows you to watch supplemental material including behind-the-scenes, raw and unedited footage, more complete interviews, and other cool stuff. Plus your name in a special "thank you" credit at the end of the film, a promotional poster signed by filmmakers, Jeff & Jess Finn, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    THE AMERICAN PRAYER ~ Your name in the end credits of the movie listed as "Contributor" and a "Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age" promo package [t-shirt, sticker, & pin].

    Also, Members Only access to our website* which allows you to watch supplemental material including behind-the-scenes, raw and unedited footage, more complete interviews, and other cool stuff. Plus a promotional poster signed by filmmakers, Jeff & Jess Finn, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    THE ANATOMY OF ROCK ~ Limited edition set of 26 individual, professionally-printed lithographs*** printed on heavy paper. Each of the original Jim Morrison drawings from the 1957/58 Alameda High School era artwork are reproduced exactly as they were drawn. The attention to foolproof replication is incredible. Each print is hand-numbered and embossed with a unique 'JDM' seal attesting to its authenticity. Nineteen of the lithos measure approximately 8 1/2" x 11" while seven lithos are somewhat smaller. The lithos come in an attractive custom folder which pictures Jim Morrison's 1957/58 high school swim team photo on the front cover. The set comes with with a letter of authenticity signed by Morrison's high school friend Fud Ford, now deceased.
    Also, Members Only access to our website* which allows you to watch supplemental material including behind-the-scenes, raw and unedited footage, more complete interviews, and other cool stuff. Plus your name in the end credits of the movie listed as "Contributor," a "Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age" promo package [t-shirt, sticker, & pin], a promotional poster signed by Jeff & Jess, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    THE PARIS JOURNAL ~ A credit in all versions of the film as an Associate Producer.

    Also, Members Only access to our website* which allows you to watch supplemental material including behind-the-scenes, raw and unedited footage, full interviews, and other cool stuff. Plus a "Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age" promo package [t-shirt, sticker, & pin], a promotional poster signed by Jeff & Jess, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    THE ODE TO LA WHILE THINKING OF BRIAN JONES, DECEASED ~ An opening credit in all versions of the film as an Executive Producer and in the film's IMDb.com entry. Dinner with the filmmakers, Jeff & Jess Finn, at Barney's Beanery [one of Jim's favorite hangouts] in West Hollywood, CA, [travel expenses not included].

    Also, Members Only access to our website* which allows you to watch supplemental material including behind-the-scenes, raw and unedited footage, full interviews, and other cool stuff. Plus a "Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age" promo package [t-shirt, sticker, & pin], a promotional poster signed by Jeff & Jess, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    THE CELEBRATION OF THE LIZARD ~ Exclusive package containing all Morrison-related media [DVDs, books, magazines] Jeff Finn utilized as research material for the documentary, plus rare, highly-collectible 1965 1st-edition of "Crucifix in a Deathhand" by Charles Bukowski. [Signed "3-20-65" by Bukowski, who was a Los Angeles-themed influence on Morrison's poetry.] Dinner with the filmmakers, Jeff & Jess Finn, at Barney's Beanery [one of Jim's favorite hangouts] in West Hollywood, CA, [travel expenses not included],

    Also, an opening credit in all versions of the film as an Executive Producer and in the film's IMDb.com entry. Additionally, access to our Members Only website* which allows you to watch supplemental material including behind-the-scenes, raw and unedited footage, full interviews, and other cool stuff. Plus a "Before the End: Jim Morrison Comes of Age" promo package [t-shirt, sticker, & pin], a promotional poster signed by Jeff & Jess, a promotional postcard, a DVD or digital download [your choice] of the movie, a shout-out on our web page, and our heartfelt thanks.

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Funding period

- (30 days)