It’s official! The crowd-funding campaign for my new feature film, the inspirational sports drama, Never Stop Living, is now LIVE on Kickstarter. Over the next 35 days (ending at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, September 29), I’m hoping to raise at least $250,000 to help fund all aspects of the film, including pre- and post-production costs, casting at least one well-known actor (at the top of my list: Phoebe Cates, Chloe Grace Moretz and Josh Duhamel), marketing materials and major film festival submissions.
Early on, as the script continued to evolve and grow into what it is today (thanks in part to the wonderful writer, Adrienne Armstrong), I was considering filming it as I have almost all of my other films — on a shoestring budget pulled together from money I had in savings and could scrounge up from under the couch cushions. But as I ran the numbers, it became obvious that, unless I found a real budget for this thing, the film would look and feel absolutely horrible. I also didn’t want to make the film without securing at least one well-known actor to add both credibility to the film and potential buying power, and without a budget, that would have been almost impossible to do.
So I had to find a way to come up with a good amount of cash that would do justice to the amazing script (yeah, I’m boasting a bit, but hey, I have to sell this thing, right?). I looked into some investing avenues, tried at times to find an agent that might help, and entered it into a few writing contests. Except for being a quarter finalist and a semifinalist in two of those contests, nothing much else happened. That’s when I started taking a closer look at Kickstarter and other crowd-funding websites. They all certainly had their pros and cons, and when it came down to it, I decided Kickstarter would be the best for this project, if only because some major films have already found success through it. (Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here, which also got additional funding after the campaign was financed, was a terrific film, and although I never saw Veronica Mars, I’m sure its fans were pleased with the outcome of that film). I know I don’t have the brand name they do, and it will be a much harder road for me to climb, but I’m game for doing whatever I can to make it happen.
Once I decided on making Kickstarter the home for this project, I had to get to work on the campaign itself. Writing and gathering the information and images I wanted to use was easy. I had already had a photo shoot to develop a website that I used when pitching to possible investors, so I started with that and then collected pictures of my past work to explain how I’ve grown as a filmmaker over the years. It was then time to come up with the rewards, which was quite fun. I looked at other film projects and what types of rewards they had, and came up with both standard rewards (like digital copies of the finished film, copies of the script and official posters, and attendance at the premiere) and some that were unique to this project (including signed baseballs and jerseys used in the production and specially designed baseball cards of all the key players).
But that wasn’t enough. I needed a video if I wanted to make even the smallest of impressions. So, I decided I wanted to film a small snippet of the script that best represented what the film was all about. I contacted Ronald Shattuck at the Fallbrook Film Factory and we worked together to film this short preview. The shoot went off without a hitch, and things were running smooth… until some things happened in my personal life that put things on hold (you know… building a business takes a lot of time and energy, which is why my new novel has had to be postponed from its original date as well).
Once things on that front calmed down a bit, I got back to work… but none of it was going to feel right without the song that partially inspired the script — MIchael W. Smith’s, “This Is Your Time.” I wanted to include that song in the video, so I started looking into who I needed to contact for the rights, hoping that it wouldn’t break the bank and keep me from using it. After filling out the necessary forms and emailing back and forth, I finally secured the rights to use the song for an extremely reasonable rate. It may not have been the original version I was seeking, but other than a slightly different arrangement and vocalists, its exactly the same song — I was so excited.
During that time, I also went back and filmed an intro and tag for video, adding another level of personalization. (I’ll be honest, I wasn’t going to do it, but it was definitely something I knew had to be done.) So with everything finally in place, I picked a date (August 25, 2014) and was ready to launch.
And now that it’s live, I’m looking for contributors. Just $1 will go a long way in helping achieve our goal (even if it only gets you a kind thank you on the official website), but if you’re feeling really generous, you can contribute upwards of $10,000… and the reward for that gives you the opportunity to critique the different stages of editing, from 1st draft to final product.
So what are you waiting for? Click here to head on over to the full campaign page, watch the promotional video, and let’s make this thing happen. If you’d rather not click on the link, you may also go to kickstarter.com and search for “Never Stop Living.” And don’t forget to share this on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever other social media sites you have.
This is your time… help give voice to this incredible story.