Monthly Archives: April 2013

To crowdfund or not crowdfund, that is the question…

Are you passionate? Are there subjects for which you feel the need to speak up about?  Subjects which make you want to step up?  Do something?  Then read on…

One of the hardest aspects of making a film has always been raising the necessary funds to do so.  But all of that changed a few years back when first IndieGoGo, and then KickStarter gave filmmakers a way to connect with their fans and other like-minded people.  For filmmakers who know how to keep costs to a minimum (i.e. not spending a million dollars to make a film), KickStarter and IndieGoGo, known as CrownFunding or CrownSourcing sites, have opened up a world to us that we never even imaged existed.

I’m going to use “Color Me Obsessed,” my documentary on The Replacements, as an example.  For CMO we ran nine successful KickStarter campaigns, from the first which allowed us to get the ball rolling, to the last which gave us funds for film festival submission fees, and everything in between from the need to travel for more interviews to a sound mix.

These sites allowed us, the filmmakers behind CMO, the ability to connect with other fans of the band.  To offer them “rewards” in exchange for backing to help get the film made.  These rewards ranged from a simple “Thank you” in the film’s end credits, to what is obviously the most popular reward, a copy of the finished film on DVD, to other more grand perks like your name appearing in the credits, on the poster, and on IMDB.com (a data-base of all film credits, take a peek at the list of producers on the CMO page) as an executive producer of the film. The rewards typically ranged from $1 (for a thank you) to $25 for a DVD, and upwards to $2,000 or more for that executive producer package, with a dozen or so other possibilities in between.

If you are passionate about a subject, as the CMO backers were about The Replacements, if gives you a chance to help a film get made.  A film that might not otherwise ever be made.  And it allows you to wear your passion on your sleeve.  Let’s face it, even a “thank you” in the end credits is cool.  Especially if it’s in a film about a subject you are passionate about.  Plus, you are most likely to see the film before anyone else.  People who backed at the DVD level for CMO received their DVDs during August 2011.  The commercial DVD was not available in places like Amazon and Best Buy until November 2012.  A full fifteen months later.  So think about that, not only did these backers help get a film about their favorite band made, they got to see it first, and then were able to open up the eyes of others when the film received national distribution and coverage in media outlets the world over.  A new generation of music fans discovered The Replacements, and it was all because of the passion of a few.

And yes, it also makes you a backer of the arts.  But in this case, you get to choose the art projects which gets your hard-earned cash.  You back one project at a time.  You know exactly what you get in return.  Consider it a form of preordering something you want about something you care about.

In the case of our newest film, “A Dog Named Gucci,” we are reaching out to animal lovers, people who want to see an end to animal abuse.  People who want laws toughened, so that those who do abuse receive felony convictions and actually serve jail time instead of getting a simple slap on the wrist. So, if these are your passions, by backing “A Dog Named Gucci” you are backing a film aimed at raising awareness and opening the public’s eyes.

None of the crowd funding goes into the filmmaker’s pockets.  We use these fund to travel to get the needed interviews, to purchase hard drives for editing, for sound mixing, for festival fees.  Your backing goes directly into the film.  It’s up on the screen, as is your passion.  A passion we share.  A passion which will reach the widest audience imaginable.  Opening the eyes of a nation to the abuse that occurs on a daily basis in this country.

So if you share this passion, this love of animals, please consider backing “A Dog Named Gucci.”  Preorder the DVD, or a poster.  Or donate a dollar or two just for a “thank you” in the end credits.  Everything helps.  If you have a group of animal lovers in your town, or want some local politicans to see the finished film, choose the private screening reward.  There’s something for everyone.  All you need is the passion to help stop abuse.  That’s why we’re making this film.  Please help us get it made.

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Filed under animal abuse, animal rights, animal welfare, crowd sourcing, crowdfunding, filmmaking, indiegogo, kickstarter

First trailer for A DOG NAMED GUCCI, new KickStarter campaign

The title says it all, and the trailer says even more.  We’re really proud of the way this film is turning out.

Please consider pre-ordering the DVD, or the poster, or becoming an executive producer, or having a home screening…the rewards are endless…

Or just please share the link with other animal lovers, so that those who abuse animals will NEVER AGAIN walk free.

KickStarter link: www.aDOGnamedGUCCI.com

Thank you.

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Filed under animal abuse, animal rights, animal welfare, documentaries, filmmaking, kickstarter

A slap on the wrist for murder

Today, Alex Wullaert, 23, previously of Branford, now of East Haven walked away from New Haven court a free man despite an arrest warrant which stated he admitted to strangling his pit bull mix Desmond in January 2012.  The New Haven Register article can be found here.

It’s a sad day for dog lovers in Connecticut, but as we’ve discovered not unexpected. The American public, and more importantly, the justice system needs to learn that the laws that do exist, exist for a reason. That domestic animals can no longer be considered as merely possessions to do with as we please. And that slaps on the wrist only encourage future violence, instead of helping to prevent, as the laws intended. But we will remember Desmond, as we remember Gucci in our upcoming documentary.

And though we speak through film, everyone one of you has a voice just as loud. All it takes is time and passion. Write letters, share links, call representatives, post, tweet, care, remember.

Speak Up. Step Up. Do Something.

 

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Filed under Alex Wullaert, animal abuse

How I know when the editing is done…

It’s sound mix time on my newest feature, EVERY EVERYTHING: THE MUSIC, LIFE & TIMES OF GRANT HART.  This is my fifth truly independent film in 9 years.  My sixth, BROKEN SIDE OF TIME, is also complete and will be mixed next month.  All at DuArt in NYC.  All with Matt Gundy at the boards.

One realization came to me as I was completing these films over the past few months.  The moment when you know the film is ready to unleash upon the world.  When the tweaking is over.  And there is not one frame that you’d change.

This is how I knew for certain with EVERY EVERYTHING.  The first cut, the assembly of every scene ran over two and a half hours.  So I was already cutting as I was assembling, as the goal was between 90 and 95 minutes.  That was what I knew was perfect for the format I chose.

I got the film down to a respectable 99 minutes, then down to 97, and that’s when the real work began.  Removing pauses.  A frame here or there.  And remember, one frame is 1/24th of a second.  Doesn’t seem like much, but it can make all the difference in the world.  And then, last week, the film was down to 93 minutes even  And I sat down in my living room, and once again watched it from beginning to end.  And that’s when I knew I was close.  Because instead of having to trim just a little more, I knew I needed to put a little back in.  Not a lot, but a pause here or there.  A breath.  A break.  And heading back into the editing room, I ended up adding 17 seconds to the film.  Again, not a lot, but just enough.  And that’s when I knew it was done.  That moment when I stop trimming, and put something back at the very end.  That’s when the film is complete.

It happened a month earlier with BROKEN SIDE OF TIME, which I had down to 119 minutes.  The locked and final running time is now 126 minutes. It happened with COLOR ME OBSESSED, YOU ARE ALONE and FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS).  Hell, it even happened with my Archers of Loaf Concert film WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? when I realized I had trimmed the band interviews too far down.

That’s the point for me.  And it’s always a little sad.  The people who had kept me company for weeks if not months in a darkened room, in this case Grant Hart and only Grant Hart, were moving on.  When I hear people talk about having kids, I secretly relate, because what they’re describing is what I feel.  I look at these films and see a part of myself, but also know they have unique personalities.  And I love them, unconditionally.  And even if they annoy the piss out of me at times, I always will.  They are my creations, from the heart, from the soul.

And now I begin the mix and get ready to send EE out into the world.  What fortunes with await it?  What will it become?  With others bully it?  Or adore it?  Or ignore it?  Will it live and long and happy life?  Only time will tell.

In the mean time, I begin anew.  A DOG NAMED GUCCI.  This child I know will break my heart.  But will make me proud in the end…

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Filed under documentaries, editing, filmmaking, independent film