28 June 2010

novella: Chapter 4

I've decided that in the process of raising $$ and working on Up Country (or whatever we end up calling it), to release the story in serialized novella form. Every $500 we raise, I'll put out another chapter. I'll be writing it (and revising it) as we go, so if we raise money faster than I can write, so be it. The end won't come until after we hit our goal. Enjoy!

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Mark heard them yelling and wandered downstream to see what all the fuss was about. They were back-to-back, hands cupped around their mouths, hollering into the woods. It was comical, really, to see them standing there. They looked like idiots, the guy who married his sister and some lawyer friend of his. Mark had never met the lawyer before, but he seemed like a nice enough guy--quiet, courteous but not polite, and clearly excited to be in the middle of nowhere. You didn't have to know him very well to realize that this was a person who relished the opportunity to get away from urban life.

As for John...well...John was family, sort of. He was proof of the old saying that you can choose your friends, but not your relatives. And, in truth, he didn't know him that well. His sister hadn't exactly brought him around to meet the family, instead casually mentioning one day that she'd started living with this guy who until then had only existed in Facebook photos of her at a baseball game, her at the beach, her at the bar. He was in the background at first, sporadically in the same places as her. Then he was in almost all of them, usually right next to her, sometimes with his arm around her. Then her status changed from "single" to "in a relationship with...". Even when they skipped the engagement and got married one day, John still hadn't met her family.

Not that Mark was all that surprised. His sister was the poster child for rash decisions where reason was little more than an afterthought. She held the local high school record for pregnancy scares without a positive result and managed to do it without getting a reputation for being a slut. She was just...impulsive. A match made this quickly, this foolishly had disaster written all over it. Sure, a rushed marriage wasn't newsworthy, but it didn't say much for either of them. What sort of person gets married without meeting his wife's family?

His father had said it best: "Thank God there aren't any children". And he liked John more than most.

Mark could do without him entirely.

But he was sort of enjoying watching him and Paul standing there, yelling into the woods like their lives depended on it. They hadn't even noticed he was there, they were so busy shouting. Could they seriously not even remember Ryan's name?

"What the fuck are you doing?"

"Hey," Paul saw him first. "Have you seen the guide?"

"You mean Ryan?"


"He went towards you. Why?"

John and Paul looked at each other, both of them feeling too dumb to answer right away. "We can't find him," John finally said.

"What do you mean?"

"We don't know where he is."

"Well...maybe he went to take a shit."

Paul looked at John with a wry smile. "That's probably it. I bet he can't hear us." He looked back at Mark. "Did you catch any big ones?"

Mark held up a Ziploc bag full of brook trout. "I got my limit."

Paul smiled. "In my bag there's a flask with some 18 Year Glenlivet in it, should you want a celebratory shot."

Mark couldn't believe it. "You put that in a flask?"

"We're roughing it, aren't we?"

Mark laughed and turned to head back upstream to where they'd left the backpacks. It took him a minute to find the spot where the guide had pushed back the brush, but finally noticed something of a trampled path of grass where they had walked through. Once his eyes adjusted to the change in light, he found the matted grass where they had placed their bags. Only, there was something wrong. He walked back to the brook.

"Paul? John?"

After a minute, they walked into view.

"Did you guys do anything with the bags?"

They both shook their heads. John yelled back, "No, why?"

"Because they're gone."

...to be continued when our Kickstarter campaign hits $2,000...

27 June 2010

more thoughts on crowdfunding

I'm the type of filmmaker who would love nothing more than to disappear for awhile, make a film in total secrecy, and then show up at SXSW for the premiere of a film no one's heard a single thing about.

But, that's not really something that's practically possible in today's climate, so I've had to teach myself self-promotion and audience-building, which I'm not great at, but I'm getting better (I think).

I think it's easy to think of Kickstarter, etc, as pretty much just free money coming from a mysterious mass of people somewhere giving $5, $20 at a time, but it really isn't. First off, you have to find them, which isn't easy. And you have to convince them to give you $$, which also isn't easy.

So far we've raised $1445, which is pretty awesome. It's broken down like this:

Friends/Family: friends being everyone who I had some sort of non-film relationship with prior to the film one. So, from people I went to college with to co-workers.
Colleagues: basically fellow filmmakers, or people I know through film
Strangers: I have no idea who these people are.

Friends: 42% of the backers, they've given 80% of the money
colleagues: 46% / 15%
strangers: 11% / 4%

So, you can see where the money is mostly coming from. Friends are going to give more money per person (and I'm thinking this will hold up, even if that 80% comes down), but there may be fewer of them. Even if you pull out our one big $$ number, a lot of friends have been in the $50-$100 range, whereas filmmakers are usually in the $25 area. This makes sense, as a filmmaker will want the DVD to see what else is happening with their fellow filmmakers. At some point, the friend pool is going to dry up and the stranger pool will have to be tapped. My guess, without any real data, is that over the life of a campaign you have friends and colleagues early, and then that spreads to strangers later on. But we'll see, I guess.

The trick then, is finding those strangers. But I think they come from the friends and colleagues, in some way. It comes from my friend telling his friend about it, and a blogger writing about it on his blog, and a fellow filmmaker mentioning it on Twitter/Facebook. So it builds a network in that way, and the all-or-nothing approach to the fundraising helps, as it adds a sense of urgency. I mean, so far people have pledged ~$1500, which is amazing, but if we don't hit our goal, we get $0. So the people who want the film to get made now have a vested interest in telling people, because you don't really get that warm fuzzy feeling of supporting the arts if the art never gets made.

And, I think the reason people give is that, on some level, they like the power of voting with their dollars on what gets made. They want interesting art to exist and this gives them a way to help make that happen directly. I'm not sure. I know that I give because it's important to me that the film community be strong.

Back to the network. I think in the crowdfunding equation, the crowd is more valuable than the funding. If one person were to give $3000 right now and get us over our goal, that would be amazing, but it wouldn't be as valuable, long-term as a large group of people giving $25. Think about it. This might be the biggest promotional push your film gets. And more importantly, when the film does come out, people are already aware of it. That's huge.

As far as the artist goes, the value of the money itself is huge. One of the things that drives indie film, creatively, is the complete lack of money. You can't just throw money at a problem. You have to figure it out. The good ones can do this in a way that looks like it was always the plan. But, making a film with your rent money is generally a bad idea. Crowdfunding is great because it gets you just enough money that you don't run the risk of living out of your car, but not so much money that you can have caviar delivered to the set. There's the same professional risk that drives creativity, without the personal risk that harms it. Kind of like playing in a big poker tourney with someone else's money. You can afford to play for the final table instead of worrying about busting on the bubble.

And there's no one to pay back. If you can get your film finished under budget, you've already broken even. There's no investor peering over your shoulder saying, "Why don't we do this?". You have final cut. Your only responsibility to investors is to fulfill the rewards you offered on Kickstarter. If you do your research before you start, well then you've already budgeted for that. Right?

24 June 2010

novella: Chapter 3

Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Chapter 3

It was if the guide had opened the door of a pitch black room and let in the sun. It was blinding, overwhelming, disorienting. Once John's eyes adjusted, focused, he saw a brook (a river?) carved out of the woods. There was no banking, no shore. The woods stopped and the water started. He imagined that when the water ran high, the trees would be partly underwater, that the roots stretched into the brook itself. And if he remembered correctly from childhood--that a tree's roots spread as far as the branches--then they did, they dug under the riverbed, soaking up water as it filtered on down. He was pretty sure, mostly sure, more sure than he was about the moss.

Mark and Paul had already put their packs down next to the guide's. Mark dug a worm out of his creel and carefully threaded it onto a hook and, following the guide's cryptic directions, walked fifty feet or so upstream. Once there, he dropped the worm into the currents and let it float downstream. The guide shook his head, no. He pointed Mark to a spot on the opposite shore where the water had collected around a fallen log. Mark did as instructed and no sooner had the bait hit the pool then the line went taut. Mark yanked the pole, hard (too hard?), and reeled it in as fast as he could. From the tension on the line, it looked like a big one. He drew it closer and it flashed to the surface, fighting with everything it had. Back down into the current and then--suddenly--the line went limp. It was gone. Mark finished reeling in the line. The worm he had so carefully threaded was gone--the hook picked clean.

"Why'd you let him go?" John chided.

"I had him. Did you see it? He was huge."

"I don't know if he was huge..."

Paul was more methodical. He put his pack down and stood in the doorway to the water, surveying the brook, the sky, the opposite shore, and what else John couldn't guess. He took his hat off, selected one of the flies, and attached it somehow. John had never seen fly fishing in person and was curious about the mechanics, but not curious enough to be labeled a fool.

Paul waded out to the spot he'd selected and started waving the fly rod around, forward and back, 10 o'clock 2 o'clock, whipping the neon orange line around in the air like those rhythmic gymnasts John's wife would watch every four years. How did he keep it from going in the trees? After thirty seconds, he let the line rest on the surface of the water, then snatched it back up almost as quickly, as if he was only interested in catching the really motivated fish, the type-A personalities, the greedy ones. But soon enough, he had one, the fish attacking the fly as it hit the water, like Jaws going after a swimmer. It was a nice trout, big enough to keep, but Paul let it go, said something about it being bad luck to keep the first one.

John had never heard that. Then again, he had never read those magazines in Paul's office either.

"You fishin'?" It was the guide. His fishing pole ready and anxious to hit the water.

"Yeah, of course." John put his pack down.

The guide pointed downstream. "Go down they-uh, not too fah, just past the bend. Ok?"

Um, maybe? It was the most detailed thing he'd heard the guide say, and he still understood none of it.

"Did you say 'not too far'?"

"Ayuh. That way." He pointed, seemed slightly annoyed, muttered something about people from away, and cast his line.

John complied, left his pack with the others, and worked his way forty or so feet downstream, around the bend, and tried to find a spot similar to the one the guide had shown Mark. He spotted one without much trouble and spent the next twenty minutes futilely casting down into the deepest-looking spot. He let his mind wander, taking in the warmth of the sun on his face, closing his eyes and listening to the water rush over the rocks, the wind through the trees, the birds singing all around him. It was beautifully serene, peaceful.

Every so often, a fish would nibble at his worm, the line responding with a playful little tug, but it was never more than that, and John didn't mind. It was relaxing just standing there in the brook, the water up over his knees, the woods existing all around him in their uninterrupted form, the way they had for centuries. He imagined himself as one of the original settlers of Maine (or was it part of Canada then?), fishing this exact spot in this exact condition, his fishing pole nothing more than a stick with some twine tied to the end.

It was an hour later (Two hours? Three? John had lost all track of time) when Paul walked up to him, asked if he was having any luck. They exchanged comments about what a great spot this was.

"Did you see the guide go past you?"

"No, did he go downstream?"

"Yeah, I'm going to go down past him, and we can leapfrog our way down."

"Ok, I'll move down in a bit. Where's Mark?"

"Just killing it back where he started. No way he's moving any time soon."

Paul moved down the right shore as John cast along the left. Ten minutes passed, maybe more. He heard Paul calling to him.

"Hey John, what's the guide's name?"

"Uh...Brian? Ryan? Ian? Something like that. Why?"

"I can't find him." He called out again, this time in the other direction. "Brian? Ryan? Hello?"

There was no answer. John joined in. "Brian? Ryan?"

Still no answer.

"Mr. Fishing Guide? Ian?"


...to be continued when our Kickstarter campaign hits $1,500...

23 June 2010

17 June 2010

Kickstart my heart

I've been thinking a lot about crowdfunding--what works, what doesn't--as I try and push my own Kickstarter campaign toward its goal. One thing I've been doing is trying to think of what sort of things push me, as a lover of film, toward funding a project? Here's some things I, on some level, consider when trying to figure out where to put my very limited spare funds.

Of course, it isn't really a thing where a project needs to hit all of these, just some factors I weigh.

1. Am I making this possible or easier?

There's really 2 different types of crowdfunding (well, probably more): we need these finances to have a chance to make the film and we need these finances to do it the way we want. The former is much more attractive.

Unless you're doing some crazy shit in post, I'm probably not going to contribute toward your finishing funds. I know this sounds counter-intuitive to what a lot of people say, but I believe that if you start a project, if you get it shot, you need to have a plan on how to finish it with the resources you already have. Maybe that's just me.

On the other hand, if you're shooting a documentary at the North Pole and you're raising money for travel and mittens, then that's something I'm more likely to back. Because, you know, it's hard to make that film in Brooklyn.

2. Swag

I don't really care about the swag. Unless you've got something super awesome, it doesn't really move me to back something. I have enough crap to keep track of already. However, if you've got something cool in your rewards, it might turn my $20 into $25.

3. Is this person nice?

Gary King did a good job of making his backers feel truly appreciated. Why? Because he's a nice guy. Heartfelt thanks are awesome. Telling your audience how awesome a backer is, even better. People who expect to hit their goal are no fun.

4. Do I already know this person?

This is kind of obvious. If I'm already a fan, it's a no-brainer. So, when David Lowery, Pericles Lewnes, and Amir Motlagh (to name a few) decide to crowdfund a film, I'm there.

5. Does this help more than one person?

Openindie was a project that I backed because it helped the greater film community. Gregory Bayne's Person of Interest project is one that I think can open doors to other films. I feel then I'm getting more bang for my money.

There's filmmakers (we all know them) who act as a one-way street. You help them promote, but they'll never return the favor. They can go to hell, as far as I'm concerned. But there's others, people like Pericles Lewnes, Zak Forsman, the Russells, Angelo Bell, and Reid Gershbein who make it a point of helping other people get their work seen and made. These are the types of people I like to back. Because, you know, karma and stuff.

6. How do they approach the box?

Is the campaign pretty much just crowdfunding by the numbers? On my campaign, I'm turning the film into a serialized novella (thanks, if part, to an idea by Sheri Candler) that gets released as we get funding. I think it's a pretty good motivation to back the project. Then again, I'm biased.

7. Is it cool?

Does the project sound like all the others? "This is my next film" isn't enough. Are you doing something different? Are you going somewhere cool? Are you telling a story that no one else is telling?

Basically, do I wish I had come up with the idea?

8. Will it get me laid?

I have really nothing to add other than this: if someone figures out a legal way do that, they'll have no trouble hitting their goal.

9. Will they make it?

This is where I think Indiegogo really hurts themselves. If I can give $10 to help a project hit the goal and therefore gain access to all the other money they've raised, then I'll try and do it. But if they're pretty clearly going to make it with plenty of room to spare, then I'm less likely. Likewise if my $10 just means they have $10 more to work with...well...then you have to convince me otherwise.

10. Pitch video

I almost never watch the pitch video. The exception being if someone tells me it's kind of cool. Then, I might. I think I'm in the minority here.

Those those are just some thoughts. What sort of stuff do you consider in backing something?

15 June 2010

novella: Chapter 2

Read Chapter 1

Chapter 2

The first thing John noticed was the darkness. Kind of like walking into a cave. Here and there a shaft of sunlight hit the ground, but for the most part, the trees took care of that. It took John's eyes a second to adjust, to focus, to take in the shift in brightness. The floor of the woods was covered with a thick coat of dead leaves and rotting branches that had broken off during storms or just given up all hope of consistent sunlight. All around moss poked through. John tried to remember what he'd heard about moss. Did it always grow on the northern side? On the southern? Or was that something else?


Mark was yelling back at him. He was thirty feet ahead; Paul twenty feet more. John couldn't even see the guide, even though he wore a blaze orange shirt with a deer decal on it and the phrase "Getchadeeryet?" all mashed together as one word. Actually, blaze orange probably was no longer accurate. It was an old shirt. Perhaps just orange or whatever you'd call that color when it had faded over the years.

John jogged to keep up, careful not to trip in the trail that was more of a footpath weaving around trees with a strip of flagging ever forty feet or so to mark the way. As he got closer to Mark, he started to catch glimpses of the guide. He was moving fast, walking through the woods with purpose, only occassionally checking to make sure they were keeping up.

"Fucking hell. Does he even know we're back here?" The pack was heaving and John was slightly out of breath from jogging.

"I think so. I saw him check a minute ago."

"Where did you find this guy anyway?"

"My cousin recommended him."

"The one in jail?"

"I do not have a cousin in jail." Mark's voice came up a little. It was a touchy subject. "He's a second cousin. Not even a blood relative."

"Uh huh."

"Anyway, it wasn't him. It's a different cousin."

"You know, Paul's a lawyer."


"Sure. Hey Paul!"

"I don't want to know," Paul yelled back. "I'm on vacation. You see this hat? This is my I'm not a lawyer hat."

"So I lose my attorney-client privileges?"

"Yes." Paul stopped, turned to face them. "But replaced with the ever more solemn fishing trip code of secrecy. Like Vegas, only without the strippers."

"So you don't want to know about Mark's genetic pre-disposition to crime?"

"Not a blood relative," Mark protested.

"No. I don't care."

"Ladies!" The guide had walked back toward them and didn't look pleased. "You wanna stand around in the woods or you wanna fish?" They all wanted to fish. "Ok then." The guide turned and walked down the path, muttering something about people from out of state and city folk being a waste of time.

Like chastized children, they walked in silence for the next ten minutes, doing their best to keep up with a guide who was moving even faster through the woods. Finally, he stopped. They could hear running water, but they couldn't see it. The guide put his pack down and pushed aside some brush. The woods opened and before them lay a bubbling brook. The burst of light took their breath away.

...to be continued when our Kickstarter campaign hits $1,000...

14 June 2010

The Greatest People in the World

There's a thing on Twitter called Follow Friday. Basically, you present a list of people that you recommend other people follow. It's a pretty popular idea and it makes everyone feel good. So with that in mind, I figure the least we can do for our wonderful Kickstarter backers is to give them a variant of the Follow Friday plug. So here they are, in order:

1. Sean Gillane (@sgillane): writer/director of the upcoming film The Annual. An all-around nice guy. The Annual was going to be in Indies for Indies, but we didn't survive that long.

The Annual Trailer from Sean Gillane on Vimeo.

2. Mathieu Ravier (@mattriviera): I've known Mathieu for a long time as the critic behind Last Night with Riviera (check out his "A Life in 100 Films Series). He's a French guy in Sydney and the primary force behind Kino Sydney and a number of other projects.

3. David Lowery (@davidlowery): David Lowery, who I met through his blog Drifting, is the talented director behind St. Nick, as well as the fantastic shorts A Catalog of Anticipations and Some Analog Lines.

Some Analog Lines from David Lowery on Vimeo.

4. Aaron Tainter (@atainter): I've known Aaron for years. We went to high school together, played on the same basketball teams, and even won a state title together. He lives in Pittsburgh now, which is strange, and is way ahead of the technology curve. He's also in my fantasy baseball league, which means a couple times a year, I hate him.

5. Brian Spaeth (@brianspaeth): Filmmaker and former NBA blogger (if I remember correctly), who will be heartbroken if/when LeBron James leaves Cleveland. He directed the film Who Shot Mamba, which featured a performance by Bill Walton. Yes, Bill Walton. As a Celtics fan, I'm obligated to point out that Walton won a title in Boston in 1986.

6. Jennifer Blyler: JSB, one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, was the secret weapon behind Blanc de Blanc. She came up with the idea for the original story and put up with more than anyone should ever have to put up with, as we filmed in her apartment while she was working 12-hour shifts at a hospital. She also makes sure all of the medical stuff we portray isn't, well, wrong.

7. Adam Woods (@adamewoods): Adam runs Camden Print Works, which does a great deal of awesome screenprinting, including our L'Attente tshirts and the Blanc de Blanc posters. He also is in charge of the Dotted Line Shirt Company, which has some kick-ass shirts. Go buy one.

8. Ted Howell (@edward3henry): Ted goes to 'Nova and/or Temple, where he's working on a PhD. He's good friends with Adam Woods and is pretty sure he could make the U.S. Men's Curling Team. I'm not sure why his Twitter handle is Edward Henry, but it's also the name of his blog, so I'm sure there's a good reason.

9. Adam Donaghey (@adamdonaghey): Adam is a producer of such recent indie films as St. Nick, My Mom Smokes Weed, and Earthling. He's incredibly active in the Texas film scene as the guy behind Zero Trans Fat Productions. Check out his blog.

EARTHLING trailer from Barak Epstein on Vimeo.

10. Todd Terwilliger (@criticaltodd): Todd is a very nice guy (he was kind enough to let me crash on his couch in Brooklyn earlier this year). He describes himself as a "web monkey", which is a nice way of saying he's super good at putting together webpages (like his own), and is working on at least a couple of screenplays that I'm aware of. Keep an eye out for them.

11. Patrick Williamson (Edit: @PatrickPogo): I could have sworn Patrick had a twitter account, but I can't seem to find it. Anyway, he's a lover and supporter of all sorts of indie films. He lives in Chicago and cheers for the Cubs, so take it easy on him from, say, September through November. You could also be his Facebook friend.

12. rankography (@rankography): Rankography is a new movie site that allows you to rank movies in any way you seem fit, until your heart's content or the internet explodes, whichever comes first. It looks like a pretty cool site. I haven't really explored it much because it seems like it'll be really addicting and then they'll find me 2 weeks later curled up in the fetal position in front of a computer. You should totally check it out, because you probably have more will power than I do.

13. Gary Lovell: Ok, so I'm not sure I know who Gary is, which worries me because I'm really terrible at remembering names (true story: I once forgot my own middle name, and I was completely sober), so there's a good chance I do know Gary, in which case I'll feel awful. But nothing in the Twitter and Facebook searches rings any bells, and my guess is it's not the guy who's a fan of Fox News. Gary, if you're out there, your contribution is much appreciated. Drop me a line. Introduce yourself. Or re-introduce yourself, whichever the case may be.

14. Simon Leaper: I don't know a lot about Simon Leaper. I know he bought a Blanc de Blanc download back in April, which means he's supported not one, but 2 d press productions. Of course, that means he's doubly awesome. I do know where he lives (but I'm not going to repeat that here, of course), and I'd maybe go visit if it was somewhere on this continent. Simon, we appreciate your support more than you know. Thanks!

15. Raffi Asdourian (@zaffi): Now Raffi I know. Raffi's one of those people I met via Twitter and have later met in real life (it's a small list thus far, but it seems to grow pretty quickly). He lives in NYC and has a very cool girlfriend, who I also met at DIY Days. His film Ai is in a War of Films contest on Film Annex (VOTE RAFFI!!!) and you can watch it below.

Ai - Life in the Shadow of Death from ZAFFI Pictures on Vimeo.

16. Nate Custer (does not twat): We went to college together and I have incriminating photos of Nate from back when his hair was curly and shoulder-length. He looked like Mufasa or something. Nate is also a damned fine guitarist and a terrible actor. He was in my very first short film, yesterday, which was pretty awful. I somehow talked Nate into being in it, and he wasn't good. But the dailies were funny to watch.

17. Steve Carlson (@LCosgrove): A lot of you will recognize Steve as the new head of the Muriel Awards, which is quite simply the greatest film award ever to be named after a guinea pig. It's also a pretty tough award to win, seeing as the voters aren't really all that concerned with echoing the wishes of all the other awards. I've been a proud Muriel voter since the beginning, and if this film ever managed to win one, it would be beyond awesome.

18. Levi Stahl: Levi is the drummer for the band Super Teen Levi Squad (ok, so that's not their name, but that's what I call them), and is a pretty cool guy, considering he's a Republican. Ok, ok. So that was a low blow. Levi and I went to college together. He was two years behind me, so I didn't know him that well, but he used to hang out at my apartment a lot and play poker until all hours of the night. Once we did shots of whiskey every time we saw the 3 of clubs. He has a kid now, who from what facebook tells me, is much smarter than Levi is. Oh, and Levi made a short film once that included an homage to one of mine. To this day it's the best professional compliment I've ever gotten.

19. Jeff Purser (@jeffpurser): Jeff, who was long ago nicknamed "Beef" by acclaimed musician Jerome Wincek, is actually joining the Peace Corps very soon and headed to Uganda. I'm not really sure why exactly, but I'm meeting him for a beer in Hallowell tonight, so it'll probably come up (side note: if you're near The Liberal Cup, stop on by). We once spent an evening in Cleveland hanging out with Relient K (before they got signed) and Sixpence None the Richer. It was kind of weird. Check out Jeff's webpage, which has a focus on "searching for sustainable solutions to eradicate extreme poverty". That, of course, is more important than eradicating indie film poverty, but Jeff works toward both.

20. Sheri Candler (@shericandler): So if you're a film persona reading this and you aren't following Sheri, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. It's nothing personal. You just need to go. Sheri's blog is, along with Ted Hope's, one of the must-read resources for indie film people on the web. She's extremely generous with her time and ideas on Twitter, always willing to engage you in discussion, and gives valuable feedback. The idea for the UP COUNTRY novella stemmed from a discussion with her. Like I said, a must-follow.

21. Amir Motlagh (@amirmotlagh): Amir's divine debute feature film Whale was the very first film we programmed in the now-defunct Indies for Indies series. It's a fantastic film, one I called " beautiful in ways I never expected. Lyrical and delightfully lo-fi." It's now available for purchase all over the place (coming soon to Netflix!). You can get it, most recently, on Indieflix. It's most definitely worth your time and money. Check out the trailer.

whale_feature film trailer_director Amir Motlagh from Amir Motlagh on Vimeo.

22. Josh Wilsey: Today is actually Josh's birthday, so everyone wish him a happy birthday! Josh and I went to the same college, where I kind of knew him as Josh Thomas' roommate. Later, we ended up in the same weekly poker game, where he quickly made a reputation for himself as someone who could, quite literally, be holding any two cards in the deck. I think I once saw him try and bluff with the 4 of hearts and the hand ranking card. He's a very dangerous person to be in a big hand with.

23. Michael Hardy (@MichaelHardy): Mike is my old Little League coach, believe it or not. We went to the same church for years and he used to manage the band Work-in-Progress, which would play shows all around Maine. When I was in high school, I was their lone roadie, which meant I would carry heavy equipment and run cables and generally try and look cool. I actually still wear the t-shirt. They would open for Christian rock acts that would come to town, so I got to meet a bunch of them. When you're a kid growing up in Waldoboro, Maine, stuff like that is incredibly cool. It was also, I guess, my first exposure to the entertainment business. Mike now lives in Virginia where he deals with technology as it relates to the government somehow.

24. Brett Butler (@SubProd): Brett Butler, of the infamous Butler Brothers, is one crazy motherfucker. He's a writer & director, along with his brother Jason, but he's probably most effective as an actor. He's enigmatic, yet magnetic, a character actor who you couldn't create if you wanted to. If you're looking for a comedic scene stealer who looks like he just wandered into the frame, Brett is your guy. Check him out in the award-winning Confusions of an Unmarried Couple and their newest project, the web series Larry & Burt's Gut Rot.

25. Samah Tokmachi (@SamahCinema): Long-time fans of my work with recognize Samah as the director of "that Rainn Wilson movie". See, his film Missing Pieces beat my film gravida by 1 vote in the Now Film Festival in LA. Currently he's working on a film called Happy Funeral, which last I heard was a finalist for the Sundance Screenwriting Lab. He has a fascinating blog, which you should read, and I think is on the verge of some very cool things. Keep an eye out for this one. In the meantime, check out Missing Pieces.

Missing Pieces - Starring Rainn Wilson of The Office - HD HVX-200 w/ a Redrock M2 35mm adapter Cinematography by Johnny Derango from Johnny Derango on Vimeo.

26. Lisa McKay (@DistortedAngel): Lisa runs the blog Will Kill For Food, but more importantly she's the Executive Editor over at Blogcritics.org, a "sinister cabal of superior writers", of which I am sporadically one. She's something of a cat person (even though cats are evil) and spends most of her time in the Blogcritics film section. She was once kind enough to write about Blanc de Blanc. She called it "a well-written and well-acted mystery wrapped in a romance...watchable and engrossing, with performances and production values that belie its minuscule budget and impossible time frame." You can read the rest here.

27. Gregory Bayne (@gregorybayne): Greg is the director of several films of recent note: the upcoming Jens Pulver | Driven, a documentary about a MMA fighters's last march that is due out this fall, and Person of Interest, a "unsettling and absorbing" film about a veteran of Iraq who battles PTSD. Greg recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch POI on a "off the grid tour". He'll be sharing the process with the indie film community, which will be incredibly valuable as we all try to figure out this self-distribution thing. Here's the trailer for Person of Interest. Look for it in a town near you.

28. John Cole: Or, I should say Associate Producer John Cole. John is an English Professor in Rhode Island who I know from a poker message board I post on as a remnant from the days when I played poker to pay (some of) my bills. He's a hard-core, old school cinephile who will write at length about The Passion of Joan of Arc but give you something of a blank look if you ask him about the Harry Potter movies. Recently, he was challenged to review Michael Bay's Armageddon. He didn't like it very much. A quote:

Let me say that Armageddon is not as bad as Independence Day, and why I saw Independence Day, I have no idea. Well, I never saw all of Indepence Day, but did see enough to recognize the pernicious ideology at work in it. Perhaps it sounds like I'm damning Armageddon, directed by Michael Bay, with faint praise, and rest assured, I am.

I think it's about an asteroid, Earth, and an impending collision that will make life pretty unbearable for the survivors of the evil asteroid. I forget if anyone can survive or not. Probably not. I wonder, too, why no one ever questions the utility of saving the Earth from this giant asteroid. After all, if it takes a big hunk of rock to unite the world's peoples, then maybe we are beyond saving in the first place. But, the film allows no time for this sort of philosophical speculation. Act one awaits.

29. Keith Snyder (@noteon): Keith is a novelist and a filmmaker. His last novel, The Night Men, is available for a very affordable price on Amazon, but you can also buy his other ones, still in hardcover. His films include the shorts Credo, a 9-minute opera about God and religious violence (yeah, that story again), and I Love You, I'm Sorry, and I'll Never Do It Again, a musical about two mob hitmen which I once called "Funny and serious...I think maybe Snyder is crazy. He's almost have to be. But it's the kind of insanity we need more of in indie cinema." See for youself:

I Love You, I'm Sorry, And I'll Never Do It Again from Keith Snyder on Vimeo.

30. Phil Holbrook (@Philontilt): Phil is directing the upcoming film Tilt, which is currently raising money via Kickstarter, employing one of the best crowdfunding ideas I've ever seen (more about that when we get to his collaborators.) You can check out the webpage and the blog, which has all sorts of cool stuff on it. Phil is a very key member of the indie film community, always supportive of his fellow filmmakers and the best way you can show your appreciation is to check out the Tilt campaign and throw a couple of bucks their way. You won't regret it.

31. Gary King (@grking): Gary is a filmmaker based out of NYC that seems to have about a thousand things going on these days. He recently had a successful $30,000 campaign for a musical called How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song. His film New York Lately was scheduled to play in the now-defunct Indies for Indies, and his newest feature What's Up Lovely recently debuted at Cinefist. He also has an incredibly informative blog.

WHAT'S UP LOVELY - Official Trailer from Gary King on Vimeo.

32. King is a Fink (@kingisafink): The other half of the TILT team, King is a Fink is a lovely pair of ladies in the windy city. But let's talk about the TILT campaign. It's a campaign idea so very awesome that I wish I had thought about it first. Basically what they've done is created TILT: The Town and using Google Maps and some old-fashioned creativity, they've moved every single one of their backers into Brainerd, MN, given them their own stories and place in the community (I was a car mechanic!), and used that to expand the story. It's a fascinating combination of audience building and transmedia. It's also a lot of fun.

33. E Ericsson: I have no idea who E Ericsson and all my searches come up completely empty, but it's a Scandinavian name, no? So if you'll all forgive me, I'm going to imagine that it's some leggy blonde supermodel.

EDIT: Backer #1, Sean Gillane, tells me that E Ericsson is, in fact, his Mom. Apparently she saw something he wrote about the project and decided to contribute. Conveniently enough, this goes back to something I wrote about crowdfunding:

The trick then, is finding those strangers. But I think they come from the friends and colleagues, in some way. It comes from my friend telling his friend about it, and a blogger writing about it on his blog, and a fellow filmmaker mentioning it on Twitter/Facebook. So it builds a network in that way, and the all-or-nothing approach to the fundraising helps, as it adds a sense of urgency. I mean, so far people have pledged ~$1500, which is amazing, but if we don't hit our goal, we get $0. So the people who want the film to get made now have a vested interest in telling people, because you don't really get that warm fuzzy feeling of supporting the arts if the art never gets made.

And just because she's Sean's Mom, we'll post the trailer to Sean's film again. Why the hell not?

The Annual Trailer from Sean Gillane on Vimeo.

34. Paul Clark (@opalfilms): Paul writes the blog Silly Hats Only, where he dispenses all sorts of wise thoughts on film. No, seriously, he's one of the more astute film bloggers out there. He used to write for the now-defunct Screengrab (frowny face). But he's best known for creating the super-prestigious Muriel Awards, a film award voted on by some of the top film bloggers around (and me). Check out Paul's ballot from 2008 for an idea.

35. Aaron M.: Aaron is one of the patrons of the Indies for Indies series in Pittsburgh, and once had a very long and detailed discussion with Pericles Lewnes about his film LOOP. He's from Oil City, PA, where he went to high school with backer #6. I'm not sure if his degree is in literature or philosophy or what, but he has a great love and knowledge of the written word, and is well-versed in film, literature, and philosophy. So you can imagine the discussion between him and Pericles.

36. Melinda Tierney: I've known Melinda since back when her last name was Frazier and she was a classmate of mine in grade school. Her mother helped out at the school and her brother Andrew was in, I think, my brother's class. Our families went to the same church and my brother and I used to stay at their house when my parents would go out of town. Actually, the Frazier's were there when I went to my first Red Sox game. Roger Clemens for the Sox vs. Jimmy Key for the Yankees. Clemens got his 2,000th strikeout and the Yankees won.

37. Living in Cinema (@LivingInCinema): Fellow Muriel voter Craig Kennedy runs the film blog Living In Cinema, a valuable blog that aims to eschew rubbish discussions about the news of making movies, in favor of what's actually in the movies. So it's not really a surprise that Craig isn't such a fan of crap like the Lindsay Lohan trial. His Muriel ballot is usually one of the most eclectic of the lot (and that's saying something).

38. Jennifer Boulden (@bouldengal): Jennifer comes to us via Living in Cinema (I think). According to her Twitter profile, she writes about books, movies, and other joys. She lives in Arkansas and we have enough film friends in common that I almost wonder if she has a blog or something that I haven't yet tracked down. So Jennifer, I think I'm missing something. Let me know!

39. Peet Gelderblom (@Peet_Gelderblom): Peet, who lives in the Netherlands, is surely mourning his team's World Cup loss, but he should have nothing to be ashamed of. Still, he's bound to be sad. Peet is the man behind Directorama, a film strip about film director's Heaven that's a favorite of cinephiles everywhere. You can buy it in handy book form (DO IT!). He also directed the outstanding short Out of Sync, the best film I saw all of last year, regardless of length. It's making it's way around the festival circuit after debuting at Indies for Indies. Check out the trailer:

OUT OF SYNC trailer from Peet Gelderblom on Vimeo.

40. Flicker Dreams Productions, LLC.: Run by Marcus Wolf and Edward A. Bishop, Flicker Dreams is an indie production company. Marcus and Ed have a long list of credits (Ed co-wrote the Troma classic Redneck Zombies) and are currently Executive Producing Gary King's musical How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song, a project that raised $30,000 on Kickstarter with the help of this video:

HOW DO YOU WRITE A JOE SCHERMANN SONG | a feature film Musical | KICKSTARTER VIDEO from Gary King on Vimeo.

41. Michael Parent: Michael is one of my Facebook friends, which as we all know, is a bond stronger than blood. He lives in Quebec City (where I once had a great vacation as a kid) and as someone who's favorite quote comes from Truffaut ("Film lovers are sick people") is clearly a man with whom I have much in common. His employer is listed in French, so I have no idea who that might be (or if it's even relevant), even though I once made a film entirely in French.

42. Kent M. Beeson (@Kza): Kent is a fellow Muriel voter and author of the fantastically titled blog The Kent M. Beeson of Western Civilization. I'd write more, but I doubt I'll top his self-penned bio, so here it is:

Kent M. Beeson has three kids. Three kids! Jesus! How the hell did that happen? Biology's a weird, weird thing, man. If you told him ten years ago that he'd have three kids, he would've thought you must've meant like robot kids or something, you know, life-size tamagotchis, shit like that. But no, these are the real deal, flesh, blood, all of it. And he knows they're his, too, 'cause where else would they get those fat cheeks and stubby noses? Man, DNA's a bitch. Anyway, when he isn't busy raising his three non-robotic progeny, Kent sometimes squeezes in some writing, usually some fiction, but he's just as likely to simply pass out.

43. Caroline Shaw (@amomslove): Caroline Shaw, mother of actress Rachel Shaw, is one of our most ardent supporters, always volunteering to help spread the word either via social media or help in writing a press release or whatever else comes to mind. Her husband Bernie has been known to drive and pick up rental equipment when no one else could and I once borrowed his van for the gravida shoot, after which I hit a deer at 2am after a 18-hour shoot. That was a long day. Caroline is the voice behind A Mom's Love, a "monthly online magazine chock-full of insightful articles for busy mothers." Check it out!

44. Laura (@quadraticmedia): Ok, I'm doing a little deductive reasoning here. Based on the timing of the Kickstarter email and a tweet in support of the project, I think Laura is the Laura K. of Quadratic Media. Honestly, I don't know a whole lot about them, but they have a pretty cool webpage. So let's pull from that webpage. QM is billed as "a creative culture label for ambitious ideas. A multi-disciplinary media lab, we produce, curate, and distribute content for culture hungry audiences." Our Laura would then be Laura Kleger, who according to LinkedIn, works at the Guggenheim. Wow. As we say up here in Maine, she seems to be right wicked smaht, ayuh. She also is a producer on The Discoverers, a reenactment comedy. Check out the teaser.

The Discoverers | An indie film coming soon from Quadratic Media on Vimeo.

45. Rich Engel: Rich is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Pittsburgh Filmmakers, a school for the digital arts that also runs three of the art house theaters in Pittsburgh. He's also the point man for the Three Rivers Film Festival (now taking submissions for shorts), the largest festival in Pittsburgh. They programed gravida in 2007, where it was in the shorts competition. He also has a blog, which he updates sporadically.

46. Stephen Mullen: Stephen Mullen (a.k.a. weepingsam) is the man behind the film blog The Listening Ear. He has a peculiar love for foreign language cinema, but recently he's been writing about the World Cup. The cat in his Facebook profile photo looks, well, evil. Anyway, his blog has a wealth of information on it. Take, for example, this post about Blue Velvet.

47. Matthew: I have a suspicion I know who this is. Problem is, I'm only like 50% sure that it's that Matthew and not one of 3 or 4 other people named Matthew that might back us. So...will the real Matthew please stand up?

48. Rachel Shaw (@rachelvshaw): Rachel is an actress who played the female lead in my last two films. She's also helped write and produce our epic film Blanc de Blanc, which was a big huge awesome hit and recently had a 1-week run in a multiplex. She lives on the outskirts of Pittsburgh with her husband Pete (who's a fantastic chiropractor, by the way) and her 3 year-old son Liam (you may remember Liam as the contents of Rachel's pregnant belly in gravida). She has another kid on the way. She was really appreciate it if you bought yourself a copy of Blanc de Blanc. The DVD will be out later this year.

49. Joanna Stocker: Joanna is one crazy bitch. I met Joanna during a 12 hour car ride between Maine and Pittsburgh in my freshman year of college. I rode with her and her sister Elizabeth and for the next 2 years, we made that long, long trip together. She never drove, but she did a fantastic job of keeping me awake, although she was in the car when I drove into a semi-truck on I-80. For the rest of that trip, I needed no help staying awake. She lives in Augusta, Maine now and when I'm in town we try and meet for either Chinese food or beer, sometimes both. She is one of our most ardent supporters. If you see her, help the rest of the people we went to school with convince her to move. Philly and Pittsburgh are fighting over her.

50. Sam Ippolito: Sam lives in Pittsburgh where he runs the blog Pittsburgh Indie Movie Examiner, a valuable resource for the people of Pittsburgh to learn what's happening in the world of indie film, as it relates to them. He casts a wider net than the Post-Gazette, or even City Paper (although Al Hoff at City Paper does a fantastic job). I met him when he one of the regulars at Indies for Indies. He wrote of the series that it was "something cinephiles can cherish and look forward to." and said of fellow backer Amir Motlagh's Whale: "the film, especially in its quieter moments, has a dream-like quality that rewards the viewer with its insight into just trying to be able to juggle life's hardship with an innate desire to just enjoy life." It's a great blog, a must-read for Pittsburgh indie aficionados.

51. Heather Kafka (@heatherkafka): Heather is an acclaimed actress who has made me promise not to go all crazy talking about her, so I won't. But we compromised with this: Heather is the lead in the Sundance favorite Lovers of Hate, a film LA Weekly called "...the most exciting American indie I've seen in a while." IFC picked it up, so you should be able to see it either in a theater near you, on the DVD, or onDemand, depending on various factors. LOH also includes the work of at least 2 other backers: David Lowery, who did the cinematography, and Adam Donaghey, who co-produced. It was exec-produced by the Duplass Brothers. Check out the trailer.

52. Mike Day (@Mauk2678): Mike and I graduated from the same private high school (Coastal Christian School), albeit years apart. I think his older sister was in my brother's class. As a result, my memories of Mike are pretty vague (I'm getting old. I'm starting to forget stuff.), so I really know him better via Facebook than real life. He's a rarity in CCS alumni, a kindred liberal spirit who backs Obama and gay marriage and all sorts of things that the Religious Right freaks out over. There aren't very many of us, so we've gotta stick together.

53. William Speruzzi: William is the author of This Savage Art, a blog billed as "a steady diet of obsessive cinema and screenwriting in the dark." He doesn't update it all that often, same with his Tumblr page Red Meat & Black Coffee, but when he does, it's totally worth it. He wrote and directed the 18 minute film The Face of the Earth, which you can watch here and get on DVD here. He lives in Brooklyn, where he cheers for the Yankees. Considering what happened earlier today, I'll give him a pass on that.

54. The Annapolis Pretentious Film Society (@PretentiousFilm): Let's say you're a filmmaker and you've got a really cool feature you want to start showing at venues around the country. What to do? Where to go? Well, the venue at the top of your wish list isn't in LA or NYC, it's in Annapolis. The Annapolis Pretentious Film Society, curated by Pericles and Lisa DeLucia Lewnes, is one of the best screening series in the country. They bring in a wide variety of thought-provoking films to an inquisitive and engaged audience and they treat their filmmakers like royalty. You can't go wrong with APFS, either as a filmmaker or a viewer. In fact, making this film good enough to screen at APFS is one of our top goals. Check out fellow backer Gary King at APFS:

55. Pericles Lewnes (@loopmovie): The man behind APFS, Pericles Lewnes shot to cult fame in the 80's when he directed the Troma classic Redneck Zombies, which was, for a time, the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question. Pericles has worked with Ang Lee and Ted Hope, used to be a NYC cab driver (I can personally attest to the fact that he can still navigate NYC like a cabbie), and now lives in Annapolis with his wife Lisa. He is, quite possibly, the nicest person in the indie film community. In 2007 he made his second feature, the Lynchian mind fuck LOOP, a film about fear and chaos in the aftermath of 9/11. It's one of the most interesting and compelling films around. I promise you've never seen anything like it. It's something of a masterpiece.

56. Kevin Goldstein (@Kevin_Goldstein): I'm in this hyper-competitive fantasy baseball league where each of the 16 teams has a 20 player minor league squad and we've gone to the trouble in installing a rule against drafting players still in high school. I used to have a lot of time to research prospects, but now I don't so much anymore, which is where Kevin comes in. Kevin is the prospect guru over at Baseball Prospectus, the ultimate destination for a hardcore baseball fan like myself. He was pretty much the first guy to start hyping Neftali Feliz, and that worked out pretty well. He writes daily updates that are one of the first things I read in the morning. Now that I don't have so much time, I pretty much just go off of Kevin's Top 11 Prospects write-ups. And you know what? My team is a lot better for it. If you're even a casual baseball fan, you need to be reading (and subscribing to) Baseball Prospectus.

Ed. note: If you're in my fantasy baseball league, you probably should disregard that.

57. Steve Michalik: Steve and I went to college together, where he roomed with Aaron O'Neil, the guy who taught me how to edit. I spent a good number of hours in Steve's room playing Mario Kart when I should have been studying. He majored in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, which means that Steve is a whole lot smarter than I am. Facebook tells me he has 3 kids (really? 3? wow), and I know he has a strong love of NASCAR. Actually, the only way I know the NASCAR season has started is when Steve starts posting about it in my news feed.

58. blim8183 (@benlim): Ben Lim lives in Brooklyn where he writes the film blog Lucid Screening. He's a pretty hard-core soccer fan, which means he's been camped out in front of a TV for the last month, but that's to be expected. Ben directed the short film Gas, which played at STIFF, but other than that, I can't seem to find anything about it. Really, though, to summarize Ben, you really need to read Stages of a Cinephile. It's awesome.

EDIT: Gas has been found. I must be getting tired if I managed to miss a vimeo page.

Gas from Benjamin Lim on Vimeo.

59. Simon Abrams @simonsaybrams): Simon is a film critic for The L Magazine, The New York Press, and Slant Magazine. I know. Impressive, right? Like all awesome people who write about film, Simon is one of the illustrious Muriel Award voters. He did name Ravenous the best film of 1999, which means that on some level, he's crazy.

60. Brian Covey (@dv0rak: Brian comes to us via Kent Beeson's Twitter telethon. He works at the Omni Group, where they make productivity apps for the iPhone and iPad. Other than that, I don't really know much about him, so here's his bio:

Brian is something of an anomaly amongst the members of The Omni Group, since he didn't enter college until well after he could legally operate a motor vehicle, thinks that Portland is still far cooler than Seattle, and believes that Babylon 5, not Star Wars, is the definitive science fiction work of the latter half of the twentieth century. (Firefly, of course, is the first great work of the twenty-first, though Battlestar Galactica was comin' on strong for a season or two.) These deadly secrets will undoubtedly destroy him should they ever be discovered, so guard them well, my friend.

66. Julie Coffin: Ok, we're going to take a shot in the dark here. The only Julie Coffin I can find is on Facebook and she's a mutual friend of two of our backers, Aaron Tainter and Ben Kennedy (who she's currently dating...oh, so that's her last name...). And, actually, Julie came to see Blanc de Blanc during it's multiplex run. Julie lived in Denver for awhile, but now resides in Portland, Maine, where she knows lots of hip artistic types.

67. Alonso Mejia (@Alonsomex): Alonso is a very talented cinematographer who lives in Mexico City and posts pretty often in Spanish. Even though I took two years of Spanish in high school, I really can't say a damned thing. Well, that's not true. When I lived in Chattanooga my friends Antonio and Sandra taught me this: la misma mierdes todos los pinches dias (hopefully I spelled that right). Anyway, I'm trying to figure out how we can get Alonso up here to shoot this project, as I think he'd pretty much be perfect for it. Check out his reel, which kicks ass:

Demo Reel Alonso Mejía, Cinematographer 2010 from Alonso Mejia on Vimeo.

68. 42 McKinstry: When young, innocent William McKinstry came to college in the fall of 1999, he was a late change to the roster. So late, in fact, that no one had even told his RA yet to change the name on the door. He was my neighbor, and since the name on the door said "Jeff", I welcomed Jeff to the floor, then proceeded to ignore his insistence that his name wasn't Jeff (It was on the door, after all). I then told everyone on the floor to only refer to him as Jeff. By the end of the first week, he'd stopped answer to anything other than Jeff, even in class. But Jeff is a pretty boring name, so every month we changed it, and ever the team player, he went along with it, only answering to his current name. Man did his professors really hate that. After his Freshman year, we settled on Milo (for the alliteration and the Catch-22 reference), but for one month it was 42. Milo is a lover of super-elaborate pranks and was very nearly kicked out of school for them. You learn very quickly that when asked if you know about any of his activities, you should claim ignorance. He's not allowed to drink any caffeine, else he won't sleep for a week, and he's kind of like a puppy. He's also one hell of a guy.

69. Jim Emerson (@jeeemerson): There's a good chance you've heard of Jim. Jim was a film critic for the Orange County Register, edited the multimedia CD-ROM Microsoft Cinemania, was a guest writer for a time on Saturday Night Live, and co-wrote the film It's Pat: The Movie. He is currently the editor-in-chief for a little webpage called RogerEbert.com and writes the essential companion blog scanners, which is easily one of the best film blogs around. But I don't need to tell you that. He also votes for the Muriel Awards and has 2 dogs that photograph well on Facebook.

70. thraveboy (@thraveboy: Reid Gershbein is the madman behind the #2wkfilm filmmaking challenge. Basically, for some reason Reid thought it would be a good idea to shoot and edit a film in a mere 2 weeks. Yes, shoot and edit. It's an insane idea, and I'm just stupid enough to take it up. His entry in the project was The Dabbler, the Dreamer, and the Man Who Broke the World, which you can watch for free and then make a donation to support the film. Likewise with his previous feature Here. My Explosion.... Reid lives in San Francisco where he has a day job at Pixar. Check out the trailer and, like, buy a DVD:

71. Jessica Fenlon (@drawclose): Jessica is a filmmaker and artist based in Pittsburgh. She's one of those artists who seems to do a little bit of everything, and I'm continually surprised by her range. She's on the board of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and writes for The New Yinzer, among other places. But really the best way to explain Jessica's work is to quote her:

The content of her work moves between two axis: the manual for wayward angels, material sourced in the joy of making and the wonder of strange imagination; and the poetics of annihilation, work produced in an attempt to reconcile the viewer with contemporary cultural trauma or some other difficulty of human history.

To see her film work in action, check out her entry in Public Domain Private Dominion, a found footage screening series that employs public domain works.

72. Jason Kirsch: You probably recognize Jason as the lead in Blanc de Blanc and he, of course, was fantastic. It was a small bit of luck that led us to him. We were on a pretty strict timeline and Jason was temporarily out of work, as the restaurant where he worked was undergoing renovations. He managed to swing us the part of the restaurant that was intact for a location and worked his ass off during shooting. I'd recommend casting him in a nanosecond. When the restaurant re-opened, it was re-named Plum and Jason got a promotion. So now he's super busy. But he makes one hell of a martini.

73. Chris Duranko (@duranko1332: I met Chris when he worked at the old Hollywood Theater and discovered that he also worked where I worked, which was odd, because I'd never seen him before. Of course, they did kind of keep me in the corner, away from other people, so maybe it isn't so odd. Chris is an up-and-coming, recently graduated film student. His website is still under construction, but until then, check out his reel:

74. Jaime N. Christley (@j_christley): Jaime writes for The House Next Door and Out, Damned Spot! among a number of other places. He's also the man behind Unexamined Essentials, a site that serves as "a directory of all of the films you should see, that you need to see if you claim to be a cinephile, a movie buff, a lover of the art form, etc., minus the films you likely already know about, i.e. 'the consensus classics.'" So, basically, a list of all the films you should see that you maybe haven't already. Pretty cool, no?

75. Kristine Young (@krismaggieyoung): Kris Young, a.k.a. Kris Werner, is an old friend from college. She and her brother Roland (who was in a lot of my classes) hail from Rochester. She has a healthy obsession with music, so it's little surprise that she married Dave Young, guitar virtuoso and sound genius. Together, they're the driving force behind Widget Studios, a Philly-based production company that turns our raw audio into gold. Back in 2007, I did some video work for them and managed to come down with a nasty case of strep throat, bad enough that I couldn't swallow for 3 days. Kris made me soup and forced me to drink vitamin C and insisted we go to the doctor. And because I'm a glutton for punishment, I kept editing. But if Kris and Dave hadn't forced me to see a doctor, well, I don't want to think about how badly that could have gone.

Stay tuned for the rest of our backers! And, as always, you can join them!

13 June 2010

novella: Chapter 1

I've decided that in the process of raising $$ and working on Up Country (or whatever we end up calling it), to release the story in serialized novella form. Every $500 we raise, I'll put out another chapter. I'll be writing it (and revising it) as we go, so if we raise money faster than I can write, so be it. The end won't come until after we hit our goal. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

The tuck pulled to a stop at the edge of the woods. They had driven a mile or so through a field, past a weathered red barn with a Dukakis '88 sign facing the road. John had asked if people up here were that far behind the times. The joke had not gone over well with the truck's driver.

As far as John could tell, there was nothing to indicate that the truck should stop here. No parking area, no path into the woods, nothing but a solid wall of bushes and trees. It was, simply, the end of the field. He looked over his shoulder, but the red barn was gone from view.

Six months ago, his bother-in-law Mark had told him about this fishing trip his cousin had taken in the northern Maine woods--camping in a tent and living off the fish you caught for a couple of days, a real back-to-nature vacation. It sounded compelling enough. But when Mark had scoffed that, no, it wasn't Steven King country, it was much more remote than that, he was sold.

It took even less to convince his lawyer Paul, a tax attorney who worn Armani suits during the week and a ratty old hat with fishing lures stuck through it during the weekends. Paul had copies of Field & Stream magazine in his office, framed prints of lakes and rivers along all the walls, and some sort of large fish mounted over his desk. He had described to John once--in great detail--the process of catching it, the lure he used, the body of water he had been fishing, the thrill of victory. John had nodded politely, but never could remember what type of fish it was. He was too polite to tell Paul he'd forgotten, and didn't care enough to ask to hear the story again. He only knew it was impressive. Or, at least, he assumed it must be. Why else would he go to the trouble of mounting it?

The driver of the truck, the one who wasn't impressed with John's joke, was their guide. Brian or Ryan or Ian or something. He had said maybe twenty words since picking them up at the Portland airport four hours ago, and what little he had was so deeply buried underneath a accent that none of them had understood more than a fraction. John knew Pakistani cab drivers in New York that were easier to understand. Brian or whoever shut the truck off and muttered something like "this is it". He took a sun-bleached Red Sox hat off the dash and jammed it on his head.

They all piled out of the truck, walking around to stretch their legs. The guide walked fifteen feet down the edge of the woods and without giving it a second thought, unzipped his pants and relieved himself. Then, he grabbed some gear from the back of the truck, walked to a spot in the tree line, and pushed aside a bush to reveal a well-worn, clearly marked trail.

Let's go.

John, Mark, and Paul scrambled to get their gear out of the back of the truck and follow him before he disappeared into the woods. By the time John got his backpack on, he could barely remember which bush to move and the guide was already thirty feet away. He ran to catch up.

to be continued when this widget says $500

07 June 2010


I'm taking the Kickstarter plunge. Hoping to shoot this in August. It's gonna be awesome (fingers crossed).

02 June 2010