Ready Set Fund

Ready, Set, Fund: Show These Local Film Projects Some Love

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peace officer still

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

Valentine's Day has come and gone, but it's never a bad time to shower up-and-coming filmmakers with a little attention. The film projects included in this month's roundup deal with family strife, community safety, horror and world travel. If you're feeling generous, feel free to donate to whichever ones appeal to your movie-loving heart.

Leading off is a film that sounds pretty timely in terms of content and will be premiering at this year's SXSW in the Documentary Feature Competition. Peace Officer (pictured above) examines officer-involved shootings in one community and questions when (or maybe whether) law enforcement officers have the right to use deadly force. Directed by Scott Christopherson (an Assistant Professor of Documentary Film at St. Edward's University) and Brad Barber, Peace Officer is collecting funds to help with distribution and various other expenses through Kickstarter until March 7.

Ready, Set, Fund: Life and Death in the New Year

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Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

It's a new year, which means resolutions, like finally writing that screenplay or making that movie you've been talking about since college. (Trust me, your family and friends will thank you when you stop threatening to defame your hometown in a movie.) This month's "Ready, Set, Fund" recognizes a few Texas filmmakers who are asking you, the general public, to help make their New Year's Resolutions come true, whether that's through financial support or promotion, as their crowdfunding campaigns come to a close. (If not for the filmmakers, then for their family and friends.)

Help bring Mr. Meow to life by contributing to his Kickstarter campaign. The plush rabbit is the costar of The Adventures of Dr. Blah-kman & Mr. Meow, an Austin-made animated series that could become a reality if its campaign goal is reached by Jan. 31. If the campaign is successful, a 22-minute pilot episode will be created, along with the first batch of Mr. Meow plush toys. How purrrfect.

Ready, Set, Fund: Crossing the Finish Line

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Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

'Tis the season for love, joy, and helping your friends get their films funded. With the holidays fast approaching, most of us have Christmas shopping and decorating on our mind. We're bringing you this month's "Ready, Set, Fund" with the hope that you'll spread a little extra holiday cheer, perhaps to some filmmakers in need of that extra $5 to meet their fundraising goal. Here are a few that are finishing up in the month of December...

Leslie is a project that's now been going on for almost ten years. Following the infamous Albert Leslie Cochran (known to veteran Austinites as just "Leslie"), the movie is described as an independent documentary that tells the untold story of Leslie and how his bizarre approach to activism catapulted him into becoming an unlikely civic symbol in Austin, Texas.  Filmmakers Tracy Frazier and Ruby C. Martin are seeking funds to now complete the project all the way through post-production; their deadline is December 21. You can see more about the film in the video below:

Ready, Set, Fund: Creepy and Cool November

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found footage 3D crew

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

It's a busy month for local films in the making, and you have plenty of chances to help your favorite (or future favorite) Texas filmmakers bring their stories to the screen. 

Into fun, artsy horror movies? Slow Creep by Jim Hickcox is about a "rad-as-hell 15-year-old girl" who, in an act of revenge, goes after a monster made of garbage. This project recently received an AFS Kodak Grant but still needs to raise a few thousand dollars so that the filmmaker can properly create the 90s aesthetic and scary details his monster movie requires.

Find out more in this trailer:

Ready, Set, Fund: Tingle The Senses

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 "Evolution of a Criminal"

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent movie projects.

This month's Texas film crowdfunding projects tingle the senses. 

Sight: Watch the Evolution of a Criminal by supporting this award-winning documentary's Kickstarter campaign. The doc's subject, Houstonite Darius Clark Monroe, is raising $60,000 until Oct. 29 for a nationwide theatrical and DVD release, as well as speaking engagements at schools, prisons and various community institutions across the country. Evolution of a Criminal, which premiered at last year's SXSW and Dallas IFF, is the answer to Monroe's question about how his 16-year-old self became a bank robber. In the movie he interviews family members, friends and mentors who recount the stages of his transformation, going from a happy childhood to the moment when he realized the severity of his family's financial struggles. 

Ready, Set, Fund: Newcomers and Old Film Friends

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never goin back

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects. 

This month's look at the local crowdfunding scene offers a diverse group of films made up of both familiar names and newcomers to this column.

Let's start with who you may know: Never Goin' Back (a recent AFS Grant recipient), is written and directed by Augustine Frizzell and tells the story of two teenage girls who enjoy a crazy day of bad behavior after losing their jobs at a pancake house. Fun fact: Frizzell grew up in Garland, TX and calls the script for Never Goin' Back "almost completely autobiographical." Time is running out to help this one meet its Seed & Spark goal -- you have until Friday to give

Ready, Set, Fund: The Puzzle of Successful Crowdfunding

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Director and Stars of Mijo (My Son)

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

I enjoy skimming over the last three years of our "Ready, Set, Fund" monthly column and seeing how many film funding campaigns have achieved success. A gratifying experiences of writing this feature is following projects from their infancy and on through their maturation to the big screen.

Sadly though, I see far too many campaigns that never get off the ground. There are a multitude of reasons for failure, but often I suspect it's due to too high of a goal in an "all or nothing" campaign, too short of a timeframe or simply not enough effort put into the creation and support of a fundraising campaign. Research and maintenance are critical components of any successful fundraising endeavor, and can require a substantial amount of time, money and resources.

Ready, Set, Fund: Be a Patron, Support the Apocalypse

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slate from I Am Jack's Apocalypse

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

We all have the habit of saying "Kickstarter campaign" as a generic term for crowdfunding, but of course that's not the only site that hosts these types of project. I don't just mean Indiegogo either. In the past, this column has highlighted Austin projects from United States Artists (Computer Chess being the one I remember) and Seed&Spark. (I particularly like United States Artists because it's curated -- no one is raising money for potato salad there.)

This month, I found a new platform (via Bryan Poyser, thanks!) called Patreon. Patreon has a slightly different model, focusing on campaigns for projects with recurring needs, like web series, blogs and podcasts. The donors -- called "patrons" -- support these projects through recurring gifts that correspond with each episode in a series, for example. Instead of giving $25 (or $250 if you're flush), you might give $5 per podcast, or $1 per blog post.

Recurring gifts are a big staple of traditional nonprofit campaigns, so finding a way to do that with artistic crowdfunding is pretty smart. It keeps donors invested in the project, and I think it will strengthen projects in the long term with a steady source of income.

Ready, Set, Fund: Queens, Teens and Lazer Team

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Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

With summer in full swing, we've happened upon several Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns of films gearing up to shoot over these next few months. Headlining these campaigns is the Lazer Team project, the first feature film to be made by Austin production group Rooster Teeth (Red vs. Blue). A bit elusive in the plot description, the story is described as a live-action sci-fi comedy that takes place in the aftermath of receiving an alien signal on Earth.

The Indiegogo campaign raised an impressive $650,000+ on its first launch day, and has now crossed the $1.5 million mark. I'm sure it's due to not only a large fan base, but the impressive incentives offered. Already sold out of the highest two, perks include 20-second voicemails from your favorite Rooster Teeth personality ($400 donation), a Virtual LAN Party with the RT team ($2,000 donation), and even a walk-on role in the film ($6,000 donation). You can watch the video below for more information. The campaign ends on July 6.

Ready, Set, Fund: Crunch Time

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'The Sauce' Movie Still

Ready, Set, Fund is a column about crowdfunding and fundraising endeavors related to Austin and Texas independent film projects.

A number of local movie projects are nearing the end of their fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The countdown begins with The Sauce, a feature about a ruthless, egomaniacal stock trader who decides to start his own firm. The only thing stopping him (besides those pesky executives) may be himself. This indie comedy will be set and shot in Austin and has reached its goal, but generous backers can give additional funds through its Kickstarter campaign until May 29.

Other Austin and Texas movie-related projects seeking funds:

  • On June 1, the clock stops on the Kickstarter campaign for The Lizzie Project. This documentary, directed and produced by Austinite Sara Bordo, follows Texas State University alumna Lizzie Velasquez on her journey to help inspire a more positive online world. Lizzie, who is one of three people in the world diagnosed with an unnamed syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, experienced cyber bullying as a teenager. She has since gone on to be a motivational speaker and author.
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