Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hear the Doors

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m yelling across the pond to two talented siblings from Cheshire, England.  Please welcome Leonora and Jonathan Moore the creative team behind the Hear the Doors project.  Thank you for joining us today!

Hey everyone! You can call us Leo and Jonny Moore. We’re excitedly drawing close to our planned set building and shooting dates and are happy to answer a few questions and give you all a greater insight into our project

Your Kickstarter describes a pretty deep concept for your film, can you give us a brief rundown of the project?  

First off, we can’t really compare our film to anything else out there, or anything we’ve ever seen before, because it’s going to be an utterly unique experience, in style and storytelling. No matter who you are or what you believe, we truly believe this film will have the potential to amaze you.

The main theme is exploration and viewing mankind as only just verging on a kind of comprehension of what it means to exist.

We view themes that have always fascinated us (consciousness, existence, reality, a belief in God) through the curious eyes of a young boy. His innocence and wide-eyed wonder reflect the relative youth of mankind in a larger picture, and a desire to realise its place in the cosmos.

We will journey down space-like corridors of infinite depth, gliding towards black abysses hinting at unknown possibilities of spirit and mind, all within an ethereal soundscape that constantly permeates our world.

Wow that sounds very difficult to film! As a former winner at The UK Film Festival it sounds like you’ve already gone down this road before, why choose Kickstarter this time around to fund it?  

This is actually our first attempt at raising a budget for a film. The film ‘East’ that Leo made in 2011 was made with a budget of precisely £0.00 and didn’t require any funding. This time around, even though our cast and crew will be working for free, we need to capture a particular ‘look’ to compliment the universal themes and vast ideas contained within the story. There is a minimum expenditure required for our set’s materials and for hiring camera and lighting equipment. We were alerted to the potential of Kickstarter by the success that a film Leo starred in, ‘The Taiwan Oyster’ had on here.

How “artsy” are you going with this project?  I understand it will be mostly black and white how dense a film are you two making here?  Is this something I’m going to enjoy with a bowl of popcorn with my kids running around or something I’m going to have to watch alone in the dark and paying attention to every detail to truly enjoy?

We’re hoping that our film will, in some way, speak to everyone who sees it and that filmgoers are intrigued by the unique style we are envisioning. The story itself is very simple. A young boy with many questions explores his universe looking for answers. Our script does pose certain philosophical questions and who you are, your beliefs and even your particular mood while watching will determine your emotional response to the film.

It’s certainly not our intention to go too “artsy”, but rather to create an original world, a world which we genuinely believe has never been seen on screen before.

Alone in the dark? Yes, why not. With friends and some background mood lighting? Also, OK. Preferably everyone in the room seated and ready to be taken to a world that’s certainly a little different from our own.

Your cost breakdown mentions hiring a warehouse to build the set in.  Is that the most cost effective way?  Wouldn’t an old office building do the trick for less or are you going for a specific look to your corridor of doors?  

We require a large space to build our system of infinite corridors. I don’t suppose we’d be giving anything away to admit that we won’t actually require an INFINITELY large area, but we have found several currently unused buildings and warehouses available for free, all of which are simply too small. Existing hotel corridors were also considered but we wouldn’t be able create the particular ‘look’ or otherworldly atmosphere that our piece needs. We would also struggle from a lack of certain freedoms that only our own set could provide.

This sounds like a very small cast shoot, is that correct?  Where are you finding your talent?  Are they cast already?

Yep, three characters. No more. No role has yet been confirmed, but we’ve had an overwhelming response from many young actors and actresses and have also received a wonderful selection of audition videos, all in reply to a casting call we posted back in November, using casting websites like mandy.com and notapushymum.com.

I understand your director of photography is also here with us a Mr. Peter Nance.  Peter, how different is lighting and shot setup for a Black and White shoot versus standard color?  Are you using far more light than normal to overexpose or underexpose areas?  

Shooting in black and white is all about structure: emphasising and controlling the shapes and textures of surfaces and features. This relates to the story straight away, since the realm of the movie is an apparently structured and ordered environment. Black and white will give a real feel to the shapes present in that world: the edges, grooves and contours. The absence of colour makes it more imperative to shape these structures using our lighting tools, including darkness and shadow.

Much of colour filming relies on the mood created by the colours in the scene. Therefore, it is important to compliment the colours with lighting which will boost their presence and importance in the scene; creating the 'palette'. Black and white on the other hand relies on the comparison between light and dark areas, and the greys in between to suggest mood, temperament, and shape.

We are hoping to use a camera system that has a comparatively high native ISO, therefore achieving the levels of light necessary for correct exposure will not be difficult. The challenge will be in shaping the light present, and using it to influence the appearance of the set and the characters in the film. In order to achieve a crisp and sculpted image on screen, we will use dynamic areas of properly exposed light and shadow. Depending on the tone and theme of a particular scene, we may also overexpose characters as they are influenced by their environment. Coloured filters will also play a great part in adding nuances to the range of greys so that they have distinctive shading characteristics to enhance the tangibility of the world of the film.

This is your first Kickstarter and it doesn’t look like you’ve backed Kickstarters in the past (with this account at least), how much research did you do on Kickstarter before jumping in?  

Again, a lot of what we’ve learned was from being part of a project that successfully raised their budget using Kickstarter (‘The Taiwan Oyster’). This is an account we’ve set up specifically for this film, so you won’t see our backing history here, but we have backed projects before.

Is there any reason you don’t have a £1 level as a kind of “tip jar” low end backing level?  Having only the £25 level as the bottom tier seems limiting.  

We’re hoping that the unique nature of ‘Hear the Doors’ will incite a strong reaction in people. In an ideal world, everyone would be excited about our film, but if that’s not the case, we’re hoping for enough people to strongly believe in the huge potential of it and support us with a more generous contribution.

Do you have any plans to show off your previous work?  As it stands we can basically only “take your word on it” for your previous work.   A trailer at least would go a long way to reinforce your credentials.  

You can see our update tab on the Kickstarter page with a link to a trailer for ‘East’ and see http://ukfilmfestival.com/awards/ for details on its success at the ‘UK Film Festival’.

One of the keys of a successful Kickstarter project is backer participation.  How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

When actual set-building begins (and then continuing throughout production too) we’re going to start posting weekly update videos, interviews, behind-the-scenes snapshots, introductions to new cast and crew members… we want to invite as many people as we can into our world as it starts to evolve.

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to help things along?

We’ve set up a facebook account where we’ll be posting blogs, pictures, videos etc and are also planning to do a few interviews online and for local papers.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

I guess we’ll be in a position to tell others about our experiences when we’re on the other side.

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

We hope this interview has been enlightening for anyone interested in our film. We don’t want to give too much away but if our answers have actually raised more questions or if anyone thinks they can help us in any way, please do contact us. We’ll keep fans interested all the way up to release so as many people as possible can see our film.

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

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