Film – The Tow – Kickstarted – My Experience

I like kickstarter, I like Indigogo, Patreon, etc.. I like feeling like I’m involved. I may not be very artistic or creative – well, in public anyway 😉 – but I like to think I appreciate those who are, and therefore I try to be a supporter.

We can all do it – you don’t have to spend money if you can’t afford it;?you can give time; you can tweet about it – you can contribute in so many ways, but they all help, they all support the artist.

THE BACKGROUND

I’m not your typical (probably) Teen Wolf fan – somewhat (!) older than the cast, but I love sci-fi and there’s enough interesting characters to keep me interested – so?I followed most of the actors on?twitter.

Irrespective of the show, they are frankly amusing as hell to follow… really!

So when I saw a post from Ian Bohen that he was launching?a kickstarter to make a short film, I was intrigued. ?Then JR posted he was going to be in it – doubly interested.

PS – before I start proper, a warning or two:

?a) I ramble… I ramble a lot.. so you’ll probably be “this is well TL:DR”

b) from here on I’m calling these guys by their first names – I got a hug from them both, so that means I’m allowed – them’s the rules!

Anyway, The Tow – Kickstarter project #563508291 – ?announced back in March (2015). ? Go have a look at the concept?The Tow – Kickstarter site.

Now, if you’ve seen Ian’s film school short “Morning Love” with the incandescent Holland Roden, you know he has an interesting imagination, and the look of it?was fabulous…

..and if you haven’t seen it – why not!? go, go now…go:?here… go on… what are you still here for….I’ll wait…

You’re back.. it was good eh? ?Right I’ll continue…

I love the way short films – when done well – make you ask questions, make you use your imagination: what happened next; what happened before; who are they; why; why not…so many possibilities, it’s fabulous.

So, The Tow – interesting concept, with an actor ?(JR Bourne) I’ve liked since Stargate SG1, and I’m already a contributor for a lot of other things, so what was to stop me contributing? Nothing – no brainer.

Next step was to look at the rewards…how much to give, and what would be the best reward. ?I did look at the set visit -?it would be amazing to just see some of the logistics involved – mind boggling – but not this time.

Carrying on, I saw that there was going to be screenings – oooh, that sounded good. London, or Amsterdam would work for me, as I used to live in both places. ?I decided that I’d pick London, as I could be there anyway for work, and could surprise visit my mother at the same time.

Now I’ve been to a couple of private screenings before – one in a cinema in London (2006), where we got to Q&A with the director/actor and others. ?Previous to that was a Sky TV pilot (2000?) in a TV production centre’s cinema screening room.

Those experiences were sort of?how I thought The Tow’s screening would go – a big group of people in some screening room in the dark, followed by Ian on a?stage for a quick Q&A after.

Haha… not even close…..and 1000 times better than I ever imagined.

THE BUILD UP

Now, the campaign closed in April and was fully (over) contributed – fantastic. ?Along the way, we got some instagrams and a few update videos of how it was going – all very well by the looks?of it. ?Then last week, an email came – from Michael – the producer – !! ?Would I be attending the Teen Wolf convention in Birmingham, as they were thinking of doing the screening there if we were all there anyway? ? I’m not really a convention goer – the pain and real horror I feel at some of the questions that get asked to the guests is not measurable. ?But ok I could do it, I’d be travelling somewhere anyway, so Birmingham was do-able if needed.

Anyway, another mail arrived, a London screening was still on… and it would be sometime on Monday 20th. ?As I live in Scotland (nr Edinburgh), I’d already booked a train ticket and hotel for the few days around the date just in case…and some of my team work out of the London office, so I go there a lot anyway, so could’ve reused the ticket if needed later on.

So now I had a date, I firmed up the hotel, and booked a half day off from work.

Sidebar – it’s amazing that when you tell all your teams (I have around 11 project teams that report to me at the moment) that you will be out of the office and uncontactable from 12:30 sharp, so if they want anything reviewed/authorised etc it has to be there before that time – that you still get mails at 12:27 asking what time you will be around until as they haven’t quite finished that submission they want you to review and approve that day. ?I do bang my head on my desk quite regularly.

Next I had a mail from Michael saying that the meet up was going to be coordinated by a ‘Holly’ and?the timing was not quite fixed yet. Holly emailed to say we should meet up in Soho Square and we would go from there to where the screening would be held.

THE ARRIVAL

On the day, I had a text from Holly to say that the timing of the meet up at Soho Square had moved from 2:40pm to 3:15pm – I was sitting in Starbucks watching the world go by, so was quite happy to tweet/text while waiting. ?I did text back wondering if Ian and JR’s instagram at 3am the previous night buying lots of water had anything to do with the time shift?- perhaps Ian was a little hungover LOL. ?(It turned out that it was the meeting room’s availability that caused the time change – no idea whether there were any hangovers or not ;-))

After a few back and forths about the iPhone/Starbucks/power outlet conspiracy, I headed to meet Holly and the other backers. ?Found Holly, and then it was fun standing in Soho Square with a lot of tourists and locals rambling around, trying to figure out who might be?there for a private kickstarter screening… what would they look like – is that lost looking woman wandering around one – nope, she was just a lost tourist… ?and then Liz found us, after overhearing us talking about the screening. ?We were laughing that we should start shouting loudly ‘The Tow’, ‘Ian Bohen’ to find others – and it worked. ?Then Michelle and Dajana found us, and we were complete – 4 of us – that was it, just us FOUR! ?Apparently, the other 11 ‘London’ contributors?had had a screening at the Birmingham convention the previous evening.

So here we were, the 4 of us walking towards the hotel where the screening would be, not having a clue what to expect. ?I’m not going to say which hotel – it doesn’t matter.

We sat in the lobby while the front desk?called up to Ian to say we were there, and did we want a drink – I asked for tea..it’s my default, the others asked for water – oops, I should’ve gone with water, but too late.

Then there he was, walking?across the lobby the man himself, Mr Ian Bohen, clutching his apple laptop and looking pretty much how you see him on his non-fashion event?instagrams – all rumply relaxed and sockless 🙂 Introductions all round, and we sat back down for a short chit chat – ?the meeting room was being used, so we had to wait for it to free up.

THE?VIEWING

In a matter of minutes it was ready, so we went in. ?It was like hundreds of meeting rooms I use in my working life – albeit with a bit less technology (I do work in IT after all).

My thoughts on what this ‘screening’ experience were going to be were blown away – there would be just us 4 plus Ian in this small room. ?Hahaha..forget your cinemas or your screening rooms, this was real, this was intimate, this was priceless.

Before we started, Ian explained a bit about the stages of editing and where they were with the film and what to expect, or not expect. Maybe he was worried we would be disappointed, maybe he was nervous with his ‘baby’, no idea. ?I think we were all so excited to be there we would have been ok with a film with stick men and paper cutouts (jk)

Ian then did a periscope – which you may have seen. ?Later that night I took a video with my iPhone of it playing on my iPad so I could save it – hence the not great quality – but I needed a record of this fabulous occasion. ?(here it is on my dropbox).

As you saw?in the periscope, by pure coincidence, and not planned at all, honest, says Ian, JR turns up. ?He was very happy with his new glasses – and they did look better on him than Ian, honest..hahah. ? I tweeted later on that JR really is a sweetheart – a genuinely decent guy – and that voice – seriously, why isn’t he asked to do voiceovers/voice acting more I do not know! ?It was really nice of him to give up his time to be there, much appreciated by us all.

So without any more delay, the laptop was opened, and we squished our chairs together, the lights went out, and we watched the rough editor’s cut.

I’m not going to say anything about the film plot etc at?all – but I can’t wait to see the finished product. I think it will be fantastic: it’s interesting, it’s thought provoking, it has that quality I mentioned at the start of this piece about making your imagination work.

It was good. ?It was really good, and has the potential to be great. ?A part of me was relieved. ?I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t like it – the concept was too interesting to believe I’d hate it, but I did wonder how much I would enjoy it. ?Would I like it as much if I wasn’t a contributor, or if it was by someone unknown, with an unknown actor in it. ?Valid questions, but irrelevant – it delivered, it was worth backing.

THE Q&A

Lights back on, it was time for a Q&A, discussion about what we thought,?led by Ian with some probing questions for us.

I have to say, the passion he has for this project, and filmmaking in general is wonderful. When you talk to someone who is in love with their job, hobby or whatever, it’s exhilarating, it picks you up in the excitement too, you feel like you are right there alongside them creating.

If there’s one thing I learnt that day, it’s that there is so much more to making even a short film than I could ever imagine, and my respect for someone who not only wants to do something like that, but actually delivers a product, and does it well, to budget and on time is nothing short of humbling. ?Trust me, I’ve managed hundreds of projects over the years (IT ones, but whatever) and it’s like herding cats… feral, angry, deaf cats. ?Wish Ian could teach my lot?how it’s done!

When we came to a lull in the feedback, we switched to watch Morning Love as Holly hadn’t seen it. Each time I see it, I love it more, and especially after doing a photography course I can now appreciate?the composition of the shots so much better.

Ian had a little trouble navigating?his laptop’s file systems to find bits and pieces – he was charmingly (and unnecessarily) apologetic. ?We saw a bit of the script, but he couldn’t find the storyboards..?not a problem.

Then it was time to finish – we’d been there about an hour and a half. ?Where did the time go. ?A hug and a lot of thanks,?we said our goodbyes and left him to go get ready for his evening out.


I’m sure I’ve forgotten loads, and not really sure if it?really fully conveys the experience. It it really was a brilliant afternoon, a super reward fulfilled, another excellent?kickstarter backed, and a really great short film to look forward to being released.

Thanks Ian, thanks JR, thanks Michael, well done to all the crew…. and thanks to my fellow London contributors – Holly, Michelle, Liz and Dajana – great to meet you all.

So – what’s next?

We tweet, we write about it, we support…. that’s what we do, we SUPPORT.

“We dream big cause thems the only things thats free…” ?Ian Bohen


Deb
July 22nd?2015

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