Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Word About Aerodynamics and Rolling Donuts

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I am officially humbled.
When we started the Kickstarter campaign for BlackBxx:HAUNTED, I had to come up with some rewards. I checked out what other artists had given away and followed suit, beginning with a sincere thank you and warm thoughts for a $1.00 pledge and continuing up to an Executive Producer credit for $10,000.
Though the high-dollar rewards were fun to write, I never thought anyone would take us up on them. I mean, who would pay a grand for a dinner out with me, or $3,000 for me to fly out to their house and do live commentary for their favorite episode of Carnivále? I figured the highest pledge we’d see might—might—be the $500 Skype call.
So when the first big-dollar pledge rolled in, I was stunned on several counts.
To begin with, when we initiated the campaign, I sent emails to everyone I knew—friends, colleagues and family—asking for their support. I’ve worked with some fairly heavy-hitters in the course of my TV career, so I assumed the pledge must have come from one of them.
I was wrong.
The pledge came from Steve Bertolino, a Carnivále fan who lives in Middlebury, Vermont.
It seems I’ll be flying out to his place, hanging out with him and his friends and commenting on his favorite episode (or, as my lovely daughter, Mary, who has long-suffered my yammering every time she tries to watch one of her shows, so gracefully put it, “You’re kidding! Some guy paid $3,000 for you to come out and wreck his show?”).
I’ve never been to Vermont, so I’m really looking forward to checking it out with my newly-minted Associate Producer, Steve. From what I hear, I better bring a warm coat.
Then, just as I was picking my jaw up off the floor, Rebhi Barqawi, a nice young man from Dubai, UAE, pledged $10,000!
I’ve never met Rebhi. I called everyone on the BlackBxx team, and none of them had either. I emailed him a thank you, and learned from his reply that, like Steve, Rebhi just loves my work and wants to do what he can to help me make BlackBxx: HAUNTED happen. And I can say with some measure of confidence that Rebhi will be the best Executive Producer I’ve ever worked with.
Then another $3,000 pledge came in.
This time, I’d be flying out to Mahwah, New Jersey to chill with my new Associate Producer, Brian Deysher, yet another Carnivále fan.
At this point, we’ve raised $19,191 from 41 backers. To get an idea of where the pledges have come from, I created this handy-dandy pie-chart:

As you can see, the vast (and I mean VAST) majority of the contributions have come from patrons I’ve never met before. Meanwhile, of all my big-shot, money-burning, cigar-chomping Hollywood buddies, only one has come through: My friend, Tom Lavagnino, who does not smoke cigars and is not particularly wealthy (unless you count his wife, Hope, who is a treasure).
So if you’ve already gone to the site and said to yourself. “Sure, normally I’d pitch in five bucks, but this guy is an established Hollywood writer. I’m sure he has all kinds of rich friends who can afford to give him bread. He doesn’t need my support,” I’m telling you right now, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Sure, we’ve raised 25% of our goal, but we only have 25 more days to raise over $50,000, or we won’t collect a single thin dime.
So if you’re reading this, and you haven’t already made a pledge, please go check out our project page on Twitter. I know times are tough, but even if you can only afford a dollar, it will take us $1 closer to our goal.
Also, the goal of the Kickstarter campaign is not just to raise production funds, but build an audience. Not that those big-dollar contributions haven't been appreciated, mind you, but at this point, we'd rather have a hundred $5 pledges than one $1,000 pledge, because the last thing we want to do is play something as extraordinary as BlackBxx: HAUNTED to an empty house. Even if you’re totally strapped and can't support the project financially, you can help out by leaving an encouraging comment (we can certainly use those), embed the widget (below) or video on your social network page or link to us on Twitter.
Oh, yeah. And as for my rich Hollywood “friends…?”
Like my Dad used to say, as far as I'm concerned, they can all go take flying fucks at rolling donuts.
Power to the people, baby…


  1. This is great...I hope the project will take off. It sounds wonderful.
    I also wanted to ask..did you work on the Year Zero TV Show? I heard you were writing for it, and was very curious about it..

  2. Sorry, Paul, but I can't really comment on projects in development without authorization from the network. I can, however, tell you that Year Zero will be awesome, and that Trent has had a huge hand in the project's development. Get it...? A "huge hand?"



  3. I wish you all the best Daniel. If it wasn't for the fact I have been out of work for 12mths I would totally be making a pledge myself. But rest assured I am cheering you on from afar! I can't wait to see the finished product!

    Val from Sydney (aka @valshopaholic on twitter)