Four of a Kind
I’ve been through the hard sweat of crowdfunding. It was exhausting; I almost failed my exams and thought I was going to have an aneurism on about four occasions. I was making my movie because I figured ‘why wait?’. Well, Jack Marchetti, the director of Four of a Kind, has a much better reason- he’s going blind.
A genetic illness has left Jack with the knowledge that, over the course of the next few years or so, he will lose his eyesight. Rather than sitting on his hands and moping about his misfortune, however, Jack has decided to go out and chase his dream: to make a feature film. In order to do that, however, he needs $100,000 and he’s chosen Kickstarter as his funding platform of choice. It’s a bold move- Kickstarter’s model requiring you to meet your goal before you get a single penny of what you’ve raised. And, with $80,000 still to raise, it’s a fair ol’ distance before Jack starts to see your money going towards the funding of the movie.
Jack’s decision to get going with the project was sped up by the fact that his brother, who shares his genetic condition, has recently lost his eyesight. That knowledge pushed him towards diving in with the campaign. ‘Watching his descent was like looking into the future and realizing that could be me in a year, or two. Hopefully much longer than that, but I have no idea at this point. The unknown aspect of the disease definitely sucks.’
But there’s more to the campaign than just giving Jack a great opportunity. The screenplay has been given a glowing review by ScriptShark and Jack’s been optioned in the past. His fundraising campaign is also being assisted by Kickstarter veteran Lucas McNelly, a boon that is reflected in the Twitterati’s sustained focus on the project. It also gives Jack some valuable experience in practical filmmaking. The shoot is planned to be conducted using the RED Epic, with additional guerrilla shots utilising DSLRs, but, as Jack himself says, nothing will be set in stone until they’ve got the funding to perform camera tests. ‘I’ve got a ton to learn from the time we get funded to the time I yell action for the first time,’ Jack says, ‘I’m looking forward to it.’
But, even for the most worthwhile of campaigns, crowdfunding can be brutal and Jack and his team already find themselves in a difficult position. Seeking a $100,000 goal is a mountainous task and Jack knows it won’t be easy, ‘It can be extremely hard to stay positive when the odds seem so big because you don’t want to come off as delusional but you don’t want to come off as a Debbie Downer either.’ The campaign is currently at 20% of its funding goal, with only 9 days remaining, but recent Kickstarter research suggests that 90% of campaigns that reach 20% of their goal will go on to be funded, so thinks are looking up in the sense. And Jack has made some outlandish promises that might make contributing all the more worthwhile, ‘I have said I’ll jump out of a plane when we hit 50k. I might even do it at 25k. Stay tuned.’
There are a thousand and one different campaigns that deserve your money and everyone, and their dog, seems to have a screenplay that they’re trying to get made but, for once, here’s a project that really demands your attention. It’s an eye-catching, marketable concept, put together by a team whose enthusiasm is contagious. Their presence on Twitter and proliferation across press and social media alike has been inspiring. Contributing to Jack’s campaign is not an act of charity. When I asked him why people should contribute to his campaign specifically, he reassures me that it’s ‘because it’s gonna be a fucking kick ass movie!’, not just because he’s running out of time to make it happen. By contributing you are giving a filmmaker the chance to make his film before the ability to do so, which we take for granted, is lost to him. If that isn’t worth funding, then I don’t know what is.