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5:00 PM on 09.12.2014

How I did Kickstarter: Writing the pitch

When you go to a Kickstarter page, what's the first thing you do? I always read (or at least skim) the text of their pitch. If it looks interesting, I'll read through it properly. If not, I'm not going to back it. If I see th...

Alec Kubas-Meyer


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How I did Kickstarter: Avoiding content-specific stretch goals photo
How I did Kickstarter: Avoiding content-specific stretch goals
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Another few days, another few backers. Seriously, this is one of the most stressful things I've ever done in my life, and I can't even imagine what it would be like on a larger scale. In the grand scheme of things, $3,500 is really not that much money. It's not like we're asking for $35,000 or $350,000 like some projects do.

This post is only sort of about my Kickstarter. It's a bit more focused on a broader trend in crowdfunded projects in general that makes me sad. It applies more heavily to video games than movies, but it definitely applies to movies as well. The issue at hand? Content-focused stretch goals.

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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How I did Kickstarter: Choosing a goal (and considering stretches) photo
How I did Kickstarter: Choosing a goal (and considering stretches)
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

We're now a week into our Kickstarter, and it's been pretty crazy. As of this writing, we've made more than one-third of our goal, which is fantastic. If we can keep up this momentum during the lull that always befalls projects in the middle of their campaign, then we'll breeze past no problem. More likely we hit that lull and then make a mad dash at the end.

But let's talk about that goal. It's the most fundamental part of any Kickstarter campaign, and it is the metric by which a Kickstarter's success is defined. We have asked for $3,500 to help us create Reel. Here is how we came up with that number and why we went with it.

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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How I did Kickstarter: Five things I wish I knew before starting photo
How I did Kickstarter: Five things I wish I knew before starting
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

My friend and I launched our Kickstarter four days ago. A lot has happened since then, some behind the scenes and some exceedingly public. Through all of that, a few lovely people (primarily friends and family) have already helped us achieve a not-insignificant portion of our goal.

It's exciting. Really exciting. But it's also been extremely stressful for a whole host of reasons. The biggest is that trying to crowdfund is simply a unique experience, and one that it's difficult to really prepare for. But there are a few things I really wish I'd known from the outset. I figured all of this out on the way, some of it more recently than I would have liked, but all of it would have changed my initial approach had I understood it from the get-go. So I wanted to share that all with you.

None of this has to do with our movie specifically or even movies in general. If you want to Kickstart a video game, a CD, or even a delicious new snack, all of this will probably apply to you.

So without further ado, here are five things I really wish I had known before doing a Kickstarter:

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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I'm Kickstarting a short film, and you're coming with me photo
I'm Kickstarting a short film, and you're coming with me
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Sometimes a particularly scathing review is met with some version of "Oh yeah? Let's see you do better." While I don't think it's a valid non-argument, it's an interesting thought. But if you have ever felt that way after reading any of my reviews, I'm giving you the chance to call my bluff. 

You see, I'm making a short film called Reel. It's a martial arts film that I'm co-writing/directing with actor/writer/friend Gerard Chamberlain, and we're both exceedingly excited about the project. We think it's going to be pretty much the best thing since sliced bread, which is why we've set up a Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a great platform. It's one we've written about dozens (possibly hundreds) of times. I've backed a bunch of things, and I actually spent a semester studying the platform in school. I have a pretty good conceptual understanding of it, but I'm about to see how that can be put into practice. (And yes, I'm totally aware of the direct comparison to conceptual criticism versus practical application of filmmaking you may or may not be making right now.)

Regardless, I want to share this experience with all of you who have been on Flixist with me for the past three-plus years.

Backer updates are all well and good, but there's more to it than that. For the next month, I'll be discussing the process of actually getting a project onto Kickstarter at all. I'll be talking about everything from writing the pitch to figuring out the goal. A lot of work goes into setting up a Kickstarter, and the next month is probably going to take a few years off my life. But I hope you can learn something from that. Whether we raise our funds or not, our successes and failures could be a template for you if you decide to crowdfund in the future.

So let's freaking do this everybody. If there's anything else about the process that you want to hear about, let me know in the comments. 

[Alec is doing a Kickstarter. You can (and should) back it here. Through the project's duration, he will be writing a series of articles about the process. More about that here. Check out the other entries here.]

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Pierce Brosnan's best and worst since Bond photo
Pierce Brosnan's best and worst since Bond
by Matthew Razak

We all know that that the apex of any actor's career is playing James Bond. Well, that's what us Bond fans like to think anyway, but after leaving the role did you know that Bond actors continue to act -- even ones not named Sean Connery. Yes, it's true as shocking as it may be.

With Pierce Brosnan returning to the spy game this weekend in November Man we thought it would be a good time to take a look at what he's done since Bond. There's actually quite a lot of good stuff. There's also some bad stuff, and in the name of fairness and in order to more easily make jokes about bad movies we're going to talk about both. 

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Some Like It Hot: Eva Green photo
Some Like It Hot: Eva Green
by Nick Valdez

Eva Green has definitely made herself known these past few years, and with good reason. Regardless of the overall quality of the project she's attached to, she's not one to slack. She gives her all in every performance as I've seen her singlehandedly make terrible films worthwhile. With the vibe of Classic Hollywood staples like Joan Crawford, she oozes charisma, sensuality, and pure badassness. 

With Sin City: A Dame to Kill For in theaters, I figured it was time to revive our Some Like It Hot feature to explore the wonderousness of Eva Green's assets. 

[Some Like It Hot shines a light on the men and women of film who have captured our hearts, and oftentimes, our libidos. It celebrates the cinematic sirens and strongmen of the silver screen that give us the vapors, tug on our heartstrings, and leave us hungry for more. Also, they're really effing hot.]

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The Simpsons Movie is not very good  photo
The Simpsons Movie is not very good
by Nick Valdez

I don't think I'll ever be able to properly explain how big of an influence The Simpsons has had on my life. Rather than learn any useful skills, go out on dates with cute girls, or have a social life in general, I watched episodes of The Simpsons. When I was through with a season, I'd buy more on DVD and watch them again. Basically, I've invested at least 60-65% of my 25 year run into this show. 

That's why The Simpsons Movie was a huge disappointment. Not because I'm a fan who wanted more (I saw this in theaters five times when it originally released), but because I've gotten a fancy education and look at films in a different light. Sure The Simpsons Movie has some good gags and gets a lot of credit for being better than the recent glut of seasons when it released, but it's just not a good movie. 

Watching it again, I can't defend it like I used to. 

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6:00 PM on 08.25.2014

Hey everyone, let's talk about Frank Miller!

So...Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is definitely a thing that exists. Whether or not it's good doesn't matter anymore since it bombed pretty hard this past weekend. As always with Flixist Community Discusses, I want to get som...

Nick Valdez



FlixList: Ten Cartoons that Deserve Big Movies photo
FlixList: Ten Cartoons that Deserve Big Movies
by Nick Valdez

Cartoons are great. Growing up, I loved to get up early weekend mornings (Fox Kids on Saturday, WB Kids on Sunday) and rush home from school during the week to catch all the best cartoons. Before the advent of DVR, piracy, and YouTube, it took a special kind of commitment to be a cartoon fan. But these days, cartoons are everywhere. 

They have their own stations, conventions, and movies. With Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Popeye, Scooby-Doo, even Underdog having a movie all their own, cartoons are far more worthy of the attention. But what about all of the forgotten shows? There are shows still primed for the big time, and it's only a matter of time before we'll see these of the big screen. 

At least we should anyway. 

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Robin Williams' best performances photo
Robin Williams' best performances
by Flixist Staff

Every time there is a major death in any industry the internet is bombarded in the following days with news posts and features and all sorts of other content that blur the line between legitimacy and exploitation. There have been times where we've actively avoided writing anything more than an initial (depressed) announcement, but here is an exception. Robin Williams's wife, Susan Schneider, gave a statement that read:

I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.

It is with that in mind that we decided to write this.

Let the celebration begin.

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Flixist Community Discusses: Guardians of the Galaxy photo
Flixist Community Discusses: Guardians of the Galaxy
by Nick Valdez

Guardians of the Galaxy has caused quite a stir in the Flixist Community. It's blown up on Twitter, Facebook, and I've even heard some of my non-fan friends discussing it for some reason. It's got the kind of pull I haven't seen since Marvel debuted the first Iron Man movie. 

Even if I don't completely like it myself, it's still an invigoration of the tired Marvel Studios plan, so folks have been heaping praise. But I wanted to know what folks liked (or did not like) about it specifically. Thanks to Flixist Community Discusses, we'll discover why Guardians of the Galaxy may or may not be successful in what it set out to do

Gathered from the comments and Twitter, here's what the Flixist Community thinks of Guardians of the Galaxy. Spoilers ahead! 

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Hey everyone, let's talk about Guardians of the Galaxy! photo
Hey everyone, let's talk about Guardians of the Galaxy!
by Nick Valdez

A few weeks back, I started this segment where I gathered the community's opinions on big movies. It's been gone for awhile due to a lack of interesting films, but now's a good time to bring it back as any. So what did you all think of Guardians of the Galaxy? I liked it, but didn't love it enough to put it in our "Great" category. 

I'm interested as to what you all think, so I'll gather all of your responses (labeled with who wrote them, of course), and pepper in some responses from the Flixist staff, into one post as "Flixist Community Discusses."

Leave a comment below, hit me up on Twitter (@Valdezology), or even send me an email at nick@flixist.com (if you have anything particularly spoilery). The community post will go live Friday, August 8th at 12PM CST, so I'll be taking responses until then!

Where does Guardians of the Galaxy stand, Flixist community? Would you let this movie guard your galaxy? Get your opinions in folks!

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FlixList: Ten Crimes I'd Commit During a Real Purge photo
FlixList: Ten Crimes I'd Commit During a Real Purge
by Nick Valdez

With The Purge: Anarchy in theaters and another #CrimeDay in the history books, I've been thinking about crime for a bit now. In the series, everyone and their mothers are so focused on committing violent crimes they don't see the bigger picture. A futuristic utopia where everyone secretly wants to murder each other may make for witty satire, but it doesn't always provide room for other things. 

With the kind of flexibility 12 hours of consequence free crime a Purge would provide, I figured I'd write a list of ten things I'd do with that time.

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NYAFF Non-Review: 3D Naked Ambition is the weirdest movie I've ever seen photo
NYAFF Non-Review: 3D Naked Ambition is the weirdest movie I've ever seen
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

It's been an odd week. On Monday, we posted my review of R100, a film so crazy it inspired a man to eat his shirt. On Tuesday, we posted my review of Why Don't You Play in Hell?, a film so insane that it inspired a man to make a shirt-eating bet in the first place. But those were warm ups. What I was really doing was priming myself to write about quite literally the weirdest movie I have seen in my entire life: 3D Naked Ambition.

I always kind of expected the weirdest movie ever to be from Japan. I mean, that's where the previously two mentioned films and other bonkers stories like The Warped Forest came from. That movie has fruit with actual vaginas.

But 3D Naked Ambition has risen to the top. How, you might ask? Well...

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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Review Companion: An analysis of Coherence's characters and plot photo
Review Companion: An analysis of Coherence's characters and plot
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

This is not a review, not really. We posted our official review of Coherence yesterday, but it's a review that says a lot about the film while also saying nothing. And it had to be that way, because any serious discussion of the plot will inevitably ruin the film's central conceit, something that is best left as a surprise. You can still enjoy Coherence after it's been spoiled, but I wouldn't want to put something in that position just because they wanted to know if it's worth watching.

(It is.)

And you should see it before some less considerate critic ruins it for you. Once you've done that, come back here and read the rest of this, or read it now if you don't care about spoilers. But either way, I'm writing under the assumption that you have read (or at least skimmed) the full review. This will be focusing on different things. It is a companion after all, not a replacement.

It's also the first time we've ever done something like this. So if you have any thoughts on this, please let me know.

And with that: SPOILER ALERT.

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Dear Warner Brothers: an open letter regarding your fledgling cinematic universe photo
Dear Warner Brothers: an open letter regarding your fledgling cinematic universe
by Sean Walsh

(Spoiler alert ahead.)

Dear Warner Brothers,

You don't know who I am, but that's okay. I'm just another avid comic fan who is excited about the prospect of a cinematic universe that could possibly counter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a fan who straddles the line, reading equal shares of Marvel and DC, I couldn't be more excited at the prospect of a Shazam movie, or a Green Lantern/Flash team-up, or a badass Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot that would make Clash of the Titans look like an Asylum film.

That all being said, you have a wonderful opportunity on your hands and, as an enormous fan, I beg you: DO NOT BLOW IT. That opportunity, of course, is to merge your film universe with the surprisingly rich world of Arrow. Why? I'm glad you asked...

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Why technology shouldn't resurrect the dead photo
Why technology shouldn't resurrect the dead
by Jonathan Wray

When an actor signs on to commit to a particular film, they don't anticipate that they'll be dead before the contract is up. Hollywood stars are people too, and the grim reaper waits for no one. When an actor passes on, that's it, they're done. Everything that they've put out up to that point has had their own personal seal of approval. It really bothers me that now, thanks to amazing advances in technology, we kind of toss all of that out the window just so we can selfishly see them one last time.

When I first saw the video of Tupac's performance at Coachella, I got goosebumps. I had never seen a concert of his, so when I saw him on stage, I was seeing him for the first time. At the time, I thought it was the coolest thing on earth. Think about the implications this technology has! You can see Nirvana perform live right in front of you! You could record video messages for loved ones to watch long after you had passed! Truly, we're living in the future.

I don't feel that way anymore.

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Flixist Community Discusses: X-Men: Days of Future Past photo
Flixist Community Discusses: X-Men: Days of Future Past
by Nick Valdez

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the seventh X-Men film. Let that sink in for a moment. From the time the X-Men series began we've had world politics change forever, several global warming scares, and three different incarnations of the Hulk. It's been a wild ride. Days of Future Past is like a time capsule of the 00s, a time where heroes wearing black leather is still cool, things don't need to make sense, and old men are fearsome villains. 

But was it all worth it? Although I thought it was good in my review, did the Flixist Community agree? Thanks to Flixist Community Discusses, we'll discover why DOFP may or may not be successful in what it set out to do! 

Gathered from the comments (from both the opinions post and the review) and Twitter, here's what the Flixist Community thinks of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Spoilers ahead! 

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8:00 AM on 05.29.2014

Hey everyone, let's talk about X-Men: Days of Future Past!

UPDATE: Last day for those opinions!  Since the last two editions have been met with success, let's try another Flixist Community Discusses for X-Men: Days of Future Past! This time the criticism I've seen has most defin...

Nick Valdez



Six filmmakers who should direct Star Wars spin-offs photo
Six filmmakers who should direct Star Wars spin-offs
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

When Disney killed the Star Wars Expanded Universe last month, they negated decades of side stories that fleshed out the galaxy far, far away. But they left open the door for a new Expanded Universe, one filled with canon spin-offs that may have to cede some creative control for the sake of narrative consistency, but could allow for some amazing stories to be told that make the “real” Star Wars universe a much more consistently quality world for those who wants to dive into everything (assuming, of course, you ignore the prequels).

Gareth Edwards, director of the just-released Godzilla remake, is the first director to try his hand at this whole spin-off thing, with a film set for December 16, 2016. And while Edwards will probably do a fine job (especially if they give him something involving giant monsters), there are some other directors we’d love to see tackle the Star Wars universe and really expand it in an interesting way.

And once you’ve read through our list, let us know who else you’d like to direct and what you think they should do with the franchise.

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Poultrygeist: The Movie Buffalo, NY Deserves photo
Poultrygeist: The Movie Buffalo, NY Deserves
by Mike Cosimano

I was born and raised just outside of Buffalo, New York. It took me 19 years before I managed to escape this rotting hellhole. Even then I have to go back every so often. Living in this area is nothing short of miserable, and it seems the film world knows it. Sure, there have been movies set or filmed in the Buffalo area here and there, but (aside from Bruce Almighty), none of them have been enormous blockbusters. They aren’t particularly memorable either.

But...there is another. Enter Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead; a horror/comedy/musical gorefest from the seemingly indestructable shlock factory Troma Entertainment.

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