"It's opportunities like creating these films which can make people realise just how talented they are."
As part of their Kickstarter campaign for feature length horror/thriller/noir film "Sara, Exponential", Simon and Marielle Birks are giving people the opportunity to contribute their own 15 second film about what scares them. Unlike other crowdfunding campaigns, this is not some expensive reward tier; this is available to everyone who donates just £1 or above.
As Simon explained, "This is our second Kickstarter this year. The first one we ran was in January, and that was looking for money to fund the printing of my new comic, Sinners. One of the best lessons I learned from this experience was when I asked the backers what sort of rewards they would like to see. I wasn't sure what sort of answers I'd get, but the best feedback was from a backer who said that a lot of the rewards are set outside of people's limits. I thought a lot about what they'd said. There's a reason, of course, why there are higher level rewards, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that, wherever possible, I wanted the rewards to be more accessible to everyone."
"So, for the 'Sara, Exponential' campaign, I decided that every backer should get the chance to do something interesting. Usually, the lowest funding tier is just a social thank you, which is very nice, but it's not much of an incentive to hand over your hard earned cash. So, by giving everyone who gives us money the chance to take part in creating a sister film to the main one, I'm hoping the people who visit our page will come away with an excellent, challenging, perk."
Each film should only be fifteen seconds long, and should be about something that the backer finds scary. This could be them telling of an experience they've had, or a fictional story of their own, or even a 15 second narrative film. "I wanted something that would fire people's imaginations, and be within the scope of everyone with a smartphone and a pound to spare," Simon continued. "That's the great thing about modern technology. This sort of creativity is not limited to the few anymore," Simon explained. "It's opportunities like creating these films which can make people realise just how talented they are." Should the project reach its £20000 funding goal, the short films submitted will be featured on the film's website, and the top 360 will be made into a 90 minute film, called "Sara, Exponential – Real Scary".
There are several rules to the short films. No nudity or swearing, and the films must not contain any content which the owner does not have the permission to use, for example, music.
"We're really excited about making this sort of opportunity open to all," Simon says, "And we can't wait to start watching what our backers' ingenuity can come up with."
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About Thoroughly Professional Productions
Thoroughly Professional Productions Limited are husband and wife team Simon and Marielle Birks. Founded in 2009 to promote both Simon's writing and their acting, TPP successfully produced full length comedy play "Station'ry", taking it to the Brighton Festival Fringe the following year.
Since then, TPP has focused on Web-TV and Film projects. In 2013, they shot the award winning 6 part web sit-com Last Contact, starring Norman Lovett (Holly from Red Dwarf) and Pooja Shah (Eastenders, Bend It Like Beckham).
Following that, Simon co-wrote and acted in award-winning comedy film "The Search for Simon", featuring Carol Cleveland (Monty Python), Tom Price (Torchwood), Sophie Aldred (Dr Who), Simon Jones (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), Chase Masterson (Star Trek) and Noeleen Comiskey (Eastenders). The Search for Simon was called "Very Silly!" by Michael Palin and "A Triumph" by Terry Jones.
In 2014, TPP shot the feature film, "Symbiote", set in a semi-apocalyptic world, and following the journeys of Clay and Lola as they try to find each other in a hostile landscape.
They have also shot two short films. "Folded" in 2009, and "Tuesday's Mask" in 2014.
Simon successfully ran a Kickstarter in January 2015 to fund printing of his first comic book "Sinners", about a girl called Hope Martinez, who wakes up dead one day, and is then given the keys to a mysterious black limousine and told she must travel America gathering the sinners.
Future projects include two web comics, Gone and The Herebey Dragons, as well as a number of films.
Thoroughly Professional Productions is based in Angmering, West Sussex.
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