Next Wednesday (Nov 9th) at 7pm, in the Regent Square Theater, Steeltown Entertainment is hosting its Kick-Off Event of the Steeltown Film Factory, a nationally recognized screenwriting competition that awards up to $30,000 to the winning screenplay to be produced in Pittsburgh. The event will play host to Hollywood industry professionals, as well as screen the products of previous years’ competition winners.
About a year ago, I wrote a short, 12-page screenplay and submitted it to the Film Factory competition. The screenplay, “First Kiss”, follows the story of Adam Schoenberger, a fourteen year old boy who finds out a pretty girl wants to kiss him at his best friend’s Spin the Bottle party. My script finished as one of the three finalists of the 2011 competition, and I had the incredible experience of pitching to a panel of industry professionals in every round of the Film Factory competition.
Talent lives here
The stated objective of Steeltown Entertainment is to “build connections between local companies and the national entertainment industry” and “support and invest in the socially and commercially significant film and media industry of the Pittsburgh region.” This past summer, Pittsburgh played host to a whole slew of high profile Hollywood films, slated for release in the near future. Once the ultimate setting for all apocalyptic zombie movies, Pittsburgh is now attracting a new kind of film genre – action/drama thrillers like The Dark Knight Rises and coming of age dramedies such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
My own project is in the spirit of the latter. As a senior film student at Carnegie Mellon University, I am now producing and directing my screenplay as an independent short film to be shot in Pittsburgh this December. I’m working with a crew of incredibly talented filmmakers within the local Pittsburgh community, and we’re looking forward to sharing our work with you.
All or nothing
Funding has always been a source of worry for independent artists and filmmakers. Crowd-funding platforms such as KickStarter have helped creative projects get off the ground by offering a platform from which project creators can reach a larger audience. KickStarter requires project creators to offer tangible rewards to contributors at every level, and its “all or nothing” funding policy ensures that credit cards of backers will be charged only if the project is fully funded. The philosophy behind this is that “all or nothing” funding gives backers some insurance that they aren’t funding a project that lacks the resources it needs to fully deliver on results. I’ve seen a lot of great projects funded through Kickstarter, as well as a lot of equally great projects fail to receive funding because they weren’t able to reach a wide enough audience.
We recently launched a Kickstarter for our short film, “First Kiss”.
In order to produce our preview video, which features the first scene of the screenplay, we relied on a small cast and crew comprised entirely of friends within the Pittsburgh filmmaking community, the kindness and cooperation of the Coca Cafe in Lawrenceville, and a shoe-string budget of $100. We’re trying to reach our fundraising goal of $6,000 by November 25th in order to receive funding. Two weeks in, we are at 25% funding, thanks to an incredible response from the Kickstarter community (which featured us on their official blog), friends, neighbors, and strangers who wanted to help us bring this story to life.
I hope you’ll consider donating to our Kickstarter for “First Kiss”. It’s a story I feel particularly close to – aside from my personal sensibilities that trend towards stories about the pangs of adolescence, I also think that the story of a first kiss is one of those few universal somethings that almost everyone can relate to. We’ll be screening our Kickstarter preview video at the Film Factory Kick-Off Event next Wednesday; I hope to see you there!
On a side note: we’re collecting first kiss stories on our Facebook event wall! Post your story! (time + location + one contextual detail)