Making a Movie: How to Build a Kickstarter

Primary Instinct

Making a Movie” is a series of columns that chronicles our attempt to make, market, and distribute a film with Stephen Tobolowsky in 2014

Thanks to you guys, we met our Kickstarter goal in just 12 days. Our Kickstarter project now has just a few hours left to go (you can still back us by clicking here), but we are well into pre-production for our upcoming shoot.

Our Kickstarter project took me roughly six weeks of work to create. Looking back, there are a lot of things I would’ve done differently. After the jump, I share some learnings I’ve had throughout this process. I also had the chance to chat with Cesar Kuriyama and Matt Reynolds, both of whom had great success with their respective Kickstarter projects. Cesar successfully funded his 1SecondEveryday app and Matt got his film, The Great Chicken Wing Huntfinanced. A podcast recording of our chat can be found below.
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Making a Movie” is a series of columns that chronicles our attempt to make, market, and distribute a film with Stephen Tobolowsky in 2014. Our Kickstarter is still live and you can support our film project by going here.

I set out to make a movie with Stephen Tobolowsky this year because I realized that I had a healthy working relationship with one of the greatest character actors of all time, and I had a job that allows me to be relatively free for most weekends (thus giving me the free time to develop/shoot the footage we might need to assemble a film). Initially, my plan was to teach myself how to shoot and edit video to the point where Stephen and I could just make the film ourselves. While I’ve made some progress on that front, I quickly realized that even if I did get good at these things, I’d still need a crapton of help to make the type of movie I wanted to. So I decided we needed to work with a production company to make this movie happen.

The company we’re now working with, Super Frog Saves Tokyo, embodies everything we want in a production house. They are small, scrappy, internet-savvy, and they know how to put together great videos. After the jump, see a teaser trailer they made for our upcoming Kickstarter film. Note that this was not made using Kickstarter funds, but by Super Frog as a fun creative exercise in how we might position/market the film.
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Here is the “Million Dollar Rabbit”, Thistle. Is he really worth that much? The truth is he is probably worth more.

We’re making a Tobolowsky Files movie! Back us at

The Tobolowsky Files is a podcast from the people who brought you the /Filmcast, featuring a series of stories about life, love, and the entertainment industry, as told by legendary character actor Stephen Tobolowsky. You can e-mail Stephen at stephentobolowsky(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

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Making a Movie: My First Day On Set

Stephen Kickstarter 4

Making a Movie” is a series of columns that chronicles our attempt to make, market, and distribute a film with Stephen Tobolowsky in 2014. Our Kickstarter is still live and you can support our film project by going here.

On Wednesday, I woke up at 5:30 AM and spent the whole day shooting test footage for the film I’m working on with Stephen Tobolowsky. We had an ambitious schedule: between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., we were going to take one of Stephen’s stories and shoot different segments of it in four different locations (we plan to edit them together to form a single cohesive story). Later, at 8 p.m., Stephen performed a 45-minute story in front of a crowd of two dozen people in a local coffee shop, which we also filmed. Depending on how all the footage turns out, we may incorporate it into the final film.

I can now say that I have tasted the life of a filmmaker (actually, not even a full taste – more like an amuse-bouche) and it is definitely challenging as all get out.
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Steph 9.24.08 PM

Wow. It’s been a wild ride but you guys have taken our Kickstarter project from $0 to fully funded in about 12 days. Thanks so much to everyone in the /Film community for making this happen!

After the jump, see a special, heartfelt thank you video from Stephen Tobolowsky himself.
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2014 Is The Year We Make a Movie with Stephen Tobolowsky


Four and a half years ago, I recorded my first podcast episode of “The Tobolowsky Files” with Stephen Tobolowsky, featuring true stories about life, love, and Hollywood. Stephen is an incredible storyteller and in the time since that first podcast was published here at, even more people have gotten the chance to enjoy his stories through a book from Simon & Schuster, a radio show by Public Radio International, and several sold-out live shows.

Now we’d like to take Stephen’s stories to the big screen. And we need your help to do it.

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