One-of-a-kind experiences, designer items entice baby boomers to crowd-funding platform
The numbers are against them, but screenwriter/producer Alexander Janko and team are hoping to draw baby boomers to the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to garner development funds for the feature film “Year by the Sea,” based on Joan Anderson’s three New York Times’ best-selling memoirs.
According to audience measurement company Quantcast, only 20% of Kickstarter backers are over age 45. However, this demographic is the primary audience for Anderson’s books, which have sold hundreds of thousands of copies translated into 19 languages.
“We know we’re bucking the trend,” Janko said. “But 100 million Americans turned 55 in 2013, and the share of movie tickets sold to boomers spiked. When this audience becomes aware of a film being created for them, we believe they’ll show their support.”
The 30-day initiative, with a goal to raise $50,000, launches May 21st at 9pm EST.
Kickstarter is an online crowd-funding platform that allows projects to raise money by offering items and experiences in return for financial pledges. Campaign creators establish their own rewards, which begin at $1 and can reach as high as $10,000. Each project must meet its goal by the stated deadline, or no money is collected.
Janko has recruited top NYC fashion guru Kenny Bonavitacola to design the reward tier merchandise, as well as provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by creating a one-of-a-kind couture ensemble for a top-tier pledger.
Other top-tier items include a day on the Cape with Joan Anderson, a speaking role in the movie, and a chance to conduct the film’s orchestra during a recording session.
The Kickstarter campaign will end June 20th at 11:59pm EST.
“Year by the Sea” is about a baby boomer who realizes she’s lost her identity beyond the roles of wife and mother. Overnight she decides to take a break from her marriage and rediscover herself. While on Cape Cod she meets a slew of locals, including Joan Erikson, wife of famed psychologist Erik Erikson, who becomes Anderson’s mentor.
According to data journalism website FiveThirtyEight, films that pass the Bechdel test—two female characters must talk about something other than a man—enjoy a 37% higher return on investment compared to male-centric films.
Even still, “Film financiers want proof,” Janko said, “not only that a fan base exists, but that these fans actually want to see the movie made.”
“Year by the Sea” now claims more than 1,700 “likes” and counting on Facebook. Last month, the team hosted a screenplay reading on Cape Cod attended by fans from as far away as Michigan.
Janko anticipates similar support in the Kickstarter campaign. While he would welcome raising the film’s full budget ($5M) via pledges—as Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here” and “Veronica Mars” accomplished—his $50,000 goal will help finance ongoing development.
“We’ll be able to hire some crew, attach talent, and build upon our momentum,” he said, adding several notable actors have already expressed interest in the screenplay.
An award-winning writer and composer, Janko has worked on more than 65 major motion pictures. He composed the score for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the highest grossing romantic comedy in history, then co-executive produced “The Coexist Comedy Tour.” He has penned a one-act stage play, five screenplays, two TV pilots and a mini-series now in development. His book, VMS (the first of a tween action-adventure series), will be published July 2014.
Joan Anderson is a Cape Cod author and motivational speaker. Her memoir, “A Year by the Sea,” was on the NYT best-seller list for 32 weeks and was followed by “An Unfinished Marriage,” “A Walk on the Beach,” “A Weekend to Change Your Life” and “The Second Journey” — all translated worldwide. She has appeared on “Oprah,” “Weekend Today,” and “Good Morning America,” and holds weekend retreats for women year-round.
With a career spanning more than 30 years, Kenny Bonavitacola has fashioned couture for some of the world’s most recognized labels, retailers and celebrities. After honing his skills under master tailor Piero Dimitri, he launched his own label featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and more. He’s also created made-to-order clothing for Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Jean Smart and Audra McDonald, amongst others, and has held design positions at Perry Ellis, Bill Blass, Tahari and, most recently, Tadashi Shoji.