It’s been a long time under wraps, but glad I can finally announce that my short doc Strike: The Greatest Bowling Story Ever Told is now on The New York Times, kicking off their new curated Kickstarter documentary series. Check it out below and please share it!
Though we live in a digital world, for anyone that’s run a Kickstarter campaign, the reality of manufacturing and shipping is a frustrating, hair pulling event.
Obviously if your campaign is for a product this is to be expected, but I’m specifically focusing on films because, you know, that’s what I do. DVDs, posters, t-shirts: most Kickstarter film campaigns have physical goods involved which need to be made and eventually shipped.
As a one man band this can get costly and time-consuming. For Strike, one of the rewards included a bowling pin. But I only had to ship 5. Thinking about buying the boxes and packing material for such a low quantity, I knew it would either be pretty costly, eating up about 15%-20% of the cost of the reward, or I’d have a shit ton of boxes and packing material lying around from buying bulk.
So once I finally got the bowling pins and DVDs and posters together, it sat for a good month or two as I delayed trying to figure out how to ship them.
Then came the magic of the internet. I had been seeing ads for Shyp for a few weeks, mainly since they launched in Miami. For $5 they come to your house, pick up what you need to ship, and take care of the rest. You just pay the carrier fee (they price shop based on the weight and go with the lowest) on top of the $5 service charge.
I gave it a shot with something else I had been meaning to ship. Now I assumed that it was a $5 service fee per package. So when the Hero (Shyp’s name for their package pickup team) arrived I chatted about the service fee and found out that no, it’s not per package but per pickup. That’s the cost for them to go to your place. The number of packages doesn’t matter. He gave an extreme example that you could move your apartment for $5. Don’t think I’ll go that route next time I need to move but good to know.
As soon as I heard that it’s unlimited packages it wasn’t hard to guess where my thoughts went.
So I got back onto Shyp and started adding every reward that needed shipping. The annoying part was individually taking a picture of each shipment and typing every address out on my phone. A bulk upload feature would be nice but I realize this is probably an unusual use for the app.
I submitted to Shyp, the Hero arrived, we put each shipment into it’s own bag and he took it all away. Later that night I got an email confirmation saying everything had shipped along with tracking numbers. Weeks of procrastination finally over with a simple app.
You can use this promo link to sign up to get $30 credit towards a shipment (if you do ship I’ll also get $30 credit. Win / Win).
As a kid I bowled a lot, so when a story about bowling comes across my radar, I get really excited. I blasted through the article before I could even load it into Instapaper. It was about a special night in Plano, Texas, where bowler Bill Fong embarked on a streak to 900. That’s 3 perfect games in a row, something only 21 other people have done.
The story really pulls you along, going back and forth with the streak and the backstory of Bill Fong. The whole time I’m reading this I keep thinking, “This would make an awesome movie.”
Fortunately I didn’t read the teasers with the article, so I didn’t see the end coming. If you want, you can read the whole thing here.
But different images were just stuck in my head, and I kept thinking how much of a fun movie this would make. So I emailed the author, Mike Mooney, who coincidentally was also the author of the article on the story Andrew and I were shooting in Odessa. He agreed – it would make a cool film.
Fast forward through a phone call to an excited Bill Fong and some pre-production planning, I hit the road with a car full of gear about a week ago. After hours of hanging out at the Plano Super Bowl, filming countless strikes, and even driving a camera strapped to a race car down the lane, Strike is officially in the can.
I’m excited to start editing, and it’s been great how fast this project has moved forward. I’ll be writing a few more posts about production (especially the race-car camera). It was shot mostly on the Sony EX1 and Canon 5D, but I also shot on the GH2 and we rented a Sony FS700 for slow motion. Plus a GoPro. Interesting experience with all five cameras.
Of course there’s a Kickstarter to go along with the film. It’s near it’s goal, and it’s to cover the costs of production and post-production. There’s rewards for as little as $5 – any support will help.
If you have any questions, about the film or production, leave it in the comments and I’ll address it in the future posts!