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If you’re like us then you have a day job and you’re setting aside some time each week or month to focus on your passion project in the hopes that, one day, you’ll make it a full-time gig. We have just completed and submitted to Sundance our first feature, ‘Walking the Healing Path’. At this point we’re looking ahead to the future of All Kicker with our next project ‘Six and Bisti’. As we develop our company we need your skills and perspective to grow. We want to convince you that we’re stronger together, this is worth your time, and we can combine what we’re great at to make this vision real.
A graduate from the University of Connecticut, Ernie has over a decade of professional experience in filmmaking. In 2015, he was accepted into a year-long fellowship with Filmmakers Without Borders, teaching and making films in the Navajo Nation; which lead to a position at the business accelerator Creative Startups.
A Fordham University Alum, Ron was honored to return as a guest lecturer for a film he co-directed for All Kicker, ‘Fair Tomatoes.’ His seven years of professional film experience has earned him roles on and off camera and producing marketing videos for NY-local and national non-profit organizations.
Ideally Southwest or Northeast
A graduate or not; what matters more is your awesome sales experience and your highly extroverted networking skills. You can negotiate to the point of the company's success, you’re an artist or love working in the creative economy and definitely are not a horse.
NEW MEDIA PRODUCER
Ideally Southwest or Northeast
A student or a dropout because you’re passion is being a storyteller and you know talent when you see it. With the right platform and support you can build an online audience and you’re not a sad puppy.
WE ARE PRe-seed round
In-Kind Raised: $150,000+
We learned very early on that one of the key methods to the success of guerilla projects is to only raise money for the expenses that you can’t avoid. Everything else that would normally have a price tag or rental rate attached to it you should try to have donated. We model our producing after grassroots non-profit campaigns that gather as many resources as they can through in-kind sponsorship. This technique has gotten us sponsors such as car dealerships that donate production vehicles, local catering companies for craft services, private landowners that offer their property as a shooting location, props, costumes, and equipment. Sometimes support comes in formal ways from a major company such as Nissan and sometimes it’s an individual that enjoys supporting creative projects.
Currently, as a two-person team, we have devised a year-long bootstrapping phase to build up to our seed level. We want this passion project that currently lives in the margins of our day jobs to take over the majority of our time as we shift strategically and sustainably toward full-time filmmaking endeavours with All Kicker.
(Items in bold have been achieved)
1st Quarter (Oct - Dec 2017)
- 'Walking the Healing Path' submitted to Sundance
- Exhibition version of 'Walking the Healing Path'
- Entity Formation
- Pitch deck for 'Six and Bisti' begins
2nd Quarter (Jan - Mar 2018)
- 'Six and Bisti' pitch deck complete
- All Kicker begins exploring sources of capital to finance 'Six and Bisti'
- Sales version of 'Walking the Healing Path'
- Digest version of 'Walking the Healing Path' complete for university tour
4th Quarter (Jul - Sep 2018)
- ‘Six and Bisti’ production complete
- ‘Six and Bisti’ post-production begins
- ‘Walking the Healing Path’ university tour begins
- ‘Six and Bisti’ marketing and festival planning
3rd Quarter (Apr - Jun 2018)
- 'Walking the Healing Path' tour and online sales begin
- Pre-production for 'Six and Bisti' begins and conludes
- Production for 'Six and Bisti' begins
- Any festival screenings of 'Walking the Healing Path' conclude
This is a brief overview of that bootstrapping year. Open to changes and improvement.
Sources of Capital
At the pre-seed level, we want to focus on financial opportunities that don’t come attached with long-term investor relationships. It’s critical that the company develops its footing and trajectory on its own terms before beginning an investor relationship.
The core of our projects’ success is with sponsorship. Typically, we receive in-kind support that mitigates us exploring ways to raise money to cover the cost of things like locations, equipment, craft services, event venues, and other high cost resources. In finding ways to incentivise fiscal support, we’ve partnered with Filmmakers Without Borders that offers their 501c3 status so we can provide tax write-offs.
We’ve had two successful crowdfunding campaigns and one failure. This is still a viable area to explore for funding but without a strong presence on social media it’s best not to treat this as a source to gather all funding for a project. Instead, it can be an opportunity to raise a small amount while generating public interest.
As our network has grown, we’ve connected with grant writers that pursue niche, social justice, media arts, and other specific areas for fiction and documentary projects. We’ve been building a list of grants to apply for and as Filmmakers Without Borders alumni we also have access to grants from Tribeca All Access, National Geographic Explorer, and many others. Filmmakers Without Borders staff has also offered guidance in the application process.
Though revenue through sales of our first feature film is something we strive for, we also understand that finding alternative or supplemental ways to maintain an operating budget is crucial to our success. Videography and consulting take a lot of time to build and detract from growing creative pursuits, so we’re currently exploring how we can generate revenue that serves our ultimate goals.
A RETURN TO SATISFACTION
Cinematic event films and modern TV are now a kick-off celebration to experiencing nostalgia and unwitting addiction. Instead of putting story first, we worship at the altar of world building, franchises, and cliffhangers. Even serialized TV has been reduced to the role of drug pusher. It’s an insatiable deliverable. Instead of scenes that set-up the conclusion of a story; entire films or episodes are mere set-ups to subsequent entire films or episodes. We want to satisfy.
We admire the work of filmmakers and film companies that release very high quality film projects over long periods of time but that is not our ambition. We’ve learned very early on that constant creativity is what propels our quality for subsequent projects. We exercise this with our YouTube channel. It serves as a playground to experiment and test techniques and concepts before they hit feature film projects.
High budget films and YouTubers alike are pushing more and more toward gear-driven content; more concerned about the latest technology to provide an experience, no matter how shallow. Filmmaking is dangerously headed toward a set of basic cinematic grammar that supports form without substance. We’d rather tell a story on a woefully outdated camera to thumb our nose at this tragic trend.
We’re not working at this in hopes to someday get bought. It’s true that the digital revolution has leveled the playing field but our endgame is not to use this as a cheaper way to get noticed by a bigger distributor. We are looking to build a company because tech has offered filmmakers, for the first time since the studio days, the ability to run a small business that is vertically integrated. We look at our company to be a member of the creative economy.
SHARING THE STAGE
An obvious place to start is to make our company a platform for perspectives from native, xicano, black, and immigrant voices. Identity politics are important but introducing stories that are seldom told from perspectives that are overlooked can enrich audiences while improving their understanding of those politics.
AGENCY IN FILMMAKING
From the beginning of cinema, filmmaking has been a powerful tool for propaganda. Film would later evolve to offer count-messages and influence social action. Films with messages are great but we are not resigned to making films the way they have always been made. We are perpetually looking for new ways to tell new stories and see what we have never seen in a film before; as well as participate in the actions that we support.
CINEMATIC CODE OF ETHICS
It started with the Bechdel test but there have been so many other ways to understand how individuals and institutions are represented in film. We want to craft a code of cinematic ethics that also serves as a discipline to help tell the stories we want to tell. This would be a living document that’s up to date with the context of society, allowing us to connect to an evolving audience. This is not about staying trendy, this is about correcting stagnant values in storytelling.
THE “HIGH-HORSE” TONE OF OUR VALUES IS NOT LOST ON US
Though we are producers, as guerilla filmmakers, we are much more. Wearing a lot of hats is the nature of any indie film company but there’s a difference between roles you’re willing to do to get the job done and roles that truly bring you joy. We’re not jacks of all trades, we’re polymaths!
Some skills we’d love to see in a co-founder:
All of us having some basic ability in shooting and editing would be critical for any kind of opportunity we may want to pursue. As a company it’s our paper and pencil.
We’re by no means limited to considering these however. If you posses the same skills as us but can bring in something alternative then that’s great too!
STRUCTURE AND ENTITY
When you review our history below, you’ll see there was a time when our team was much larger. Back then we were just a group of friends and didn’t have much understanding of what specific roles were needed to run a business. That was seven years ago and we’ve learned a lot about the kind of talent that makes sense for project-to-project collaborations and who needs to be a fixture in the company in order to achieve what we want.
We’ve spent a lot of introspection to understand what our personalities are most adept to. We’ve also been looking at alternative models from other industries and seeing what we can learn. The idea of a more democratized structure similar to a law firm or medical practice has a lot of appeal. We also have a lot of plans for altruistic work to accompany our film projects, which works well as a Benefits Corporation or B-Corp.
Once we have a finalized business model, mission, vision, and set of goals in place we intend to meet with a startup attorney to understand the best option for us.
WHY JOIN US
OUR NETWORK IS YOUR NETWORK
We’ve amassed a host of contacts from many sectors in our direct network and extended network including venture capitalists, sponsors, on screen talent, crew, facilities, and much more. Let our years of schmoozing go to work for our mutual success.
DON’T SCREW UP ALONE
In our history below you can see the things we’ve done right and what we’ve done wrong. Don’t make a choice that will set you back without considering what our result was. We’ve seen a lot and done a lot with mixed outcomes. We can also help carry the weight and be a fresh pair of eyes.
WE CAN SUPPORT YOU
The trajectory and focus of this company changes when you enter it. We’re not fixed or set in stone. If your ideas are too big to do alone, they are reachable, unique, and serve our core values, then join us and let us support you. We can be stronger together.
HOW IT WORKS
1.) YOU’D BE A CO-FOUNDER
As a co-founder, you have “skin in the game.” Your benefit from All Kicker is company wide and not dependent on certain projects you’re working on. In short, you get equity.
Before we join forces, we ask that you sign a standard NDA (non-disclosure agreement) so that any information that we share, or you share, in confidence is kept confidential.
5.) TERM LIMIT
We don’t expect an indefinite term with All Kicker, we would be adding in what is called a sunset clause so that you have the option to discontinue your work with us if you so choose.
2.) FLEXIBLE COMMITMENT
Unless things are really picking up for us we don’t expect you to quit your day job! Premature actions can hurt all of us. Let’s work together to see how this commitment fits into your life.
4.) THE AGREEMENT
We’d like to discuss terms and conditions of the relationship so we can compose an agreement as you would be a signee on the LLC or other entity serving as a co-founder.
This partner agreement would be reviewed by an attorney, and you are of course welcome to have an attorney or anyone else you trust to review the content.
We encourage you to read our history below. We want to be as transparent as possible about our successes and our failures. Write down plenty of questions; suggestions are very welcome, we want to check our egos at the door and sincerely be great at telling stories and offering qualities that are lacking to this medium. No matter what you decide, your careful consideration in this matter is paramount to our successes as individuals and as a group.
Whatever the team ends up looking like, one of the first steps will be to compose the Business Model Canvas below so we can understand how to be as lean as possible as we look beyond our bootstrapping year.
There were five of us in the beginning. We were all fresh out of college, a serious career was on the horizon but there was a good window of time to take a risk on something ambitious. We figured that if we put in the time now, we could really grow something and maybe do well enough to not worry about finding a real job. Our start was auspicious. We decided to make YouTube videos, documentary series, and generally build a platform and an audience so we could prepare the stage for our greater ambition of making feature films. Some of the online shows we made: The Corrugated Universe (an artist profile series), Ronaldo Tours (food and travel), and some other videos were generating local attention and we were not going viral but seeing the kind of hit count that YouTubers would get in their early years. We were still really green as a group. We knew what we wanted creatively but no one had any business acumen or enough inclination to figure out how to scale and stay organized. These were unknown concepts to us and we just wanted to create. It was ultimately unsustainable and as time passed we all needed to start making money and things began to fizzle out. There were some excellent take-aways though, we learned a lot about how to put a set together, produce shoots, raise money, and execute ideas. We just didn’t know how to stay afloat or grow. It then whittled down to two of us working a couple hours a week. The network we built helped carry us to our first major milestone.
'Fair Tomatoes' (2012)
We received a call from Jose Duarte, who was featured in the Boston episode of Ronaldo Tours. Aside from being a chef and restaurateur Jose is passionate about food justice and understanding food sustainability. It was during a chef summit that he met with leaders a coalition that serves to protect the interests of farmworkers in southwest Florida. They had been receiving national attention with their “Campaign for Fair Food” and Jose recruited us to make a short documentary film about their efforts.
Touring the Film (2012-2015)
After completing the film came the question of film festivals and distribution. We were embarking on new territory and in the meantime were sharing our progress on social media. A tweet we sent out with a trailer to the film caught the eye of Scripps College in Claremont, California. We were invited out to screen the film for their honors program. From there we also were given an honorarium to lead a seminar on the themes as well as the making of the film. It was the positive reception of this screening that lead to a snowball effect as we began a college tour of the film. We were able to generate revenue through speaking fees and workshops that would accompany the film instead of ticket or online sales. We decided to skip the festival circuit entirely and put our energy into this tour, which brought us to Fordham, Yale, NYU (which invited us four times), and host of other educational institutions. In 2015 Ron concluded the tour on his own as Ernie was selected for a filmmaking and film teaching fellowship in the Navajo Nation.
'Six and Bisti' (2016)
The creative assignments from the fellowship included the ability to pitch and produce a feature-length film. Since Filmmakers Without Borders cannot secure funds for this, it’s offered as an optional assignment. We knew this would only work if we looked to films like ‘El Mariachi’ that was made for a mere $7k using creative problem solving to make a guerilla film that may be rough around the edges but is still a great story that could draw attention at festivals. With the artists and resources we developed in the Navajo Nation, we felt inspired to take this on. We had free access to horses and a massive ranch that had most of our shooting locations.
We weren’t able to secure as much funding as we had hoped but the $3,400 we did raise was enough to shoot some select scenes to add to a pitch deck to raise more funds when we plan to continue this project in 2018.
Becoming Entrepreneurs (2016)
Following the completion of the fellowship and the uncertain next steps of ‘Six and Bisti,’ we moved to nearby Albuquerque with the hopes that the lower cost of living would mean having more free time to focus on the future of All Kicker and its projects. Ron went back to his roots starting teaching an intensive stage combat course at a local arts-ed non-profit.
Ernie, had a meeting with the executive director of the business accelerator, Creative Startups, in hopes to pitch All Kicker to her. The idea was turned down due to the high-risk of investing in film projects and lack of scalability. There was, however, an admin position opening up in the company and she offered the job to Ernie so that he might be able to learn more about entrepreneurship and understand the steps necessary to build a successful startup. In a matter of months Ernie moved from admin to becoming the resident filmmaker, producing marketing material and the video content for the company’s Accelerator program. This content is now being utilized by Creative Startups sites in Albuquerque, Winston-Salem, Baltimore, Kuwait City, Malaysia, with more sites in development. Exposure to a host of seasoned entrepreneurs and full access to Creative Startups’ world-class curriculum enabled us to pivot our current strategies with All Kicker.
In early 2017 Ron moved back to the NY-area to maintain the relationships we had developed in previous years; working as a freelance videographer. Ernie remained in Albuquerque to continue working part-time with Creative Startups. The most important realization we had was that to get the funding ‘Six and Bisti’ deserves we had to set our sights on developing a project that could be done at the guerilla level with far fewer resources...
'Walking the Healing Path' (2017)
One of the Associate Producers of ‘Six and Bisti’, John Tsosie, is also the co-founder of a domestic violence non-profit in the Navajo Nation that focuses on building bridges between native communities with annual walks. 2017’s walk was a 10-day, 160-mile journey from the Navajo Nation to White Mountain Apache. All Kicker worked with John to turn this event into a feature-length documentary, capturing stories from survivors, activists, reformed men, and others to showcase how native leaders are taking action in their own communities to end domestic violence. The film also explores the systemic contributors to this cycle of violence while examining methods of breaking the cycle. This will be All Kicker’s first feature film and the response it receives will be an important stepping stone to resume production of ‘Six and Bisti.