The Fitzroy Update – 5 Kickstarter Lessons


The filmmakers of The Fitzory are really close to their goal. This is the final week, so if you want to be a movie investor here’s your chance. 

To celebrate the final push, Andrew Harmer, the writer-director of The Fitzroy gives his take on using Kickstarter to finance your project. 


The five things filmmakers can learn from Kickstarter (and visa-versa The five things Kickstarter creators can learn from filmmakers). By a filmmaker in the middle of a campaign!
Hello, I’m Andrew Harmer, the writer-director of the Fitzroy. Right up front I want to say we are currently slap bang in the thick end of a Kickstarter campaign.
Here’s the elevator pitch for the film.
The Fitzroy is a live action black comedy set in an alternative post-apocalyptic 1950’s. The world is covered in a poisons gas and the last place for a traditional seaside holiday is The Fitzroy hotel an abandoned submarine just of Margate.
This list isn’t necessarily the five things we have done, but it is the five things we would do (or be prepared for) if we started over again! Kickstarter, like film making is a constant learning curve and this list might well change by the end of the campaign.
1)   Tell the most interesting story.
You only really get one shot at a Kickstarter campaign or making a film. Sure you might do another one or another dozen but then a bus might also hit you! So you better make this one count and make it the best it can be.
And that means telling the best story you can.
A film has to be the very best ‘version’ of that story you can possibly tell. The most interesting, dramatic and honed story possible.  Nobody want’s the B plots to be more interesting than your focus so make sure you are telling the most interesting story.
The same goes for a Kickstarter campaign. You need to hook people into your campaign and to do that you need a great story (as well as a great product). And I don’t just mean the story you are selling, I mean the story behind the project. YOUR story. Your struggles, the adventure you have been on to get to this point. Is your idea based on a life altering brush with death? Did you witness a moment of kindness between an old man and his wife on the buss while riding the bus to work? It doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure it’s interesting and told the best way possible.
2) Be yourself.
Let your personality shine. I like films where I can ‘see’ the personalities of the filmmakers. I don’t always like those personalities, but I would much prefer to see an idiosyncratic film than a pixel pushing blockbuster with no heart. I truly believe a soul of a film comes from the people who make it. While it is being made it absorbs the personality and characteristics of the director (if they want it to). And I want to see that. Film is a personnel experience a conversation between the viewer and the director.
Same goes for Kickstarter, but to an even larger degree. The old adage ‘people invest in people’ is true. You have to put yourself out there. It’s scary but you have to share your passion, fears and hopes. Sure you might end up looking like a fool but if you don’t put yourself out there people will just turn off. But word of warning – don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’re funny be funny but if you are not don’t even try. Cool and hip? That’s fine but if you aren’t don’t force it. People can smell it, and it stinks. No bullshit. Just be yourself and people will engage with you.
3) Do it quick.
Okay this is straightforward. Kickstarter is on the web so you don’t have long to tell your story. Minutes, if you are lucky but seconds in reality. So you better make your page accessible, clear and your pitch video SHORT and to the point.
Same goes for the film (unless you’re Terrence Malick) edit, edit, edit. Cut the fat and edit that script so it’s tighter than a drum. All through the film and into post production, if it doesn’t move the story on then it goes. Don’t waste people’s time.
Word of warning though don’t jump the gun and rush head first in to it. With both Kickstarter and films make sure you are ready, that everything is prepared. And even if you think it is – it probably isn’t. Do it quick but make sure you are prepared.
4)   ­Know your audience and engage with them.
Kickstarter is social, very social. It is a direct link between creators and their audience and in my humble opinion a very powerful tool. But before you start a campaign you must identify the audience you are targeting. This could be fairly obvious, your family and friends, people with ipods, hardcore gamers, Teddy Ruxpin fans. Whatever your audience you need to identify them, find them and engage with them.
Film-makers need to do the same thing. There’s not a one size fits all film. Everyone has different tastes and yes you can try to create a film that appeals to as many people as possible and the mass market. But I prefer films that are aimed at… well… me and my tastes. There is a distinct risk when trying to appeal to everyone that you can water down a story. Be specific and know your audience.
5)   Take it seriously and have respect.
Both Kickstarter and filmmaking are, at the end of the day, businesses and you are asking for people’s time and money. That is not to be taken lightly. Sure you are hopefully giving back to them in the form of entertainment or in the case of Kickstarter some sort of reward. When people give you their hard earned money you have a responsibility, a contract to deliver on your promises and work your boney ass off to make sure you do.
If I can tell someone has put their heart and soul in to a project or a film it means a lot to me as an audience member and it pays dividends.
6)   Be flexible and learn to adapt.
Just like this list! It was meant to be five and we end up with six? It’s not a problem just not what I was expecting when I started writing. It took me by surprise. Your Kickstarter project is an organic beast­, it is going to change and develop as the campaign progresses. It is going to throw you some curve balls, stuff you planed will fail and other avenues and opportunities will suddenly appear. You can’t let the setbacks knock you, you just have to keep moving forward and be open to any new possibilities.
I can’t think off anything that is more applicable than that to film making! Be flexible and make it work.
So that’s it, that’s what I have learnt so far, and who knows what is around the corner. Hopefully we can reach our target and make an awesome film. If I heed my own advice, we just might!
If you would like to see how we are doing on our campaign please check it out. any advice or support in spreading the word would be warmly welcomed.

I hope you learned some valuable lessons about Kickstarter from the filmmakers of The Fitzroy.  For more information, review the latest Fitzroy Press Release.  

Tattoo Tuesday – Badge Revealed & Good News for Tattoo Museum in Amsterdam

SydTatTWOTattoo Tuesday will be a constant feature on my blog, if only for my own amusement. I welcome anyone with a great tattoo and/or a great tattoo story to share them with the world. My tattoos are inspired by my life and at the same time inspire my life everyday.  Maybe yours can do the same for others.  Thanks so much A.M. Schultz for creating the Tattoo Tuesday Badge. Click on the badge to read past Tattoo Tuesday posts.

Amsterdam Tattoo Museum


Every since I heard about the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum, I have been planning a trip to see it.  Sort of like the trip to Mecca for tattoo lovers.   A few weeks ago, the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum was shut down and the building owners were preventing the museum owner to operate any long and the collection of tattoo history was being held hostage.

Several events across the world by some of the best tattoo artist in the world were held to raising money to help the museum and protect its collection.

It looks like the campaigned worked and the museum is going to re-open.  I wanted to share this because I love the way the tattoo community rallied together to support and save a piece of their culture and history.  People coming together to help each other is a beautiful thing.

Check out the related post for more information and see how you can help.

Save the ATM
Amsterdam Tattoo Museum SOS
Amsterdam Tattoo Museum Needs Your Help
Amsterdam Tattoo Museum Winning Battle to Regain Access to Collection and Facility
F*ck Cancer! Fundraiser Next Month 

I Can’t Think of a Better Way to Spend my Day

After the tragedy last week in Connecticut, I can’t think of a better way to have spent my Saturday then to volunteer at the Christmas in the Park in Dallas, Texas.

The S.M Wright Foundation created this event to provide toys, bikes, books, clothes, beds and food to families who are less fortunate.  It was an amazing day and I am so proud to be a part of my community when they are on their best behavior and help each other.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families in Connecticut and my hope is that all of us find some peace and comfort in this world of chaos.

The Event provided items for over 3,500 families. 
Bikes as far as the eye could see.
Bikes as far as the eye could see.
Toyland Red Carpet - Personally I would have gone for the Easy Bake Oven
Toyland Red Carpet – Personally I would have gone for the Easy Bake Oven

It was a special afternoon and maked me feel blessed to be back home and have an opportunity to contribute.

Have a great week everyone, I will see you on Tuesday.

Jane George – A Letter to a Snapshot in Time

I just returned from a trip to New York City. So, I was really excited to share this post by Jane George about a city I love.  It’s my pleasure to welcome Jane George to my blog to celebrate Book Clubs, her novel, X-It and the City of New York.

A Love Letter to a Snapshot in Time by Jane George

My novel, X-It, takes place in New York City circa 1980-81, which doesn’t make it quite a historical novel, but we can at least call it a ‘vintage’ setting.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00071]

The Big Apple is as famous for how fast it changes as much as for Lady Liberty or Times Square. Screenwriter Nora Ephron referenced New York’s changeability in You’ve Got Mail, when children’s bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly writes to her secret email pal bemoaning the closing of her business:

“In fact, someone, some foolish person, will probably think it’s a tribute to this city, the way it keeps changing on you, the way you can never count on it, or something. I know because that’s the sort of thing I’m always saying. But the truth is…I’m heartbroken.”

The tragic events of 9/11, and more recently Hurricane Sandy, remind us that New York City is vulnerable to change from external forces as well as internal ones. This only serves to make the magic of any moment in The Big Apple more precious.

In X-It I made mention of more than one NYC characteristic from 1980 that no longer exists or has been fundamentally changed. One of the most profound is the condition and general ambience, shall we say, of the subway system. I returned to New York in 2009, not having been there since 1984. I felt safer on the New York subways than I do riding San Francisco municipal transit. But what the subways have gained in safety, cleanliness and air-conditioning they have lost in visual interest. The photography of John Conn captured the visceral truth of New York’s subways in the Eighties. The main character in X-It, J.J. Buckingham, takes the F Train from 14th Street to her job in Williamsburg every weekday to paint mannequins. She’s a sensitive soul, and the subway and its environs take its effect.

Several scenes in X-It take place on the rotting remains of the Chelsea Piers. Today, the Hudson River waterfront has been remade into a series of parks and playground on jetties. It’s beautiful, and barely recognizable from its condition in 1980. I took this shot that juxtaposes the old and new piers when I was there in 2009. The old pier is even more deteriorated in the photo than it was when the story takes place. And I’m sure Hurricane Sandy did even more damage. The water level rose above the cement shoreline in lower Manhattan.

J.J. and X-It sit on the rotting pier—it’s their special place— in the evening and watch another long-gone river landmark, The Maxwell House Coffee neon sign of a dripping coffee cup that was mounted atop the Maxwell House building in Hoboken. Here is a photo from the Hoboken Historical Museum of what J.J. and X-It saw. The bright drops have a special poignancy for J.J.


Change does not always necessarily engender some kind of loss. Once in a while we humans can remake something old and decayed into something new but keep, or even enhance, its visual interest and its heart. For instance, see how New Yorkers turned the old Highline elevated track into a community garden, art space, and walkway. This is J.J.’s task in X-It as well, how can she reclaim herself and yet remain true to who she is?




Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00071]

In 1980 NYC, eighteen-year-old J.J. Buckingham is an uptight trendoid. Working as a mannequin painter and a counter girl, she moonlights as a creature of the nightclubs. J.J. falls for aloof, crazy-talented artist and bicycle messenger X-It. In order to win his love, she succumbs to the dark machinations of drug dealer Marko Voodoo. X-It will love her if she’s the queen of underground Manhattan, right? Her plan backfires with horrendous consequences. J.J. must scrap her way out of a maze of drugs, clubs, and danger before she realizes she’s worthy of a better life. And true love might just come in the form of a clean-cut geek in Buddy Holly glasses.


The Reviews are in!

This book completely captivated me from start to finish. In fact, the first night I read about a quarter of it before bedtime. Then I tossed and turned for an hour thinking about the book, until finally I turned the lights back on, and read until a few hours before I needed to wake up. ~ William Hertling

X-It is a coming-of-age novel that is easily identifiable with for anyone who ever felt less-than-cool enough, or alone, or as though they weren’t living up to personal expectations, which, I believe, encompasses most of us. Reminiscent of Maggie Estep’s “Diary of an Emotional Idiot,” X-It contains some perfect moments of quiet truth. ~ Wendy Whiplash

From the very first pages I was drawn to J.J. – From her dripping purple hair dye through her slow, dark, and painful decent into the 80’s punk/club scene. Jane George truly created a dynamic character with incredible depth. To me this book read like a memoir, making it even more powerful and at times bittersweet. ~ Karen Toz

 Purchase Links:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00071]Kindle Edition:

Paperback Edition:


About the Author

Jane George author pic Author and illustrator Jane George lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a BFA in illustration from the California College of the Arts and has won awards for her art.

A dedicated writer for over a decade, she produces and publishes her YA fantasy and literary titles under her personal imprint, Paper Grove Publishing. Find out more at:



We’re early for the show. The lobby contains very few patrons and a huge expanse of lurid purple and blue carpeting. X-It pays, takes my hand, and leads me to the center of the lobby. All I think about is the touch of his fingers on mine.

“Stand here. Close your eyes, and hold out your hands,” he says.

I do as he asks. I am being showered with paper. No, not paper, I realize as I open my eyes.

Dazzling golden leaves rain out of his messenger’s bag. Feather-light, fresh and spicy, the leaves keep coming down. Upon my head. Into my palms. Onto the purple-blue carpet, where they stick in perfect chromic contrast.

X-It’s eyes glitter. “Happy Fall, J.J.!”

He’s magical. He is everything I ever wanted to be. I move to throw my arms about him, but he holds out his bag and shakes it, making sure all the leaves are out.

I take a step back.

We walk home after the film. X-It veers away from me, drawn to a newsstand by the image of Karisma smiling from several magazine covers at once.

“She’s so perfect,” he says.

I grit my teeth, yet straighten my spine in an effort to measure up.

“And here’s Brooke Shields in her Calvins. Incredible. Who do you think is more beautiful?”

I think Brooke looks like a gilded giraffe-child, but that doesn’t prevent me from envying every inch of Miss Shields. I want to scream at X-It, “Look at me! I’m beautiful! And I’m just your size!”

But I say, “I don’t know. We don’t have a mannequin head of Brooke, just Karisma. So it’s hard to say.”

“I think Brooke is perfect,” he says. “But if she was a mannequin, just think of all the Prismacolor pencils you’d go through doing her eyebrows.”

So he was listening when I told him how a mannequin’s eyebrows are drawn.

“Thousands,” I say.

I collapse against the brick wall in a fit of giggles. He joins me. Our heads arc close together. X-It’s face swims before me, isolated by the electric and bracing October night. His breath brushes my cheek. Our lips circle each other more than once.

And never manage to connect.

The first time I visited New York was in 1980 as a young kid and I have been back several times since. I can relate to the changes in the City Jane talked about in her post.  Very few can capture the pulse of the city in the written word and Jane does it perfectly.  

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to visit other stops on the Book Club Bash Tour.  


Tattoo Tuesday – Jennifer Ricketts

Hello Kitty tattoo heart grenade tattoo Poison bottle tattoo cameo tattoo





Jennifer Ricketts has some bad ass tattoos.  Just check them out and check out her answers to Tattoo Tuesday’s Five Questions.

1. How old where you when you got your first tattoo? I was 24 years old when I got my first tattoo.

2. What made you want to get your first tattoo? One of my favorite bands of all time is Green Day. Their American Idiot album was so inspiring to me, especially after being depressed that Al Gore lost the Presidential election to George W. Bush. I felt like the album spoke directly to me, and I loved the heart grenade symbol. After thinking about getting it as a tattoo for a year, I took the plunge!

3. How many tattoos doe you have? Right now I have four tattoos–the heart grenade and a bottle of poison on my left arm, and the beginnings of a cameo and Hello Kitty as a punk rocker on my right arm. 😀 I’m planning on having 3/4 sleeves done–my left arm will be what I like to call my “arm of destruction.” Along with the heart grenade and bottle of poison, I’d like to get a Day of the Dead skull, maybe a gun, a machete…it expresses my view that it’s ironic to believe using violence will bring about peace. Violence only begets more violence.

The pieces on my right arm each represent the people I love. My mom loved cameos, and I got that tattoo for her. She passed away when I was fourteen, and having this tattoo makes me feel like a part of her is still with me, especially after having my own children. The Hello Kitty tattoo is for my daughter–she loves Hello Kitty. I haven’t thought about what other pieces I’ll add, but I want the cameo to be finished first anyway. I want to add a frame and make the silhouette skeletal with inspiration from Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

I won’t only have tattoos on my arms, ha ha. I also want them on my legs, back and sides. I’d like a chest piece, but my husband is totally against the idea only because he thinks it’d be difficult to cover up for a future job.

4. What is your tattoo story?  If you have more than one tattoo, tell me your recent or your favorite tattoo story? My most recent tattoo is Hello Kitty, and I had it done last August when my husband and I were in Las Vegas celebrating our tenth anniversary together. We stayed at the Palms, which had a tattoo parlor in the casino part, and I couldn’t resist. 😀 Plus I think it’s funny to have gotten a Hello Kitty tattoo when I was thirty.

5. Tattoos on a significant other, like or dislike? Why? My husband has three tattoos–the lightning bolt hitting the man from the American Idiot album, the girl from Green Day’s Kerplunk album, and a rock-a-billy zombie. He has always said he thinks the girl on the cover of Kerplunk looks like me, and our son agrees. 🙂 My husband and I both think the tattoo artist didn’t do a great job on the lightning bolt–that was the first and only time my husband ever got a tattoo from that particular artist.

Thanks for allowing me to share my tattoo story, Sydney!! 😀

Thank you, Jennifer. And, I want to give a special shout out to Jennifer’s daughter who’s birthday was yesterday. Two days after mine.  Happy birthday to us!

Connect with Jennifer at: 
Twitter:  @pearlofagirl30

If you want to be featured on Tattoo Tuesday, please let me know. I love to hear your tattoo story.