Monday, June 03, 2013

The one Kickstarter celebrity campaign I can support

I know I've been down on actors taking advantage of their notoriety to get money from fans on Kickstarter, but suddenly a project has come along that's so important, so VITAL that even I have to change my tune.

Zosia and Clara Mamet, daughters of poverty stricken playwright, David Mamet, need $32,000 to make a music video of their original song.  Zosia, of course, is one of the girls on GIRLS and even had Lena Dunham tweet all her millions of followers urging them to contribute to this most worthy cause.

Get a Kleenex ready when you hear this.   Zosia (who obviously makes no money co-starring in an HBO series) and her sister need a way to bond.  And they thought a great way to do that is make a $32,000 music video together of an original song that they wrote and sang.   And here's the part that will melt your heart -- it's not for them -- it's a way to share their music with YOU.   How can you not love these selfless waifs?

Now here's the shocking thing:  even with such a noble cause, even with Lena Dunham's endorsement, they've raised like $1,000 from forty-one backers.  VERONICA MARS raised more than two million in that same amount of time.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!

HAVE YOU NO HEART?

Clearly, there is no other way in the world for these two sisters to bond!  Otherwise, why would they possibly ask YOU to give them your money?   Plus, they're only half-sisters.  Doesn't that make it all the more poignant?   Half-sisters for godsakes!

What's that you say?  They're privileged girls from a well-to-do heavily-connected family and their song is trite and sounds like it was written in a matter of minutes (which they admit it was)?  You're missing the point.  They wanna. 

The campaign ends June 9th.  Here is their Kickstarter video.  Listen to passion in their voices, listen to their emotional plea, listen to their music.  And if you're like me, if you have even an ounce of humanity and love for your fellow man, you'll give generously so that these girls have something to do one afternoon.

54 comments:

Johnny Walker said...

Dammit Ken! You didn't provide a link to their Kickstarter. I guess I won't be able to contribute.

Oh, well.

Richard Rothrock said...

Maybe their dad has disowned them after they said bad things about his Specter movie?????? Maybe they only make minimum wage on GIRLS??????

404 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
404 said...

Ya know, it's gotta be tough being on a very popular show where some other vapid twenty-something is considered "the voice of her generation." Maybe this is Miss Mamet's way of claiming that title for herself

Scooter Schechtman said...

Dad was a Romney supporter, so maybe he disowned them because they DIDN'T make minimum wage.

Anonymous said...

Given that David Mamet is now a rabid right-winger who writes about the evils of Government intervention and "handouts", I'm sure that he will decry what his daughters are doing. After all, if the Government shouldn't help someone feed their family, people shouldn't help two rich, privileged singer/actors make a music video.

Johnny Walker said...

Their fundraising video gives Christopher Guest a run for his money -- if only it meant to.

Ultimately it's another reason to love Kickstarter: People who think they're The Great I Am learn a valuable lesson about how great they actually are. I hope they take something positive away from this experience!

Michael Stoffel said...

That's the girl from my favorite show "The Neighbors"!

luciuspaisley said...

Sounds like you're making waves everywhere, Ken...

http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/why-youre-being-asked-to-fund-celebritys-vanity-projects-20130602-2ni9f.html

Umbriago said...

I leaned more torwards this woman making sparkle gift boxes, she only needs $12,000.

But then I leaned back.

Igor said...

From their Kickstarter page: "Being in the entertainment industry has its lesser known downsides, like being taken out of the town your family lives in..."

Does that mean when they're, like, abducted? Cool.

Stevie C said...

I'm gonna pledge 14 cents. I care Ken I really do. Please don't think we're all heartless

Mac said...

Wow! I thought you were making that up, but no - there they are - just two regular girls who don't where their next Manolo Blahniks are coming from.


Anonymous said...

Isn't her name Zosia?

Patrick said...

I dig the sarcasm, but her name is Zosia, not Zosla.

Rockgolf said...

Hey, Ken, a congrats on making the WGA 101 Best Written TV Series of all-time at least 3 times. M*A*S*H was #5, Cheers #8 and The Simpsons #11.

Hard to beat that average.

Link is to full list in quiz format.

Johnny Walker said...

Fun quiz, Rockgolf. I got 58 out of 101 - with no cheating. (It'd be pretty easy to Google those names!)

Here's the link for anyone who wants to play along: QUIZ: 101 Best TV Series by WGA

I was kicking myself when they were all revealed, though, as so many of the ones I didn't get are well-known classics!

Mikey123 said...

Ken, how do premium cable shows earned money? You mentioned that Mamet didn't earn money from Girls.

Anonymous said...

Make it stop.

Rob Putnam said...

Where there's a will ... they've probably been left out of it.

This has inspired me to follow my dream of becoming a writer. Accordingly, I'll launch a Kickstarter to finance a three-month retreat to a Malibu beach house. I've had two or three good ideas in as many years and I'll need this time and space to realize them fully. Donors at the $10,000 level will be eligible to give notes, receive a tote bag or to stay at the guest house on any weekday that I'm not there (food and staff not included).

Remember: a writer writes ... in Malibu.

RCP said...

Again with the Kickstarter?!

Frank Paradise said...

They just don't write songs like this anymore! I'm in for a Loonie if the rock starlets can wait till next pay day.

Rebecca said...

Dang, I wish I'd read this before I sent all that money to the Red Cross to help the Oklahoma tornado victims. Those kids can rebuild their school out of popsicle sticks and chewing gum!

Cap'n Bob said...

If they plan to do it in the nude, I'm in for a buck.

Roger Owen Green said...

Well, it's up to $2,521 pledged of $32,000 goal. 7% with 6 days to go.
If one REALLY wants to find it: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/512169314/the-cabin-sisters-zosia-and-clara-mamet

Victor Velasco said...

No one put a gun to my head, but the minute of the video that I watched are :60 of my life that can never be retrieved...There. I've accepted the blame and responsibility and moved on.

jbryant said...

That WGA quiz was fun (I got 96 right before the clock beat me), but the ranking order was wack. Phil Silvers Show down the 80s? Sex and the City in the top 40 of all time? Diff'rent strokes, I guess (no, not the series).

Johnny Walker said...

Roger, what little money they have pledged was probably from family and friends. Unless Daddy fills in the remaining 30K, I guarantee they're not going to make it.

To put it another way: They're 60% through their funding period, but only 7% funded. It ain't going to happen.

Wilkinson said...

I think you're all missing the point here. The outrageous thing is not, that they want money from us for their crappy song to make a video, but that they need thirtytwo-fucking-thousand dollars to do it! Besides the fact, that the song is ridiculously bad, what the fuck do they wanna do in the video that is so expensive? Normal people would shoot this thing with their fucking cell phone and some friends, but obviously these spoiled brats can't even think about shooting something without a first class catering, an ARRI Alexa and several kingsized RVs for their fucking dogs. David must be so proud!

Johnny Walker said...

This is almost an entire blogpost, but I was hoping I could get your thoughts on this, Ken.

When I lived in LA I worked with some very nice people, most of whom had some aspirations at being in the entertainment industry. One colleague I became friends with told me he was an actor. That was fine, many actors still have to keep working a regular job between acting gigs.

But when I went to look up his profile in the IMDB, I discovered some anomalies. Even his modest list of credits seemed dubious and faked. It was clear he had been telling tall tales.

I never said anything to him. He was always extremely nice to me, plus I secretly wished I was wrong.

Cut to yesterday evening: I decided listen to the TV Writer Podcast for the first time. I always enjoy listening to advice and stories from industry insiders, and the episode description read:

"[Name Withheld] is back! In an interview that is sure to change the path of your career, [Name Withheld] relates in great depth how and why some artists fail, and others succeed."

The interviewee was also "Emmy nominated" with "20 years of experience".

I made it 15 minutes before I stopped the interview and deleted the episode. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard.

The interviewee claimed that the "biggest step" in becoming a writer is really believing you're a writer.

Hmm. OK. There may be some truth in the power of committing to something, so maybe that's what he meant, but then came this doozy:

"The next step is saying it out loud. Whether you like to believe it or not, things you say, whether good or bad, probably will come true."

As way of proof, he had this sage-like observation:

"A good example: I would say that 99.99999% of all divorces start with the word 'divorce'. Someone brings it up and, lo and behold, that's what happens."

I suddenly felt very dirty. This was terrible advice. Just who was this guy anyway?

I looked him up online and, as it turned out, while having some writing credits on the IMDB, he had NOT received an Emmy nomination. In fact, he hasn't been nominated for anything. And his TV career spanned 8 years, not 20.

Ok, so that’s still an accomplishment – although I don’t know if it makes him an expert – and maybe the podcast host got his facts wrong.

I researched more and discovered that his personal website listed "credits" for projects which don't appear to exist anywhere else on the internet. Not even on trade magazine sites. And the 20 year, award-winning, Emmy-nominated claim was right there, too. Uh oh.

I was suddenly reminded of my old friend back in LA. Was this guy cut from the same cloth? Was he making more of what he’d done and, worryingly, even becoming recognized as an industry expert?

My head span as I read more on his site: There were TV and radio interviews, features on other sites offering advice to up-and-coming writers, and (if his website is to be believed) he the claim that he often guest lectures at film schools and appears on panels at festivals.

What's more, he's also written two books on scriptwriting and created his own consulting firm which promises "professional script consultants with real Hollywood film and television credits and experience".

It was unbelievable. I can't say for sure what's true and what's not (maybe he's the victim of some terrible computer error -- several terrible computer errors that all conspire to make him look less than honest) but everything points to him lying.

What are your thoughts on this? (Here's his IMDB profile. His official website and script consultancy. The interview where he’s introduced as Emmy-award winning.)

Cody said...

What? No Game of Thrones review?

Jason said...

@Johhny Walker:

The guy IS listed as a writer for "The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn", which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy, and did win an Image Award...

But for the actors, not for the writing. The guy's site implies that the teleplay itself won the awards (3 emmy noms? don't see that on imdb), but it was just for acting (or sound design, etc.). So mostly a liar, but lied around a kernel of truth.. at least here.

Ishoidu O'Malley said...

I believe the girls entire $1000. donation came from Zach. They've been braffelated.

Cap'n Bob: I'm with you, except I'm not quite sure of the last word: is that buck...?

Johnny Walker said...

Jason, yes I noticed that. He literally calls himself an "Emmy-nominated writer" at times, though. I suppose he means that his script lead to people winning Emmys, but that does feel a little dishonest.

Also, it seems that all the projects that are listed on his site, but not in the IMDB are things that went unproduced.

I really hope I'm wrong and he is all he says he is, but I just don't know.

Pat Reeder said...

Here's a link to the entire WGA list of the "best written" TV shows.

http://www.wgaeast.org/index.php?id=566

Congrats to Ken for landing so many in the top 10 and top 30. But aside from those well-deserved slots, this list mostly reminded me of why I hate lists. Lots of prejudices taking precedence over quality. Seriously, "Sex & The City" ranked above "South Park," "Fawlty Towers" and "The Bob Newhart Show"? "Arrested Development" (sorry, addicts, but I find that show to be more frenetic and annoying than funny) better written than "Taxi" or "Your Show of Shows"? "Saturday Night Live" is the 25th best-written show of all time, but "Monty Python" is only #79, and "SCTV" isn't on the list at all?

The WGA must have a great health plan because somebody is getting way too many free drugs.

Johnny Walker said...

Well, after giving that guy such a hard time, I came across another interview with him that actually painted him in a really good light. I'd still love to know Ken's take, but it may well be outside of what he feels comfortable commenting on.

Here's the good interview, either way: http://www.tvwriterpodcast.com/?p=1523

Michael said...

There are good projects out there on Kickstarter. Ones that aren't celebrities, wallets, or 3D printers. But it's hard to find them (and hard to get them noticed when you run one).

Julie Ann Sipos said...

Okay Ken, I defended Zach Braff but I am so with you this one. These bitches were overreaching on their own relevance by the age of eight. Stop the madness.

Julie Ann Sipos said...

Okay Ken, I defended Zach Braff but I am so with you this one. These bitches were overreaching on their own relevance by the age of eight. Stop the madness.

Paul Duca said...

I'm glad Jill Clayburgh isn't here to see this...

Officer Timmy said...

Friday question. In the clip below from Everybody Loves Raymond, was the dropping of the turkey scripted?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97NbMP_vcqQ

Henry said...

I think you're missing the point Ken. In this case Kickstarter is for the publicity, not the money. You have to admit it's working. Even you promoted it.

Sure, they could have funded this themselves, but who would have known about it? You've got to admit that for PR this is brilliant of them, worth way more than the 32k

Anonymous said...

"We would love to share that joy with you the people who call themselves our fans"

"our music has been something that we have kept to ourselves"

How can you be a fan of music you've never heard?

Anyone? .... No one....

Storm said...

Oh, my giddy aunt-- 32 THOUSAND?! For a video?! My best friend and I are putting together a Kickstarter campaign to put on a festival of science fiction plays and/or adaptations by Ray Bradbury, and all we're asking for is like $5000! I gotta call him and tell him we're totally low-balling ourselves (which isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds like it should be)!

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm

Roger Owen Green said...

Johnny - I've backed a dozen Kickstarter projects. I know when one's going to tank, pretty much in the first five days. If it's going to make it, it needs at least 10% by then. (My dear niece, who can sing, has one that is going to fail, I fear, in the next several days; she's talented, and her FB friends all talked the talk, but...)

If the Mamets had $30K to augment the Kickstarter, it'd be crazy to put it there anyway - except to save face - since Kickstarter would get a percentage. The Mamets now 5 days away and $2622 out of $32000; if it succeeds, it won't be from their fan base.

Megan Mitchell said...

The real question here is, if I pay up, will one of them follow me on Twitter for a year?

Will BOTH of them?

Johnny Walker said...

Sorry, Roger. Didn't mean to sound patronising.

Henry and Anonymous have excellent points: The only thing this Kickstarter was likely to garner them was publicity - which they now have. That or they really were going for a Spinal Tap type joke, and they're laughing at everyone who didn't get it.

It's baffling all right.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my guess is that, in the current economy, non-profits that seek cures for catastrophic illnesses and feed skeletal kids -- right here in this country as well as others -- are at an all-time low.

The rich and famous, in their defense, do a lot to charitable fundraising (much of it unpublicized) and don't ask for money from "ordinary" people with whom they wouldn't otherwise speak in real life.

But wow, imagine if Kickstarter existed in 1962 -- imagine what kind of music video Shirley Booth could make with Cara Williams? Maybe they'd even get Don DeFore to make a cameo!!

Charles H. Bryan said...

@Johnny Walker On one hand I share your dismay, but on the other hand (the cynical one on the left) CV padding has been around as long as CVs. If I were a less ethical person, I would claim that I was a contributor to Emmy-winning Ken Levine's blog.

Ken, you've probably read Mark Evanier's blog with a Cheers-related post, but if not: http://www.newsfromme.com/2013/06/03/where-nobody-knows-your-name/

The photo alone is worth a look. And it's related to honesty in credits. It all ties together.

Charles H. Bryan said...

I should say that the post, not the photo is related to honesty in credits. Damned pronouns.

cadavra said...

I just wrote and directed a half-hour short with real sets, real costumes, real equipment, real music, real actors and a real crew on a real soundstage.

Total cost: Under $50,000.

And yeah, I paid for it myself. And I don't have a wealthy father.

Better they should use the dough to throw a pity party with Jaden Smith.

Johnny Walker said...

Thanks, Charles. A very interesting read!

jbryant said...

With credits so easily checked on imdb and other sources, it seems dumb to twist a perfectly respectable credit into a lie. If you've written something that got an Emmy nod, then why not say "writer of the Emmy-nominated 'Simple Life of Noah Dearborn,'" which is true, instead of "Emmy-nominated writer," which is not?

Reminds me of a comic bit Jimmy Kimmel did that had Josh Groban singing Kanye West's tweets. The faux commercial kept referring to Groban as an Oscar nominee, but in actuality he was just the singer of a song that got nominated.

jbryant said...

Paul Duca: I'm not getting your Jill Clayburgh comment, unless maybe you're confusing David Mamet with David Rabe?