Wednesday, April 24, 2013

THE OAK AND THE SEQUOIA by Jonathan Daniel Harris

Hi there. In today's corporate-driven entertainment industry, it's getting harder and harder for an independent auteur to achieve his dream of making a feature film. Even someone like me, a 20-year veteran of stage and screen, has to make painful artistic compromises in order to achieve his vision.

What are you talking about, Jonathan? I'll tell you. I've written a script called The Oak and the Sequoia. It's a gothic love story spanning four centuries and five locations — from a native Arawak village at the dawn of the American colonies to a settlement on the moon of Deimos in the year 2240. This script was a 174-page struggle that took up 16 months of my life. It has been my passion since the idea came to me in a dream while I vacationed in Grenada in 2010. Its worn pages have seen the birth of my daughter, Rose, and the end of what I thought was a beautiful marriage.

To show you I'm serious, here's the first page of the script:

This film, this vision, is what I need your help to make.

You see, one has the benefit of a spotlight after several nationally-televised commercials and a brief appearance on one of television's most successful sitcoms. This notoriety afforded me the opportunity to meet with some of Hollywood's most successful producers and influential influencers. They all wanted to make this film. Unfortunately, blending the Hollywood studio system with an auteur's vision is like adding salt water to a fine Beaujolais. No sooner did I meet with these respected "money-men" then I was asked to betray my values and mangle my screenplay the way a butcher chops a fine cut of grass-fed Kobe.
  • "Could you remove the 14-page animated sequence starring TV legend Jamie Farr?"
  • "Why do all of the characters express a hatred of the Dutch?"
  • "Remove the Dothraki scenes. Those are trademarked characters."
No! I will not sacrifice my integrity to make a quick buck and turn my film into a mere 2 1/2 hour fluff piece. Do I look like Gerard Fucking Butler to you?

I will make this film my way. And you, all of you, my amazing fans who've been waiting these last 22 years for me to recapture the screen, are the ones who will help me do it.

I'm planning to kickstart The Oak and the Sequoia (hereafter, TOATS), and raise the necessary $12.4 million with your help. When you donate, I'll get to a) make the film I've always envisioned, b) prove to myself that I'm loved by a wide audience, and c) keep all of my own money, of which there is plenty.

Here's what you'll get when you donate!

$10 or more
PRODUCTION DIARY // This will contain daily updates on the film's production written by an unpaid intern. *Note: this production diary will not contain any spoilers on the film itself, as the unpaid intern will not be allowed to read the script or be on set during shooting days.

$25 or more
YOU GET TO BE AN UNPAID INTERN // I like a double macchiato with lowfat milk. Because, a little fat is ok, right?

$50 or more
 JONATHAN'S SOUNDTRACK // I'm not sure what top indie pop songs will be in the film yet, but if you donate at least $50, I'll send weekly updates in the form of a Spotify playlist. Already itching to see what music I think you should like? Here's a classic album from Mr. Neil Young. He's real bluesy!

$100 or more
SNAPCHAT // We can be Snapchat buddies. You can't Snapchat me. I can only Snapchat you. If you Snapchat me your money will be refunded and Snapchat privileges will be revoked.

$500 or more
DVD OR BLU-RAY // I will give you a DVD or Blu-ray, not of TOATS, but of a film of my choosing. Today's selection is Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire.

$1,000 or more
KEY GRIP // If you donate at this highest level, you will be allowed on the set of TOATS, for the purpose of carrying stuff from one side of the set to another. (unpaid)

Thank you for reading this far. After seeing the great successes of other artists, I knew going directly to you, the fans, would be the best way to make this famous multi-millionaire's dream come true. Thank you for joining me on this journey.