Notts Film Collective Them Pesky Kids Talk Crowdfunding for Crime Short Ariella

13 June 17 interview: Ash Carter

Them Pesky Kids are a film collective from Notts. All Confetti students, the group are aiming to raise £10,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, to fund a new short, Ariella, and they're off to a decent start indeed. Our Screen Editor Ash Carter spoke to Them Pesky Kids' Michael Jobling about the project...

Who are Them Pesky Kids?
We’re a newly established production company from and based in Nottingham, made up of Confetti graduates, Michael Jobling, Ryan Harvey, Oliver Blair, and Jack Booth. Our goals over the next few years is to create a range of industry standard short films before moving into feature films and TV.

To do that, we want to get involved with the community and arts in and around Nottingham, and support those networks, as much as we can, learning from those who have come before us, and teaching those who follow. Collaboration is one of the main reasons we love filmmaking, and that’s where we want to push our company.

How did you all meet?
We had all met at university, studying film production at Confetti and loved working on each other’s projects. When we graduated, we knew it would be smarter moving forward together rather than alone. As time went on, we learnt more about the film industry and the importance of collaboration and teamwork to creating great films; things became more fun and more successful so we kept going.

What projects have you worked on so far?
We have a bunch of short films and music videos that are due for release soon. We’ve done two music videos for Nottingham singer Bud, as well as one for Bru-C, and our short films are soon to be pushed out to festivals around the world. We have a really wide range of material due to the widely different tastes from the four of us.

Once Upon A Time in Winchester is our Western film that was made at the same time as Anoesis, which is much more experimental and is hard to put into a genre. We’re really proud of our latest project; Bombshell, which is a documentary about the negative effects the fashion industry has on young models. We’re really looking forward to sharing it with everyone.

Can you tell me a bit about your recent launch event?
One of the biggest questions we get is “Where can I see your work?” and we wanted to show Nottingham what we’d been up to; what with the short film industry the way it is, and festival releases being so important, we didn’t want it to fall flat by just releasing our stuff online and nobody seeing it.

Instead, we held an official launch screening at the Nottingham Contemporary to introduce ourselves properly and show everyone what we’re capable of on the big screen. It was also a great opportunity to pitch some of our upcoming projects such as our short film Ariella. It was a fantastic evening and despite the quick turnaround, a sell-out night with 150 people in attendance, which made the atmosphere electric. The four of us couldn’t stop grinning all night.

What is your new project Ariella about?
Ariella is about a seemingly innocent waitress who is instructed to keep an eye out on two thugs hiding out in her cafe. But as the film goes on, we start to find out that she is more involved than we think, and her personal motives start to get in the way of her professionalism.

It’s going to be directed by TPK’s very own Michael Jobling along with his brother Jack. We’ve just launched our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, in an attempt to raise the funds and make the best film we can.

What made you decide to choose to crowdfund?
Crowdfunding is something that goes with our ethos as a company; recognising the community spirit and finding your audience through interaction and communication. We felt that by trying to secure funding from a scheme or one large investment, we would alienate our support network which we feel we have been organically growing since we started. At the end of it, any filmmaker just wants their work to be seen, this allows us to do that, build an audience from the beginning.

What can people get by backing you?
Loads of stuff. On top of all the Ariella merchandise such as badges and posters, the bare minimum you’ll get is the finished film. And depending on what you donate, you can build from there and get it on Blu-ray with behind-the-scenes footage, as well as an invitation to the cast and crew screening. And the wrap party, which should be a night to remember.

How will the money be spent?
To make a film as ambitious as this one, there needs to be a lot of attention to detail. Costs for costume, props and kit really build up. Food and travel is a must, especially seeing as a large majority of the crew are giving up their time for free to help us make something really special.

What made you take the risk of going with Kickstarter over the flexible funding option available with Indiegogo?
We’re not going to lie that Ariella is an ambitious film. It has a non-linear script, characters with storylines that overlap and that go back and forth and a fair few locations. We’ve budgeted extremely carefully and concluded that £10,000 is what’s needed to make this film. If we raised any less that that, it just wouldn’t be the same film. So we thought we’d take the “riskier” route which would expose us to a much bigger international audience than if we had gone with IndieGoGo, which is only UK-based.

How is the campaign going so far?
Really well. It’s overwhelming to see so many people, some we haven’t talked to in years, get in touch and express their excitement about the project and donate. We’ve made £2,000 in the first six days and got boosted up to Kickstarter’s “Projects We Love” within the first 72 hours.

How hard is it to stand out when there are so many crowdfunding campaigns?
It hasn’t been that difficult to stand out since we launched but only because we put a tonne of work in during the months running up to the campaign. It’s important to have a firm grasp on branding and knowing exactly what you want from the campaign. You can’t just want the money; it’s about building an audience and so talking to them has proved to be really successful.

What have been the biggest challenges so far with the campaign?
The Ariella team all have part-time jobs and crowdfunding is a full-time job, so balancing that is stressful at times, but it makes it all worth it when you get a lovely text from an old colleague or a donation from your school teacher. It’s those moments that make you remember that you’re doing it for the love of it and that you have a lot of support from places you wouldn’t think to look.

What would you say are the biggest misconceptions with crowdfunding?
A lot of people seem to think that the money raised from crowdfunding somehow goes to those running the campaign. We’re not getting paid for this, we’re doing it for the love of filmmaking and the passion for the project at hand. All the funds raised will be going straight out again, being spent on the things that matter, in order to make a product that those that invested will be proud to say they helped make.

What are your plans for Ariella once it’s completed?
We have a long list of BAFTA-qualifying film festivals we will be submitting to but, before that, we’ll be sending the finished film to everyone that supported us during the Kickstarter campaign. The aim for every filmmaker is to get your film seen by as many people as possible and from crowdfunding, we already have a huge audience that are key to the film getting made.

Them Pesky Kids' Kickstarter for Ariella ends on Friday 30 June 2017

Ariella on Kickstarter 


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