Kickstart This: Alex Cox Directs Harry Harrison's BILL THE GALACTIC HERO

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor

Sure, you could use crowd funding to back a studio movie that the studio doesn't want to pay for themselves but does want to profit from. That's certainly an option these days. Or you could use it to support something that actually is independent. Something like Repo Man and Sid And Nancy director Alex Cox's adaptation of Harry Harrison's scifi novel Bill The Galactic Hero which Cox will direct with his film students at the University of Colorado serving as crew. So not only will you be backing a film by a maverick iconoclast but you'll also be contributing to someone's higher education. Double win!

BILL, THE GALACTIC HERO is a feature-length science fiction comedy set in the far reaches of our galaxy, as humans wage war against a reptilian alien species, known as Chingers. It is extremely low budget, and relatively high concept. How is a story of space warfare between two high-technology civilizations to be achieved, doing justice to its original, on a super-low budget?

Partially because most of the work will be done by my production students at the University of Colorado (you can see samples of their extraordinary work here) -- under the occasional supervision of professionals from the industry. But mainly because Harry Harrison's original novel - his counterblast to STAR$HIP TROOPERS - has to be made this way. It's told not from the flight deck but from the engine room: or to be more exact, the fusebays, where ranks of expendable Fusetenders Sixth Class wait to replace burned-out fuses, or die.

Cox is looking for a hundred grand to bring his latest effort to the big screen, check here for all the details.


Around the Internet:
  • Martin Wagner

    Something that actually is independent....which is great and all, but I've noticed that the only Kickstarters Twitch seems to promote are those by established names in the business — Alex Cox, Ralph Bakshi — who happen to be working indie. How about finding a promising film project or two by some complete unknowns looking to break in?

  • Snoop Lion

    I just posted one by an enterprising guy called Andrew Leavold. He's not 'industry' at all. I very rarely write about crowdfunding as a rule, however if I find something like Andrew's project that so specifically appeals to the Twitch audience then I'm happy to help them out and get them some deserved attention. And the zombie kangaroo I couldn't pass up either!

    Something else to look out for: in Australia for example, Kickstarter isn't as big and we have homegrown sites, so the headlines might not be as obvious. "Kickstart this" is a well recognised term, and I don't think "Pozible this" would translate as well internationally so I'd leave it out of a headline.

  • We've done a ton of those, too. My personal rule is that I'll only promote a crowdfunding campaign if I'm actually contributing to it financially myself. I got my USB drive with the complete version of old school scifi short C sitting here on my desk since a couple weeks ago, supported indie revenge flick The Retirement of Joe Corduroy, Sam Jorgensen's scifi Singularity, Australian zombie-kangaroo flick Waterborne, and a bunch of others. What it 'seems' to me is that you're just not paying attention.

  • Looked it up out of curiosity. I've backed (and then written about) 11 projects on Kickstarter, another 6 on Indiegogo and a few others scattered across various other international platforms. Of those, only four are by 'recognized' directors, though that's assuming that people like Masaaki Yuasa are considered recognized. Other writers here have supported and written about their share as well.

  • Martin Wagner

    I confess to not being able to catch every post Twitch does, so if there has been promotion of Kickstarters by up and coming talents, I'm happy to hear it.

  • MarsHottentot

    Thanks for the heads up on "C", BTW.

    This ("BILL") is gonna rule.

  • mightyjoeyoung

    "director Alex Cox's adaptation of Harry Harrison's scifi novel Bill The Galactic Hero which Cox will direct with his film students at the University of Colorado serving as crew. So not only will you be backing a film by a maverick iconoclast but you'll also be contributing to someone's higher education. "

    Well, I liked Walker(1987) a lot more then I like to admit.......critics here in Sweden hated that movie......screw those guys!
    I haven´t read the book though...I have do that.....I wish you the best of luck though, Mr Cox, you are going to need it.
    Cool sounding project.

  • 60hz

    i'm a big fan of heinlein's starship trooper (tho i hated the 1st movie) but i also agree that it tend toward rightwing pro-military politics (but hey it's still a great romp!) - i also love harry harrison's stainless steel rat series (which seemed to tend toward the rightwing , at least in SS for president novel)... so i wish these guys good luck, and i'll need to grab a copy of bill sometime today...

  • harumph

    The Stainless Steel Rat books were definitely not rightwing. They are a parody of rightwing conservative sci-fi. In Harrison's obit, the Guardian characterizes the series as, "unapologetically anti-military, anti-authority and anti-violence. Harrison wrote such novels in the idiom of the politically conservative hack writer, but in reality he had a liberal conscience and a sharp awareness of the lack of literary values in so much of the SF he was parodying."

  • hutch

    The first film is certainly not right leaning. Not sure about the book.

  • hutch

    How can you tell if you're contributing to a kickstarter to a show that the studios are too lazy to back but will profit from? Never even thought about that...

  • The Veronica Mars movie was all over the press for this. Warners wasn't willing to finance it but said if they could crowd fund two million to make it that they would distribute and market it. They beat that goal in less than a day. And - to my knowledge, at least - the supporters don't even get a free viewing when it releases.

  • Martin Wagner

    It's a little misleading to suggest they get nothing, though. All the backer perks, like a copy of the script and DVDs and such, are listed in detail. If you don't like any of them, you don't have to pledge.

  • Bricoleur

    The script copy you receive is digital (which therefore costs nothing) and the lowest pledge amount to get even a digital copy of the movie is $35. Admittedly, you also get a t-shirt for that. You know, the ones they usually give out for free? Because they're cheap advertising? So doing the math, you get news about the film (usually available at any number of web sites for free) a digital copy of the script, and a digital copy of the movie for just 3X the price of a movie ticket and being willing to act as an uncompensated investor and member of the Warner Bros advertising department. If that's not nothing, it's pretty close.

  • Martin Wagner

    Generally speaking, it is the case that the money you donate to a Kickstarter project is meant to fund the actual production of the film. When I did my own project I explained very carefully why I was offering almost no physical swag. Those cost money, and if someone pledges $30 to my film and they get a T-shirt for that, then combining printing and shipping, I would have had to spend around $10-$15 of their $30 just on the shirt, leaving not much to actually put towards the shooting. Very self-defeating.

    No one is forced to pledge, and everyone who does reads and understands exactly what they get for their money. Again, I think people are complaining and calling this a "scam" simply because it's a studio-owned project, and there's a resentment that such a project would try to crowd-fund the way indies do. All the indie Kickstarters that Twitch eagerly promotes offer pledge rewards of their own, and not dissimilar to VM's.

  • hutch

    Oh wow. That sucks.

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