Club Lights amidst Shadows is a creative writing team whose goal is to publish collective novels aimed at children, young people and anyone interested in the problems, concerns and dreams of the new generation. The club has published nine books and has two more ready. We have won a number of awards and distinctions but what matters most to us is that a reader who has come across a book of ours then wants to buy the rest of them. We live in a small country and therefore have the advantage to keep in touch with many of our fans. What we learned from them was that people are looking for a contemporary fairytale, an adventure told in a new way, with characters from our times, whom the readers can identify with.
One of the club’s most successful books is the trilogy Aurelion: Eternal Balance. It ranked number 29 in the Top 100 of the Bulgarian version of BBC’s The Big Read, next to such bestsellers as The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Twilight and Peter Pan. Our dream is for this book to reach more people. It’s not just adventures, magic and battles, but a vehicle for the messages of a young writing team, whose world view is distinct because it carries the idealism of the artist. Twelve authors took part in the writing of the novel. This is a unique way of writing in which the cooperation of the team is as important as their talent.
Somewhere in the Universe, there is a planet called Aurelion. It circles around its two suns – fiery Helior and gloomy Darkonus. The Creator of the galaxy has populated Aurelion with bizarre creatures. Two-tailed kobolds, ogres and goblins – these are the lesser races; and dwarves, elves and humans – the higher races, rulers of the planet.
Dark elves, in their caves and subterranean towns, are left out of the general picture. The Alliance government, representing the three higher races, persecutes and demonizes them as mythical monsters whose age has passed. The ruling races face other troubles as well. Magic drains from Aurelion at an ever quicker rate. The opposition, led by Marat Otore, gathers under its banners all the outcast races; Otore’s right hand himself is a goblin. The youth group nourished by the opposition – the “street warriors” - begins to get out of control. Marat Otore is convinced that the solution to all his problems is hidden in the mythical Temple of Necros, yet the key for the temple is a coin that eight-year-old Aik has stolen and claimed as his talisman…
With the completion of our most recent books, a new tradition was born: to shoot a short trailer in order to draw attention to the novel. The authors themselves write the scripts and act. It comes naturally to them, because the writing itself is like a role-playing game: each author was inspired by their own personality and experience in creating the character they are responsible for.
For Aurelion: Eternal Balance, we would like to film a mini-series which is longer and more serious: the novel was written by the oldest team members, who are also the most experienced as authors, scriptwriters and actors.
We wish to take our books beyond the borders of Bulgaria because our readers’ reactions have shown us that our messages are important. People have fun while reading our books but also get to know the world of children and teenagers and the reasons for the the generation gap. They learn that a friend is not an idealized perfect being, but simply the boy or girl next to you, whatever they are like and whatever their troubles have turned them into. The purpose of the series, then, will be to draw attention to these themes, to arouse sympathy for the characters and so to pave the novel’s way among English-speaking readers.
Where does the money go?
After the initial calculation, we estimated that we will need more than $30,000 but, fortunately, we’re a big team, so we can do some of the work on our own. In this way, we managed to reduce the sum to $16,000 which we’re going to use for technical equipment, translation, props and fees for external professional actors.
We’ve been through many reviews and tests of different camcorders and found that if you want great quality for a small price, video capable DSLR is the best option.
Audio is often neglected in indie film productions. Poor audio can ruin an otherwise good movie, therefore a quality microphone is a must. We’ll need a shotgun microphone for the camera and a vocal microphone for additional dialogue recording.
This campaign’s main aim is to pave our way abroad, therefore we also need the trilogy translated into English. We’ve chosen a professional translator, who is also the editor of the Bulgarian versions of our books and is well familiar with them.
We already have some of the costumes. For the rest, we’ll have to buy materials, especially for the main characters’ costumes, which are elaborate and expensive.
Travel Expenses: $1000
We’ve been inspired by our surroundings and most of the shooting locations are near the place we live (the town of Kazanlak). There are, however, some locations which are far from us and the travel expenses will be considerable, since there’re many of us.
Fees for professional actors: $5000
For two of the roles, we will need external actors.
Sound & Visual FX libraries: $500
If we manage to collect more money than the requested sum, this will help us make the series even better. We’re going to use part of the additional funding to republish and translate into English the rest of our books.
What do you get?
The perks we’ve prepared are unique because they reflect the club’s work during the nine years of our existence. Some of them will make you feel part of our team, and more generous sponsors will receive original illustrations and copies of our books that have run out of print. Even though the novels are in Bulgarian, the copies you will receive are unique because they will never be reprinted in this format or with such covers again. This will make them especially valuable when our work becomes popular abroad.
If we don’t manage to collect the requested sum, we’ll have to considerably reduce our expenses, which will reflect on the quality of the series. The filming equipment and the translation into English are the most important items in the budget. We can drop any of the other items.
Previous film work
The following trailer is based on Hole in the Sky, an ecological fairytale written by the youngest members of the club. The authors and illustrators of the book participated as scriptwriters and actors here. The video is aimed at the Bulgarian audience only and therefore doesn’t have English dubbing. We had a very tight budget, so the quality was reduced and we had to give up some of the ideas we wanted to implement.
Here’s a major part of our team during one of our latest premieres:
And here are some of the people who will work on the series:
Valentina Dimova - Leader and acting as Alizabeth Crosspatch - a crazy seer, whose prophecies come true one by one, no matter how absurd they may sound.
Kiril Dimov - the elf-child Aik with gifts for pickpocketing and sorcery, probably an experiment in creating a being of vast magical and clairvoyant skills.
Dmitriy Milchev - Mephodi, a scholar at the Institute of Magic.
Simeon Shopov - Raphael, an eccentric keeper of the law.
Anelia Stoykova - Kia, abandoned by her parents and raised by the guild of thieves.
Stefan Vasilev - Deenor, the only friend of Kia, who keeps dreaming fragments about growing up among clones.
Dian Iliev - operator and video nerd.
Other ways you can help
We know that not all of you can support us financially, but there are other ways to help. If you like us, share your impressions with others interested in arts. We are a team of idealists and believe there are lots of other people like us around the world. Thank you for your help. We’ll keep you informed about every step of the campaign—and, to the best of our abilities, amazed.
Team on This Campaign:
Lights amidst shadows