"Proper Manors" is a soap opera created by childhood best friends of 27 years Pietro D'Alessio and Jef Phillips.
The story is about two best friends that survive everything and their friendship is never ripped apart even though they face various outside adversaries.
The show revolves around Joey Sorrento, Jef Knights and their group of just graduated peers in the fictional town of Proper, USA.
All of them discover, beginning with their high school graduation, that nothing is what it seems and that the youth of Proper are merely tools and pawns in the games adults play.
We have core families of all types that truly reflect the tapestry of small town America and story lines that are controversial, topical, inspiring, comedic and also heart-breaking.
The total Proper Manors team includes over 125 members, including cast & crew. Recognizable daytime stars, film actors, sitcom stars, independent film actors, and newcomers are working together to guarantee the success of the show. The production crew includes many industry professionals.
The show, currently in production in Ogden, UT, which will double as the small town of Proper, USA, began lensing 17 March 2012 and we have our first six episodes written and scheduled for production through 20 May. We premiere 31 May.
Most of the Proper Manors team members, both on camera and behind the scenes, are donating their time on deferred contracts to bring the show to life.
Soap Operas, a staple of American television, and a common area or interest that have brought generations of families together, have been annihilated in the past several years and are beginning to disappear. In the interim several independent soap operas have begun to pepper the online new media landscape but none have made a commitment to be an ongoing show, airing weekly, utilizing film professionals working on a SAG contract.
Proper Manors intends to be the show that sets the bar with weekly 22 minute episodes airing weekly online.
It will take time for us to find a audience and have the proper demographics and research information in place that sponsors and advertisers require before they give their full support to an old medium being vetted utilizing new technologies.
Plain and simple, we want to be part of the movement that saves soap operas!
Every small donation will count and carry us towards our goal of becoming a viable advertiser and sponsor driven show. We need the lead time to ensure we are able to continue to keep the show in production between now and the 5/31 premiere and that we have a bit of a buffer zone that allows us the time to provide the analytics, demographics and reach to our sponsors and advertisers. We know, being a weekly show, we will have a significant advantage with a solid returning audience weekly that continues to grow and also have our archived episodes available for people to catch up on the story as needed.
When Proper Manors began it was intended to be a 5-7 minute weekly show on a small online network. A local affiliate of a network caught wind of Proper Manors and invited us to air on their channel. We switched gears and started to focus on TV only to discover that we would have had to buy our own airtime, sell our own advertising and completely fund the entire show on our own with no licensing fees or network support in return. While the goal of being a TV series is one we all share, we discovered in that instance that we needed to be on the web or the show would be truly cost prohibitive. We attracted a lot of attention, and some major daytime names expressed interest, but, in the end, we had to go back to the web, where, to our delight, we have been welcomed with open arms and have been christened, more or less, the future of soap operas. Blogtalkradio shows have featured the creators of our show and the cast. Media has been nonstop.
Beyond that we discovered that Utah, which has an amazingly vibrant film community, is seeking a permanent series that creates jobs. The Utah Film Commission will support us when we qualify for incentives, pending their approval process. Non profit groups dedicated to filmmaking are supporting our endeavors and the communities and businesses where we are shooting are excited about the show.
So we have the soap opera industry behind us and excited about the show. Locally we can create jobs and create a brand that people will be proud of but the most important factor that inspires us daily is the time the 125+ people on our team have put into the project. This project has united many in the film community behind a common cause and allowed many aspiring amateurs to become professionals in the industry they love.
These people are donating their time at deferred rates based on a shared confidence that the show will indeed be a hit and if media, twitter and facebook are any indication, we are well on our way to making a lot of dreams come true and launching many careers.
We have spent literally years getting to this point. We have spent the last month bringing the show to life and the footage is amazing! We have a solid story and some amazing footage in post-production. We are super sxcited about the online premiere.
What We Need & What You Get
Equipment and Production Support:
The shooting of a weekly show on a network with studio support is a challenge. Doing it on location, on weekends, needing to turn around an episode a week, means we need solid tools to ensure we move quickly and efficiently through the scripts. Our Director of Photography and Directors outlined an ambitious camera, light, sound and electric package that will make sure we are as professional as any fully funded network crew.
$20,000.00 (Equipment list available for review).
Update (4/8/12) - We have been doing okay on the basic equipment front but we still need an additional camera, some larger lights, a generator, iPad and hard drives for storage of footage that needs to be updated. An immediate cash flow would allow us to stop renting some of these items and purchase them outright. We are making the equipment available for other filmmakers who are supporting the show and working on the crew so these types of purchases support more than one project.
Talent and Crew Support/Logistical Challenges:
A show's chances of success is significantly higher when recognizable names and faces are attached that have a fan following. Many of our stars and cast members have accepted drastic pay cuts to be a part of this well-developed and well-written project because they are excited about developing compelling real characters over the long term and they see the potential in the show's success. In exchange we need to provide them with airfare, lodging and local transportation and treat them with the gratitude they deserve because they are supporting us in this exciting new endeavor. 85-90% of our cast is local but we do have some Los Angeles, Florida, New England and Arizona based actors we need to get here and keep happy. We expect it will take at least the 1st season to begin generating revenue so we need to cover those travel expenses.
$15,000.00 (Airfare, Lodging, Transportation)
Update (4/8/12) - We have been able to secure some deeply discounted rooms and also have had various Producers share their homes for cast/crew, as needed. We are minimizing air travel as much as possible, striving to bring out of town names (Cherie Johnson, Guy Nardulli, Gabrielle Stone, Matt Borlenghi, Melinda Chilton, etc.) in town to allow us to get the most bang for the buck. We also have several key actors who live within driving distance but require lodging occassionally especially on our back to back shoots or when needed two weekends in a row. We have a great sponsorship kit ready for potential in kind sponsors but the amount of work needed to keep the show on schedule has resulted in part of our sales team working three roles.
Meals, Safety and Environmental Concerns:
We have to feed these people. We have to make sure they have more than Ramen noodles, pizza and Kool-Aid, which our creators both have eaten a lot of to keep this project going. We anticipate 30 people on average working for a total of 30 days our 1st season for 10-14 hours a day. We are banking on some local sponsors to help out as well as an incredibly frugal catering coordinator who wants everyone to be healthy but will need to make sure, at the least, everyone is fed and kept healthy for what will be a long process, with many people working 7 days a week because they have full time jobs between our weekend shoots.
Update (4/8/12) - We undersold this category and failed to see how much of a time and money commitment is needed. We thought it would be a 30 person average per shoot - we are averaging 50! With the majority being on a deferred contract, we must feed them properly and keep them healthy especially since most of them have full time work or school schedules during the week. We have two committed Executive Producers/Catering Coordinators plus a team of 3-5 Production Assistants on this area nonstop - and various crew members cooking casseroles, baking cookies and going above and beyond duty to ensure everyone is fed, hydrated and safe. We also have discovered the need for tables, chairs, additional small appliances, and of course serving dishes, plates and cutlery. We do have some amazing sponsors donating food but more is needed including pop up tents for exterior locations, a trailer to transport equipment and the occasional RV rental when we are on smaller locations. We also have a set medic who we need to keep replenished with supplies. Even gift cards mailed to us for purchases would be appreciated!
Surprise, Now me need..(Insert Item Here) Category!
The rest of the must spend budget is for expenses (batteries, expendables, printing, gas), website/hosting, insurance, legal and miscellaneous expenses that most Producers don't plan on but we have been doing this a long time and know that no matter how well we plan -- something can always happen. Water adds up over time. It's never the large line items that bankrupt a project. It's failing to plan for the small ones.
Update (4/8/12) - Insurance alone killed this category but we are completely covered. We have many people working on a deferred contract and we don't want them to lose moeny so we need to help them with mileage. Everyone seems to have to pick up something on the way to location (Ice, Posterboard, another Sharpie, a Prop from a thrift store, umbrellas to cover the lights if it rains, foot and hand warmers for the cold days, etc.) Printing, cartridges, faxing - they all add up. We would LOVE a fax, printer, scanner, copier for industrial use -- although we are going as green as possible on this production.
That's $47,000. It's a lot. Yet it's only $3615.00 an episode or $1567.00 a day.
The Reality of where we are and where we need to go..
Thoughts (4/8/12) - I think, as of this moment, we are managing to average closer to $2000 a shoot day - with everything we have going on -- or, about that amount per episode so we are doing it for less than we planned (with 40% more people). We need to keep doing this for at least another 14 days before the premiere to the tune of $28,000. Ideally we need a buffer of another $8-10K to see us through the initial month of measuring the all important analytics and demographics that advertisers and sponsors require.
Looking at those numbers it's manageable. We collectively have 100's of 1000's of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn friends plus the support of our own families/friends, the soap industry and Utah film peeps as well as all of our fans from our hometowns.
Thoughts (4/8/12) - The most important request we have for every single person who reads this or is involved with the project is to please send this indiegogo campaign to anyone and everyone you know - even media and existing executives in television, film and advertising - or to a new brand or location you know that needs media attention and exposure. Please utilize your networks from all of the social media sites plus old fashioned email to get the word beyond the circle of professionals involved in this project - even overseas interest is vital.
We'd like to ask all of you to make a donation. We have some cool perks and we are, unlike many other productions, accessible. You can chat, friends, fan, like and interact with most of us quite easily.
Honestly, $1.00 does matter. If every person who is sent this donates $1.00 - we will make our goal and then some!
Other Ways You Can Help
Please share this campaign everywhere online. Please post us on your personal blogs and Facebook. We need you to Tweet, Facebook, Myspace and email. We need you to talk about us on every website, share our news articles and not only donate and encourage others to donate but please interact with us! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Also - please thank, support and encourage all the cast/crew involved for their hard work. They share the vision of bring a soap opera to life, bringing jobs to Utah and creating more opportunities for entertainment industry professionals.
We encourage you to comment on all the behind the scenes photos, take a look at the various promo videos from cast members in character and to ask questions. Encourage every media outlet to interview someone in our cast or to run an article about the show.
Proper, USA is a community and we need you to be a part of it!
Team on This Campaign:
The formerly spoiled Italian American kid who was raised by a Jewish Italian father and a Southern Cultured Mother who created alternate realities to survive as the youngest of seven children in a blended family. He created Proper Manors with his best friend, Jef, and also has worked on over 50 movies/TV shows in some capacity either in front of or behind the camera.
Cocreator and Pietro's best friend of 27 years, he makes sure Pietro gets his diet coke and reminds him to sleep especially on nights when he is working online promoting the show and seeking fiunding at 2am & has to be awake in 5 hours for work.
Mary Alice Nelson
Associate Producer and Provider of all the Perkiness the Proper Manors crew can handle. She keeps our Executive Producer/Creator Pietro D'Alessio calm which allows the rest of us to do our jobs.
Our other lead actor, Beau Stine, playing Jef Knights, is ripped, sexy, talented, kind, hard-working, disciplined and committed to his friends. He was the perfect choice to play opposite Hunter Gomez.
Ashley Eliza Parker
Ashley Eliza Parker is one of our Executive Producers. She is working on sponsorships, advertising and more. She is amazing.
Amy Savannah is one of the hottest up and coming actresses. She loves social media. She loves her fans. She is a promotion machine. We have to have her as part of our online indiegogo campaign. She never takes no for an answer. She also is talented and beautiful.