Good Questions, Answered

Our response to the most popular feedback/questions given to us by our respected friends and peers:

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Who were the Chordettes?

The Chordettes were a singing group from the 1940's, through the 60's that transformed male barbershop quartet arrangements into one of the most unique and recognizable sounds ever known to the history of music.

Originally hailing from Sheboygan Wisconsin - The Chordettes spent less than three years on the road, singing at barbershop functions and state fairs. They were quickly scooped up by CBS' Arthur Godfrey Show to be a part of a daily Radio-Television community. Only a couple years later did they get fired from the show and started to record pop records of their own as a last ditch effort to keep their careers alive.

They topped the charts with the likes of Mr. Sandman, Born to be with you, Zorro, Just Between You and Me, Lollipop, Lay Down Your Arms, Hummingbird, Eddie My Love, and many more and were also the first musical guests on the national airing of Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

The Chordettes had an unusual ability to combine different music genres in a pop setting, which helped set the stage for the great collision of Jazz, Country, Barbershop Harmony, and Blues - we know today as Rock n' Roll.

Why should I care about their story?

If you love music, especially from the Rock n’ Roll era – you should. The sad truth is, everybody remembers Elivs ,Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and the like, largely because of a huge gender-bias that has long existed in entertainment industry. Particularly in our case - there's a WHOLE other half to the tale about the dawn of Rock n' Roll that has been long ignored, overlooked, and/or completely forgotten about.

Every bit of music that you care about today has in some way shape or form been influenced by The Chordettes' ability to utilize harmony in ways that has never been applied to mainstream pop music before.

Now, if we were to go through life not knowing about our foremothers (especially The Chordettes) - we would be robbing ourselves of our own heritage and undermining the very value of American music ingenuity.

Beyond this – a rare opportunity to examine the inner-workings of Archie Bleyer’s music label, Cadence, who later produced all of The Chordettes’ work as well as The Everly Brothers. Cadence was one of the first labels to establish the art of creating pop-music during the Rock n’ Roll era.

Why are you making a film about them?

Particularly on the topic of spousal abuse and living with prejudice, certain members of The Chordettes and individuals on our team have had an intimate experience coping with/overcoming these problems that continually riddle our society. That said - our exploration of a post-abuse life is the very core of our narrative, personal, and artistic proposition.

What is fiscal sponsorship?

In our case - fiscal sponsorship gives an artist or emerging arts organization access to funding opportunities and other resources through affiliation with a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Fiscally sponsored artists and organizations can apply for grants from foundations or corporate funders that are usually restricted to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, and offer individual donors the benefit of a tax-deductible contribution.

Why are you using fiscal sponsorship to help fundraise this film?

Getting fiscal sponsorship with an internationally renowned organization such as NYFA will help open doors to grants and awards otherwise unavailable to non-non profit endeavors, and tax-deductible contributions from businesses and individuals who are interested in participating in the making of a film (such as ours) but cannot afford to (or would rather not) bear the burden of financial risk. With fiscal sponsorship, we are creating a fundraising avenue where without a doubt, our project's reach goes further and everybody can benefit to some degree.

Not to mention, in a typical film financing scenario – filmmakers are often asked to give up a lot of their control as a result of a larger fiscal agenda. Due to our personal connection with the story and the issues, this is a situation we are hoping to avoid.

Why not just write a sample (spec) script and try to sell it the traditional way?

We could, and encourage all those who want to take that avenue – but we firmly believe that The Chordettes story and this film should be brought to life as part of a larger, more personal, community-supported effort. Getting to make a film the way we want to make it, while serving a sincere public benefit – sounds better to us than the alternative route.

Why a narrative film? Not a documentary?

Our project is woven as a tapestry of emotions, more so than a listing off the facts. Documentaries can be poetic and narrative in nature; but we find that our film is best suited for a performance-driven exploration.

Why do you need experienced people?

The experience of filmmaking is always going to be a learning process for any crew on any project. That is why we still make films – because every situation is unique and there are always nuances to a story, emotion, or situation that has yet to be discovered. Whatever magic we find while making a film usually shows up in the final product; making the experience much more exhilarating.

Additionally, bringing on a wide array of experience will help keep costs low and prepare our team to handle the shared ‘unknowns’.

When will the film be made?

We are planning to shoot in late 2015, but depending on people’s schedules and the final amount of money raised – all of that may change slightly.

When will the film be released?

We are aiming to have our film be film festival ready in early 2016.

Who will be in the movie?

We have a long list of talented people and friends we would like, but will not know for sure until we have successfully raised the money we need.

Who will work on the movie?

Like with the casting, we have a long list of experienced and talented people we would love to work on this film – but it’s a matter of raising the funds to properly make that happen.

Where does my money go?

Since we are still operating as a "production", our film will be hiring cast, crew, and various other talents in turn, supporting the trade of film (a century old vestige of American working culture, which diminishes on a day-to-day basis) through fair market pay, and providing an artistically sound environment where true innovation and spirit can be nurtured and given top priority.

Your contributions will support the following:

  • A truly compelling film about the legendary (yet sadly forgotten) Chordettes and Archie Bleyer come to life!
  • Our ability to employ over a hundred passionate people and artists
  • The New York Foundation for the Arts as part of our fiscal sponsorship agreement
  • The preservation of music history
  • Our mission to spread awareness surrounding domestic abuse and gender equality
  • Filmmakers trying to do something unique and awesome (like us!) everywhere!

Will you be doing a Kickstarer, Indiegogo, or a Rockethub campaign?

Yes! We will keep you posted.

If you don't raise all the money you need, will we get a refund?

Unfortunately not. For the majority of you, the funds you contribute today will be considered as money “donated” to The New York Foundation for the Arts and will be temporarily earmarked to support our cause of producing this film.

The benefit in contributing through a fiscally sponsored film is the tax-deduction you will receive on your donation.

Rest assured though, we will not stop until this film gets made.

When will the rewards become available?

Most physical rewards will be made available around the release of the final film – unless specifically stipulated in the Rewards Section.

If we contribute, do we get to go to see the finished film for free, and before anyone else?

We will make the film available for free and special screenings around the time the film goes wide. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be showing in cities outside of New York and Los Angeles – unless of course it is a screening tethered to a non-profit/organization-related event.

In the meantime, our amazing Rewards can give you an opportunity to be part of the process.

How do I coordinate a set visit or become an extra?

If you give at the according level to receive a set visit or to become an extra – our production or marketing team will help arrange those details for you (as they become available).

How do the screenings for the non-profits work?

While we are fundraising, we will be engaging all like-minded and similar cause oriented organizations to inform them of what we are doing and to see if they would be interested in putting together a screening after our film has premiered, or getting involved on a much deeper level.

None of the rewards interest me, have anything else?

E-mail us! Let us know. Really. The benefit of being able to fundraise early is that we can try to make this experience better for everyone!

What if I want to contribute more to obtain additional rewards?

Yes. Just shoot us a note and let us know about all of your great support. Please know that a lot of what we have now and will offer later have strict limitations and availability.

If the movie makes money, do we get our money back?

Unfortunately not. Consider your support being a complete and final donation to an awesome film, a great foundation, and a worthy cause. Although we are creating art, this is inherently a project that serves a larger, more socially driven, and publicly beneficial mission.

Can I work on the film?

We do have a Jobs page on this site. Please check it out – we would love to have you apply!

Will you be tackling race issues in this film?

The Untitled Chordettes Biopic team recognizes the efforts and irrefutable influence amazing African American music had on Barbershop, pop, and Rock n’ Roll music. Although we won’t be going into depth into how music and styles have been unjustly appropriated over time – in our film, we will touch upon this issue as part of a larger exploration of a change in American culture and the music industry.

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