This Jack Marchetti Movie Is Not A High Fidelity Sequel

When talking to filmmaker Jack Marchetti, you’d really have no idea that he’s going blind. But time is ticking. Unlike most filmmakers, Jack doesn’t have the luxury of procrastination. And the good news is, Jack can still see well enough to get his movie made.

Earlier this week Jack Marchetti stopped by Filmmaking Stuff to tell us about his latest Kickstarter campaign and the movie he is excited to make!

Jason Brubaker
Who are you?

Jack Marchetti
My name is Jack Marchetti and I’m a filmmaker currently working as a technical lead for a digital interactive ad agency in Chicago.

Jason Brubaker
And if I understand correctly, you are also visually impaired. Which means, filmmaking is something you take very seriously.

Jack Marchetti
Yes. I also suffer from a rare retinal disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Jason Brubaker
Outside of filmmaking, what’s your background?

Jack Marchetti
I am a software developer by trade, but have been writing screenplays for close to twelve years.

Jason Brubaker
Have you had any traction with your writing?

Jack Marchetti
I placed pretty high in the third season of Project Greenlight and have had several screenplays optioned over the years.

Jason Brubaker
That’s awesome. I loved that show. What are you working on now?

Jack Marchetti
I’m running a Kickstarter for a short film called “The Evolution of a Gen-X Music Purchaser.” It tells the biopic story of a GenXer from the mid ’90s to modern day and highlights moments in his life tied to how he consumes music.

Jason Brubaker
I love stories that are tied to music.

Jack Marchetti
I also have a few other screenplays under option which I work on from time to time as well.

Jason Brubaker
How did you come up with “The Evolution of a Gen-X Music Purchaser?”

Jack Marchetti
The ad agency I work at asked each employee to write a blog post once a month. I wanted to write something about how it’s now easier to purchase music than it is to steal it.

Jason Brubaker
As a filmmaker, I’m sure you can sympathize with all the bands working hard to sell their music.

Jack Marchetti
Yes. It’s still super easy to illegally download songs. But they’ve now made it so simple and accommodating to get music legitimately, to me it’s easier to just pay the price of a song or full album. At the very least, this saves the headache of making sure you’re downloading the right torrent. Also it’s just the right thing to do right?

Jason Brubaker
Totally. My time is worth more than the few cents I’d pay for a song. So you were driven by this notion?

Jack Marchetti
I sat down to write that post and ended up writing this full on narrative story, somewhat auto-biographical that followed this character’s life and highlighted moments within tied to his ability to purchase music.

Jason Brubaker
This is something I miss too. My first CD was U2′s Joshua Tree. I still listen to it!

Jack Marchetti
In this case, we are going from the local record store in the 90s to buying Slayer’s new album on the night before 9/11 to having a full album delivered to your devices automatically via iTunes.

The Evolution of a Gen-X Music Purchaser by Jack Marchetti

Jason Brubaker
It sounds like the story started to flow.

Jack Marchetti
Something cool happened when my project manager Nina walked by and said “wow, I had no idea you were a good writer.”

Jason Brubaker
That would be validating. So, how did you come up with the title?

Jack Marchetti
Good question. I’m not entirely sure, it just sorta fit. I never had another name in mind, and the name is just what I typed into the “Post Title” field in the CMS we used to manage our blog.

Jason Brubaker
Why did you decide to tie in music as part of the narrative?

Jack Marchetti
The chorus to the song Cinderella Man by Eminem goes “Music is my time machine.” That line or idea, to me, is the central theme and narrative of the entire story.

Jason Brubaker
I get that. I love how music is the soundtrack for various points a person’s life.

Jack Marchetti
I know for me, I can hear a song and I’m immediately taken back to that moment when I either first heard it or when that song became very meaningful for me.

Jason Brubaker
Working in distribution, I know that clearing the rights to various music can be a headache. What was your experience?

Jack Marchetti
When I decided to make this short film the first thing I looked up was music licensing. That’s when I realized this wasn’t going to be something I could just shoot out of my own pocket on a weekend for a few grand.

Jason Brubaker
So you decided to go for a bit more?

Jack Marchetti
Some of artists, the managers and the labels require seeing the film before giving you a license (or a quote). So I wanted to make something so professionally done that they would be proud to have their music in it.

Jason Brubaker
Makes a lot of sense. I imagine with your visual impairment, you also want to create something spectacular.

Jack Marchetti
As someone losing their eyesight, I’m not sure how many of these movies I’ll have the chance to make. So I want to make them as great as possible while I can still see them.

Jason Brubaker
Let’s take a moment to talk about a previous project. What happened with your original Kickstarter campaign?

Jack Marchetti
On August 24th, 2012 we raised almost $30k.

Jason Brubaker
And that must have felt amazing.

Jack Marchetti
The project was trending on twitter. If we had a few more hours it’s possible we would’ve raised the full $74,000 we needed on that final day to reach the goal.

Jason Brubaker
Heartbreaking! How close did you get to your goal?

Jack Marchetti
It closed at $64,515 which is still incredible to me.

Jason Brubaker
That is incredible! At the same time, what did you do after the campaign ended?

Jack Marchetti
Once that campaign ended I just wanted to not think about it for a few days. I had countless suggestions including going to IndieGoGo or starting it all over again with a smaller funding goal – maybe try and raise 40k over 10 days – and hope it was fresh enough in peoples minds that all 809 would come back immediately.

Jason Brubaker
I get it. I mean, with so many backers and people rooting for the project… I’m sure everybody wanted to see you succeed.

Jack Marchetti
I didn’t think that would happen, and I also didn’t want to make the movie for 40k. I would’ve gotten less than that after fees and rewards.

Jason Brubaker
So what did you do next? Or rather, what didn’t you do?

Jack Marchetti
I decided to not crowdfund that project again. I gave it a shot and it didn’t happen.

Jason Brubaker
But as a silver lining, your crowd funding experience did get some notoriety, right?

Jack Marchetti
A few months after the campaign ended, Chris Ashworth who you might know from The Wire, optioned the screenplay with his friend Jim Klock, with Jim possibly attached to direct.

Jason Brubaker
That sounds amazing. So where is the project now?

Jack Marchetti
I’m still doing rewrites on the script and we’ll see what happens with it this year. It’s changed names from “4 of a Kind” to “Dead Peasants.”

Jason Brubaker
So now that your first experience is months and months behind you, how do you feel?

Jack Marchetti
Incredibly grateful, and overwhelmed to be honest. I couldn’t believe that final rush happened. The night before the campaign ended I told the Film Courage crew that I was done with crowdfunding. I just didn’t have the audience or social reach to achieve what I was trying to do.

Jason Brubaker
And then you had a surprise.

Jack Marchetti
For me, a mad rush happened and I realized that when enough people who genuinely care about you and your project… Sometimes magic happens.

Jason Brubaker
What things would have done differently?

Jack Marchetti
Great question and not knowing the answer is partially why I didn’t run that campaign again. What would I have been able to do differently to hit the $100k mark? I don’t know. Someone asked me how I went viral on that last day and I always say “if I knew, don’t you think I would’ve done that sooner?”

Jason Brubaker
Ha! Yes. There are a lot of people who try to sell virality as a service. But that stuff is hogwash. Nobody can predict what will go viral and what will not.

Jack Marchetti
I had plenty of misconceptions about who might help and how much they would help. Not to say I was expecting certain people to give me tens of thousands of dollars but I was expecting certain organizations to potentially help and that help never came.

Jason Brubaker
Again, this is true for any entrepreneurial effort. You really have to manage your expectations.

Jack Marchetti
I also had a producer on board who has a sizable twitter audience and she only tweeted once and gave the wrong URL.

Jason Brubaker
That makes me so sad.

Jack Marchetti
I suppose what I would’ve done differently was try and showcase the movie I wanted to make through a sizzle reel of some kind to give people who didn’t care about my blindness issue a reason to care.

Jason Brubaker
I’m a firm believer that people invest in people, not projects. Your story of wanting to see your movies before you go blind is touching. I would have pushed for more.

Jack Marchetti
I didn’t actually want to mention my eye sight at all and I barely mention it in my new project because I want people to back the project because they think it’ll be cool, not necessarily back me because they like me.

Jason Brubaker
I like you and I think your project will be cool too.

Jack Marchetti
It is true. I learned with crowdfunding, people tend to back you. If you’re passionate about an idea and they think you need their help, they’re often more than willing to chip in with money or outreach. Usually both.

Jason Brubaker
That makes all the sense in the world. And it makes me happy about humanity.

Jack Marchetti
But I had plenty of emails, mostly anonymous, from people upset that I made it more about me and not the film.

Jason Brubaker
I know the feeling. Any time I share a blog post, I get emails from idiots who tell me how bad I suck. That can be hard. Sometimes you just want to quit. So how did you overcome the challenge and gain the courage to try again?

Jack Marchetti
I launched the Facebook page for The Evolution of a Gen-X Music Purchaser on March 13th, 2013. This was almost a year ago to the day that I officially launched the campaign on Kickstarter.

Jason Brubaker
Wow. Symbolic, for sure.

Jack Marchetti
Whenever I was ready to go, doubt would creep in and I’d decide not to. Then I’d get all geared up for it again, and then decide not to.

Jason Brubaker
It’s like you’re ready to push the green button, but you just can’t. You can’t bring yourself to launch…

Jack Marchetti
Then a project I was working on looked like it’d be in production and I’d use that as a springboard, but then that would get delayed.

Jason Brubaker
Yes. So the WHY has to be big enough. Why do you want to make this film? And how badly do you want it?

Jack Marchetti
It’s a film I desperately want to make and desperately want to see, but I saw how hard it was to raise $5,000 last time, let alone the $26,000 I’m looking to raise this time.

Jason Brubaker
Are you still in touch with your previous backers?

Jack Marchetti
That’s the thing. I kept thinking about how many of those 809 people will come back if any?

Jason Brubaker
But that fear hasn’t stopped you. I mean, you’re live.

Jack Marchetti
Now that we’re into the campaign I can say that we’ve had some early positive returns. We’re 32% of the way funded and over $8000 raised as of March 20th.

Jason Brubaker
That’s good news. How about those early backers?

Jack Marchetti
Of those 809 who originally backed me, about 100 of them were friends, co-workers, and family and many of them have already backed GenXMP.

Jason Brubaker
So you just have to keep pushing, right?

Jack Marchetti
Our success hinges on those remaining 709 and the current 75 spreading the word. We’ll see what happens. I know I’m curious to find out.

Jason Brubaker
Where can people reading this find out more about “The Evolution of a Gen-X Music Purchaser?”

Jack Marchetti
People can check out the Kickstarter project here: http://kck.st/1gCvh1d

Jason Brubaker
And what about people who want to know more about you and the project?

Jack Marchetti
They can read the original blog post I wrote here.

Jason Brubaker
Do you have a website for your project?

Jack Marchetti
The official site for the new project is here: www.genxmp.com And people can follow me on Twitter here: @JackMarchetti

Jason Brubaker
Thanks so much for stopping by Filmmaking Stuff to share your thoughts and tell us about your latest project.

Jack Marchetti
Thanks for taking the time out. And thank you for your kind words after my last campaign ended. The outreach from people was really special and i’ll always remember it.

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Jack Marchetti is a filmmaker currently working as a technical lead for a digital interactive ad agency in Chicago, IL. He also suffers from a rare retinal disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa.

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