XFINITY: Kulap Vilaysack Searches for ‘Bajillion Dollar’ Home While Prepping Her ‘Origin Story’ Documentary
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Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
Origin Story is a documentary by comedian and podcast host Kulap Vilaysack of Earwolf's "Who Charted?" It's an international road trip from Los Angeles to Minnesota to Laos, where Kulap's story began. It's a deeply personal but universal story about family secrets, alienation and personal responsibility.
Origin Story Backers,
Happy New Year! I wish you all the love and support you've shown me and the documentary. Here's our 2015 in review:
Restructured central plot; tooled with narrative and tone- Jan
Planned main illustrated art sequences with Lead Artist Kevin Dalton- Feb
Built transcript content database to refine story points- Apr
Screened rough cut for core production team- Apr
Cleared legal considerations for interviews and international content- Apr
Showed clips of latest edit at University of Minnesota Lao Summit celebrating 40 years of Southeast Asians in America. Discussed documentary on panel; gained new cultural insights for story and art.- Apr
Held Director/Editor story-mapping sessions to reconcile evolving edit with new outlines- May
Reviewed and redrafted main art sequences; planned new content based on new edit- May
Held 2nd screening; invited guests for feedback to producers- May
Held 3rd screening; invited artist Kevin Dalton and composers Steve Jablonsky and Michael Cassady- May
Held 4th screening, with producers and other post-prod creatives- July
Heard 1st drafts of music compositions; started planning soundtrack to complement score. Gave notes to new artwork.- Aug
We paused full-time editing sessions in September for an exciting opportunity. The new NBCUniversal digital platform Seeso.com ordered a show I created, BAJILLION DOLLAR PROPERTIE$- a semi-scripted ensemble comedy, kind of a RENO 911! meets MILLION DOLLAR LISTING. I’m working with fellow executive producers Scott Aukerman, Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant and Dave Jargowsky, along with our studio Paramount, to make a pretty great show that I’m hoping you’ll like, too.
It couldn’t have come at a better time. I was burned out- thrilled as a producer and director, pained and messed up as the subject. I thought I was prepared for what I would dig up from my past, but I wasn't. Spoiler Alert: People are complicated. Real Spoiler Alert: It got real dark. Through this process I doubled my family and have varying levels of relationships with them. The family I had before…Well, this is the story I need to show you in the documentary. And I will show you.
I plan to dive back into editing after B$P post-production this Spring. Music, art composition and minor script revisions continue in the meantime. We may need to shoot more. I expect to invest more into the project, but I can now, thanks to Seeso.com and, frankly, you.
Enjoy the below art stills by genius Kevin Dalton. I look forward to 2016!
Behold! It’s our champa tree, still clothed in its blessed strings! Kulap's incantations helped it thrive into our living, breathing post-production mascot. The champa’s first bloom marks today's one-year anniversary of our successful IGG campaign and the start of our project's third act. All the additional shoots, storyboarding, experimenting and rewrites have led us here. Now intimate edit-bay brainstorms are mixed in with monthly screenings for the whole crew. Next we'll be approving final graphics and musical score, while debating the micro-trims that'll make all the difference.
While you await "Origin Story," meet the stellar post-production team tasked with turning Kulap’s emotional trip into a dynamic mixed-media motion graphic novel. Our newest additions join our editor, Oona Flaherty, who came to us last winter following her work on “Rudderless,” “Welcome to Me” and “Dope.”
Composers Steve Jablonsky and Michael Cassady have joined forces for this project. Jablonsky has scored the “Transformers” series, “Gangster Squad” and “Ender’s Game,” in addition to “Desperate Housewives” and various video games. Cassady is a musician and actor with roots in the UCB theater who’s contributed music to “Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23,” “The Dramatics” and “Freak Dance.” The two are working closely to create a complex, cohesive sound for the film, with its live action travel footage, emotional interviews and illustrated sequences. Meanwhile, Graphic Artist Kevin Dalton is bringing key moments in Kulap's story to life using a pastiche of stylistic approaches and cultural influences. We are overjoyed at the results thus far and can’t wait to meet you at the finish.
Thank you, as always, for helping us get there.
Because we reached our Indiegogoal last Fall, Engineer Sam from Earwolf was obligated to tattoo his actual skin with a design of Howard Kremer's choosing. We should have been able to guess the design, but it came as a tasteful and pleasant surprise. We like! Thanks again, Sam, for donating your epidermis to our film.
Director Kulap is partial to the Twin Cities, but don't let that stop you from donating to this cause. Upon his Indiegogoal being met, our filmmaker friend Dan S will unleash monster VOREHEMOTH upon the lovely Minnesotans standing in his way. Also, two films are involved. Please thoughtfully consider contributing here!
Origin Story Director Kulap Vilaysack has spent a lot of time on Facebook. But now she's transformed into her very own page. Please check her out here, like and send good vibes, and tell errbody you know to follow your lead.
Not enough Kulap IRL for your liking? Tomorrow at 7pm, BuzzFeed at The Federal Bar will scratch your itch. Snag your spot NOW to be safe- only $10 in advance! Redeem your ticket for a special live performance by Ms. Vilaysack amid other fun.
Come for Kulap and stay for Kyle Kinane and The Toast's Mallory Ortberg, along with Buzzfeed writers Sam Stryker, Erin LaRosa, Louis Peitzman and Ira Madison III. Isaac Fitzgerald and Doree Shafrir are hosting, with music from DJ Alex Naidus.
Our director decided to take a short break from the documentary to attend school for a very specific purpose. We hope you won't mind.
Click through to watch Kulap and Comedian Jamie Lee gab away like the two funny women they are, right in the middle of a nail shop. It's the first episode of a new series- "Polished" by Entertainment Weekly.
We had 272 donors donate $10 apiece toward our successful Indiegogo campaign, and in return, they had their names blessed by Kulap next to our Origin Story champa tree. Here's what it looks like now, each string representing a donor who will soon receive a flood of blessings from the infinite universe.
Last Friday -- an hour before the end of the campaign, surrounded by loved ones who also happen to be the Origin Story CA team and cousins from both my dad and birth father... I refreshed my browser to learn that WE HAD MADE OUR GOAL. It was uncomplicated and joyous, and all I could do was scream... then bear hug everybody one by one. Gobsmacked, I was at a loss for words.
It's all because of you.
Thank you from the bottom of my very being for contributing to this film. I was terrified to put myself in such a position of vulnerability, scared to ask and very worried about how this project would be received. I am floored by your support. What you have given me, beyond the funds to complete the documentary, is unquantifiable. You have changed my life.
I am eager and excited for the work that lies ahead. I think I'll do you proud. I owe you that much.
You've got today and tomorrow before midnight to participate in our Indiegogo campaign for the documentary's finishing costs! If you've yet to donate, do consider our $10 perk- Kulap will utter a blessing in your name as she ties a beautiful string to the branch of our official Origin Story Champa tree.
Formally known as the Plumeria plant, and commonly as Frangipani, the Champa comes in over 300 varieties. It's been known to show up everywhere from graveyards and homes in the Philippines to temples in Bali. Pretty and clever, Champa lures moths to pollinate its nectar-less petals at night, when its scent is most seductive. The Champa is the official plant of Laos, representing joy and sincerity to natives. Its flowers adorn monasteries and the necks of visitors when strung together.
Contribute $10 to be included in one of our string-tying ceremonies. We'll hold our first one tomorrow, on the final day of our campaign. Thank you for all your support thus far, and for joining us in this final stretch.
#1dayleft - http://igg.me/at/originstorydoc
UPDATE: Photos of our first ceremony, on the #finalday of our campaign.
Friends and lovers! We've got a final sneak peek from the film before the end of our Indiegogo campaign. It's Kulap answering another question from a friend pre-Laos; this time it's from Jon Glover, and it's a great one.