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|NEVER BEEN TO GRACELAND
August 15, 2015 / Justin Gausman / Elvis Express Radio
WHAT IS NEVER BEEN TO GRACELAND?
In a nutshell, “Never Been to Graceland” is a short film about several people whose their lives become unexpectedly intertwined when a long-lost Elvis Presley recording is
supposedly found. The title comes from the fact that one of the main protagonists, Michael, in spite of being an Elvis Presley fan, has never visited the singer's famous home. Along
the way he discovers his best friend's cousin, AJ, has secretly stowed away with him to escape her own problems out of a fear of being held down, meets a writer and former model
named Amy, who's struggling with feeling "past her prime" but is assigned to cover the story of the recording, and of course Michael eventually meets the man who claims to own
one of rock and roll's grails.
Thematically, Never Been to Graceland is about what one's legacy will be. Michael wants to move on from a past relationship and from a mundane job and "go home," AJ wants to
be free of her parents and see the world, Amy wants to be taken seriously as a writer instead of just a pretty face, Bryan (the "collector") wants to amass a collection of artifacts to
become famous, and Larry Belasco, the finder of the recording, wonders if he'll be remembered as a good father and hard worker, or just as a footnote in the history of rock and
roll. All of these stories are something each of us can relate to and will be depicted in the film as these individuals' lives cross paths and finally convene in the climactic scene in
which the long-lost recording is to be released.
'Never Been to Graceland' promises to be different from all the other movies/stories related to Elvis that have come before in that it treats its subjects with the utmost respect. The
characters don't dress like Elvis, they don't talk to Elvis like a ghost, a god or spiritual being. No one's an illegitimate child, or pretending to be Elvis, no one awkwardly drops
obscure factoids to show how much research was done for the script, and Elvis isn't alive. It's an ordinary story about ordinary people with ordinary problems on an extraordinary
adventure. One of them just happens to be a huge Elvis fan.
On the other side of that coin, 'NB2G' expresses a sense of humor & heart that you would come to expect only from the fan community surrounding one of the most celebrated, and
most misunderstood, entertainers of the 20th century. There are, of course, little references scattered throughout the movie that Elvis fans will pick up on, but the best thing about
Never Been to Graceland is that you don't have to already like Elvis to understand and enjoy the story. Perhaps more importantly, "NB2G" depicts and contemplates an important
and often unrecognized side of Elvis fandom - how current and future generations will view the legacy of Presley when those around while he was alive are gone.
VISIT THE KICKSTARTER PAGE TO DONATE AND SEE WHAT YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY
WHO'S MAKING THE FILM
Justin Gausman (Writer-Director)
Raised in Hot Springs, South Dakota, filmmaking and Elvis Presley have always been an important part of Justin's life
since childhood. Justin became an Elvis fan around 2001 at only 12 years old and began writing scripts at age 15, even
though a video camera was far out of his single mother's low-income home budget. Making do with a borrowed Hi-8
camcorder, Justin's self-taught filmmaking creativity exploded and led to dozens of short videos produced between 2005
and 2009. After returning home to Hot Springs in 2012, Justin returned to filmmaking in full force, creating a feature film,
"Jamie Klotz's Diary," its feature length sequel "Jamie Klotz's Diary 2," and even tackling the live stage, writing and
directing for the Southern Hills Community Theatre.
Justin began writing "Never Been to Graceland" in late 2013, taking inspiration from numerous real-life Elvis fans and
real-life events. Justin is excited to share a story that, like Elvis himself, is nuanced, carefully mixing drama and comedic
Ryan Brewer (Director of Photography - Actor)
Born in Idaho and raised in many places, Ryan took an interest in acting in film at an early age, citing his first viewing of Ridley Scott’s “Alien” as being his main inspiration. Ryan
later took an interest in writing and directing film upon meeting his good friend in high school and fellow star of “Larry & The Monsters,” Keith Melcher. Married and a father of two
wonderful boys, Ryan spends his free time focusing on film and family. Previous projects include the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired "Nyar," and other projects currently in development
include “Hillbilly Zombie Slayers from Hell,” a B-movie homage to 70’s grindhouse flicks and a drama called “Alone”.
Check out one of Ryan's short films, Nyar:
WHY SHOULD I CONTRIBUTE?
We are looking to raise a minimum $15,000 to help make Never Been to Graceland the highest quality it possibly can be. That may seem like a VERY low budget, but Never Been
to Graceland is an intimate story. One reviewer of the script described it best as a "cozy" story. There aren't any major explosions or actions scenes; it's a simple story about
Risks and challenges
As with any Kickstarter, there are risks involved, but we stand firmly ready to meet any challenges.
Our expectation is to raise funds in summer of 2015, audition & hire/commit cast & crew throughout autumn & winter 2015, conduct preparation work (securing locations,
scheduling, etc.) during winter 2015 & spring 2016 and begin filming in summer of 2016. Post production (editing, sound, music) should continue through autumn & winter of 2016
and, if all goes as expected, Never Been to Graceland should premiere around the time of Elvis' 82nd birthday celebration, and be ready well in advance for the 40th anniversary of
Elvis' death in 2017.
If that seems like a long time off from now, having now produced two feature length films and one documentary, we can safely say we understand the need to allow for realistic
scheduling. Far too many Kickstarters offer ambitious timelines and have to delay. Our hope is that by providing a realistic goal and frequent updates we will be able to meet all
In the event of any major delays or mishaps, be it a need to recast a role, reshoots, major complications, etc., all backers & followers will be notified via email, on Kickstarter and on
social media with a comprehensive breakdown of what's going on. We truly believe in transparency in projects like this, even if it were to mean spoiling the story. This is why the
highest level backers will have incomparable access to the behind the scenes of the film, including early updates on casting, crew, outtakes and early edits of some scenes.
During the making of previous projects in film and theater, the director has met & overcome challenges like recasting roles mid-shoot, reshooting or scrapping entire sequences,
adding new scenes while in production, working within a small budget, coordinating scheduling around difficult personal schedules, working around inclement weather, faulty
equipment, and more and still ending up with a good quality final product, and is confident in his ability to deliver an entertaining feature film, and even moreso with the resources
that would be available thanks to this Kickstarter.
VISIT THE KICKSTARTER PAGE TO DONATE AND SEE WHAT YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY
We hope you consider contributing! Again, please like us on Facebook.com/neverbeentogracelandmovie, share with your friends, and feel free to share your Graceland story
Director Justin Gausman with a tiny fraction of his Elvis collection.