Help make "Blood Guilt", a short western.

As noted in a recent update, we are shooting in January now.

UPDATE - we are pushing the shoot into the Fall, likely in November. Helps us have time to raise the money and as well replace a few crew members who have individually had serious family medical issues that are taking them away from production for the foreseeable future. 

From the Director-

This is the back up plan. This is the way movies get made no matter what. This is us soldiering on. 

We (myself and the From The Top Turnbuckle Films team) are making a short film called "Blood Guilt." We had a Kickstarter campaign. We didn't meet our goal of $12,000 and so we got nothing. I knew this was possible, that's how Kickstarter works, all or nothing. I had weighed the benefits and drawbacks of this way of raising funds and I made the call. It was a lot of work and I learned that the hard way but not reaching our goal.

So, now what? This is what. Here you can contribute to the movie, which has a newly modified budget (more below) and we will be guaranteed to receive the funds. We get whatever you give. There are no official incentives or perks coming from the site like there were on Kickstarter but we want to talk with anyone who gives money about what they'd like to get in return from us. 

I know our lead actors, Avi Lake and Michael Gardner are willing to give away autographed photos of themselves together in character. 

We can do other things like copies of the script, autographed material from this film or from our best known short, "Dirge", DVDs, and other swag. Let's talk.

Higher donations could turn into Associate or Executive Producer credits and as before, anyone who contributes will get their name in the credits.

So what say you, film fans? Still want to see "Blood Guilt" get made? I sure hope so. 

If you had pledged on the Kickstarter campaign, you should have received your pledge back when the campaign ended. We hope that you would feel comfortable pledging the same amount again. This time we get the money regardless. And you have our word we'll use it wisely. 

Below you will find much of the original info/pitch found on Kickstarter and a few notes about our new game plan for the budget.

We will also be making sure we update everyone on the cast and crew of the film, and go into a little about who they are over the coming weeks. 

Still planning to shoot August 24-27 of 2012. We'll let you know if that changes too!

Thank you, sincerely

Aaron Kirk Director/Co-Writer of "Blood Guilt."

Where the money goes:

Most people involved in this film do not make a living making films, but a few do. At least half of the cast generates part time or full time income from acting and they deserve to get paid. Michael Gardner, our lead actor, pays all his bills with his acting in student films, short films, commercials, and feature films. 

Most of the major crew have day jobs not to mention families and other responsibilities but are working on indie films with me because they believe in me and also, because they have the same creative itch that drives many creative folks to create what they can while they can with no guarantee of any monetary success or notoriety. They are not getting paid.

The money will go to pay for equipment rentals (camera, lights), insurance for both the equipment and the people working on the movie, food during the long hours of shooting, and to help cover the costs of our wardrobe, makeup, weapons master, and stunt coordinator. It takes skilled and talented people to fill those roles and we've been very blessed to have people who want to work on this project even if it means not making as much as they normally do for their services. 

Again, these are people that make their living doing this and could have priced themselves right out of our ability to pay them but they also believe in the project. 

Anyway, even doing things less expensively than originally planned, we plan to have the exact same dedication to quality. We'll get the movie made. We'll just have to work harder, which is something we are quite used to. And welcome.

Below, as promised is the original info from the first Kickstarter, with some minor edits to avoid repeating information.

"From The Director - 
We are making a western in 2012. August 24-27 to be exact about it. And it's going to be good. Has to be. No other reason to make a film than to swing for the fences. As a filmmaker and as a creative team we are concerned with basically one thing: Making really good movies. Classy, Cinematic, Hand Crafted movies. 

"Blood Guilt" started as a "what if." What if a man came upon another man hanging in a tree, fighting for life and declaring his innocence. What does he do? Dozens of story possibilities emerged. Jason Baumgardner (co-writer/producer) and I tossed drafts back and forth at each other until a new character came along: Sage, a seven year old girl who's journey intersects with both men much in the same way all of our own journeys intersect: Suddenly and without warning.

Our primary goal was to write something that was unmistakably a Western film without falling into many of the cliches that seem to plague many current westerns. A tall order. But, after over a year of long phone calls and pushing one another to go past "good enough" we know we've got something we're proud of and can't wait to see on screen. (Don't worry, there are horses, gun fights, and plenty of the hot, western sun.) 

And we hope you feel the same way. If you're here because of our prior work (which we will link below) then THANK YOU. It's nice to have a few fans. But, why ever you are here, please know that we're grateful just for your interest. OF COURSE, we also want your money- But only the amount of money that you feel equals your desire to see us make this movie. There are thousands of other great folks out there doing what we do. And doing it just as well. We get that. We're not the first to embrace the concept of community based filmmaking. But it sure would be cool to get enough (or more than enough) to make this movie. 

My guarantee to you is that if you give money, you're handing it over to a group of scrappy, passionate people who are giddy about telling stories visually for the rest of their lives. We're getting very good about making this work while doing "normal" life. 

For us, "Normal" means that we are: An Air Force Reservist. Musicians. Old friends. New friends. A dog groomer. A seminary student. A tech support advisor. A Film School student. College drop outs. College grads. A culinary school grad. A state employee. Parents. Spouses. And all Texans.

More specifically we are From The Top Turnbuckle Films and we are co-producing with co-writer Jason Baumgardner and his Dream Loud Films.
FTTT Films formed in the summer of 2011 and consists of five core people and a handful of guest help and talent. 

Aaron Kirk has been the writer/director of the three FTTT short films thus far and will be directing "Blood Guilt" as well.
John Mark Clawson has been the primary editor and cinematographer for FTTT Films. He is the very definition of "invaluable" and will be editing this film.
Josh and Alison Brown have scored or provided songs for all three films. They also contribute to the crew and even designed and built "Ray", the sentient computer sidekick in "Dirge" (our most successful film).
Matt "Paperweight" Hanzelka functions as producer/all around awesome guy. He has a passionate love for spread sheets and information and basically makes sure things get done. He is also, potentially, the funniest guy on the team.

Jason Baumgardner is Aaron's oldest friend and their first "film" was a short about killer stuffed animals made around 1992 when Aaron was 12 and Jason was 14. They have since worked together in some way on five different filmmaking projects including a feature film and a web series created by Jason. Between them they have well over another dozen projects under their belts individually.

The money will make sure everyone gets paid, eats well and has a place to lay their head at night. It'll mean we'll have enough ammo for the weapons and insurance to protect our important equipment and our even more important people. Our goal has always been to make sure that the movie exceeds the expectations of anyone who has helped make it happen. And that's not going to change. 

If you can't give much (or anything) I get that. That's how life goes sometimes. But take pride in knowing that you spread the word and got other people excited about what you're already excited about: the continued output of FTTT Films and a pretty darn good short western.

We hope you're excited about our tale of vengeance, guilt, redemption, and the gray areas in between. 

Thank you again,

Aaron Kirk


FTTT Films: 

"Dirge" as featured on Ain't It Cool News 
Dirge was made using a grant from the Inaugural CELTX Seeds Program and has since had it's script, production materials and the film itself licensed to be the sole demo content for the current version of CELTX's screenwriting/production software. It was also a finalist for the 2012 USA Film Festival awards.

"Proxy" Proxy was created for the Austin, TX 2011 48 Hour Film Project. It made that year's top ten films for Austin and won the best editing award. The score was composed and recorded by Josh and Alison Brown while the rest of the team was out making the movie. 

"Night Job" was Aaron Kirk's first short as writer/director. Jason Baumgardner co-produced with Aaron and was the cinematographer and editor as well as a co-star in the film. "Night Job" was featured on 

our website is
Twitter: @ftttfilms 
e-mail: [email redacted] 
Facebook is HERE

Jason's other work can be seen below:

Jason's web series, "The League" 
Aaron co-wrote the second season and worked the crew on the first season. Interview.

Jason's film school shorts-
Land or Sky 

  • Bill Hass 
    • $25 
    • 103 mos
  • Mike Rainey 
    • $35 (Offline)
    • 103 mos
  • Michael Harnois 
    • $20 
    • 104 mos
  • David and Sarah Shaver 
    • $30 (Offline)
    • 104 mos
  • Anonymous Donor 
    • $1,000 (Offline)
    • 107 mos
See all


Aaron Kirk 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more