Help my film Rough Edges cross the finish line

My feature-length movie Rough Edges has been accepted to the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose. It will premiere next month (August) in a theater in front of a live Bay Area audience. I hope to see you there!

You can watch the trailer here:

Making this movie has been a very long, hard road. At times I have felt like one of those lunatics who traverse Antarctica solo, trekking across virgin snow for hundreds and hundreds of miles while pulling a 400 pound sled with all their supplies. But it is finally coming to an end.

The film is basically done: the edit is locked, the color is corrected, the dialog and effects have been mixed. Unfortunately, I have spent every penny of my own money on this film and, after the pandemic, I now find myself without enough funds to lock in music, art, and performance licensing, finish the original score, and create the final Digital Cinema Package.

Will you help me finish my movie? 

I’m hoping to raise at least $6000 by August 1st. 

Anyone who donates
• $50 or more before August 9th will be thanked in the credits 
• $1000 or more will get an Associate Producer credit as well

I’ve set up a GoFundMe so you can donate directly to my LLC for the film. 

If you like the trailer, if you’d like to see what I’ve been working on all this time, if you’d like to stop asking me when I’ll be done, please donate what you can! And please share this link with anyone else who might be interested in the film.

Screenings will be on August 20th and August 27th (both Saturdays).

You can buy tickets to one of the screenings at this link:

Thank you very much! I really appreciate anything you can do to help me bring this home.

Writing, directing, and producing an independent, self-funded feature film is probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. Everyone who helped me on the shoot was paid fairly (we had two SAG union actors but treated everyone as if they were members), with no deferred salaries. We took care to ensure a safe, ethical work environment and not work everyone to death, and the result was a very positive experience. Since we wrapped the shoot I have been doing everything myself: picture and sound edit, color, graphics and visual effects, sound mix, and now music.

Remaining Costs

I used a bunch of temporary music as placeholders while editing (to ensure the pacing and emotion of the scenes worked - this is standard practice) and I need to replace or license all of it before the film can screen. 

  • So far, I have been given permission by Doctor Toast and the band the Lovemakers to use some of their music in the film, but I will need to pay both of them. This will run between $1000 and $1200.
  • I need to pay for the rights to footage of a burlesque performance.
  • I need to pay two artists for their artwork that appears.
  • I need to replace the rest of the music - some of it can be done using licensed tracks, and some of it will use original music by me (I did the music in the trailer, if you want to know what it will sound like).
  • Finally, the film needs to be delivered to the festival as a Digital Cinema Package (DCP), a collection of special audio and video files used by digital projectors in movie theaters. This typically runs between $1000 and $2500.

If I’m able to raise more than the minimum I can license additional music tracks and can do things like upgrading from a 2K DCP to a 4K version. But $6000 should be enough to pay the musicians and artists, finish the score, and make the DCP.

Wait, you made a movie? What is it? What’s it about???

Synopsis: An emotionally withdrawn writer picks up a struggling artist at a BDSM club for what he expects will be nothing more than a kinky one-night stand. But when they find each other more engaging than anticipated, the two lonely nonconformists begin to cautiously explore the possibilities of an unconventional relationship. Over a series of dates they share stories, have sex, and talk about relationships, monogamy, family, drugs, religion, art, life goals, and old wounds. But as they reveal more of themselves to each other, they struggle with what it means to be vulnerable with someone who can truly hurt them.

I wanted to make something that showed kink and non-traditional relationships in an honest, sex-positive light, in contrast to the many stories about self-destructive femme fatales, pathological abusers, and freakish laughingstocks that we’ve seen plenty of by now. Rough Edges is a frank portrayal of an unconventional relationship, but it's also a universal story about fear of intimacy and the challenges of forming a meaningful connection with another person.

The screenplay was workshopped at the Center for Sex and Culture with the support of Carol Queen and Jen Cross, and the film was shot under the SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement.


  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Joanna Winter
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Laurel Romeyn
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Julie Jacobson
    • $30 
    • 2 yrs
  • Julie Jacobson
    • $30 
    • 2 yrs


Charles Lyons
San Francisco, CA

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