Friday, August 30, 2013

All About the "Thunder Road" Film Campaign

If needed, please use the Google Translate tool to select your language (right ------>)

After two years of blood, sweat and tears and a keen sense of responsibility to the very real people involved in the research for the screenplay, the Astoria Boys have decided to go their own way via crowd-funding to offset the potentially destructive demands of 'the Hollywood treatment' on their film, Thunder Road

Today saw the RE-LAUNCH of the Thunder Road Fundraising campaign by Matt Dallas, Charlie Bewley & Steven Grayhm (collectively known as Astoria Entertainment). The guys have now terminated the original Kickstarter page and have now migrated over to the Indiegogo fundraising platform, which gives them much more flexibility. All pledges previously made on Kickstarter have now been canceled, so if you previously made a pledge there, we kindly ask you to PLEASE RENEW YOUR CONTRIBUTION on Indiegogo.

Whereas the original target was $750,000 via Kickstarter, some serious investors stepped up and so now the target is $250,000  on Indiegogo by the deadline (currently 11:59pm Pacific Time on October 13th, 2013). Also unlike Kickstarter, all money raised through the new Indiegogo platform will be kept towards the funding of the film regardless of whether the target is reached or not. That's great news!

To find out about the film and the campaign — and more importantly, how to make your contribution — check out the details below. 

It's easy to contribute and you can donate from ANY country in the world:
  1. Watch the video and read the information.
  2. Click on the CONTRIBUTE NOW button.
  3. Select your donation amount (and your PERK/reward, if you want one). 
  4. You can pay by card or PayPal (check availability in your country).
  5. All contributions are in USDollars, so please check your local exchange rates before selecting your donation amount.
  6. Note that unlike Kickstarter, your payment on Indiegogo will be charged to your bank account/credit card immediately. 

If you wish to donate without reading any further, please CONTRIBUTE NOW

The following is taken from the Thunder Road Campaign page on Indiegogo:

There is a growing epidemic happening across the country that is claiming the lives of 22 veterans every day and 1 active duty soldier and Marine every 25 hours. Men and women all around the world have been affected and the numbers are growing exponentially. This epidemic is known as PTSD. POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER


By contributing to THUNDER ROAD you will join us in lifting the veil on PTSD and bringing it into the public forum. You will be sending a message to your government that CHANGE is here and telling Hollywood that you DO care!

(Above) Matt Dallas & Steven Grayhm with US Army Veteran, SPC. Nicholas Carbonell at The Boston Globe Q&A event.






THE FIVE PEOPLE WHO MEET MITCH ALBOM // Five lucky people will have the opportunity to have lunch with best-selling Author Mitch Albom (Tuesdays With Morrie, The Five People You Meet In Heaven) and Steven Grayhm, star of the film adaptation of Mitch's THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN. You will get signed copies of the complete Mitch Albom book collection (Tuesdays With Morrie, The Five People You Meet In Heaven, For One More Day, Have A Little Faith, The Time Keeper AND NEW BOOK The First Phone Call From Heaven). Ask Mitch about his unique writing process and inspiration for his books. You will also get two tickets to any one of the red carpet premieres worldwide! Watch the film with cast, crew and other special guests. Come celebrate with us at the afterparty and dance the night away! You’ll also receive the lapel pin & patch, dog tags, a signed movie poster, t-shirt, soundtrack and production diary. You will have to provide your own personal travel and accommodation in Detroit.

Steven, Matt and Charlie...How Are You At The Helm Of An Epic War Film?

...It was late one evening back in the winter of 2011 when after sharing a warm case of Guinness, Steven and Charlie mused about their overall discontent with the diminishing quality of work in their industry and their growing desire to lend themselves to a greater cause. Steven revealed that he was toying with the idea of returning to his roots as a writer. He was considering blowing the dust off a script that he began writing back in 2003 that was to be a follow up to his award winning short film based on his grandfather's experience as a POW during WWII (, but that his acting career had since taken priority. The script would follow soldiers returning home from war during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and explore the psychological repercussions of combat life and the collateral damage on the civilian world. Steven suggested that in order to continue to write a genuine and authentic piece, he would need to go directly to the source - the soldiers, doctors, veterans, families - themselves - and research and develop on a grass roots level. He also revealed that there was a strong supporting role of a British soldier whom he secretly had Charlie in mind to play. Charlie upped the ante by suggesting that the two garner corporate sponsorship to help fund their collective endeavor and agreed to join him on the journey.
That's great! How Did Matt Dallas Join Forces With You?

While working on the feature film Wyatt Earp’s Revenge, Steven and Matt bonded during filming, Steven playing an outlaw running from the law - and Matt - the law. Sat atop their horses one day on set waiting for the background to reset and the director to call action, Steven shared his newly hatched plan. Matt encouraged Steven to see it through. Later that night, Steven met up with Charlie and divulged that he had met an actor on set that had an innate sensitivity and honesty that was conducive to the role of Steven’s best friend Darryl Sparks in his script. The two decided that night that they should offer the role to Matt. The following day, Steven returned to set and expressed to Matt his strong feeling about him playing his best friend. With a gleaming smile, Matt accepted and was officially on board.

Awesome Guys! Why Indiegogo?

  • First, Indiegogo allows us to seek alternative methods and partnerships. With the current Kickstarter structure, projects have one target only, and fans and supporters are left disappointed if a project doesn’t raise 100% of its fundraising goal. With Indiegogo, your investment in THUNDER ROAD can continue even if its goal isn’t reached in time. Because of the interest generated through the crowdfunding platform, we will be able to partner with investors who have agreed to come on board if a certain percentage of our goal is met. This means that the project doesn’t have to die when the clock winds down. The partnerships we cultivate can allow us to move forward and go into pre-production as early as this Fall/Winter as planned.
  • Second, Indiegogo supports non-profits and non-profit fundraising. We’ve received interest from groups across the globe who believe in the importance of telling the story of veterans and soldiers suffering from PTSD, but we had to decline their help because of the restriction on non-profit affiliation by Kickstarter. Indiegogo will allow us to expand our dialogue with these groups, something we were unable to do in our current structure.
  • Third, Indiegogo doesn’t cap donation amounts. Indiegogo wants each campaign to be successful, because they know whether you’re donating $5 or $50,000, you’re giving a part of yourself to see this project make it. Currently, any donors pledging more than $10,000 must jump through hoops in order to get their pledges made. Indiegogo allows larger donors the means to make pledges that push us closer to seeing this movie made.

After two years of researching, developing and writing the screenplay for Thunder Road, we began to take meetings with producers and production companies and learned very quick that Hollywood had little interest in making a film on PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and even worse, with three relatively unknown actors. All of the elements to satiate the "Hollywood Money Making Machine" were there; a strong narrative, an anti-hero protagonist, a love story, epic combat scenes, a well researched underlying cultural education, but despite all of that, much of the feedback was, “really great script but...(insert nonsensical comment about bottom lines and A-Listers)”. We grew impatient with the conventional way of getting an independent film off the ground and with the success of Kirsten Bell’s, Veronica Mars and Zach Braff’s,Wish I Were Here, we felt compelled to explore the route of crowd funding to ensure that our film gets made the way we intended. Only what differentiates us from our more famous and established colleagues is that we have a CAUSE. We are aiming to both entertain and EDUCATE.

Ok, I'm Intrigued. What's The Film About?

THUNDER ROAD is the story of returning U.S. soldier SGT. CALVIN COLE (played by Steven) whom we meet in present day Detroit as a troubled veteran who suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and tbi (Traumatic Brain Injury) from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Initially resistant to the VA system COLE must find a way to assimilate back into civilian life before he ends up dead or in prison.

Through his rekindled friendship with his estranged childhood friend PFC. DARRYL SPARKS (played by Matt) who he served on the “buddy system” with and his newly formed relationship with a doctor at the VA Medical Center, COLE finds redemption and salvation through sharing his captivating experience as a combat infantryman. The film also explores the psychological repercussions of war and seeks answers to the growing epidemic of PTSD and tbi in returning soldiers.

THUNDER ROAD also shows the allied forces involvement in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as we intertwine COLE's story with CPT. CHARLES RHODES (played by Charlie), a Sandhurst educated Captain of the British Army who we learn has crossed paths with COLE and SPARKS during their service in the middle east.

Fantastic! ...But How Is Your Film Any Different From Others On This Subject Matter?

First and foremost, our screenplay has been thoroughly researched. We’ve spent hundreds of hours sitting in front of doctors and clinicians role playing a multitude of scenarios. We’ve collected vast amounts of personal accounts from soldiers experiences from the field. Most importantly, there is NO other film for our generation that truly explores the psychological repercussions of war from these current conflicts the way COMING HOME and THE DEER HUNTER did for their generation.

Many films aim to check off the boxes when it comes to PTSD (i.e. loud noise = veteran jumps). It’s much more complicated than that. Furthermore, many films neglect to show the rehabilitation process, both mentally and physically. We have created characters that you will CARE about. An UNDERDOG story that you can relate to and root for their most extraordinary journey!

Our Pledge To You…

We PLEDGE to make an honest and authentic film that represents the true struggles and triumphs of the brave men and women around the world who have written a blank check to their God and government with their lives to uphold and fight for our freedoms. We will work hard everyday to do everything humanly possible to make sure that THUNDER ROAD gives a voice to the ghosts who walk amongst us. — Steven Grayhm

We PLEDGE to listen. To always be storytellers. We will make it our mission to bring to the people tales of bravery and strength as well as ones of adversity and hope. We will be the messengers for those who need to be heard. This we believe in and will keep alive. — Matt Dallas


I’m Sold! How Do I Join This Incredible Journey? 

To become one of our contributors, just click on the big pink button to the right of our video and choose which reward you want. Signing up is easy and there is NO third party account necessary!

Who’s Directing?

We have compiled a list of directors whose work we have thoroughly researched and collectively feel would be the best fit for our project. It will really come down to scheduling but usually the Hollywood math translates to: the more money we raise = the better quality of director we can attract!


We have several strong supporting lead roles that we are confident will attract top tier talent who will help to elevate our story AND our budget. A successful campaign will ensure that we get to cast the right people for the job.


Detroit — John D. Dingell VA Hospital, VA Shelter, Downtown, Cass Corridor. We are excited to announce that we have secured most of our locations in the Motor City and honored to bring our project to the state of Michigan!

Iraq —  Baghdad, Hegnah. (Our team is working on similar location(s) that will double for this).

Afghanistan — The Korengal Valley — located in the northeastern part of the country (Kunar Province) and widely known as “the valley of death”. (Our team is working on similar location(s) that will double for this).

Budgetary Cuts

The amount of funds we raise will directly dictate how many action sequences we can include in our film (based on real accounts from soldiers that we’ve met and worked with), how many military vehicles we can acquire for these scenes, how many authentic extras we can hire (The Hurt Locker hired many refugees from Iraq from their national theater that were displaced but found work as their background and supporting cast). Thunder Road is a psychological drama at its heart but to understand PTSD we must show the cause and effect. The cause is the expensive part of our film.

The Soundtrack

This is going to be a dooooozey! We’ve always been huge fans of original orchestral scores in film. In addition to an epic sweeping score, we intend to release a soundtrack that we hope will elevate our film and have already compiled a list of our favorite artists whom we intend to reach out to (we’re also eager to discover new artists and hope to include some unknown work on our soundtrack!).

A Final Word From The Boys...

After two years of anxiety attacks, paranoia, night terrors and finally a stomach ulcer (I’m cured now!) caused by the stress that came with fully immersing myself in this subject matter to write an authentic screenplay, I am so excited (and perhaps relieved) to finally be at a stage to launch a crowd funding campaign. Even more so, to be doing it alongside two of my best friends that have worked so hard every step of the way with me. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t terrified of putting myself and the project out there like this. I feel a tremendous responsibility to all those who’ve shared their stories with us and are counting on us to see this through. We have no idea if this is going to work. What we do know is that we have a truly incredible script (thanks to all of those that shared so openly with us!) with an original and captivating story, an amazing team of people behind it and a passion and determination unlike any other campaign. While you are reading this right now, we are out on the road attending events, meeting potential backers, doing press nationwide in every city that will have us - everything and anything we can do to make sure that we reach our goal and bring this very special film to the screen - to you - our audience. Thank you so much for taking the time to consider your support for our project and know that we are so truly grateful and honored to have you on this journey with us! God bless. — Steven Grayhm

First of all, thank you for taking the time to check out our project. This has been a long two years of blood, sweat and tears so we appreciate every bit of support.

We set out to make a really special film and with the help of so many we are getting closer and closer to achieving that goal. It is because of the those incredible people that believed in us that we have been able to come this far and we are hoping that we can recruit you to come aboard this passion project as well.

As an actor I read screenplay after screenplay and I can honestly say it is rare that a script this special comes along. It has been a long time since I have loved a project as much as I do this one.

So we ask you, even if you can't back us monetarily, help us out by spreading the word and sharing this link. We will love you forever. We also promise to do everything we possibly can to deliver a movie that you can be proud to say you were a part of! — Matt Dallas

Thunder Road is a fictional tale based on the true stories of hundreds of veterans, soldiers and their families. It therefore represents the trials and tribulations of millions of people who live among us, many hidden away from society as a direct result of the incredible tales they have to share.

Bridging the gap between docu-drama and film, Thunder Road lifts the veil on veteran life allowing our audience a unique, voyeuristic glimpse into a subculture of society that is as heart warming as it is heart wrenching.

I am honored to have been a part of this journey. I have learned so much along the way, much of which I would have remained ignorant to without this experience.

It is my hope that our passion and spirit in our investment to the veteran community resonates within your hearts also... We'll get this funded ...And this same education I received will be hitting your screens by the end of 2014! Thank you. — Charlie Bewley

Gold Star Mother, Bunnie Jacquay. Ms. Jacquay's son, SGT. Cody Legg was KIA on June 4th, 2008 in Hegnah, Iraq. The military operation for which he was killed is chronicled in THUNDER ROAD.

* * * * *

Select a Perk for Your Contribution


MATT DALLAS @themattdallas
CHARLIE BEWLEY @alchemission

You can also find this Campaign on:

Created By: Astoria Film Co.


  1. Anonymous9/04/2013

    I recall on the website prior to the take over a 1-8800 number. Perhaps you should list it here again, or point it out that they need to post it on the new site. Plus indicate that ONLY serious NEWS casters, TV shows, and serious contributors should use the number.

  2. I would like to thank you for the attempts you've obtained created in writing this report. I am hoping the same best operate from you inside the likely also. In fact your inventive creating expertise has impressed me to commence my personal Website Engine weblog now.
    dfw airport taxi
    dallas limo service