“When taking a look at people’s lives on the last day on Earth, the last day on Earth comes secondary to taking a look at people’s lives.”
Bryce Young can be counted among Kansas City’s brightest filmmakers. After a successful Kickstarter campaign for his new webseries, aptly named “Withered World,” Young helms the project’s moving toward completion.
The task is not simply telling tales of end-of-times tragedy and triumph, but also bringing something to Kansas City that we can all be proud of.
In November, Young was feeling anxious as the Kickstarter funds stagnated at thousands below the project goal with only days to go. But, in the final hours donors pulled together and brought “Withered World” to victory.
“I am shocked,” Young says. “The day before I made a Kickstarter update -- sort of as my last plea -- and I turned to my wife and said ‘if this doesn’t work out I can’t say I didn’t give it my best.’ Sometimes things just don’t work out. The phrase I never want to hear the rest of my life is: too big to fail.
“I had a gig the day before, so I was in the perfect place when we met our goal. I couldn’t celebrate, but I got to internalize it. As much as I wanted to jump up and down I had to stay professional.”
Being able to internalize the accomplishment meant not wasting any of the energy that comes with striking such an important target, but instead reinvesting it into the progress of the project, using it to gear up for the next phase.
“It’s a risk we’re taking airing the series after the timeliness of 12/21,” Young admits. “When nothing happens at the end of the Mayan calendar, it won’t stop Hollywood from making apocalypse based movies. It won’t stop us either. I hope [the series] won’t be compared to the Mayan calendar at that point.”
Fans are not so fickle. Listeners didn’t stop enjoying Prince’s “1999,” when Y2K didn’t destroy the Earth. What’s at the heart of all these apocalypse stories is the awareness human beings have of our own demise coupled with the added weight of mass destruction on a deadline and our struggle to survive beyond it. That is what compels the audience.
Each episode at five to six minutes explores the human response to impending doom. A website devoted solely to “Withered World” and its production is currently in development.
Letters of Interest to crew for Anthony Ladesich’s episode, “Payton’s Rocket” are currently being accepted. This episode presents the opportunity to work with Derek Scherer, the graphics designer for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.
Young is also working with filmmakers to secure a cast for the entire series. Auditions are being held Sunday, February 24, 10 a.m., at the Livestock Exchange Bldg, located at 1600 Genessee St., Kansas City, Missouri 64102.
Actors are being asked to bring one to three copies of their headshot and prepare to cold read from a three person scene. This phase gets the series closer to its April debut of episode, “A Man’s Tale,” written by Young himself.
“Now that we’ve made our goal, due to generous backers, I look forward to working with filmmakers,” Young says. “I’m never going to have to throw a hammer down because of the filmmakers. I trust them and we get to make this whole thing happen. I look forward to the first episode airing to the last one, and to being proud.”
This endeavor will hopefully rejuvenate Kansas City artists and garner fans beyond our city’s borders. “Withered World” webseries stands to fulfill an unprecedented collaborative effort in Kansas City and capitalize on the mobility occurring in the Heartland.
Meeting the burden of financing a film venture was just the beginning. “The pressure now is to fulfill the promise projected to the world. We will make it the best it can be and make something we can all be proud of.”
For updates on screenings, merchandise, and the premiere date, or to submit a Letter of Interest, please visit and ‘like’ the “Withered World” Facebook page. To learn more about the auditions, please visit the audition event page, also on Facebook.