New ‘On The Day’ box set project may not see light of day

Published: July 31, 2011
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LA filmmaker John McDonald’s latest piping and drumming project might not happen if he doesn’t raise $20,000 in “Kickstarter” funding by 3 am EDT Friday. Currently about $1,800 short of his goal, his “box set” of video, audio and printed material on the 2008 Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band project required advance funding from donations to ensure that the product would come to fruition.

If it comes to market, the box set will include the 83-minute “Director’s Cut” DVD of the On The Day movie, a three-hour-long DVD of “bonus material,” an audio CD of several pipers in the band, a 28-page booklet about the Spirit of Scotland and the making of the film and a panoramic poster of the band at the 2008 World’s.

In return for public donations, McDonald will provide gifts – ranging from pipe chanters to autographed posters to branded tote bags – commensurate with amounts. For example, a donation of $2,000 of more results in an Associate Producer credit throughout the products and a slew of merchandise.

Despite the project’s uncertainty, McDonald has proceeded with design elements, with the hope of releasing the product at a screening of the movie and a release party on August 14th in Glasgow.

Despite the project being a for-profit endeavour, McDonald has sought out the charitable side of the world’s piping and drumming community.

“If the goal is not reached, nothing is charged to the credit card accounts of the backers,” McDonald said. “The deadline cannot be extended, so someone starting a Kickstarter campaign has to really think ahead about the deadline they want to set. It can be up to 90 days, but I chose July 15th, which gave me 39 days. With that date, I felt I can always pull the plug before the very costly manufacturing of the Box Set begins, but still have all the elements in place to pull the trigger to get the product made and shipped to Glasgow.”

The “director’s cut of the original film is essentially the same material, but with improved sound and video quality. McDonald took it Post Haste Sound Studios in Los Angeles for a new Dolby 5.1 mix, and “de-interlaced” BBC footage to mesh better with his own.

The additional CD carries 19 created audio tracks of several pipers from the band, including Roddy MacLeod, Colin MacLellan, Willie McCallum and Iain Speirs. The new CD was engineered by Ontario producer and SFU Pipe Band drummer Doug Stronach and co-produced by band Sprit of Scotland member Jim McGillivray, who also has two tracks on the disc.

“There is no equity stake for the backers of the Kickstarter project,” McDonald added. “Backers receive ‘rewards’ (sometimes tangible and sometimes intangible) when they choose their pledge levels. Kickstarter came into being because of the bad economic situation overall. A group of Brooklyn artists/musicians noticed that all the traditional funding sources (such as grants) were drying up. It was getting to the point where thousands of people were applying for pathetically small amounts of money, and the odds of getting a grant were astronomical.”

McDonald said that, even if the goal is met before the deadline, those who continue to contribute will receive the same rewards.

Since its release in 2009, On The Day has been sold as a DVD and in 2011 it was screened in cinemas across Canada and on the CBC television network.

[Disclosure: the editor of pipes|drums is a member of the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band.]

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