Cold Start

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Family

Richard Townsley

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $7,600 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

46 supporters | followers

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Donnini, a world-famous racecar driver, meets his unfortunate demise while on the track. His legacy lives on within a home project car that he and his young son, Carter, spent many years perfecting. The teen boy knows that the only way to move past his death is by finishing the project car.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

This story is personal. My father and I spent multiple years working on our own project car, a 1987 Jeep Wrangler. I cherished every moment. Additionally, my grandfather owned a prize-winning 1965 Ford Mustang. Cold Start explores the loss of a father figure and the impact it will have on a son.

The Story

Inspired by my own experiences working on a project 1987 Jeep Wrangler with my father, Cold Start explores the impact that the father-son bonding moments have in a young boy's life. The experience of building a car teaches patience, builds confidence, develops solution-oriented thinking, and fosters a deep respect for the car community and culture.

After moving to Los Angeles to pursue my Bachelors in Fine Arts degree at The New York Film Academy, it became fully my responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the Jeep and, with that, the idea for Cold Start sparked. Originally, this story was going to be told as my end-of-first-semester film, however, the Covid-19 pandemic took hold over the world resulting in the film's cancelation. After a year of further development, the screenplay began to truly evolve into a far more complex, and emotional story. Additionally, the chosen shoot location used to store Donnini and Carter's project car was once used by my own grandfather who kept his beautiful, prize-winning 1965 convertible Ford Mustang. Because of this personal connection, our family legacy continues in Cold Start. 

Over the past year, I have continued to work on set and grow both as a filmmaker and a person, with Cold Start now in development as my Intermediate Film at the New York Film Academy where I have learned the importance of resilience and that constant hard work is exactly what is needed to make this idea into a cohesive motion picture. 

As a storyteller, I greatly appreciate and respect the opportunity I have been presented with and I will not settle for anything but a professional set full of fellow passionate filmmakers with proper health and safety requirements in place for the pandemic.


45 years old, Male

Born on November 14th, 1962, and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado: Jackson Donnini grew up in a family of auto-engineers and factory workers. Learning from a young age the basics of TIG and MIG welding, Donnini began to experiment. Using his father's equipment, he began building custom pieces of his road bike. It wasn't until Donnini reached his early teens and began working on his own project cars. Building custom roll cages, mounting brackets, sway bars, and any other modifications that he could dream up: Donnini knew that his future was in the auto-engineer business too. Pursing his degree and the Unversity of West Los Angeles on a full-ride scholarship, Donnini put all of his college funds into his dream racecar. One day, while running speed tests, he was approached by a requiter and offered a spot on the "Dixon 5" race team.

As time passed and technology improved, Donnini joined various new teams and began racing SCCA. In the early 1990s, Donnini was far in the lead while racing at Riverside Raceway. Unexpectedly, the rubber of Donnini's front right tire began to degrade at a rapid rate, fatality leading him into a concrete barricade.



19 years old, Male

Born July 13th, 1999, and raised in San Clemente, California: Carter Donnini grew up heavily taking after his father, Jackson Donnini, and at an early age developed a fascination for the off-road 4x4 scene. Due to his fascination, Carter begged his father to teach him the ropes of metal fabrication and engineering. By the age of 5, Carter would perform oil changes on his father's racecars and design custom skid plates to later fabricate with his father's guidance. Spending every weekend at the track watching his father, Carter never imagined life without him. However, six months after his 8th birthday, Jackson Donnini was fatally injured on the speedway. With this Godmother (Aunt Leona) taking care of him, Carter lost his father, his best friend, and had no one to look up to. His once-vibrant personality became dull and withdrawn. After multiple years of attempting to connect with Carter, Aunt Leona enrolled him in the Wilderness Adventure Scouts. 

In scouting, Carter spent weekends camping at Joshua Tree and Big Bear, made new friends, and regained his self-confidence. By his freshman year at Ramstaff High School, Carter's personally brightened up and allowed him to become social once more. None-the-less, Carter still carried his fear and emotional distress from witnessing his father's brutal crash. He feels a great weight on his shoulders. Carter knows that he cannot allow past trauma to hold him back in life.


Aunt Leona

42 years old, Female

Born and raised in the Donnini Family, Leona grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado. She always had trouble connecting with her family history of workshop gear-heads and greasers, however, Leona has always had a strong relationship with her brother, Jackson. In the early year of high school, Leona has took interest in the law. She began taking social studies courses and criminal defense electives. Morally, Leona enjoys helping those in need, telling the truth, and being open with family. As she and her brother began college, they maintained contact via writing letters. Over the year, Leona would hear stories of the career success that Jackson was found in Los Angeles. So, after graduating from the University of Boulder, Colorado, Leona moved to Los Angeles to find success with her own career.

Once in Los Angeles, Leona fell in love, got married, and changed her last name to Spiro. Despite her can-do attitude, Leona filed for divorce and continued to practice law under her new last name. Leona Spiro quickly became a well-known and respected name in the law. However, after the devastating death of her brother, Leona took a break from the law to take care of her new responsibility, her god-son, Carter. Being only eight years old, Carter was at first quite the handful for Leona. Thinking back to her childhood in Colorado, she began to get the hand of parenting and raised Carter to not only have proper manners, but to follow the same moral code she does; to be respectful, honest, and loving to those in his life.


To bring Cold Start to reality, we need your help. We must raise $7,500 to fund development, production, cast & crew, and post-production. We will pay cast and crew, build high-quality props and set pieces, hire a music composer to write and perform an original score, pay for equipment rentals, obtain liability insurance, create photo-realistic driving visual effects, and submit to several film festivals.

Reach Goals

Upon raising $10,000: We can have increased time on our racetrack location, additional scenes of Donnini's project car, and cover visual effect expenses.

Upon raising $12,000: Experience Cold Sart in a rich, bone-shaking 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround sound, plus the ability to upgrade from Atlas to Cooke Anamorphic lenses, and have breathing room in our budget.

Big Ask, Big Production! We are asking for your significant financial contributions to quickly and adequately secure our tight budget. Every dollar counts and your pledge will be responsible for Cold Start's success. Our team believes in this project, and we hope that you share our passion and join us. Please share our story on social media and forward this opportunity to friends, family, and co-workers. The race is on: start your engines and become a member of the Cold Start Pit Crew today!

Regardless of the recent Covid-19 vaccine, social distancing and sanitization protocols will be held to the highest standards.

Disclosure: Our producer has created a cautious and extremely necessary safety plan. A Covid-19 compliance officer will be hired and on set at all times. Frequently touched surfaces will be conducted throughout the shoot and hand sanitizer will be available on set for regular use. Equipment will only be handled by the respective crew members and on-set presence will be limited to essential individuals, with different departments (i.e. Art, G/E, Camera) rotating in and out. Hair & Makeup is required to wear masks and face shields. Production will supply all PPE. Catering will be arranged in single servings. PCR Tests must be taken and submitted with negative results 48 hours prior to each shooting date.

Even if a crew member is vaccinated, they will adhere to these protocols, unless CA shooting restrictions are lifted or amended. Our plan will be approved by SAG-AFTRA and the New York Film Academy.


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Music Composer

Costs $300

This film is an emotional story that requires a properly written, performed, and produced score.


Costs $1,500

1,500 dollars will get us Anamorphic lenses, dolly tracks, and an equipment truck. Weekend rental.

Props & Set Design

Costs $600

Donnini was constantly tinkering and working on projects. His workshop needs the right hardware.


Costs $650

If we raise 650 dollars, we will be able to pay our dedicated and hardworking cast.


Costs $950

Our passionate crew will be able to be fully paid if we raise 950 dollars!


Costs $500

A happy crew is a well-fed crew! 500 dollars will cover craft services for cast and crew!

Film Festivals

Costs $400

Our producer will submit Cold Start across well-known & respected festivals.

Color Correction

Costs $100

6K RAW files from our Blackmagic 6k and RED Dragon require extra attention in the coloring process.

Visual Effects

Costs $100

Cold Start requires photo-realistic visual effects developed by our Director of Photography.

Incentive Distribution

Costs $200

In order to fulfill incentive orders quickly and efficiently, we'll need 200 dollars.

10% Contingency

Costs $750

Will cover any extra costs that might come up as production gets closer..


Costs $1,000

For $1,000, we will head on location to film the exciting, raw, and visceral racing scenes.

Picture Car

Costs $450

$450 will allow us to film with the pride and joy of Donnini and Carter, the project car.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Richard Townsley

Writer, Director, Editor

Born and raised in the San Fransisco Bay Area, Richard Townsley was surrounded by the local influences of LucasFilm, Skywalker Sound, Industrial Light and Magic, and Pixar. Richard has been following his passion as a Video Editor since the 5th grade. In high school, Richard excelled in the video and filmmaking program "COMACAD," winning 1st place award at the Marin County Fair and honorable mention in Lark Student Showcase. After graduating high school, Richard completed an internship with 32Ten Studios before moving to Los Angeles to continue pursuing filmmaking by attending the New York Film Academy. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Richard's classes transitioned to online allowing him to use the opportunity to continue through college while working freelance in the industry. Richard's proficiencies include Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and Media Encoder, Avid Media Composer and ProTools, Final Cut Pro, Davinci Resolve, and Lightroom. An accomplished video editor and sound editor, Richard is also a strong team leader, collaborator, and stress-free director.


Zach Goodwin

Producer, Assistant Director, Casting Director

Zach Goodwin is a Texas-born filmmaker, who moved to Los Angeles to study and direct films. In high school, Zach began writing and directing his own shorts, which went on to win various film festival awards. His most notable accolade is winning the Audience Award for Best Student Short Film at the 2019 South By Southwest film competition. After his first year at the New York Film Academy College, Zach began assistant directing and producing projects outside of school. He constantly strives to elevate every project he works on to its high quality, all while having a constant passion on & off set.


Nick Azzaro

Director of Photography & VFX

Born and raised in Italy, Nick quickly became fascinated with movies at an early age, and has embraced filmmaking as his primary storytelling tool to bring heartfelt and visually-powerful stories to life. Through a detailed use of light and color, Nick immerses the viewer into his characters' psyche and their worlds. A key element of his style consists of merging his love for Italian art with a high-end Hollywood look, enabling him to create intimate and alluring visuals. His current portfolio includes 40+ projects ranging from narrative and experimental work, to music videos and commercials.


Alex Kumph

Art Director & Casting Associate

Alex Kumph is an award-winning filmmaker from Newmarket, New Hampshire. As a kid, he discovered filmmaking through the gateway drug of stop motion animation. After high school, Alex moved to Los Angeles, CA, where he continues to refine and develop his skills as a filmmaker, friend, and storyteller.

“I’ve collaborated with Richard Townsley on numerous projects and I'm always impressed with his work ethic, dedication, and problem-solving skills. I’m very grateful to be on his team for Cold Start.”


Camden May

Script Supervisor​

Camden Rose May was born in Encino, California, and raised on Hollywood film sets. Her father, Bradford May is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer and director. Her mother Lisa Eilbacher is a television and film actress. After spending considerable time on sets while she was young, Camden grew up determined to follow in her parent's footsteps. It was as a performer that Camden found herself working with Academy Award-winning director Alejandro Iñárritu. Her experience with the great director left her even more determined to take Hollywood by storm as both a cinematographer and director. After enrolling in NYFA's filmmaking program in 2020 with the goal of earning her Bachelor's degree, Camden continues to savor learning about every aspect of filmmaking. As the script supervisor for Cold Start, she now further understands the partnership that must exist between all departments in order to deliver a successful product. Camden prides herself on her integrity and workmanship qualities which have served her well in the various positions she has been required to fill to complete as she works towards graduating.


Current Team