Emerald Lounge

Syracuse, New York | Film Short

Mystery, Experimental

Michael Hicks

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $4,550 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

30 supporters | followers

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Roseann is a former musician working two jobs, whose love for music has been lost in the daily struggle of work and making ends meet. Frustrated and exhausted, she has a mysterious encounter that has the potential to radically alter her worldview and show her that her dream is still alive.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

In my life, and in the lives of many of the people I love, there is a struggle between the things we need to do in order to make ends meet, and things that nourish our souls and give life deeper meaning. This film is for anyone who has ever searched for purpose and fulfillment in the everyday.

The Story

ROSEANN is  a high school art teacher working two jobs and caring for elderly mother, Rita. She has a deep passion for music, but she's exhausted, trying to find time and space for her art in the grind of everyday life. 

Roseann teaches art to bored students, her mother questions all of her life choices, and Roseann tries in vain to keep her creative spark alive, and like there's no purpose to the way she's living her life. 

After another day in which Roseann feels particularly exhausted and frustrated, she realizes she's going to have to work her second job driving a rideshare in order to pay for expenses.

 Dejected and questioning whether this is all her life will amount to, Roseann has an encounter with a mysterious passenger that has the potential to radically alter her worldview and show her that perhaps her dreams are still alive. 

A photograph I made of Paige Susan Anderson, who plays the mysterious passenger, The Well-Dressed Woman.

If you've known me long enough, you've probably heard me talk about all the jobs I've cycled through in my time on this planet. Systems analyst, house painter, sales person, data entry specialist, restaurant server, editorial assistant, the list goes on. 

Me on set!

Our cinematographer Donato Rossi on the set of his film The Day I Began to Love Myself

This story is important, because it's something I feel a lot of people can relate to. There are so many talented people out there who have dreams. Many people feel exhausted and frustrated because so much of their time is spent alienated from the things they love .And in a time where people are working more jobs and more hours for less money, this story is more important and more relevant than ever. 

This is a story about me, and maybe, it's a story about you. 

This search for purpose has been a consistent theme in all the work I've done. My work spans film but also photography, video, set design, audio design, and installation art. I like to think that this gives me a really multi-dimensional perspective in terms of how to approach cinema from an audio, visual, and production design standpoint.

Here are some stills from my last big project, When the Company Calls


A still from Night Call.

Decayed, But Still Standing

'Emerald Lounge' is set in a nonspecific post-industrial city, a once-thriving place that was full of people working towards a prosperous future. Now, this landscape is decayed, rusted, desolate, but the remnants of these hopes and dreams are still here. 

A still from a previous short film I made, The Rehearsal. 

This film draws inspiration from Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive & Eraserhead, Persona by Ingrid Bergman, The Shining by Stanley Kubrick, and Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock, among other works. 

Without giving too much away, I'm drawn to the blending of fantasy and reality in these films, the mood and atmosphere they are able to create, and how the landscape and the psychology of the characters are so tied together. 

Most importantly, this film is inspired by the love of the medium and the power of creative expression. 


From top to Bottom, left to right: Eraserhead, Mulholland Dr., Persona, Sunset Boulevard, Vertigo

There is an incredibly talented group of actors, artists, and filmmakers already working to bring this project to life - it is a true labor of love. 

We have most of our production costs covered - I am looking to raise a portion of the budget from this campaign to help with remaining production costs and to see it through postproduction and festival submissions. 

I've set a modest goal of $4000 - if you partner with me on this film, your contribution will go towards much needed gear rental costs for production as well as editing, color-correction, and sound design costs. This will be crucial to getting the project over the finish line. 

This is to polish the film and make it look and sound as good as it possibly can after production wraps. Remaining costs will go towards festival submissions to help the film get in front of as many eyes as possible.

There is a lot of work that has been done on this film already! We have a script, a storyboard, an amazing cast & crew, locations, equipment, and money already set aside for production. Most importantly, we have our first set of shooting dates for February! That is coming up super fast! 


Our amazing main cast during the first (remote) table read! Clockwise from top left: Paige Susan Anderson, Arlene Arnone, Lisa Kay King


If we surpass our goal of $4000 that would be incredible! Every dollar above that would go toward increasing production value - more for equipment rental, crew, production design, props, and postproduction. 


That's okay! You can still follow our page & share on social media, help get the word out, and follow along for updates on the project as it moves through production!


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

Production Design

Costs $500

Art direction, props, set dressing, etc.


Costs $1,000

Making the film really sing in postproduction! Getting the color and sound design just right.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Lighting & Grip

Costs $750

Crucial to bringing the vision of the story to life!

Housing and Travel

Costs $750

Making sure the cast can get here and has places to stay!

Food & Beverage

Costs $500

Making sure the cast and crew is well fed on set - super important!


Costs $500

Boring but crucial

About This Team

Michael W. Hicks

Michael is a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker based in Syracuse, NY. He received his MFA from Syracuse University in 2018. Previous works and short films include When the Company Calls (2019) Haunted Theatre (2019) Night Call (2019), and The Rehearsal (2018). His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at The Munson Williams Proctor Arts Museum in Utica, NY and The Holland Project Gallery in Reno, NV. His work is in several collections including at Syracuse University, the High Museum, and the Guggenheim Museum Library. He is also currently also working on a photography monograph called When The Company Calls. 

Donato Rossi

Donao is a southern Italian independent filmmaker, born and raised in Puglia. He spent 15 years in Tuscany (Sienna) to work and study Arts, Cinema and Theater at the University of Sienna.
His projects have been selected and screened in Milan, Florence, Reggio Emilia, Siena, Sicily, Bilbao, Lisbon, Rotterdam, Michigan, Los Angeles, New York, India, and other places. After several years in broadcasting in Europe, he decided in 2014 he would start a new adventure in the US, attending an MFA program in film, at the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York), where he currrently works and tetaches. His films include House UnboundThe Day I Began to Love Myself, and the award-winning Fog At Sea, which won BEST SHORT EXPERIMENTAL at the Medusa Film Festival. 

Current Team