The Blue Whale

Catoosa, Oklahoma | Film Feature

Teen, Drama

Jonathan Rossetti

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $9,320 for development. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

57 supporters | followers

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Sixteen year old Daniel expects to spend this summer like any other, reading comics and avoiding his dad at all costs...until he meets Janis at The Blue Whale of Catoosa, a whimsical roadside attraction that serves as the backdrop for this unique coming-of-age story set in rural 1980's Oklahoma.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

The script emphasizes the complex human experience we all share regardless of differences in religion, politics, gender, age, and race. Lensed by talented Korean American DP George Su, we will strive to be an inclusive and diverse project both in front of and behind the camera.

The Story

The Blue Whale is a project that is near and dear to my heart and I'm thrilled to be able to share it with you here on Seed & Spark. The film is set in the early 1980's in Northeastern Oklahoma where I grew up, and it will highlight the charms, quirks, and flaws of that region, along with the coolest concrete blue whale you've ever seen. Think The Kings of Summer meets The Spectacular Now.


The Story:

Sixteen year old Daniel Doolin, an outcast in his own home, passes the long summer days lost in his comic books. His mother Hen, overwhelmed with shame from her youthful transgressions, sits meekly by as her husband Trigger and step-daughter Beazy relentlessly tease Daniel. When 16 year old Janis stops in their small Oklahoma town, Daniel is immediately smitten with the girl from California. Janis inspires Daniel to pursue his dream of writing a comic and challenges his family's conservative beliefs. As the summer comes to a close and Janis heads back to California, Daniel's life will be forever changed when his mother finally reveals the truth of who his father is.


The Inspiration

In developing the story, screenwriter Neal McLaughlin and I took into account elements of my own family upbringing and history, but we fictionalized those events in order to emphasize the inherent realities of the time period and paint a vivid and nuanced picture of Oklahoma. In my experience, Okies have always been great at checking their bad behavior at the church door and picking it back up on the way to the car. Guilt and judgment are served alongside every piece of chicken fried steak and slice of pecan pie. These ideological conflicts are reflected in the actions of Daniel's parents: his mother Hen is controlled by the shame she feels for her youthful transgressions, his father Trigger drinks away his feelings of inadequacy, and they all go to church every Sunday wearing their Sunday best and a smile. Despite their puritan beliefs and the often-forced cloak of humility, however, there has always been a sense of fun and whimsy in the people I know from Oklahoma. This script emphasizes each character’s complexity, the good along with the bad, allowing Daniel to grow alongside his family, rather than in spite of it.

The photo that inspired The Blue Whale.


The Look:

Cinematographer George Su and I have already begun work on the visual elements of the project, and one of the many things we're excited about is the link between The Blue Whale of Catoosa and the lead character Daniel. Just as the Whale is out of place in Oklahoma, Daniel feels out of place in his own home. One of the ways we'll highlight this similarity is through parallel contrasting color schemes. The brightly painted Whale naturally stands out against the brown and green earthtones of the surrounding landscape, and this distinction will be mirrored in Daniel's room, where brilliant comic book color schemes stand in stark contrast to the drabness of the rest of his home. As Daniel's relationship with Janis progresses and he begins to come out of his shell, his color scheme (and that of the Whale) begins to bleed into his surroundings. Daniel and the Whale begin shaping the world around them, instead of being shaped by it.

Cinematographer George Su at the Blue Whale of Catoosa


The Money:

You might be asking yourself, "Ten thousand dollars to make a feature film?" The answer to that question is a resounding NO - not even close, actually. We're raising money here on Seed & Spark to hire a Casting Director to reach out to talent and bring in the best actors possible for this project. We're confident in the script and the team that will ultimately bring this project to the big screen and it's imperative that we attach the right actors for the right roles. Any money we're able to raise over and above the $10K mark will be used directly for production and will help us get one step closer to the big screen. Raising funds through crowdfunding and demonstrating an interest in the film also helps us show investors that there is already an audience for our project.


The Finished Product:

We're slated to shoot the film in late summer of 2018 and begin post production immediately after wrapping principal photography. We'll be submitting the film to festivals around the world with the goal of securing distribution through a major festival screening (ie Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, etc...). Luckily for us and for fans of independent film there are many options available to us when it comes to  distributing the movie, including self-distribution. Whether we sell the movie at a major festival or release the movie via streaming and rental platforms ourselves, getting The Blue Whale to you where you watch movies is our goal. 

The Contest:

Thanks to Seed & Spark and Duplass Brothers Productions, we have a special opportunity to have Duplass Brothers Productions sign on as an Executive Producer to our project. Not only does this raise the profile of the film, but it will also allow us to capitalize on their extensive knowledge of independent film production and their connections when it comes to distribution and film festival showings. The reality is that we won't get there without you, so please FOLLOW our page and DONATE if you can.


















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

Casting Director

Costs $5,000

Hiring a Casting Director to help us find the perfect child actors is essential for our project.

Script Readings

Costs $1,000

We'll need to do a few readings of the script to ensure we're telling the story we set out to tell.


Costs $2,000

We've already had some great images created for the project, but investors will want to see more.


Costs $1,500

We'll be utilizing as much Oklahoma crew as possible but some team members will need to travel to OK


Costs $500

Having an industry standard and accurate budget shows investors where their money will be spent.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Jonathan Rossetti is a graduate of the Conservatory Program at the Atlantic Acting School in New York City and the Advanced Program in Los Angeles, where he was taught by David Mamet, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman and others.  His directorial debut HOME, JAMES was distributed digitally by Devolver Digital Films and received positive reviews from The New York Times and Hollywood Reporter, among other publications. Jonathan has acted in many films and shorts including Home, James, The Fall of 1980, Spartan, Redbelt, Smoke, Mirrors and on television in The Unit.  On stage Jonathan has appeared off-Broadway in Keep Your Pantheon (Atlantic Theater), 10x20 (Atlantic Theater), the World Premier of Keep Your Pantheon in Los Angeles (Center Theater Group), and performances of LIVEworks with Acorn Pictures, among others.  Jonathan currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Alyx and daughter Olive.


George Su is a San Francisco-born, Houston-raised, and LA-based  Korean American cinematographer.  His passion for filmmaking is fueled by creating emotional impact through visual storytelling.  Since completing an MFA in Cinematography from the American Film Institute, George has photographed numerous narrative features and shorts, which have screened at film festivals including Berlin, Oberhausen, Clermont-Ferrand, Slamdance, Seattle International, and Worldfest. George's work has also been featured on most TV networks including MTV, VH1, BET, BRAVO, DISCOVERY, ANIMAL PLANET, and FOOD NETWORK.


Current Team