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Buy Michael a Ticket…

July 30, 2012

This is a call for non-vital, non-emergency, but time-sensitive help.

I recently wrote about the film I’m promoting in my hometown of St. Louis. The film is called Fat Kid Rules the World and it’s based on the book of the same name (which I reviewed here) by author KL Going (whom I interviewed here).

The story revolves around 17-year-old Troy Billings, a suicidal fat kid whose mother died and whose life is saved by homeless, pill-addicted guitar legend named Kurt MacCrae. The book is largely about Kurt’s attempt to get Troy to play the drums for a two-man punk band called Rage/Tectonic. The drums help Troy gain the confidence to cope with his difficult life.

It’s an awesome book and I highly recommend it.

The film is available through Tugg, a site which allows you to be the promoter for a film in their library. FKRTW began as a Kickstarter project that successfully raised $150,000 for post-production costs. Then it signed on with Tugg as Tugg the Fat Kid, As of Friday afternoon, the only two people who had reserved tickets for the show were myself and my son’s best friend Michael, who is 14.

Michael’s life is remarkably similar to Troy Billings. He’s a big kid, both in size and stature. And his dad died when he was 11-years-old.

Those rare few who have been around since my Blogger days may remember a friend of mine named Larry, who, when we met him in Spring 2009, had stage 4 esophageal cancer. He took a turn for the worse in early November, and died on November 28.

Since then, Michael has had to adapt to life without his father, as well as a transition from home-schooling to public school. He has coped remarkably well and he has come a long way since then. And one of the things that has helped him to cope with the loss of his father has been music. Since Larry’s death, Michael has learned to play the drums, the guitar and the bass.

After I read Fat Kid Rules the World, I slowly realized (because I’m kind of a dimwit) how similar Michael and Troy are. So, I told him he had to read it when he came over to hang out with my son, Methuselah. He said he would, but left that night without it. He came over the next night, and the same thing. And I couldn’t blame him if he did it on purpose because when you’re a fat kid, the last thing you want someone to say is, “Hey, this book about a fat kid is just like you!”

The third night, I placed it in his hands as he left and didn’t expect him to read it. In fact, I already assumed I would have to remind him to read it until he finally broke down. But the next day he came over and I asked him if he read it.

His eyes got wide. “I didn’t sleep last night. I couldn’t fall sleep, so I started reading it and I finished it by morning.”

Then I told him about the movie. His eyes got wider.

I explained Tugg and he agreed to go flyering with me. We did that last weekend.

My ace in the hole was an interview between Max Foizey of the Dave Glover Show and Matthew Lillard, the director, which aired Saturday.

Since then, we’ve sold 14 out of 54 tickets (although something odd is going on right now… it says we’ve sold 14 and have 27 left, which isn’t the case, unless they’ve lowered the threshold).

In any case, we have 21 hours 31 minutes and 48 seconds and counting to sell, let’s say, 27 tickets.

So, since St. Louis doesn’t give a shit, I’m turning to you, the awesome people, to get us to our Tugg goal.

Please buy a $10 ticket for Fat Kid Rules the World by Tuesday, July 31 at 8:30 Central so that Michael can see this awesome film.

I realize you won’t be able to see the film. However, if we sell the tickets Michael and I will record a special thank you video for buying him a ticket. I haven’t asked Michael yet, so if he says no, it may just be a puppet of Michael. But I’m pretty sure he’ll do it.

I realize this isn’t the most pressing philanthropy out there, but it means a lot to him. Thank you for considering it and for allowing me to stand with cap in hand for your help.


Turns out it was director Matthew Lillard who lowered the threshold for our screening from 54 tickets to 41:

We have now sold 20 tickets, so we’re halfway there! Just 21 tickets left!

Update 2


We’ve sold 43 tickets for people both in St. Louis who will see this amazing film AND people who are too far away to make it, but want Michael to see this film.

Last night, before I wrote this post, I told him we had sold 14 out of 54, and that it didn’t look like we were going to get the movie. So, tonight we were at the store and I couldn’t get any internet, so I didn’t find out until around 8:45. Michael came over and after we put the girls to bed I went to Methuselah’s room and boomed, “Michael, get out here!” like he was in trouble (which is my favorite way to tell our kids great news).

He comes out looking all sheepish and concerned.

“I know what you’ve been writing about,” I said, pointing to the computer.

“What? What are you talking about?” he says.

I just point at the computer and he slowly comes around, dreading what he’s going to find.

He sees the screen, looks a little confused, looks at me, looks at the screen and says, “You mean we got it?”

I told him that a bunch of people from St. Louis and beyond had bought tickets, regardless of whether they could make it, so that he could see the show.

For a second, he looked like he might cry, but he played it cool and got excited about the show.

So, thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who bought a ticket for Michael. I’m going to ask him later about doing an interview, but we had spoken about it previously and he seemed okay with it. If so, we will have a video thanking everyone officially, as I’m too giddy to find the various posts indicating support.

Also, if you are out of town and you bought a ticket, which you won’t be able to make. I would like to ask if you would consider donating the ticket to give to Michael and his family. Maybe a pass or two for Max Foizey of the Dave Glover show on 97.1. He wrote a blog post about Michael and our Tugg campaign, and had an awesome interview with Matthew Lillard in the middle of which Matthew’s children begin playing in the street, which sounds worse than it really was. But Matthew… Matthew or Matt? I don’t know him, so I hate to call him Matt, but I see him referenced as Matt a lot… I’m sticking with formality… Matthew has been promoting this film relentlessly, which cuts into his family time. KL Going talks about the sacrifice Matthew and his family have made to give Fat Kid Rules the World the treatment it deserves. So, it was awesome to hear him in action as a father, doing the same kind of “Hey, hey, hey, get out of there you doofus!” parenting moments that my wife and I, and every other parent, know so well.

Of course, he was also in Hawaii rustling his children, so he is decidedly at an advantage.

In any case, if you would like to donate your ticket to be distributed largely to Michael’s friends and family, and secondarily to Max Foizey, feel free to forward me your email address at atchka at hotmail.

Thank you again for supporting our Tugg. This truly was an eMiracle if I’ve ever seen one.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. vesta44 permalink
    July 30, 2012 11:14 pm

    Mike and I won’t be able to make it to the movie (it’s a 12 hour drive from MN to MO), but I ordered 2 tickets anyway. I hope you make your goal and the movie gets shown and Michael gets to see it.

    • July 31, 2012 9:08 am

      Thank you so much, vesta! This means a lot to me!


  2. July 31, 2012 8:35 am

    I bought my tickets! Spreading the word…

  3. July 31, 2012 2:09 pm

    Some of us in St. Louis have seriously never heard of this – and I sell children’s books for a living. I am pretty sure I can’t come, but I bought a ticket, and put it on my Facebook page – I have lots of local book people and teachers and librarians following me.

    • July 31, 2012 2:58 pm

      Hi Melissa,
      I spent the last month trying to promote it around St. Louis through event calendars and media outlets. The event calendars was no big deal, but the only media I could get to respond was Max Foizey from the Dave Glover Show, who covered it Saturday and drove 14 people to reserve tickets. So, this is my last ditch effort to secure the film. Thank you so much for promoting this and reserving tickets. We’re so close now, just 12 left! Thank you! And I hope to see you next Wednesday!


      • August 1, 2012 9:03 am

        Hi Shannon –

        If you want to try to get some more audience over the next week without a lot of effort, you could contact the owners/children’s buyers at the local bookstores and ask them to either put it on their FB pages or hang a flyer (if you’re nearby) in their shop. This is a HUGE bookseller favorite, so I bet they’d talk it up. Your contacts would be:

        Left Bank Books: Sarah Holt
        Main Street Books in St. Charles: Vicki Erwin
        Subterranean Books: Kelly Von Plonski
        the Barnes and Noble in Fenton: Deborah Horn

        I’m going to keep posting and Tweeting about it, and hopefully there will be some more people buying tickets between now and then!


        • August 1, 2012 9:51 am

          Thank you. I will reach out to them as soon as I can. We absolutely want to pack the theater if possible. Thanks for the heads up!


  4. July 31, 2012 2:16 pm

    Actually, I didn’t realize it was NEXT Wednesday – I think I can come! In fact, I’m going to buy three more tickets and get people to go with me. It’s the book people you’ve got to get in order to make this fly!

  5. July 31, 2012 2:53 pm

    I posted it on my Facebook wall, tweeted, and blogged this story ( – I bought a ticket, too, though I don’t think I can get there from Los Angeles! We’re working on our screening (10 more days to deadline) but I hope we were able to help you out today. Good luck!

    • July 31, 2012 2:59 pm

      Thank you so much frootjoos! I hope you’re having better luck than we have. Send me the link to yours and I’ll be happy to promote. I have some contacts in the LA area who want to see this film. And thank you so much for buying a ticket!


      • August 1, 2012 12:30 am

        Yay! We’re having some trouble too but I’m going to go hand out flyers on Thursday; hoping that helps. Here’s our link: and I’ll email you with my ticket!

  6. Theresa Kolpakas permalink
    July 31, 2012 4:48 pm

    My daughter worked on this film and it was an amazing experience! It’s my honor to buy a ticket so Michael can see the film – God bless you!

    • July 31, 2012 4:50 pm

      Aaaaaaaaw, thank you so much Theresa. What was your daughter’s role in the film?


  7. July 31, 2012 11:22 pm

    I bought one ticket which I will gladly donate to someone who needs one. Atchka, can you either tell me how to do that or make sure that someone gets mine?

    • August 1, 2012 9:50 am

      Hey Lys,
      Anyone who wants to donate their ticket so that Michael can invite friends and family can forward their email with the ticket to atchka at hotmail. Also, can I credit you in the thank you video?


  8. vesta44 permalink
    July 31, 2012 11:27 pm

    I have 2 tickets that I won’t be able to use, so if you know of anyone who could use them, I can forward them to you and you can give them to whoever needs them.

    • August 1, 2012 9:50 am

      Anyone who wants to donate their ticket so that Michael can invite friends and family can forward their email with the ticket to me. Also, can I credit you in the thank you video?


      • vesta44 permalink
        August 1, 2012 12:31 pm

        I forwarded my tickets to you, and yes, you can credit me in the thank you video πŸ™‚

  9. August 1, 2012 1:11 pm

    Melissa, I just want to say that booksellers like you are awesome and I so appreciate you. I hope you get to see the movie and LOVE it! I’m working on a list of tips for TUGG promoters and I will definitely add contacting local booksellers!

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