Twenty people have contributed to our project, and as we are approaching the
end of this campaign, I want to take a moment to say “Thank you!” to you all
for pitching in!
I was pretty nervous about putting this Kickstart up — although I’ve had
some success with projects and art, money has never been a real comfort
area for me. And when we started working on Lunatics, we were pretty
much working in a complete vacuum. It’s very hard to have any idea if
anyone cares what you’re doing. We knew we really enjoyed what we were
coming up with, but we didn’t know if it would be clear to other people.
I’ve heard it said that “real” artists shouldn’t worry about that — that
art is pure expression and gift. There’s some truth to that. But art is
also communication and even a gift needs a receiver. So I have to
say that it has been awfully gratifying to see that there are people
out there who do care about what we’re trying to do.
And I figure you must be pretty darned hardcore to pitch in for a project as immature
as ours is — it’s no mistake that we started this at a pretty early
phase of development. We wanted to develop the character design early,
though, because it’s so important to all the other parts of the project
(It’s hard to draw storyboards without having decided what the
characters should look like).
And characters are a part of the project I’m happy to be delegating —
I know I can learn what I need to do the mechanical modeling, but there
is a level of talent involved in creating rigged characters. I could create
characters, obviously, but I have no doubt that Daniel Fu’s will be much
better than what I could make.
Daniel is a terrific artist for this project. He has great
range and so he was able to find a good balance between realism and
stylism. We need characters that will fit with real-dimensioned sets and
props, but too much realism would result in the “zombie” effect of the
so-called “uncanny valley”. With the designs Daniel has conceived, and
some degree of “toon-shading” I think we’ll achieve the softness it will
take to produce 3D characters that audiences can identify with.
I feel very lucky about that, and it wasn’t a straightforward decision. I
considered for a long time trying to get an artist who was more famous
on their own — then they would bring some attention to our project. But
after staring long and hard at portfolios, I knew I wanted Daniel’s talent.
He’s an excellent artist who deserves more attention, and so I hope that
Lunatics will be good for him, too.
Several of you have offered to contribute your skills and talent directly to the project,
which is also just awesome (and I will be contacting you!). I really didn’t expect that.
Others of you just pledged a pretty large amount of money, which tells me you must think
this project is pretty important (or maybe you’re just an incredibly
loaded philanthropist, but I’ll go for the first explanation).
As things stand, we’ve made it to 39%. This is still a long way from the
goal, and it will take quite a remarkable last-minute push to get us
there in the next three days.
If we don’t succeed, we will probably circle back around and try again
in the Spring, after more of the pre-production work is done.
Rosalyn and I have an idea for a teaser trailer using just one set (Soyuz
orbiter interior) and none of the character models — perhaps that kind
of bottom-up demonstration would be a better way to grab attention. To
keep it human, we’ll imply the character by using point-of-view shots and
recorded voiceover and sound. Those of you who’ve offered your talents to
the project could be really helpful in getting that produced.This way this can be done with or without character designs.
In order to support that, I’m going to accelerate my plans for bringing up
the Production site, which is currently just an empty Trac+Subversion
site. I hope to be ready for that to start sometime in late January.
On the other hand, last-minute pushes aren’t uncommon on Kickstarter. So
we might still make it (I’m reminded of John Cleese’s character in the
movie Clockwise: “It’s not the despair. It’s the hope!”).
And here’s another way to think about it: we’re over 1/3 of the way
there. So, if each of you managed to get two friends to pledge as much
as you did, we’d be done!