Quirky full-color hand drawn animation, updated, edited, and set to music in the digital age.
My project is a short animated film called “Just Another Planet With Trees”, which has been mothballed now, for more than 20 years. I got the bug and began experimenting with animation on my own back in 1982 or 1983, got accepted as a graduate student at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987, and worked on the film throughout my time there and beyond. The approximately 2500 cells are all hand drawn in full color and represent thousands of hours of my time. Unlike most traditional hand-drawn animations, this piece is not character based. There are no talking mice or dancing skeletons- it is more abstract in a way, with the landscape and the trees themselves becoming stand ins for characters. To me it is a dance film, a dance of nature. Frames divide and multiply in an organic way, like cells under the microscope in a wacky science experiment. When finished it will be between 3 1/2 and 4 minutes long, just an animated short, a fun little film, like a musical ditty.
What I Have So Far -
What you are seeing in my Kickstarter video is called a work print, on 16 mm film, which was the standard for the time, but I never got around to making the final print and editing it to remove smudges and fingerprints. In those days to get the sound attached, you had to mark the work print with annotations about where the music went, and put it all together and take it to the lab to have a final product made so that there would be no splices. That is the part that I never completed. I have carried these 2500 drawings around for 20 years, first in cardboard boxes and later plastic bins. Three cities and eight apartments. The original Super 8 pencil test and 16mm work print were transferred to VHS and then to DVD, and now to digital. Some of the original images have been given away as wedding gifts (you know who you are!) but I have most of it, and I have always meant to finish. Now, of course, technology has changed, and I probably couldn’t even find a lab to attach music to 16mm film if I wanted to. So the whole thing needs to be started fresh from the original drawings and reshot digitally, edited digitally, and given a proper, original soundtrack. It is important to me that this piece should never LOOK digital. I needs to stay funky and jumpy. I still want to be able to see the grain of the paper and the flash effect as you switch between frames. To me, this is the flipbook aesthetic, and I want to preserve that. I don’t plan to use digital editing to correct the images at all. I only mean to reshoot so that it is clean, crisp and in the digital format just to keep up with the times. Besides, they tell me that it will be much easier to add and edit the music digitally.
What I Need to Finish-
I need music, and I intend to pay for an original score/soundtrack. Originally, when the piece was conceived, I used a MeatPuppets track called “Maiden’s Milk”. I talked to the MeatPuppets’ manager, and I tried to contact SST Records (who own the rights to the music), but really I got nowhere with that. I gave up on the Meat Puppets, and I became really excited about the possibility of hiring someone to create an original composition. I’ve talked with a couple of people about this, but I prefer not to disclose names until the piece is complete. The music needs to be somewhere between the sublime and ridiculous, to be serious, but not to take itself too seriously. It needs to support the spirit of the visuals. - And I also need technicians. I am not very familiar with digital equipment. I can bring my knowledge of the old way of shooting with an animation stand, and I will hire someone with the equipment and computer programs I need. I will be the director and the photographer, but I’ll need to pay for an editor’s assistance.
What You Will Get-
For your donation, I am offering up prints of some of my artworks, and original cells from the film. Some of the first drawings were larger, 6” x 8”, until I realized I didn’t have to do them that large, and so most of them are 4 1/2“ x 6“. That’s why two sizes are available. The image you receive will be my choice. If you would like to request a certain color or subject from the film, you can send me a message, but ultimately the choice of rewards is mine and requests have to be honored on a first-come first-serve basis! Even if the film itself is not finished, I promise to have these rewards delivered to you before December 15th, so that you will have them to give for holiday gifts. I hope to have the film finished by then too, and intend to have the release party sometime in early January. Hope you can join me!
By finishing this piece in some small way, I get to join the club of the artistic animators. I could say that by finishing this piece I will be completing my life’s purpose, but that would be taking it a little too far. Let’s just say that I have been meaning to do it for 20 years. I put so much into it, and it just needs to FINALLY get done. I really, really, appreciate your help and support.
These are the artworks I'm offerering as rewards:
Can I pledge more money and get multiple lower priced rewards-? in other words, if I pledge $100 can I have four of the $25 rewards?
Of Course! I didnt figure out how to do this through Kickstarter, but if you just include a message I'd be glad to give you multiple rewards for a larger pledge.
It seems like kickstarter will only let you increase your pledge, they won't call it a "new pledge". So say you pledged $25 for the greeting cards, but you decide that you want to give $100. You can just raise the amount to $100, then send me a message and I'll give you the $50 reward and two of the $25 rewards. Or whatever. I know kickstarter was trying to make it simple by only letting you choose one reward, but I'd be glad to try to accommodate my fans however I can!