Important Note: We want to thank everyone who helped get the Cartoon College Kickstarter drive off to such a successful start! To those who donated, to those who posted links on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Flickr, who forwarded our email or told someone about the project, and especially the students and faculty of CCS who helped spread the word, thank you.
We reached our minimum goal in just a week! That's fantastic, and better than we hoped for. But we still need your support! The drive has a long way to go and we want to make the most of it, so we've set a new goal for ourselves: $15,000!
Even if you've already made a pledge you can do us a huge favor by continuing to tell people about the project and emailing/posting links to this page. And if you haven't made a pledge, please do!
Nearly three years ago we moved to New England to make a documentary called Cartoon College (our working title). It was to be a film about comics, particularly about a school for aspiring cartoonists, The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont, the country’s foremost institution of higher learning for the study of comics-making. We followed a group of CCS students through an entire year, seeing what made them tick, learning the how and the why of drawing comics. Then we edited, and edited, and edited, and poof! before we knew it time had flown by—it was the end of 2009 and we had a cut of the film nearly finished. The problem was, by then, we realized the story of comics was bigger than the draft we'd put together—more had happened to our central characters since we turned off the camera; there were more artists we wanted to talk to; there was more to CCS, more to comics—and we realized that if we didn’t start shooting again we’d never be satisfied with the movie AND we would be squandering a phenomenal opportunity: the opportunity to make the definitive film on contemporary comics!
(Please see the comic at the bottom of the page, drawn by us, the filmmakers, for a more illustrative, albeit sloppy, explanation of our journey.)
In February 2010 we returned to CCS to do more filming and to expand the scope of the project, and it’s been going great. We’re documenting some incredible, talented, strange and complex aspiring cartoonists. We’re catching up with the subjects we started shooting three years ago, watching the twists and turns in their lives and careers. We’re sitting down and talking with some of the biggest names in the comics world, as well as literary critics, museum curators, art dealers, publishers, college professors, cartoonists’ parents and siblings and spouses and ex-spouses, underground artists, above ground artists, and comics fans of all ages, shapes, and sizes. We’re hitting the road with CCS students to see them ply their trade at conventions, finding out what it takes to make it in the dog-eat-werewolf world of modern comics. We’re seeing cultures clash as superheroes and Sunday funnies make way for alternative comics, literary comics, socially relevant comics, historical comics, webcomics, experimental comics—even something called menstruation comics! And we’re following the zeitgeist to learn everything we can about this form of high/low art that just three decades ago was still being called “sub-mental” by many in the so-called establishment. When all is said and done Cartoon College will show the long progression comics have made in our culture, explore the many facets of this complicated, often misunderstood, and continually evolving medium, and offer a glimpse into the lives of the people who draw them.
But we need your help to get there! Right now we’re asking you to help us raise AT LEAST $5000 [note: our new goal is $15,000!] to cover a variety of costs. This funding will go towards travel expenses to take us to Toronto for the Toronto Comics Art Festival (TCAF), interviews in such far off places as Wisconsin and Massachusetts, additional sound equipment, lighting, tape stock, media storage, animation software, and website development.
To show our thanks we’re offering a number of incentives to our funders, including: having your name appear in the film’s closing credits, signed graphic novels, original artwork, even a filmmaker-guided tour through an upcoming comics convention. See the column at right for a complete list. Please note that your credit card will not be charged for your donation until (unless) we reach our minimum goal of $5000, so please forward word of this fundraiser to your friends and family and anyone with an interest in comics and/or documentary films. You can also help by posting a link to this page on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Flickr, Tumblr, etc.
We're grateful for your support. Thank you!
Tara Wray & Josh Melrod
- (63 days)