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An animated short film about a man's collapsing sanity, featuring the voices of Paul Giamatti, Jason Mantzoukas, and Kate McKinnon. Read more

Boston, MA Animation
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on June 27, 2014.

An animated short film about a man's collapsing sanity, featuring the voices of Paul Giamatti, Jason Mantzoukas, and Kate McKinnon.

Boston, MA Animation
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About this project

In this existential animated short, Museum curator Gordon Boonewell's world is falling apart. And his mind may be following.

From a production test for Giant Sloth
From a production test for Giant Sloth

THANK YOU/ OUR NEW GOALS!

THANK YOU TO ALL GIANT SLOTH BACKERS!!! We Reached our goal in just 8 days! So we're going to keep going in the spirit of the initial goal: to make truly independent work and make it as weird and smart as we want.

OUR NEW GOAL IS $50,000! But what will we do with that?

The end of GIANT SLOTH leaves a lot of cliffhangers and questions unanswered. It begs for Gordon's world to be explored further. So we're going further! With your help we're going to make a SECOND SHORT FILM!!! (titled BENCHLEY MORNINGS) that will be even stranger than GIANT SLOTH! If Gordon is losing his mind in GIANT SLOTH, then get ready for BENCHLEY MORNINGS!

Additionally if we reach this new goal, BOTH films will have international subtitles, and we'll be able to afford to get this submitted to around three times the festivals (those submission fees add up fast)!

THERE ARE PLENTY OF NEW REWARDS ALONG THE WAY:

$27,500: POSTCARDS FROM THE BENCHLEY All backers at $40 or more will automatically receive a postcard set adorned with exhibits from The Benchley Museum of Cultural and Natural History

$30,000: THE MUSEUM CATALOG EBOOK: All backers at $15 or more will receive a copy of "The Benchley Permanent Collection" eBook, edited by Gordon Boonewell, detailing the history of some of the bizarre antiquities housed in The Benchley Museum.

$32,500: ANIMATED BLOOPER REEL: All backers at $15 or more will receive the animated blooper reel, featuring outtakes, probably plenty of cursing, and general improvisational goodness you've come to expect from the amazing people on this amazing cast!

$37,500: "DESTROY THE PAST" ANIMATED "TED" TALK: All backers at $15 or more will get another mini animation starring terrible boss Roman Nichols (voiced by Robert Popper) as he gives a defense for destroying the old Benchley museum. He's awful. We love him.

$40,000: THE GIANT SLOTH FIGURINE: (SEE UPDATE #11) This will be a super limited edition figurine that we'll only be making if we reach $40,000. And it will be only go out to backers at $100 or more.

$50,000: BENCHLEY MORNINGS! An entire other short? Yes! We dive deeper into the Benchley Museum, its dusty world, and the quickly disintegrating life of Gordon Boonewell!

ORIGINS

Darker, stranger, and more introspective than most studios would ever allow, GIANT SLOTH is exactly the kind of animation I've been wanting to make for the last couple years.

When a creator pitches a project to Hollywood studio executives, the notes for projects like this always come back the same: make it broader. Bigger. Louder. Less "smart" (really... that's a note you get A LOT). The studio's hope is that those compromises equate to more potential viewers. But it's not what I want to watch. Or spend my time making.

A studio has to have big, loud, broad appeal to cover their massive overhead. But a small creative team with a dedicated group of supporters... we can make whatever we want. And make it truly great.

With that in mind, I wrote GIANT SLOTH. And the talent that has signed on to work on this project has been nothing short of amazing. Every person in the cast and crew of this film is a creative force unto themselves. To have them all working together? (Insert emoji of mind being blown.)

Uncompromised by the studio process, GIANT SLOTH combines the psychologically rich world of literary graphic novels with the all the possibilities of motion and sound that animation allows. It treats its characters not as clowns shuffling for an easy laugh, but as people.

And as giant sloths. Giant sloths are people too.

The titular Giant Sloth, a dusty relic of things as they were in Gordon's life.
The titular Giant Sloth, a dusty relic of things as they were in Gordon's life.

THE STORY

GIANT SLOTH is a surrealist tale drawing as much on influences like Fellini and (the main character's namesake) Luis Buñuel as it does animation from the 1960s and 70s. Sprinkle those worlds with my love for underground museums and fictitious histories, and you've arrived at GIANT SLOTH.

The museum where Gordon Boonewell works - The Benchley Museum of Cultural and Natural History - has fallen on hard times. Attendance is down and they've been in the red for ages. So it's no surprise when the museum privatizes... no surprise to anyone other than Gordon.

But Gordon is a curator of the past, a man set in his ways. Ways that are being systematically erased, dumping him into a world he's willfully ignored. Unable to cope with the upheaval alone, Gordon begins to suffer hallucinations. Or at least he hopes they're hallucinations...

Character designs for Giant Sloth
Character designs for Giant Sloth

His only friend at the museum quits and his new boss is a Brit with a holier-than-thou attitude and nothing but disdain for Gordon's dusty world. Gordon is miserable. But at least he has his wife.

Until he gets home and discovers that his wife is leaving him.

That's when Gordon starts hearing voices.

Gordon is having conversations with things that can't possibly exist, and bungling interactions in real life. From fantasizing about a new manager as a giantess to imagining killing his boss with an iPad, to (maybe really?) being involved in some crimes and questionable sex acts, Gordon is having a harder and harder time keeping fantasy separated from reality.

But maybe, in the end, that's not such a bad thing.

Exhibits from The Benchley Museum of Cultural and Natural History.
Exhibits from The Benchley Museum of Cultural and Natural History.

MY BACKGROUND/OTHER ANIMATION

My books (published by Fantagraphics and Random House)
My books (published by Fantagraphics and Random House)

After years concentrating solely on comics (self-publishing my first comics in 1999 and moving on to being published by Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, and Marvel, among others), I began branching out into developing projects for television and film. I've done a handful of animated projects, including the title sequence for Comedy Bang! Bang! (below), but GIANT SLOTH will be the first longer-form animated project that I will write and direct from start to finish.

I've been developing, planning, and casting this project for over a year, and with your help I can cross the finish line and bring this weird world to squirming, uncomfortable reality.

Some past animations to assure you this project isn't crazy talk:

Comedy Bang! Bang! opening credits:

A sampling of my animated monologues, Forlorn TV:

A production test (Ava and Joe)

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

Paul Hornschemeier | Writer, Director, Producer, Animator

Artist and author Paul Hornschemeier is the author of the graphic novels Mother, Come Home, The Three Paradoxes, and the New York Times Bestselling Life with Mr. Dangerous. His books have received international awards and been published in eight languages. His art and writing have appeared in publications ranging from Life Magazine to The Wall Street Journal and he has produced work for clients including CNN, FX, and This American Life.

Scott Aukerman | Producer, Actor (Voice of "Conor")

Scott Aukerman was a writer for the cult classic series Mr. Show before beginning his Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast and his IFC show of the same name (now in its third season). In addition to various writing and acting endeavors, Scott also helms the Earwolf podcasting network and is the director of the viral hit Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.

Paul Giamatti | Actor, Voice of "Gordon Boonewell"

Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-winning, Academy Award-nominated actor Paul Giamatti has appeared in American Splendor, Sideways, Cinderella Man, Win Win, 12 Years a Slave, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and starred in HBO's miniseries John Adams (which won more Emmys than any other miniseries in TV history). He has also voiced multiple cartoons and acts as producer for various projects through his production company Touchy Feely.

Jason Mantzoukas | Actor, Voice of "The Giant Sloth"

Jason Mantzoukas is the foul-mouthed Rafi on FX's The League, as well as Sacha Baron Cohen's right hand man in The Dictator. Jason is one of the hosts of the "How Did This Get Made" movie podcast, the best dissection of terrible film-making you'll ever hear.

Kate McKinnon | Actor, Voice of "Nina"

Since joining the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2012, Kate's characters have become instant standouts on the show. Her impressions are so infectious, sometimes they take over actual talk shows.

Robert Popper | Actor, Voice of "Roman"

Co-creator of the award-winning BBC series Look Around You, Robert is a British comedy producer, writer, actor, and author with many of the best shows of the past decade in his credits. To name a few, he has worked on Peep Show, The Inbetweeners, The IT Crowd, South Park, and Friday Night Dinner. In his spare time, he started a religion.

Jessica St. Clair| Actor, Voice of "Edie"

Known to fans of Comedy Bang! Bang! for her always hilarious character Marissa Wompler, Jessica is also the co-star, executive producer and writer of the amazing new show Playing House on USA Network.

Brian Stack | Actor, Voice of "Terrance"

The man of a million characters, Brian Stack is instantly recognizable for his many appearances on Conan (and Late Night with Conan O'Brien).By the time you've picked a favorite, he's performed as yet another character... and blown your mind with its perfection.

Bindledog | Animators

Jeff Zwirek, Adam Zwirek, and Jay Gish - the artists that are Bindledog - have been animating for over a decade and are responsible for breathing life into cartoons as diverse as alternate histories for the NFL and the frenetic opening sequence of IFC's Comedy Bang! Bang!

PK Hooker | Sound Supervisor

Ever wonder who makes the sounds when a Transformer... transforms? Look no further than PK Hooker. PK's has worked on sound editing and design for Superman Returns, Argo, all the Transformers films, and many more over the past ten years. He's also one of the fellows that gave new purpose to the GI Joe PSAs. Yes, those PSAs.

Mark Greenberg | Composer

A founding member of the seminal Chicago band The Coctails, Mark is now the musical guru behind countless film, commercial, and video game scores, under his company The Mayfair Workshop. That's enough cred for a normal mortal, but Mark is also Studio Manager for a band called Wilco.

WHY KICKSTARTER?

Short-ish answer: because I want to make this thing exactly the way it should be made, not the way an executive wants.

Nuts and bolts answer: The money raised through this Kickstarter campaign will go directly toward the cost of making this film, including software, hardware, sound recording equipment, and studio rentals. Your money will go right to work financing the supplies and time needed to make this film a reality.

Percentage answer: how the money breaks down more precisely...

10% - Kickstarter fees
10% - Audio recording (equipment and studio rental) and Preproduction
48% - Animation (including animators' time, software plugins (After Effects, etc.), hard drives)
32% - Post Production (Sound Mixing/Rendering/Color Correction) and Reward Production/Shipping (books, Blu Rays, etc.)

REWARDS

GET AN HD DOWNLOAD of Daniel in the Factory, a live action short film written and directed by Paul Hornschemeier. Only available through this campaign! Check the trailer out below!

Get a year-long subscription to Paul's series "Bygone," filled with scripts, stories, comics, and illustrated what not.
Get a year-long subscription to Paul's series "Bygone," filled with scripts, stories, comics, and illustrated what not.
Get a signed print from Paul's portrait series Artists Authors Thinkers Directors. (Click for a list of all available portraits.)
Get a signed print from Paul's portrait series Artists Authors Thinkers Directors. (Click for a list of all available portraits.)

BASK IN INFINITE MEME POINTS by having PK Hooker, our sound guru and voice of Snow Job in the classic gonzo GI JOE PSA's, leave a message on your voicemail IN CHARACTER, YOU LITTLE WANKERS ! AOOOO!

GET ORIGINAL ART from the Comedy Bang! Bang! animated title sequence!

GET CLOTHED! Choose one of your 100% non-pants shirts. Or get them both! Occasionally do some laundry and you're set FOR LIFE.

BE AN EXHIBIT! You can be part of an exhibit in the Benchley Museum and appear in the film! Maybe you're a Visigoth? Maybe you're a hungry settler wrestling an abnormally sized field mouse?

Get tutorials (like the one above, but with live footage, behind the scenes, and more) showing you how to put together your own film or TV show! See how we recorded, colored, animated, mixed, and delivered the entire film to you!

Gordon from pencil art to final colors
Gordon from pencil art to final colors
One of our many stretch goals, this figurine will only be produced if we get enough pledges!
One of our many stretch goals, this figurine will only be produced if we get enough pledges!


PRESS/LINKS

USA Today - Paul Giamatti lends voice to indie 'toon

Boing Boing- Cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier

Nerdist- Exclusive: Comedy Bang! Bang! animator Paul Hornschemeier

Nerdist - Paul Giamatti to Star in Paul Hornschemeier’s Animated Film

Mediabistro's Unbeige - Paul Giamatti as an Insane Museum Curator? 

io9 - Please, please crowdfund this animated movie

Laughing Squid - An Animated Short About a Curator Losing His Grip

Fumetto Logica - Il nuovo corto animato di Paul Hornschemeier

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will there be subtitles for the film?

I will absolutely be putting the option of English subtitles on the DVD/BluRay so it can be enjoyed by the deaf and hearing impaired community. This will also be available for the download option, but that may be a separate file from the non-subtitled file. (I'm looking into formatting options for that.)

Regarding foreign subtitles: I'm currently looking into translations/subtitles for other languages as well, but as that will require bringing on board people to do translations, and wasn't budgeted into the original goal, that will probably need to be a stretch goal.

For the $1000 “YOU OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES” reward, will I be speaking, or is it just my likeness?

If you want to do the voice too (there's no pressure to do that if you'd rather not), we could work that into a scene. There will be a lot of opportunities for that throughout the film. To keep expectations realistic: it would only be a line or two, but as they say, there are no small parts... and obviously you would be credited in the film for your part, no matter how few lines you have.

Risks and challenges

Recording in various cities and working with/around everyone's busy schedules, there are sure to be bumps along the road of making this film. While this is a small crew compared to the number of people working on a studio project, it still takes time away from people's other projects, their families, and their (all too rare) free time.

But with modern technology being what it is, it's amazingly easy to do things remotely, to create and direct pieces of animation and sound while not in the same city (or country) as your collaborator. And fortunately, with years of experience on projects of all sizes in independent media, everyone on the team is used to making things happen for less, with less time.

I'm confident that this creative team can rise to any challenge and make an amazing film the way we want it to be made.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    6 backers

    THANKS AND ACCESS. You'll have our unending thanks and access to backers-only updates on the project. And a hug (travel expenses for hug not included).

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    Pledge $15 or more

    94 backers

    DOWNLOAD AND ACCESS. A password protected digital download of GIANT SLOTH and access to backers-only updates. Thanks!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    38 backers

    DOWNLOAD, EBOOK, AND ACCESS. A password protected digital download of GIANT SLOTH, an exclusive eBook with production art and the script, and access to backers-only updates.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    52 backers

    DOWNLOAD, CREDITS, EBOOK, AND ACCESS A download of GIANT SLOTH, the eBook access to backers-only updates, and your name on screen in the Thank Yous of the film!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    26 backers

    DANIEL AND DOWNLOADS. A download of GIANT SLOTH, the eBook, access to updates, a thanks in the credits, PLUS a download of Paul's live action short film DANIEL IN THE FACTORY (only available through this campaign!)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    27 backers

    DOWNLOADS AND FEATURETTE. Downloads of GIANT SLOTH and DANIEL IN THE FACTORY, the eBook, access to updates, plus a thanks in the credits. PLUS a featurette on how the series was put together from concept to final animation.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    27 backers

    DISC, DOWNLOADS, AND FEATURETTE. A signed DVD/Blu Ray of the film, plus digital downloads of GIANT SLOTH and DANIEL IN THE FACTORY, the eBook, a thanks in the credits of GIANT SLOTH, and the featurette on how the series was put together from concept to final animation.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    93 backers

    THE LIMITED EDITION BOOK! Get the signed DVD/Blu Ray and downloads of GIANT SLOTH and DANIEL IN THE FACTORY, a thanks in the credits PLUS a signed limited edition hardbound book, designed and illustrated by Paul, featuring scripts, production art, interviews with the creators, and more!

    Estimated delivery:
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  • You selected
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    4 backers

    I (GIANT SLOTH) ANTIQUITIES: Get everything from the $50 level PLUS an "I (giant sloth) Antiquities" t-shirt!

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  • You selected
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    3 backers

    I WENT TO THE BENCHLEY AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT: Get everything from the $50 level PLUS an official Benchley Museum of Cultural and Natural History T-shirt!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    16 backers Limited (34 left of 50)

    ARTISTS AUTHORS THINKERS DIRECTORS: Everything from the $50 level PLUS a signed copy of Paul's new book of portraits, "Artists Authors Thinkers Directors," published by Fantagraphics Books.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $85 or more

    5 backers

    THOROUGHLY NON-NAKED: Get everything from the $50 level PLUS get both shirts: the "I (giant sloth) Antiquities shirt AND the official Benchley Museum shirt!

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    6 backers Limited (394 left of 400)

    BYGONE: Everything from the $50 level PLUS a year subscription to Paul's "Bygone" series of comics, short stories and oddities

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    38 backers Limited (12 left of 50)

    ARTISTS PRINT: Everything from the $75 level PLUS a signed, archival print of your choice from Paul's 100 portraits in "Artists Authors Thinkers Directors."

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    Pledge $150 or more

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    SNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE: Everything from the $50 level, PLUS have PK Hooker reprise his role as Snow Job from the GI Joe PSAs and record your voicemail message!

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  • You selected
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    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    SHOP TALK: Everything from the $50 level PLUS a skype conversation with Paul about your comics, animation, or tv project. Or your feelings. (30 minutes, group hug not included)

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  • You selected
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    4 backers Limited (16 left of 20)

    YOU LOOK MARVELOUS, DARLING: Everything from the $50 level PLUS your portrait drawn in the style of the film.

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  • You selected
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    3 backers Limited (17 left of 20)

    BANG! BANG! Everything from the $100 level PLUS a piece of original art from the Comedy Bang! Bang! title sequence.

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    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers Limited (15 left of 15)

    ORIGINAL ART: Everything from the $100 level PLUS an original piece (featuring at least one character... we're not sending you a lamp) used in the film.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $600 or more

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    YOU'RE ON DISPLAY: Everything from the $300 level PLUS your likeness will appear in one of the exhibits in the museum. Perhaps you're a wounded soldier? Maybe you're a weathered explorer? And you get the original art of your likeness!

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  • You selected
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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    Everything from the $500 level, PLUS a TWO part skype session with Paul about your comic, animation, or tv project. Bring two projects, do a series of notes/revisions. Anything you want!

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  • You selected
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    8 backers Limited (2 left of 10)

    YOU OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES: Everything from the $300 level PLUS you will be a character in the actual film. You can be a museum janitor, a stoned party-goer, a creepy bus driver... Let's talk! And of course you get to keep the original art!

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  • You selected
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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    PICK OF THE FLAT FILES Everything from the $500 level PLUS a collection of otherwise out-of-print prints from Paul, plus all of his books signed PLUS an original piece of art from one of those books.

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    LET'S DO LUNCH: Everything from the $1000 level PLUS lunch or dinner with the director in either Boston, New York, or Los Angeles (travel/lodging not included)

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Everything from the $500 level PLUS you will be credited as an Executive Producer in the credits of the film and on IMDB.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    CO-PRODUCER: Everything from the $500 level PLUS you will be credited as a CO-PRODUCER in the credits of the film and on IMDB.

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Funding period

- (30 days)