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Help bring back GERTIE THE DINOSAUR Feature Film Project
Help bring back GERTIE THE DINOSAUR. Twenty years in the making, this 1914 animated legend stars in a fun, family live action bio-pic.
Help bring back GERTIE THE DINOSAUR Feature Film Project
Help bring back GERTIE THE DINOSAUR. Twenty years in the making, this 1914 animated legend stars in a fun, family live action bio-pic.
Back this project
Gertie the Dinosaur was created in 1914 by Winsor McCay as an inventive Vaudeville performance unlike anything seen before and still not out-done by any interactive show or film to date.
This Kickstarter campaign's goal is to bring Gertie the Dinosaur back to the public eye through an original Live Action/Animation Feature Film.
This Gertie the Dinosaur feature project has been in the works for over 20 years. I have been working at producing this feature film and the return of Gertie the Dinosaur since 1994. This project has been my dream and its pre-production has taken the major concentration of my creativity, time, and finances. I am an award winning short film maker and this will be my first feature film. Gertie the Dinosaur's revival has been my pet project for almost my entire adult life and has been close to Tv and Film production over the years, many times. The stars have aligned and with the help of Kickstarter supporters like you, this dream can finally come to life and the world can learn about the amazing history behind Gertie the Dinosaur.
Originally created in 1914, the same year as early black and white, silent film Birth of a Nation, and fourteen years before Mickey Mouse's arrival, Gertie the Dinosaur is a film legend that needs to be re-birthed in the public consciousness. Forgotten for over 100 years, Gertie the Dinosaur and her incredible story are prime for a second coming to reclaim her title as the Original Cartoon Star.
Gertie the Dinosaur was originally a travelling Vaudeville performance created by Winsor McCay in 1914. Winsor would stand on stage in front of a huge, projected Gertie and perform a trained animal circus act with her. He would use his whip and direct Gertie to perform all of his commands.
The following is a concept for this Kickstarter, Gertie the Dinosaur feature, representing the original Vaudeville performance. This unique and never filmed performance will be re-created in this all new feature film with your help and other Kickstarter supporters.
1. Who is Gertie the Dinosaur?
Gertie the Dinosaur was originally a travelling Vaudeville performance created by the famous political cartoonist, Winsor McCay, in 1914. Winsor would stand on stage in front of a screen as a huge, Gertie was projected behind him and the duo performed a trained animal circus act together. Winsor, dressed in his tuxedo, would use his whip to direct Gertie to perform all of his commands, interactively.
Winsor McCay's employer, William Randolph Hearst, forced Winsor to cancel touring on the Vaudeville circuit to be available at Hearst's beck and call. Not to be defeated, Winsor released a version of his Gertie the Dinosaur performance with a prologue and subtitles to replace his interactions with Gertie. Without the live interaction of Winsor, the film was hardly the magic of the Vaudeville show but it did allow the release of a Gertie the Dinosaur short film to the world. This was in fact the first animation of a dinosaur on the screen and an amazing artistic endevour, not matched until the Disney features, over two decades later.
Forgotten for over 100 years, Gertie the Dinosaur and her incredible story are prime for a second coming to reclaim her title as the Original Cartoon Star and to bring smiles to people around the world.
Here is the original 1914 film of Gertie the Dinosaur that was distributed around the world. It has a fun prologue that sets up the entire story with a bet. That "bet" is pictured in this new Kickstarter, Gertie the Dinosaur feature film.
This is the Original 1914 released film of Gertie the Dinosaur that Winsor McCay released with his interaction replaced with title cards.
2. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE KICKSTARTER PLEDGE REWARDS?
One of the more exciting pledge rewards are our unique set of Plush Sculptures of Gertie the Dinosaur, both Vintage Gertie and colorful Gertie. Limited to only 2500 pieces each and including a FREE download of the Feature FIlm, these high quality collectables will be a top pledge reward. Colorful T-shirts, Signed Limited Edition Fine Art Prints and Animation Cels make up some of the other fun rewards for our Kickstarter friends. CHECK BELOW for MORE INFORMATION on some GREAT GIFTS!
3. WHO WAS WINSOR McCAY?
Winsor McCay, in his time, was the number one political cartoonist in the world and one of William Randolph Hearst's favorite employees. Winsor was so famous for his Little Nemo in Slumberland newspaper strip about a boy's wondrous dreams that it became a Broadway Musical in 1908.
4. Why are you producing this movie?
My producing partner, Marci Kawar, and I have been working on producing a Gertie the Dinosaur feature film for more than 20 years. Since 1994, our goal has always been to return Gertie the Dinosaur to the public eye and bring smiles to people everywhere with her amazing history. Considered the first cartoon star, Gertie the Dinosaur and her creator, the amazing artist Winsor McCay, paved the way for the 3D virtual reality and interactivity in film that we are striving for today; over 100 years later. In 1914, Winsor McCay’s Vaudeville performance of Gertie the Dinosaur wowed audiences and will again with your Kickstarter pledge!
Please support our Kickstarter campaign and help us complete over 20 years of design and pre-preproduction to create this fun, imaginative, original film about the amazing story of Winsor McCay and Gertie the Dinosaur.
5. What is the Feature Film about?
GERTIE THE DINOSAUR is a feature film that is in itself an original mix of animation and live action, a nod to the ingenious interaction of the original Gertie the Dinosaur and to the history of the genre itself.
FILM SYNOPSIS: Animation inventor Winsor McCay and Walt, a 9 year old orphan boy from 2016, find friendship and love within each other in 1914 New York. Set during the hey days of Vaudeville, the real cartoon Gertie the Dinosaur, her animated friend Moe Skeeto, Walt, and Winsor must outwit the villainous Theatre magnate, Mr. Michael, and his two hechman Soupcan Harry and Shorty before they steal his secrets of animation. Steam locomotives, ornate Vaudeville theaters, and a colorful cartoonland set the stage for this unique, imaginitive family classic.
6. Why is now the opportune time to make this feature film?
After working on producing this film for over 20 years, NOW is really the opportune time to complete this project. Here are some of the important factors that make 2016 the perfect time for a Gertie the Dinosaur feature film production:
• STRONG US DOLLAR: would make shooting in Canada possible with an extra 35% bonus from the foreign exchange rate. Each U.S. dollar is worth approximately $1.35 Canadian. See #7 below for more details.
• DIGITAL VIDEO: allows for much lower costs than shooting on film. See #4 below for more details.
• DINOSAURS: with the release of new Jurassic Park films and The Good Dinosaur, pop culture is ready to be re-dino-fide.
• HISTORY: Gertie the Dinosaur became 100 years old in 2014 and the world deserves to learn about Gertie, Winsor McCay, and their amazing history.
• KICKSTARTER: which allows for crowdfunding the production budget with pre-sales of Downloads, DVD’s and other incentives, skipping the middleman and the high expenses of distribution. See #7 below for more details.
• COMPLETED PRE-PRODUCTION: Twenty years of pre-production is complete! Close to $500,000 has been spent designing the characters, writing the script, obtaining rights, building sculptures, drawing storyboards, painting concepts, and other pre-production costs that are expensive in the animation film industry. See #7 below for more details.
7. Is it possible to make a good low budget film?
YES! Some really excellent feature films have been made for very low budgets including these top selections of Gertie; El Mariachi (1992) for $7,000, Primer (2004) for $7,000, Paranormal Activity (2007) for $15,000, The Brothers McMullen (1995) for $24,000, Clerks (1994) for $27,000, The Blair Witch Project (1999) for $60,000, Once (2006) for $160,000, and Swingers (1996) for $200,000.
8. How are you going to make this particular film on a low budget?
Good question. Film budgets can be extreme , but they do not always have to be. Here are some of the key advantages that will support us in making a fantastic low budget film:
• STRONG U.S. DOLLAR: One very important factor in making this film, NOW, is the strong US Dollar. The film’s production will be shot in Toronto, Canada (my home town) to take advantage of the approximate 35% exchange rate on the U.S. dollar, which will push up the film’s production budget by 35%. Each US dollar is presently worth approximately $1.35 Canadian and this strong U.S. dollar will supercharge the budget with a bonus of more than 35% extra funds to spend on superior production value.
• LOW BUDGET FILM INCENTIVES: Thanks to the generous support from the actors and film crew unions, salaries on low budget independent feature films are able to be considerably discounted. In fact, for a first time producer in Toronto with a film budget under $250,000, fees can be as much as 10 times lower than for a big budget film using the same actors and crew. In the case of this film, $30,000 U.S. (approximately $40,000 Canadian) is budgeted for actors and crew. At a 10:1 ratio, this would be the equivalent of spending $400,000 Canadian on professional actors and crew; more than enough to complete a great film.
• TAX INCENTIVES: Another strong enticement to shooting this feature film in Toronto is the substantial tax incentives and support offered by several Ontario and Canadian government programs and industry organizations. Up to 60% of production costs can be recouped from these sources, making these recovered funds available for marketing and foreign distribution.
• MARKETING INCENTIVES: Shooting this feature film in Toronto will also make available various marketing funds from Ontario and Canadian government programs for foreign distribution and promotion at domestic and foreign Film Festivals and Markets.
• DIGITAL VIDEO: Thanks to the amazing advancements in digital video cameras, shooting the film in High Definition Digital Video will allow for incredible image quality and direct cost savings over shooting on film. Shooting in High Definition Digital Video offers incredible resolution and color, yet costs a fraction of shooting a production on film. Utilizing the video process, there is no expensive cost of buying raw film stock, no processing of the film, no printing of the film or video transfer of it for editing, no negative cutting, nor printing film prints for distribution, etc. During the production shoot, video cameras (being smaller and lighter than heavy, bulky film cameras) allow for more use of location shooting and natural lighting, equating to monetary savings from less rentals of expensive artificial lighting, less crew labor associated with camera and lighting operation, and trucking. The final stage of film production, distribution, is also greatly affected by the use of video with reduced delivery costs due to digital downloading and no distributor expenses and fees.
• NO BIG STARS: Let’s face it, when you hear about a film’s huge budget, it includes the large expense of famous acting talent. Millions of dollars spend on actors, eats away at a budget quickly. Sure, we would love to hire an “A-list” actor for this film, but we must budget realistically and instead mine for gold from the incredible large talent pool of hard working professional film, TV, and stage actors. If we go over our Kickstarter goal, some of the stretch goal funding will be used to hire a known star to play Winsor McCay.
• NO BIG EXPLOSIONS: Sorry, this is not a Michael Bay film, so there are no big explosions or 50 car pile-ups. This film will be completed using the budgeted funds wisely, which means no explosions, no stunt people, no helicopters or other expensive feature film trappings. The majority of this film will be shot on location and in actual interiors with some soundstage time to assist in creating high quality green screen special effects.
• RIGHTS OWNERSHIP: The rights to license a major, world renowned character or book for a feature film can cost millions of dollars in advance fees and much more in equity ownership, often hampering the possibilities for low budget features. We have been in control of the rights to GERTIE THE DINOSAUR since 1994 and this asset adds considerably to the value of this production.
• PRE-PRODUCTION COMPLETED: Pre-production and design on an animated film can be extremely expensive. It takes years to acquire rights, create concepts, design characters and locations, build sculptures, paint pictures, test animation, and more. This Gertie the Dinosaur feature has been in the works since 1994 and has its pre-production 90% complete. Sure, we are always tweaking, but the script, design, storyboards, sculptures, digital paintings and more have been completed over the last 20 years by professional artists with credits on Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Fox, and DreamWorks feature films. What is left to finish is the Computer Generated Image (CGI) Models and test animation which will be completed by a professional animation company that we partner with to animate the completed production.
• KEY PERSONNEL DEFERRING SALARIES: The majority of the Key Personnel on this feature will be deferring their salaries until after distribution of the film, recouping their salaries from future revenue. The Producers, Director, Writers, and Editor will complete their jobs for no upfront fees, in turn leaving their entire salaries for actual production. These jobs are often the most expensive salaries of a Feature film and represent a potential savings of between $50,000 for a film of this size to millions of dollars on a Hollywood big budget feature.
• ANIMATION PARTNERS: Due to spending 20 years in the animation business and pitching dozens of companies, I have made many contacts in the industry and have a few independent animation companies that are willing to cut their animating rates in exchange for a piece of ownership of the film. The final deal will not be consummated until Kickstarter funding is complete, as these companies do not want to commit until the animation budget can be established and finalized. Toronto, Canada is one of the main hubs of animation production and creates some of the top TV, Video game and Feature film animation in the world. Depending on the final negotiations, this production will receive a discount of up to 75% on animation services in exchange for some equity ownership in the film. In effect, this discount will cause the initial animation budget of $25,000 Canadian to equate to as much as $100,000 worth of professional high quality animation. It is also noteworthy to remember that the feature film is live action with only three main computer generated characters (CGI). The animated characters appear only in 40% of the screen time, with nominal dialogue, and live action backgrounds (not animated) which equate to less animation work and associated costs.
• EXTRA FUNDING: The Producers plan on investing $50,000 additional to enhance the Kickstarter budget further. We are also in discussions with an independent Hollywood Producer to match our Kickstarter funding, in effect doubling our budget.
• TOYS AND OTHER LICENSING REVENUE: Once the project is funded, it will be much simpler to locate companies interested in licensing future Gertie the Dinosaur products. We plan to use any of these advances toward film production, on top of the Kickstarter funding.
9. Have you ever made a film before?
YES, I have written, directed, and produced a few award winning short films. Beginning at the age of 8, I enrolled in my first film course and made my first super 8 film, Planet Wars. Continuing film courses during high school and 4 years of film studies at York University in Toronto, stoked my passion for filmmaking. In 1992, I moved to California to pursue filmmaking and soon undertook with my business partner, Marci Kawar, producing a feature film and follow up kids' TV show about Gertie the Dinosaur. Over the years, a number of independent Producers and Studios have shown an interest in a Gertie the Dinosaur feature, but none committed financially without taking 100% ownership of Gertie.
With your support and other Kickstarter friends, this dream of returning Gertie the Dinosaur to the public eye will happen.
This is one of my multi-award winning short films:
10. Do first time feature directors make great films?
ABSOLUTLEY! Here are a few of Gertie's favorite films by first time directors who created great first films, including; Citizen Kane directed by Orson Welles, Mad Max (1979) directed by George Miller, Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) directed by Steven Soderbergh, Dances with Wolves (1990) directed by Kevin Costner, Boys n the Hood (1991) directed by John Singleton, and American Beauty (1999) directed by Sam Mendes.
11. What is the history of the team behind this project?
My name is Earl Kisluk and I am a multi-award winning short film writer/director/producer. My producing partner, Marci Kawar, is a published author and short film producer. We have been working toward returning Gertie the Dinosaur to the public eye for 22 years. The first designs and scripts began to be created in 1994 and we have been in pre-production of a Gertie the Dinosaur feature film ever since. Here are a few of my earliest designs for a Gertie the Dinosaur feature film project that date back to 1994 when my kids were still young (they are now 25 and 27- Funny because I don't remember growing older).
Eventually, branded products and apparel were created, including an imaginative, fun comic that was published in 2000 about Gertie and her live action friends (my kids) interacting with cartoon characters in a cartoon world. We represented Gertie the Dinosaur at many Comic Book Conventions, Children’s Events and Library Days over the years and gave out signed comic books to kids and fans. The comic book's story takes place after the feature film's story line, when Gertie and her friends must chase the evil Mr. Michael and his Henchmen through time to stop their criminal ways. Here, Gertie and the Gang corner them at the San Diego Comic Book Convention, both in 1977 and in the year 2000.
Up until 2001, we had production offices in Los Angeles and later in Huntington Beach until 2010. The project has been represented at a large Hollywood agency and has at other times been tied up with independent Producers and Film and Television Studios.
This Gertie the Dinosaur project has been designed and pre-produced by artists and professionals with credits on films such as Jurassic Park: Lost World, Mars Attacks, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Iron Giant, and studios including Walt Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Brothers, Industrial Light and Magic, Fox, Nickelodeon, and more. When the feature film is shot, it will be with a professional feature film Union Crew and with Union Actors to insure professionalism and a high quality production. The animation itself will be completed by a professional animation company using the most current software and techniques.
12. Which films influenced you to make this film?
There have been many films hat have influenced me as a filmmaker but this feature film definitely can be traced back to these amazing, imaginative pictures. Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), Wizard of Oz (1939), Song of the South (1946), Mary Poppins(1964), Willly Wonka and the Chocolate Factory(1971), Pete's Dragon(1977), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
We hope hat you will love our Gertie the Dinosaur feature film as much as those wonderful family classics.
13. Where will you make this film?
The film will be shot in Toronto, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Due to the great strength of the U.S. Dollar, each Kickstarter dollar raised will be worth approximately $1.35 Canadian equaling 35% bonus to spend on the production. The Toronto Actors and Film crew Unions also have generous first time low budget production agreements with special discounted rates for the same professional actors and crew that make big budget feature films. In fact, Toronto is one of the key film and TV production cities in the world for live action, special effects and animation. Production Offices, minimal Photography and some Post Production will be handled in Los Angeles.
With certain Kickstarter pledge levels, you can celebrate with us at a Special Reception and Movie Premiere in your choice of either Los Angeles or Toronto.
14. When are you planning to shoot and then deliver this film?
The film is expected to be shot in July and August of 2016 with plans of completion and delivery by mail or 1080p High Definition Digital Download in December 2016.
Give the DVD or download of the film as a great Gift have us DONATE a DVD to a Children’s Hospital, School, or Library of your's or our choice.
15. Why are you using Kickstarter?
Kickstarter offers all kinds of great advantages to complete this film. We have been pitching this film for years, but due to the high budgets of Hollywood films, the various studios that we met felt that Gertie the Dinosaur did not have enough of a pre-sold audience (public awareness). Gertie has not been famous for close to 100 years and these studios felt that the public was not familiar enough of the character to invest tens of millions of dollars on a big budget feature. Producers and Studios have also had to keep in mind the licensing fees for the character and other related expenses that are already taken care of in our pre-production.
Kickstarter lets us skip this Studio system and sell the film directly to the public and fans of Gertie the Dinosaur. Completing this project is finally possible due to the strong U.S. Dollar, high quality Digital Video cameras, and Kickstarter supporters like you.
Please take advantage of some great pledge gifts and receive a FREE COPY of the film via download with your fun collectible gift.
16. Why should I support your campaign?
• You can help to return Gertie the Dinosaur and Winsor McCay’s amazing story to the public eye.
• With your support you will make a life time dream come true and fulfill a 22 year (and life savings) endeavor.
• Gertie the Dinosaur will bring smiles to you, your friends, family, and people around the world.
• Teach a man to fish and feed a village. Help to create a new career for the Writer/Director/Producer and some of the Cast and Crew of this film.
17. Where are you at with the Pre-Production?
This new film is almost entirely designed and storyboarded. The following examples are some of the concepts and storyboards for our Gertie the Dinosaur live action/animation feature film to be sponsored by Kickstarter supporters.
My original sketches and designs have been re-drawn by various professional artists over the last 20 years to create more than 400 storyboards. Please enjoy looking at some of these storyboards and concepts while remembering that this is a live action film with animated characters.
The music accompaniment is Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" from 1902, Winsor McCay's era.
Risks and challenges
Any difficulties will be overcome and the production will be completed.
The film will be ready for download and DVD delivery in time for the
December 2016 holidays. Great for a gift!
T-Shirt will be delivered within 60 days of the close of the campaign.
Plush Toy delivery is estimated within 120 days of the close of the campaign.
Action figure delivery is estimated within 150 days of the close of the campaign.
Please contact me with any question or concerns that you might have.
I will do my best to work with you on any special request.
The budget of the film will be set by the Kickstarter campaign.
The money raised will be split between the animation process and live action production. The higher the amount that is raised, the better quality that the completed project will attain,including; better production values, bigger sets, and more frames/second in the animation process. As well as additional scenes.