We're solidly in the FUNDED zone. In fact, you propelled us towards a brief visit to the #2 Slot of Kickstarter's MOST FUNDED Projects (in ANIMATION). We think our backers are pretty awesome! Thank you.
ANIMUSIC 3 DVD... or Blu-ray
WOW! There's been some noise from people wanting ANIMUSIC 3 in HD (Blu-ray). So considering the many requests, appeals, questions and pleas, we put our heads together to come up with what we hope is both logistically straight-forward and makes everyone happy. For any reward package:
- when you see "ANIMUSIC 3 DVD"
- read it now as "ANIMUSIC 3 (DVD or Blu-ray) -- your choice"
No need to notify us of your choice yet. Even if you backed us before this option was available, were still considering it, or were holding out for a Blu-ray option...no problem! You'll have a chance to specify your desired disc format (DVD or Blu-ray) when you receive the post-funding survey.
( Update: if we reach $250,000 you won't need to choose -- you'll get both! )
For those backers preferring Blu-ray, we humbly request 2 things:
- 4 months - Rendering for HD adds significant time to the production process, and we're determined to not to change the shipping date of with the ANIMUSIC 3 DVD (which remains Oct 2013). But for the Blu-ray it will be Feb 2014.
- $5 extra - A Blu-ray costs more than a DVD both to author and manufacture, so if you feel moved to increase your pledge by $5 or $10, great. But if you decide to just take a free upgrade, you certainly may -- no need to feel bad about pledging the stated amount. We'll be tickled just to get rolling on production, and you will have helped that happen! But we really do appreciate the extra boost some folks have given us by adding $20, $50, or more to their pledge (for no particular reason other than to help us along). Very nice!
STRETCH GOAL: $250,000
When we launched this Kickstarter campaign, our default plan (if we were to reach $200,000) was to announce a stretch goal of $250,000 for a Blu-ray option. But given the obvious demand for Blu-ray that was expressed early on, we were moved to provide a Blu-ray option right away, as stated above.
But if we do indeed hit $250,000 (sudden pledge spikes near the end are not uncommon!), at that point we effectively change "OR" to "AND".
Rather than needing to decide which format you prefer, you'll receive the ANIMUSIC 3 DVD when it's complete, AND we'll also send you the Blu-ray once it's finished. So if you'd like both, please help us reach $250,000 (our original budget level that included Blu-ray production).
We've dropped 3 rough mixes from Wayne's The Sound of 12 CD on SoundCloud. Described on the video above as "the soul of ANIMUSIC 3", and referenced in the SOUND CHECK reward, it's a collection of music produced while ramping up into production. Wayne explains the correlation between So12 and A3 in more detail there.
What others have said about ANIMUSIC...
"Everyone at Blue Man Group loves Animusic. The more we learn about the digital world, the more we are positively blown away by how good they are at what they do. But my kids don’t care that Animusic has invented an ingenious new way to create animation that’s driven from MIDI-based music. They just think it’s incredibly cool. And I couldn’t agree more. So let’s all be selfish and support Animusic so we can all see what kind of crazy cool stuff they’ll do next!" - Chris Wink (Blue Man Group)
"A stunning combination of unique computer animation and bombastic electronic music - very clever stuff!" - Alan Parsons (Producer, 'Dark Side of the Moon')
"AMAZING... I love ANIMUSIC!" - Jon Anderson (YES)
"Its blend of music, visuals, humor and science is so new and so brilliant it triggered feelings of fascination, laughter, amazement--and, yes, wonder." - David Pogue (New York Times, The Missing Manual, CBS News)
"I found the DVDs of Animusic to be both entertaining and brilliant. Technology that is highly defined and accurate with a real sense of creativity and musicology is usually to be found in multimillion dollar production budgets, but here Dave Crognale and Wayne Lytle have proven that this can be done with passion and brains and whole lot a talent.
As a musician, I was fascinated and delighted in the visual and sounds of such and great achievement.
Well done ~ you brilliant creators of Animusic!" - Phil Keaggy (Master Musician)
ANIMUSIC 3 is to be our 3rd "video album" DVD release.
ANIMUSIC 1 and ANIMUSIC 2 have each sold well enough (over 600,000 units combined) that we have been able to continue operating as a tiny independent, self-funded production company.
But each DVD took 3 years to complete. It shouldn't be that arduous. So we said: "Ah! We shall rebuild our entire production studio from the ground up -- a totally custom in-house software system!". And we did. Its awesomeness grew over a 5-year period of time.
Fortunately, all along the way we continued to design and create interchangeable instrument components. 100's of sketches, 100's of components, countless mini tests, robots, and stage parts. And from March thru May, Wayne Lytle produced a full album of digital music that will be the soul of ANIMUSIC 3.
So is ANIMUSIC 3 almost done, or just beginning???
Oddly, it feels like a bit of both. We've built a "magical music animation factory", neatly laid lots of little parts on our "magical workbench", rubbed our hands together in gleeful anticipation...then realized our "magical factory" came with some hefty utility bills, and our piggy bank was empty. Uh-oh.
Wait. What exactly is ANIMUSIC?
Animation + Music. Computer-animated music on DVD. More specifically, it's music-driven computer animation.
In the grandest sense, ANIMUSIC could be considered a genre.
From a business angle, ANIMUSIC is an independent production company with an online store and some more traditional distribution.
If a little voice asks "Can we watch ANIMUSIC?", they probably want you to pop in one of our first 2 self-titled DVD's (ANIMUSIC 1 and ANIMUSIC 2).
We like to think of ANIMUSIC as a band (sometimes "brand"). We interact and operate more like a band (or video-game developer) than a "company". You could say we're fueled by an intense passion for what we do rather than a strong desire to maximize profit. Ironically, that's both big strength and a potential weakness. Read on.
Why is ANIMUSIC?
Our mission: to bring joy and inspiration to people through computer-animated instrumental music.
Wayne says: "I absolutely believe that this is my purpose here on Earth. Not a hobby. Not a career. It's my calling. There is no backup plan."
What is so different about ANIMUSIC?
Music is everywhere (has been for a long time). These days animation is everywhere too, especially computer animation. And animation (from feature films to concept demos) almost always includes music.
But, in most cases the music plays a supportive role (conveying a mood, or just because "yer supposed ta have music"). Very rarely is the animation depicting the music -- appearing to be playing the music. But over the years, various experimental animations have visualized music by reacting to the notes or sound (raindrops, lasers, or abstract shapes). Of course we've all seen real-time music visualizers pulsating to the beat of various digital music playback software. Fun, mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic... but simply reacting to changes in the audio spectrum.
Our approach is to create animation that is playing the music for you. Like a virtual concert. The animated instruments don't just undulate in response to sound; they play the exact notes you're hearing. And they work very hard at it. They can be a little showy as they riff on their virtual stages. Truly they are the "rock stars" of this genre. If someone signs autographs, it should be them. And they would if they could.
How do we feel right now?
Confident: Having produced 2 well-received ANIMUSIC DVDs in the past, and finally (finally!) having a production studio that feels very natural and efficient, we know we can do this. And we will.
Humbled: Sure, we've sold hundreds of thousands of DVDs worldwide, and many people have gushed about our work, but...speaking personally (Wayne), I feel a bit sheepish and embarrassed about having spent all the proceeds from sales on rebuilding our complex software system from the ground up. If only I could travel back in time and think like a business guy: develop the studio to an initial level, release ANIMUSIC 3, upgrade it further and do ANIMUSIC 4, etc... Hindsight.
Hopeful: There has been such strong ongoing support for ANIMUSIC for years, with lots of encouragement to keep us going.
Excited: Not in the bubbly sense, but in clear growing sense that this is becoming real! We can actually feel it.
How will the funding be utilized?
To significantly expedite the ANIMUSIC 3 production process, namely:
People: Firstly, Dave Crognale (who's been with ANIMUSIC over a decade) will be able to remain full-time. Few things will affect us as much as having a whole Dave. Of course, Wayne Lytle who is the driving force behind everything ANIMUSIC, as well as Greg Flores who is helping manage the business. Last but certainly not least; hiring more passionate people to work with us at ANIMUSIC will also be extremely valuable.
64bit workstations: Technology has finally caught up to the ANIMUSIC vision. Having these powerful computers at our fingertips will be invaluable in bringing that vision to life much faster. In a sense, these are the instruments that give us the ability to “play” ANIMUSIC.
Fast render farm: A new "Render farm". Our previous render farm is a "Render Dinosaur". We need to fill racks with beefy multi-core computers running 24/7. Our render times need to be measured in hours, not weeks like they are now.
Studio expenses: As you might assume, we need to be under a roof and keep the electricity running while we work.
And if you raise even more?
It's really time to accelerate our throughput. We've got half of that taken care of (the production system). But it's time to move beyond our 2-man core team. We've both got some grey. There are countless talented younger production people eagerly desiring to join in on the fun. We need to start spreading the joy...more feet peddling faster...releasing animations much sooner, and ...
... yes, we've heard you, and we're dreaming the same dream ...
...making ANIMUSIC interactive! Even the components we've built for ANIMUSIC 3 could be part of an interactive instrument building toolkit. And as you know, at least one of us just can't stay away from writing cool software.
Ok, stop distracting us. We're getting ahead of ourselves. The initial level of funding is to complete ANIMUSIC 3. It is vital. Without it, we'll be left holding the world's most expensive vapor. There will be tears. Grown men will cry.
Lighthearted metaphors aside, we truly need this. We're dead serious (albeit with a twist of silly): Without your help, we're not sure how or if ANIMUSIC 3 will ever see the laser-light of your DVD player.
Why is Kickstarter so cool?
Perhaps a bunch of people in the community is more likely to fund your project than more traditional means. Could be.
It may mean avoiding some the loss of some artistic control, intellectual property ownership, or other bondage to your industry's "Evil Empire". Not small things.
Test the market appetite for a product before development. Hey, that's good too.
But here's what does it for us: Say you could raise $200,000 from one "faceless" traditional investor (say a plain old bank loan), or rather thousands of Kickstarterfolk. The bank just wants their money back...with interest (monetary).
The Kickstarterfolk give you their interest...lots of it. Enthusiastically and sometimes passionately. Having thousands of real people with real names saying, "We want what you're building. We believe in you. We know you can do it!". Powerful and Priceless.
Still haven't found what you wanted to know? Ask us a question, and we can expand the Story with additional sections.
Nope - In the interests of keeping things as simple as possible, shipping is included regardless of planetary location.
Kickstarter only allows connecting to a personal Facebook page. So if you're interested in the ANIMUSIC Facebook page, here it is: http://www.facebook.com/animusic
By the way, Wayne is so focused on ANIMUSIC that he barely knows what Facebook is...
Oh, sure...at this point it's a given. However, given that for us DVDs continue to significantly outsell Blu-rays (and are somewhat more straightforward to produce), we decided to focus on Standard Definition DVD for the initial release...Given the painful lessons we've learned about being over-ambitious with technology and a very small team, we've made a conscious decision to be very conservative with our stated objective.
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