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Character and set design art and writers' guide for the free-culture animated web series about the first lunar settlers.
Funded pre-production for "Lunatics!" series in 2011, now completing production of our first episode to be released Spring 2015. Please visit our main project page for up-to-date information!
Funded pre-production for "Lunatics!" series in 2011, now completing production of our first episode to be released Spring 2015. Please visit our main project page for up-to-date information!
47 backers pledged $2,410 to help bring this project to life.

Themes in Lunatics - #9 "Libertarian Visions of Space versus the Statist Reality of the Space Program"

Continuing with themes in the stories for Lunatics... Here's number nine:

Theme #9 Libertarian Visions of Space versus the Statist Reality of the Space Program

Most of the serious space fans I know are in one form or another "libertarians". They may not be actual members of the Libertarian Party, but they certainly do put a high value on individuality and personal freedom. This is not surprising -- after all, they want to go live on another planet. It makes some sense that this might arise from some chafing against Earthly authority.

Yet, when it comes to real space missions, we are pretty much at the mercy of state-run institutions. Some space enthusiasts rationalize this as a matter of convenience, others argue that it is just as it should be. But whichever you believe, it's pretty clear that these two visions are going to come into conflict at some point.

Themes in Lunatics - #8 "Family Life versus Command Hierarchies"

Continuing with themes in the stories for Lunatics... Here's number eight:

Theme #8 Family Life versus Command Hierarchies

Here's the corporate-minded, government-agency vision for starting a space colony: use your rigorous training and selection program to find eight "perfect humans", four male, four female. Then convince them to mate and produce offspring.

Maybe this would work for hamsters. But for humans, it's going to be the other way around. ISF crews are recruited as teams and thus based on family ties more than some committee's ideal team selection parameters. Naturally, there will be some friction between this and the military or civilian agency teams on the Moon.

Hiromi Lerner Concept Art Portrait

Earlier I posted a tiny picture of Hiromi as part of the preview of the Concept Art poster, but here's the completed "Hiromi Aoki Lerner" drawing. Of course, like the others, this is drawn by Daniel Fu and digitally inked and painted by Terry Hancock.

"Hiromi Aoki Lerner, wife of Dr. Robert Lerner, is the field doctor and nutritionist for the International Space Foundation's Lunar Colony. Mrs Lerner holds a Masters in Health Science from the University of Toronto's Mississauga Academy and a Masters in Space Nutrition from the University of Texas Online Branch. Only daughter of David Aoki, founder of Aoki Aerospace, Hiromi has been interested in space travel from her youth. She has a daughter, Georgiana Lerner age seven."

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Themes in Lunatics - #7 "Agrarian Reality versus Technocratic Image"

Continuing with themes in the stories for Lunatics... Here's number seven:

Theme #7 Agrarian Reality versus Technocratic Image

I call this the "white plastic walls" fallacy. People have an idea of spaceflight that is derived from the images created in the 1960s Moon program and lots of science fiction shows that try to glamorize it as the ultimate "futuristic" and "urban" experience. Because back then, urban was cool, and rural was always bad.

In today's world, with people thinking that "Green" is such a good idea, there is sometimes a backlash against space as part of this technocratic image. But guess what? If you're a space pioneer, then what you really are, basically, is a farmer. Sorry. Not a scientist or an engineer or any of those cool things, but somebody who grows plants and raises animals. And shovels manure. Really. It's not sexy, but there it is.

The Roadmap for Lunatics Series Production

Some of you may be wondering where this "Phase I" Kickstart (and the work it's meant to support) falls in our overall plan, and just how far it will take us. I don't know exactly how fast we can progress -- whether we'll be able to keep getting enough people interested in contributing directly to the project or how many rewards, pre-sale DVDs, or merchandise we'll be able to sell to keep the project funded.  That's really going to depend on the fans.

But I can try to give a picture of what the next year or two will look like if things go well. First of all, we break the year up roughly into 3 "blocks" -- with deadlines of April 12 ("Yuri's Night"), July 20 ("Moon Day"), and October 4 ("International Space Week"). We might as well use proper space holidays!

The first year will be weird, though, as you'd expect. We can't realistically start out at full tilt, so we'll be ramping up over the entire year of 2012. Our goals are roughly this:

  • April 2012 - Fully-produced "Teaser Trailer", Full-length animatic for "No Children in Space"
  • July 2012 - Principle animation finished with temporary soundtrack. A longer "full trailer" released
  • October 2012 - RELEASE of "No Children in Space", "Earth" already in production
  • December 2012 - RELEASE of "Earth"
  • April 2013 - Finish "Block 1" episodes (3 more episodes) By this time, we are meant to be at our full, sustainable production rate
  • July 2013 - Finish Block 2 (episodes 6-11)
  • October 2013 - Finish Block 3 (episodes 12-18 -- end of Season 1)
  • April 2014 - Season 2, Block 1
  •  ... and so on ...

This is an aggressive time-table, as a series must have. There are a number of technology innovations and funding/recruiting cycles that must succeed in order to keep this up. If they don't, we'll slip the dates or find "creative" solutions.

Basically, for each "block", we'll be fundraising for the next one as we release episodes. Getting the first/pilot episode out, though, is going to basically take four phases to get through:

  • Phase I (Dec 2011) - Character/Pre-Production Design (i.e. this one) -- Rewards include the art book, writer's guide, posters, etc.
  • Phase II (Feb 2012)- Software integration (pay Brett & Mark for getting Pyppet2 and Monet ready-to-use for our production, also me for writing manuals) -- Rewards will be software disks, manuals, and video tutorials
  • Phase III (Apr 2012) - Production (Character modeling, set & prop detailing, principle animation, original music commissions, etc -- going to need some help for this) -- Rewards will be the "Special Features" DVD
  • Phase IV (June 2012) - Voice Production and Finish Animation ("Post-Production") -- Rewards will be the final production DVD.

So that should give you some idea as to how far along we'll be if we can complete this Kickstarter and the work it supports.