There's a place...
...Beneath the facade of normalcy.
A place that crawls with our deepest fears and darkest desires.
Built of longing and regret.
Sometimes, the things we try to hide away in that place don't fit, and spill over...
Sometimes, our nightmares breathe.
Hi, my name is Randall Kaplan and I'm making an animated horror feature film called 'Boxhead'.
I'm a filmmaker and artist. I've been making short films for over ten years and working in the film industry as a freelance editor, creature designer, and sometimes actor.
And now I'm embarking on my first feature film.I've been obsessed, you might say haunted, by one particular character since childhood.
When I was around 11 years old this image of a figure came to me, resembling something like a man, but not quite...
I called him 'Boxhead'.
I drew him again and again and again over the years. The image became an idea and the idea grew into a story.
As my Thesis in college I made a live action short film with the creature. The film showed at many festivals and is collected along with my other films on the DVD, Beneath the Flesh, distributed back in 2009 by Pathfinder Pictures.
The DVD went on to gain a lot of critical acclaim around the internet.
But Boxhead wasn't finished with me yet. No, not even close.
The story behind Boxhead grew and evolved, and I knew that I had to make it into a feature film.
You could say that animation is in my blood. My mother is an animation Director and Producer so I grew up around light tables and storyboards.
I did, as a result, avoid it for as long as I could.
One day however, it became clear that this was a fool's errand.
I've drawn my entire life and planned out my live action films through detailed drawings and storyboards.
One day I was working on one storyboard for a concept of a Boxhead feature. While drawing the characters I realized something I'd have never planned on- that I had the animation bug. I wanted to see -needed to see- these characters move and come alive. Not translated into live action, but drawings and paintings given life.
So it had to be an animated film. An animated horror film.
Al is an aging, alcoholic recluse. There was a time when he aspired to be someone; a writer, with a life and career. That time, along with all of his dreams have long passed him by.
He lives alone, his life reduced to an empty, solitary and drunken existence.
But as time slips away, a strange creature watches, waiting in the dark...
One night Al discovers something absolutely horrible that could possibly save his soul.
He takes on the role of a detective, acting out a story he never finished.
All the while, the creature enters into different people's lives, unveiling their deepest fears and regrets, their loneliness...
...and feeding off of it.
Al is led down a rabbit hole, through a labyrinth of past and present fantasies and nightmares, to ultimately, find himself.
The goal right now-
Before a film is shot or animated, the director draws something called a storyboard. This is the visual blueprint of the film, showing the action shot by shot in still drawings.
In animation, those storyboards are cut together to make an animatic, or story reel.
This is like a storyboard, but with sound, music and camera movement. It's the skeletal structure of the film.
I realized early on that the words in a script alone were not adequate to describe the images and sounds in my head. That's exactly why the animatic is the perfect tool to communicate the ideas and the emotion behind the ideas.
Yes, this story reel is just the first step in the long intense process of creating an animated feature film, but it's essential.
That's why I need your help. So I can take on this first and crucial step in the production.
This means storyboarding, editing, scoring and recording music and dialogue.
Creating a full-length animatic is alone incredibly time consuming, but in this phase, I also plan on animating key scenes.
I've already partially completed the opening sequence which you can see above. This sequence shows basically how the film will ultimately look and feel.
In order to get this film off of the ground and running, I need software, such as editing and music programs, hardware like synthesizers (I have a small one but would like to invest in another), and tons of pencils, paper, ink, brushes and paint.
But what I need most of all is time, enough time to dedicate myself- blood, sweat and tears- solely to this film for next year and three months.
After that, the story reel will be complete with some full animation and ready to show further investors to complete the film.
Right now, I'm working alone. It is my hope that I'll raise enough money to pay an assistant artist or two to help complete the animatic. For the full production, I'm going to definitely need more artists.
But right now, it's a one man show.
Beyond being an animated horror film, this film will deal with issues and ideas very close to me and I believe, if these images affect you, yourself as well.
I could try and write an essay about what this film means to me, but I fear it would undermine the point, and that the video above and the opening sequence speak for themselves.
However, I'll try my best to shed some light on the concept.
Boxhead is the culmination of years of concepts, themes, images, characters and even sounds that go back to my childhood.
I've always explored loneliness in my work and life.
Growing up in Brooklyn, New York back in the early 1990s I saw many lonely and desperate people. As a child seeing these people on the street left me often confused, frightened, and very disturbed.
But as I grew older, and battled with my own loneliness, they became a source of inspiration.
I've always been very lucky to have, above all, an outlet for my feelings in my art.
Now, I wish more than anything to share something deeply personal and yet, I believe, universal, with you.
Back in 2009 Turner Classic Movies wrote a blurb about my short films, and what they said back then applies even more to this film now:
"Kaplan expertly blends the uncanny, grotesque and the touching..."
So if you want to see one of the only animated horror films in existence and something completely unique, please donate. Be a part of this film. Help make it a reality. You won't regret it.
Please be sure to check out and 'like' the official facebook page for Boxhead: https://www.facebook.com/Boxheadthemovie
Risks and challenges
Moving ahead, one of the main challenges, as well as influences, is time. As I said above, I need nothing more than time. And the idea is that the money will provide enough of it for me to complete the animatic in a year and three months. The more money we raise however, would mean the more animation gets done and the story reel will be even better.
The risks of going over time are always there, if there are unforeseen technical or life issues, but I'm going to push myself further than I ever have to complete this thing in that time frame and have come out on the other end with something beautiful.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)