About this project
WOOHOO! Funporium! has met its funding goal! Puppets everywhere are rejoicing, but nowhere near as much as their puppeteers, their "mother-creator", their human cast and crew! So... Now what?
Stretch goals, that's what (click here for more details)! To celebrate, every backer will be receiving our behind the scenes e-book. And now, we stretch a little and try to unlock the means to release our blooper reel, too!
Update Mar 3: MERRY MONDAY! Check out some great Behind The Scenes pictures here!
Update Feb 26: Holy poodles! 93% funded! We're almost there! Hooray! Read more about it here, and check out a fun picture of the cast and crew. Here's a funny clip (with an outtake bit at the end).
Outtake (sorta)#4: Fritz, booze, and complimentary nuts.
Update Feb 25: Surprise Still! What exactly is Fritz shopping for? We're not sure we want to know. Special shout-out to our brony fans who've been kicking tail and taking manes for the puppets!
Update Feb 20: New Outtake (not entirely SFW) Slightly manic, definitely insane puppeteers decide to pass the time during a soundcheck / camera check / lighting check by discussing the virtues of fair trade coffee. It quickly escalated from there. Read more here!
Outtake #3: Enrique & Trip discuss coffee enemas.
Update Feb 19: Pun war! Get your puppet puns (and nifty post cards to share) here! New outtakes are ready to be posted, as soon as we cross the 50% mark!
Update Feb 18: Megan's butt, up for grabs! The rumors are totally true. When we reach our goal, puppet mistress/fluffer Megan will get her glorious rump tattooed! More here...
Update Feb 14: Happy Valentine's Day! Haven't figured out which card to bring home to your love or your puppet tonight? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
Update Feb 12: 40% of goal reached! Time for another outtake! Find out funny facts about it here. Also, let's wish Tara Strong a super-duper fiberfill-free birthday today!
Outtake #2: Fritz and Mr. Buns try their rods at improv.
Update Feb 10: 30% of goal reached! Here's a tasty, raw outtake for you... Find out more about this outtake and how we do things right here. In the meantime, enjoy!
Outtake #1: Trip and Enrique deliver an apple crate... and fail.
Update Feb 10: People have been asking to see our puppet bags! Check 'em out, they're soooo cute!
Update Feb 9: Thanks for joining us on Reddit! That was so much fun! (Let's do it again, 'kay?)
Aw, those poor puppets!
We know, right? Poor little guys!
Help us keep them off the streets by giving them jobs in web-driven comedy. In December 2013, we were able to capture the first installment of their story on film. Now, we need your help to push it through post production and make it available for viewing by people and puppets everywhere.
For the first time in the history of felt, fiberfill and fur, you will get to witness what really happens on the set of a children's edutainment show once a director yells "Cut!"
Aha, so this is a show within a show?
Exactly! Funporium! is what you'd get if 30 Rock and Fraggle Rock had a love child while on a rubber-cement-sniffing bender. The show revolves around the dysfunctional puppet cast and blended puppet-and-human crew of a children's edutainment show ("Fritz's Funporium") shot out of a small and dangerously dilapidated studio in the suburb of a Midwestern city.
He's a bit of a turd socket.
I could swear I recognized some humans in your Telethon Song.
You probably did! Funporium! stars Michael Patrick McCaffrey, Tara Strong and Charles Hubbell, and features Rizwan Manji, Gordon Smuder, Jeff Neppl, John Jennings, Bonni Allen and Andrew Sass.
Wait, Tara Strong? I love her!
We do too. It's great to see her in front of the camera for a change! If the name doesn't ring a bell, the voice certainly will. Remember Timmy Turner, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Dil Pickles, Bubbles, and Twilight Sparkle? Yep. That's her. There's a few hundred distinct voices and characters living in her head at any given time. We're not sure how she keeps them all straight.
Haven't I seen this Rizwan guy somewhere before?
You have. His mustache is everywhere these days. Usually attached to his face. Both have recently been seen in The Wolf of Wall Street, Outsourced and Privileged. Rizwan's the bees' goat cheese. We're not actually sure what that means, but he's a riot.
Who's this Michael dude?
Known for his amazing comedic abilities and for his freaky resemblance to Jesus, Michael's been seen on Oz, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, in the film From Grace, and a bunch of other places. Funny guy. We think he's super amazing and you will love him as much as we do.
The rest of the cast looks like fun!
They are. Our puppeteers are nuttier than squirrel turds under an oak tree. Sometimes we have to keep them kenneled overnight. Sometimes they choose this for themselves. Sometimes strangers pay to join them.
Tell me more! Is this a standard web series, or something different? Where and when will it air?
Funporium! is a standard television-length (22 minute) comedy pilot meant for New Media (Web) distribution. Once post production wraps, it will air online, for free, in May 2014!
Where's the project currently at?
Funporium!'s principal photography is complete. This means that the pilot episode, "Down the Puppethole", with a running time of approximately 32 minutes, is in the can!
No, not the kind of can you flush. Not the kind of can you eat spam out of with a spork, either. The OTHER can. The good one.
Well that's cool. What would my contribution be going to exactly?
It's super simple -- the funds raised to reach our goal of $30,000 will go to finishing post production for the pilot -- that means editing and scoring, sound mixing, vaccinating the puppets against distemper, and putting the show up on the web for people (and puppets) to watch and enjoy!
If we raise our goal amount, there is no question that we will be able to complete the project! If we exceed our goal, awesomenuts stretch goals unlock, meaning more goodness for you and your inner puppet! (It's okay, don't be shy, we know you have one.)
You know you're not quite right, right?
Ok, so when this pilot airs, then what happens?
Things could go in a few directions, including the following:
- 1) We've already had nibbles from distributors and content creators (think cable/pay-for-viewing services) who are anxiously awaiting the pilot and are considering it for future development.
- 2) We feel that the fan base is instrumental in deciding where this show goes (and where it's distributed), and we would love to see the show independently funded and run, in partnership with investors, corporate partners, but and most importantly with fans who speak the same language we do. We like this option best.
You mean fans could help shape the show and turn their sorrow and frustration into magical alicorn tears of laughter and joy?
Heck yeah! Funporium! could become the first show of its kind to be fan-powered and fan-supported all the way! It certainly has the pedigree to become an internet favorite. We intend to continue blazing the trail, using new digital technologies and fan collaboration!
...also, we really like making filthy puppet jokes. But you probably knew that already.
Sweet. So you guys really like Fans, Geeks, Gamers, Bronies, Nerds, Whovians, Browncoats, Nerfherders and others of that ilk, right?
One of us! One of us! One of us! We're a bunch of freaks and geeks ourselves, and proud of it. In fact, we pepper our show with a ton of subtle references just for our fellow geeks.
We really want to show the world that fan communities should be considered a valuable asset and irreplaceable source of feedback in driving entertainment content online and in more traditional broadcasting media. We can band together and prove once and for all that geeks and fans are a vocal, worthy audience that includes but extends way beyond the "18 to 40 year old male" fast-cars-sports-and-beer demographic. Our demographic -- you guys -- is way more diverse and way more awesome than that! It's time to be heard!
Well, I'm all magnanimous and stuff, but what's in it for me?
- a) You will save a puppet in need by keeping it employed, and you'll support independent television-for-the-web production and;
- b) We've got great rewards and swag! And more goodness unlocks if we reach our stretch goals! Not every reward is listed in the tiers on the right! As we unlock new stretch goals, new rewards will be automatically applied to everyone who's already contributed!
- c) Your mom will be proud of you.
You had me at "your mom". I'm in! What happens if you go above and beyond your fundraising goal? Will amazing stuff will happen? Will I grow a conjoined puppet twin?
If you suddenly grow a conjoined puppet twin, random puppet appendages (vestigial appendages not included) or develop the sudden need to eat fiberfill by the bucket, please see your doctor at once.
Since we've exceeded our goal, we are weeping eternal tears of gratitude (seriously, check out the rewards, we're bottling that stuff up!). There's a ton of reasons to keep on going! First off, the show has an even greater chance of remaining in your hot (very hot) little hands. The more we raise, the greater our chances of launching a short season of Funporium!, bringing on board a bunch of talent you guys know and love!
We have great plans for making this pilot even more awesome, including:
GOAL MET! $30,000: Every reward threshold gets our Behind the Scenes & Production Stills ebook, which includes tons of hilarious photos and commentary! We will also be able to release the short film version of the pilot. Hooray!
$35,000: We will hang our heads in shame, and release an Exclusive to Kickstarter Supporters Blooper Reel to supporters in every reward tier! We'll also send you a pair of hilarious Funporium! greeting cards, featuring some of our concept art by Emmy Award winning artist Ed Baker. Send them to your friends!
$45,000: We will be able to add a commentary track to the pilot with our cast and puppets! This scares us a little. They're wild when unscripted.
$55,000: We will release a "Beefcake & Pin-Ups" digital photo book of puppets and crew to all our supporters! Our director has sexy legs. Seriously, we even used them as a stripper pole in the pilot.
$60,000: We will shoot puppet and cast interviews, to accompany the release of the pilot and send you more goodies! … if we raise more? We'll start adding more and more swag and rewards! And who knows… maybe we'll even get a second episode on the way!
Onward puppet friends and puppet supporters! I can't thank each of you enough for all you've done and are still doing for us.
Woot! Oh hey, since you already have all that footage, can I see what you've been up to?
Certainly! The Telethon Song above contains a number of clips from "Down the Puppethole", the pilot episode. We will be adding more and more production stills and funny video clips throughout the campaign! In the meantime, you should also check out our cast and crew (and production stills) below…
Meet the cast and their characters:
Nick Hamm-Sandwijk (Michael Patrick McCaffrey): Fritz's Funporium's show-runner, quintessential good guy.
Nick left his job show running crime procedurals in L.A. to take on Fritz's Funporium. Secretly, the grieving widower hoped it would help him turn his life around. Nick describes himself as "suffering from vocational PTSD" due to the crime show business, but edutainment is proving to be just as deadly to his sanity and self-confidence, leaving him severely plagued by self-doubt. To compensate and to decompress, Nick secretly writes My Little Pony / Dr Who / Firefly cross-over fanfic. Evidence of this is seeded everywhere in the show.
Sally Rosen (Tara Strong): Fritz's Funporium's upbeat, optimistic, and somewhat delusional producer.
Whether handling homicidal puppets or feral writers on the loose in her studio, Sally keeps a cool head and a can-do attitude that occasionally drives everyone she works with to distraction. Also in the "distraction" category is her rack, but that's a whole different ball of wax. (Production note: her rack is not actually made out of a ball of wax.)
Fritz (Charles Hubbell): Titular star of Fritz's Funporium.
Fritz is a hooch-swigging, child-hating, serial-dating puppet monster who was sentenced to do children's television as community service after his third arrest for public drunkenness, indecent exposure and overt breach of livestock. More often than not, he's positively plastered, but children absolutely adore him. Fritz is considered to be personally responsible for driving his show's eight previous show runners insane. Lovely guy, really. Good with kids.
Gusset (Rizwan Manji): Fritz's Funporium's costume master and puppet surgeon.
Despite being helpful, highly competent and having a genuine passion for his work, Gusset is a complex, narcissistic character. The puppets refer to him as their Mastro Geppetto, and Gusset most definitely enjoys being treated as a felt-snipping God amongst his flock.
Butler (Gordon Smuder): Canine co-star of Fritz's Funporium.
Butler is a multiple-instrument-playing, calm, pragmatic, likable Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Butler is obsessed with gastronomy, scotch, balls and squirrels. He serves as the rather questionable moral center of the puppets who work at the Funporium.
Gracie (Bonni Allen): Co-star of Fritz's Funporium.
Fritz’s perpetually bubbly costar Gracie is a puppet with a good heart who honestly likes her job entertaining children. She’s a puppet of conviction who stands up for the rights of her felted brethren without regard for her own reputation. Gracie is in a cross-species relationship with the show's cameraman, Brian ("Small Fry").
Pat (Jeff Neppl): Co-Something-Or-Other of Fritz's Funporium.
Pat is a bumbling, happy, cheerful "Mallard Bastard" puppet duck whose on-screen and off-screen personas are very much in-line with each other. Pat's actual gender is unknown, and no one really knows if Pat is even on payroll… He/She/It just showed up, one day. Pat only quacks (rarely on cue) and has the nasty habit of setting things on fire, chewing on live wires, and taking a dump in the costume rack.
Brian a.k.a. "Small Fry" (Andrew Sass): the much put upon Fritz's Funporium camera man, who doesn't think twice about breaking the fourth wall.
Enrique & Trip, Fritz's Funporium's wise-cracking teamsters.
Mr. and Mrs Buns, the bunnies who run Fritz's Funporium's craft services. (Check out our rewards! One of these cuties could be named after you!)
... and the Kids. They'll be okay. We're putting money aside for therapy.
Nifty! Who are the nut jobs who created this thing?
The show was created, written, polished, teased, fluffed, and produced by a team of independent starving television/comedy veterans and a handful of investors who wanted to do something a bit different from their normal routine: write for fans, with fans, and with wild, unrestrained comedic abandon. This means they've gone rogue for this project. With an ultra-low budget, but high-quality production value and all the creative control in the world, they've been able to hire local crews, small-scale professional craftspeople, artists, puppeteers, puppet smiths and designers, independent builders, musicians, composers and post-production staff.
Funporium!'s creative team is made up of a diverse bunch of creative freaks who have worked in just about every type of entertainment venture.
Among them (partial list):
- E.B. Grzesiak, creator/writer/producer, hyperactive puppet. Has an inner continuity weasel named Consuela, and an addiction to caffeine and skittles.
- Barry Andersson, director / producer, part puppet, judging by the hair. Seriously, it defies the laws of physics.
- Tara Strong, producer, goddess among us. Hubba hubba.
- Ed Baker, storyboard artist/set design/puppet concept artist, madman.
- Sara B. Cooper, consulting producer, not a puppet but a brilliant mentor to all. Truly.
- Lindsay Clark, composer (songs), nut job of the keyboards, insomniac.
- Tammy Hollingsworth, line producer, part unicorn who poops out delicious candy.
- Gordon Smuder, puppet builder, associate producer, prop maker extraordinaire and proven carrier of puppet DNA.
- Pierre Gillette, puppet builder, inhaler of way too much fur.
- Megan Culverhouse, puppet wrangler / wardrobe designer / delouser, head cheerleader, wearer of tiaras. She will cut you if you mess with her puppets. We've lost two grips this way so far.
- Luke Harper, post-and-sound guy, associate producer with sexy thighs and a mightily powerful brain in a jar.
- Sean Corcoran, editor, part man, part Audi. Parallel parks like a badass mofo.
- Kevin Kulp, writing intern and script editor, storyteller, RPG and game creator, and all around good egg.
- David L. Grant, consultant, grandfather to all.
... and a handful more, who we keep well hidden in the condemned basement bathroom, but who we will reveal to you all in due time. Show creator E.B. Grzesiak and composer Lindsay Clark are responsible for "Telethon Song" earworm (we're terribly sorry), and the hilarious songs contained in the pilot.
Can I have a puppet? It's not for me, it's for my friend...
We might be able to help you with that. Take a look at our rewards!
Is there anything else I can do to help?
Spread the word about the project! Tell your friends! Tell your spouse! Tell your enemies! Tell your puppets (but please feed them first, and keep their vaccinations up to date)!
Risks and challenges
With the pilot episode already having been shot, there are practically no risks and challenges associated with completing our project, barring some kind of catastrophic cascade failure of hardware and backup systems. We suppose our editor could get struck by lightning, but that also seems unlikely. With the funding we are aiming for, we will be able to complete the editing and scoring of the show and make it available for all to see!
The one thing we might end up having to overcome is the current puppet STD epidemic. We're working on it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Updated Feb2.: We've had an early-bird autograph deal going for backers at the $75 level and up. We've had to put a cap on it to save Tara's hand. Stay tuned, though. We're trying to add a few more!
It means that we've developed the show specifically with Internet viewership in mind. By definition shows like Orange is the New Black, and House of Cards... even the final season of Arrested Development are Web-Driven series. That means that they were shot specifically for the web. We're not talking about cheaply produced videos!
We went this route for a number of reasons -- We get to use new technologies and new film techniques... without network oversight (which has caused the demise of so many shows we loved!).
This does not mean, however, that we do not have pending distribution (with large online content providers of fine entertainment wares... ). We are interested in making a high quality show available to our viewers where they tend to view their entertainment: online, and at their leisure.
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