About this project
Welcome to a magical realm of dense jungles, fiery volcanoes, and iridescent lagoons. Meet the WITCHDOCTOR, the overzealous protector of this mysterious archipelago. He’s ready for action with his shiny cauldron, potent elixirs, and shrunken heads. There’s only one problem… The Witchdoctor STINKS at magic. When he mixes a potion or casts a spell, watch out!
We’ve had this guy in our head for a long time and are excited to bring him to life in his own stop-motion animated short. Nobody knows exactly what the Witchdoctor is (automaton? demon? imp?) or where he came from. But we think people will like him.
Stop-motion animation, water puppetry, special effects… it’s all going into the film. We’ve assembled a close-knit group of artists to help us make The Witchdoctor. They bring all sorts of talents to the table top… painting, sculpting, sewing, digital effects, and even old school filmmaking. That’s right, we’re shooting portions of this story on super 8mm—creating a cinematic brew of old and new.
Our film is inspired by theme park DARK-RIDE attractions. There’s something haunting and elemental about those glow-in-the-dark environments that stokes the imagination. We are filming The Witchdoctor with a special black-light process so we can push the colors and highlights to the max. We've been experimenting with this technique for a while and can't wait to show you how it looks :)
We’re longtime fans of all things Tiki, and have always hoped to make an animated film with a tiki vibe. We love traditional oceanic art and tribal carvings, as well as their modern, kitschy descendants.
From Exotica music, to tropical décor, to ceramic mugs, Tiki culture is all about mystery and atmosphere, and that will permeate the animated world of the Witchdoctor. We want the audience to sail into our exotic dioramas and lose themselves on a fantasy voyage. You’ll even have the opportunity to bring home a souvenir from your travels…
We are SUPER excited to offer a kickstarter-exclusive Witchdoctor tiki mug. We're collaborating with Tiki Diablo on this mug, so it will be equal parts drinking vessel and art object. No cheap trinkets, these will be handmade right here in SoCal.
WITCHDOCTOR SHRUNKEN HEAD KIT
Why let WitchDoctor have all the fun? Now you can make your own unique shrunken heads at home. Scare your neighbors! Wear them around your neck like a true head hunter!
This kit includes all the materials you'll need, including a silicone mold of an original Screen Novelties sculpture. Customize your head with different hair, eyes, and paint jobs. We'll create an online gallery to showcase our backers' finished heads.
*This reward can be added onto existing pledges. See FAQ for details.
Other physical rewards include a Witchdoctor T-Shirt and a view-master set with 3D stills from the short. We also have some cool digital reward levels that include things like the finished short film, designs & storyboards, and time-lapse videos of the production.
Screen Novelties is a small animation studio founded by Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh, and Christopher Finnegan. We share a love of classic cartoons and stop-motion animation.
As students of stop-motion history, we've been inspired by the amazing work of George Pal, Karel Zeman, Rankin/Bass, Jim Henson, Lotte Reiniger, and Ray Harryhausen, among others. Those influences show through in our animation, but we also strive to push the art form forward with our own fresh spin on design and craft.
In the last decade we’ve had the the privilege to work on fun projects like SpongeBob Squarepants, Chowder, Flapjack, Robot Chicken, Adventure Time, and Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas. We’ve also done a bunch of TV commercials and even got to do a crazy sock puppet sequence with Seth MacFarlane for the Oscars.
We’ve had a blast on all these projects, but we’ve been itching to get back to our roots, making short films. Before we started the company we made some oddball shorts like Graveyard Jamboree and collaborated with Ray Harryhausen on the Tortoise & the Hare.
Independent shorts are fertile ground for experimenting with design and technique, and we’re using Witchdoctor to push our limits as animators and filmmakers.
The Witchdoctor is an experimental animated film. If we sought funding through traditional channels the project would likely veer in a direction that is not true to its spirit. Through Kickstarter, we hope to connect with supporters who value independent animation and see the potential of the Witchdoctor.
WHERE THE MONEY WILL GO
Stop-motion animation is an intricate and laborious process. Everything seen on the screen is crafted by hand. Because of this, stop-motion is not cheap to execute. We have already invested significant time and money into making the initial puppets and the sets for the film. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to finish the film on our own. That’s why we’re reaching out to all of you through kickstarter. 100% of the funds raised will go into the production of the film. The graphic below shows how we plan to allocate the funds:
Risks and challenges
RISKS AND CHALLENGES
Every film carries a certain amount of risk, because each film has a unique set of challenges. But we are an experienced group with a long history of completing ambitious animated projects. We can’t promise an exact completion date, but we will do our best to finish the film in as timely a manner as we can. We’re excited about the rewards we are offering our backers, both digital and physical. We don’t expect any major issues or delays in fulfilling the rewards, but if anything arises, we will be as transparent and communicative as possible.
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