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-- kloon --'s video poster

With a fantastical children's film planted in our brains, let us begin here with a beautifully bound storybook... and a few friends. Read more

Nashville, TN Comics
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pledged of $33,600 goal
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This project was successfully funded on August 12, 2013.

With a fantastical children's film planted in our brains, let us begin here with a beautifully bound storybook... and a few friends.

Nashville, TN Comics
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First created  |  5 backed

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About this project


What is meant by "Kloon?"  Is it a typo? 

Kloon is the phonetic spelling of "clown" in French.   For some reason, it looks cooler when it's spelled with a K and a double vowel.   We have no idea why.

Who's "We?"

There's a little bio-ette to the right, but generally Mars & Matz are Steven Marten and Alexis Nolent.  Together and separately, we've worked on roughly a dozen film, comic, and video game properties as writers, story editors, and custodians of theme. We've also had a few heartbreaking close-calls with passion projects that got snipered in the penumbra of a studio greenlight...but... with age comes wisdom.

To release a project in its most beautiful "words & pictures" form is an exciting foundational move for us, and will hopefully enable us to independently finance the fragile early stages of Kloon.  If we demonstrate genuine public interest in the project and can hit some vital internal benchmarks along the way, we believe we can effectively reach out to directors such as Michel Gondry (The Science of Sleep) or Jean Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, City of Lost Children) with our absolute dream package in tow.

Very ambitious... will you be going at this alone?

To date, we've kidnapped a couple of amazing talents and won their love through a phenomenon called stockholm syndrome.  (C'mon, didn't you ever watch Hard Copy?)  They are Felipe Echevarria, the paint-daubing wunderkind, and Antoine de Cazotte, executive producer of last year's smash-and-grab Oscar winner, The Artist.   Antoine is an amazing navigator for these kinds of efforts and was already someone we admired.  (Then again, how do you not admire a radically independent producer who collects vintage comics and bande dessinee?

We've also been rubbing brains with a handful of others in the Performing Arts and Film communities to help rally the Kloon village, including clown luminary, David Bridel, and Mr. Ross Mihalko, writer of Kloon's parable predecessor, "Rire et Mourir," whom we keep on speed dial for his wit, drive, and optimism -- the foodstuff of these massive undertakings.

Can you give me more of the story?

In late 19th century Paris, a mysterious vagabond acquires a young mute boy from a workhouse and tells the child his fortune has finally found him.   Believing he'll be given a family, the boy is actually adopted into a secret society of clowns who use magic and showmanship to steal from the unwitting people of Paris. 

The clowns -- a gang of misfits and "irregulars" -- desire to get the last laugh on a society that has long since betrayed them.  Ironically, they survive as disguised as caricatures of their own unwanted selves for the pleasure of their crowds.

What the gang doesn't realize is that while the boy is clearly set to become their star, he is also falling in love with the sound of laughter.  True laughter.  Not the mockeries he heard while growing up.  Soon the boy realizes he is destined for something greater....  something good.

After vanishing in the middle of the night with a pure-hearted street performer named Souribelle, he and his newfound love set out with visions of creating Paris' first true circus-- until a voice from his former life comes calling with a devastating agenda.

In the end, Kloon is not only an inspiring tale about a boy who grows up and fights to find his true self against all odds, it is also the untold story of how a notorious workhouse becomes transformed into Paris' first and greatest circus through its most unfavored citizens.

I'm a human wet blanket.  What if the film idea never gets traction?

Fair question, and we're not afraid of the fight against wetness.  We truly think Kloon is a marvelous story in the spirit of greats like Roald Dahl, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam and William Joyce.   We've also not seen or read a modern fantasy that honors the often bizarre history of clowns, nor turns it into an inspirational tale for kids and grown-ups.  Honestly speaking, no matter where it goes from here, it will be an amazing privilege to have put together a high quality book like this to share with our kids -- and hopefully see in homes, libraries, and online bookstores across the United States and Europe.   One way or another, we believe the story needs to be seen and felt.

How will the money be used?

Costs will vary depending upon the number of books awarded, but at 500 hardcover books, roughly 60% of the funds will cover the costs of printing and shipping, with 40% covering costs of labor and Kickstarter/Amazon fees.   At a thousand books however, the margins jump and we'll have more funds to allocate toward the next stage -- which includes the remainder of our scriptwork, an animatic/photomatic, director outreach, legal crap, investor pro formas, and the process to secure talent.   

I hate movies and I can't read.  Is there another way I can help?

Yes!  Please take a moment to forward the campaign with a post, tweet, or blog!  And if you're already purchasing a book or artwork, we know you'll enjoy it and please accept our DEEPEST THANKS!


Hitting Stretch Goals will enable the second staging of Kloon; specifically our film development and packaging effort.   Please help us increase our outreach, and at each new funding plateau beyond the original goal, we'll add the following COOL BONUSES to your rewards!

$40k raised....

Inside every hardcover book, we'll include a fully-produced CD/MP3 Kloon AUDIO ACCOMPANIMENT, performed by amazing British voice talent, Don McCorkindale.  Don has been seen and heard on projects like Jack and the Giant Killer, Layercake, A Christmas Carol -- and our own Kickstarter video!

PLUS, the first 150 backers at Dog & Pony or above will join Team Kloon at a CLOWN CLASS at The Clown School of Los Angeles under the direction of artistic genius and Kloon historian David Bridel, plus an exhilarating AERIALIST CLASS at Cirque School LA, where actors like Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz have trained -- as well as the amazing Troupe Vertigo!  

Over $50k raised....

Voila!  We'll turn your Kloon Audio Accompaniment into a full-fledged interactive cinebook so your kids can ruin your iPad.   And to make it up to you, you'll receive a limited edition KLOON T-SHIRT in guys and gals styles, perfect for weddings, funerals, and appearances in court.

But WAIT, there's more!  Backers at the DOG & PONY level and up will be enlisted in our talent pool from which EXTRAS will be cast to appear in the KLOON FILM PRODUCTION, contingent upon studio/prodco greenlight.  Hundreds will be needed.  All will be loved.  Qualifying backers will be contacted for a photograph, unique skills if any, and additional contact information.

Of course, this would call for a round of signed MOVIE POSTERS for the group -- on the house!

Over $60k raised....

THE FIRST 500 BACKERS of record will be receive a VIP PASS to attend an evocative and sidesplitting Night of Clowning, produced by Team Kloon in cooperation with The Clown School of LA and the critically-acclaimed, "weird-and-wonderful" comedy troupe, FOUR CLOWNS!

Event will take place in Los Angeles between Oct 15 - Dec 15, with details to arrive via Kickstarter updates.


Lastly, an epic THANK YOU to the following troupes and organizations who have led the village-building here in countless creative and strategic ways.   Please check out the following links and enjoy the wow.

Risks and challenges

Risks to timely delivery will mostly be our own ruthless demands for a well-printed book and accurate Giclee reproductions. This means we'll be running press checks for the books and working with the reproduction house on finding the most suitable papers for Echevarria's palette. This could cause delays, but we promise to calibrate our perfectionism for timeliness the best we can.

Regardless, we foresee no meaningful obstacles to issuing digital materials and Giclee prints to Backers by the published dates while the physical products are being printed, packaged and shipped.

If the delivery of physical products in time for the holidays does become a concern, we'll provide Backers with an illustrated Gift Certificate with a link to the digital copy and a "watch your mailbox" notice. We'll also be open to other suggestions for meeting your needs.

Bottom line, our aim is nothing shy of delivering a great experience to you as we believe the future stages of Kloon will be reflective of the foundation we build here. THANKS FOR THE FAITH!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    30 backers

    The BARKER -- Receive a digital version of the fully-produced storybook, in your inbox.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    27 backers

    The TROUPER -- Yes, paper is pleasure. Yours is a soft cover edition of the full-color, 48-page storybook, autographed and delivered in time for holiday giving. Includes non-flammable digital copy.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    68 backers

    The IMPRESARIO -- Our perfect vision of Kloon. Receive an autographed, hard cover edition of the book, your name in the "Special Acknowledgements," plus a unique pull-out section with character studies, palette tests, and early concept art, reproduced as 8 x10 prints on archival paper, as well as a digital copy. ** POSTER UPGRADE ** Add $10 and we'll include a fold-out 18x24 poster of the "Clown City" image shown at the top. [Pledges can be adjusted on the following page.]

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    19 backers

    The DOG & PONY -- You'll receive the Trouper and Impresario rewards (soft and hard covers), plus the Poster Upgrade, and your own PASSWORD to track the film development process. You'll get to see PRODUCTION ART, PHOTOGRAPHS, STORY BOARDS, stages of SCRIPT DEV, and notifications on DIRECTOR and/or TALENT discussions. You'll also participate in a forum where we request Backer feedback and involvement.

    THE FINE PRINT: This reward was designed as a unique insider's view of our journey. All production-related disclosures are at Producers' sole election and some redactions on sensitive materials may be required. Hope that's cool.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    4 backers

    The RING LEADER -- Along with the preceding rewards, you'll receive your choice of one of 14 LIMITED EDITION GICLEE PRINTS from Echevarria's original storybook paintings, each SIGNED and NUMBERED. Prints will be produced on archival watercolor and velvet papers, ready for framing at roughly 18 X 24 (or 20 x 30 with border). Editions will be retired at the highest number at the close of the campaign, or at 99, whichever is greater.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $400 or more

    4 backers Limited (8 left of 12)

    The FEATURED ACT -- You and a loved one will be painted into a PARIS STREET SCENE within the pages of KLOON! Choose from one of six eligible scenes, from charming to spectacular, and receive a 12" x 18" SIGNED GICLEE of your painting for framing, plus the Dog & Pony package for your hardcover and softcover copies! [And yes, the LA party is also yours to attend; see Front Row package for details!]

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $400 or more

    2 backers Limited (98 left of 100)

    The FRONT ROW -- Here's one we're thrilled to present. Choose 3 prints from an upgraded Ring Leader package, then join us in Los Angeles for a KLOON "table read" performed by a professional cast. This will be followed by a Q&A session, a cool AFTER-PARTY, and then an up-close AERIAL/ ACROBATICS SHOW produced by Kloon and LA's own TROUPE VERTIGO -- just for our Kickstarter village! [Date projected to fall on a Saturday, 1st quarter, 2014. All backers will receive a +1 voucher]

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (13 left of 14)

    The SCENE STEALER -- In addition to the FRONT ROW package, take home an ORIGINAL KLOON PAINTING for you or your child's wall. Paintings are being finished on 12x18 boards, and will be signed, packaged, and professionally shipped. Selections are on a first come first serve basis with previews to occur in November.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    TOP BILLING -- Mars & Matz (and some select members of our very own Insane Clown Posse) will take a raw concept of your own, tune your PITCH, write your LOGLINE, build a 5-7 page STORY TREATMENT, and create a jaw-dropping suite of PITCH BOARDS, up to 10 boards in all. (Heck, bind them into a book and kickstart a project!) Initial sitdowns/Skypes will occur over several dates in January and February with an estimated 8-12 week delivery. All work will be performed under work-for-hire statutes protecting all rights for the Backer. Includes Front Row package of Rewards.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (33 days)