Most illustrators will tell you that they spent their youth drawing. Painters will tell you that they used watercolors or finger-painted. Sculptors will inform you that they fell in love with playdough and clay. Animators, on the other hand, will tell you that they watched a lot of cartoons. Once they were teenagers they might have tried making their own, but as small children it was watching cartoons that got them excited. What if we could get young children excited about creating animation? What if they could see their drawings moving on a big screen, with a packed audience to applaud when their names roll across the screen at the end?
Scribble is a short film, animated by children aged 6-8. We'll take 35mm clear leader film into a first-grade art classroom in a Chicago public school (we've already reached out to a school, but we're keeping which off the internet), and the kids will work together to "animate" directly on the film throughout a class period. We expect that 25-35 students will work on this film. When they're finished, the film will be digitized and edited, and an original score will be added. Finally, it will be entered into real festivals, hopefully in Chicago so that the kids can come see their work in front of a real audience.
- We're going to take 35mm film into a Chicago public school classroom and show the kids how to draw on it to make a cool film.
- 25-35 students, ranging in age from 6-8, will work on this project.
- The final film will be digitized and edited.
- A professional composer will create music for the film.
- The film will be entered into film festivals around the world.
The summer after my first year of college I was working at Indiana University's Informatics Camp, which was basically a camp for high schoolers about technology. Having just finished one year of school studying animation, I was sure I was an expert, so I convinced the head of the camp to let me teach a class in animation.
That was the first of many times I would teach an animation class. Throughout the years, I've taught animation to every age group.
Animation is, at its essence, a frame-by-frame medium. Without hundreds, or even thousands, of drawings, photos, or images, you cannot create animation of any true length. In my experience, once kids reach about the age of 10, they really get into animation. They're willing to sit down and draw for hours, sometimes making several hundred individual drawings to tell their story. But younger kids, those aged 6-8 in particular, tend to get extremely excited about the idea of making a movie, but don't have the patience to tell a story one frame at a time.
I've been thinking about this problem for years. I'd love to get little kids excited about film and animation! But they have a short attention span, and prefer to draw and play rather than tell a story (or sometimes they just like to tell their entire story with one drawing). I saw this beautiful film by Stan Brakhage and was inspired.
Brakhage attached moth wings, leaves, and other objects directly onto film to create a fantastically abstract and surreal film. Our kids won't be attaching any objects onto the film. Instead they will use regular markers to draw on it and create animation, but the basic technique is the same. This technique is very accessible to young children. While there will be no story in this film, there will be lots of creativity and fun!
Below is a breakdown of our expected expenses. One of our most important expenses will be the film itself. We've set aside $160 for a 1000' roll of 35mm clear leader film. We've chosen to use 35mm film rather than 16mm film because the larger medium will be easier for small children to use. However, this does add significantly to the cost of the film. We've also set aside a fair amount of money ($200) to enter the film into festivals. Film festivals are notoriously expensive to enter, and we want to make sure that the film is screened to the public.
- There are two ways to digitize film. We could hire a professional to do it for us, which would cost around $650. Or we can purchase a film to digital converter and do it ourselves. We've been looking at this one, which is about $130, though we'll stay on the lookout for the best deals.
- My great friend Zachary Rozycki from Creative Little Company was kind enough to help me create the image used for the film poster, kickstarter campaign, and other promotional materials. I'd like to pay him for his work, which is the $200 I've set aside for a graphic designer. Aaron Marshall is the composer who will be working on the film, and again I think that it's important to pay him for his work, which is the $200 I've set aside for a composer. Like Zachary, he's significantly lowered his normal fee for this project.
- Finally I've included money for kickstarter fees and rewards, art supplies for the kids to use, and a small buffer for any additional expenses that crop up.
- $200 - Composer
- $200 - Graphic designer
- $200 - Entry to film festivals
- $160 - 35mm Clear Leader Film
- $150 - Kickstarter fees and rewards
- $130 - Film to digital converter
- $60 - General art supplies (markers, tape, etc)
- $100 - Other
- $1200 - Total
- February-March: The kickstarter ends. We order the film and other materials we need. Plans are finalized and paperwork (permission slips for parents, the background checks required by the school, etc) is filled out.
- March: We actually get to work with the kids! We spend a day in a classroom teaching them about animation and getting them excited about filmmaking. They do the hard part: creating all the footage that will go into the film.
- March-May: The film is digitized. We've given ourselves a lot of time to do this because instead of hiring a professional (a very expensive process) we're doing this by hand (a very slow process) using a film to digital converter.
- June-July: Post production commences. We'll edit the footage and work with a composer to create the music of the film, as well as any thing else needed to finish up the project.
- August: The film is complete! We might spend a few weeks of September putting together some promotional materials (film poster, trailer, etc). We'll spend the next several months sending Scribble to film festivals and basking in the glory of a completed project.
Our team consists of Margaret Orr (director and project head), Sean Vacca (teacher), and Aaron Marshall (composer).
Margaret Orr: Originally from Bloomington, Indiana, I am a recent graduate from the Rochester Institute of Technology's animation program with an MFA in animation and a 4 time filmmaker. My latest film, Mer Depré, is an abstract journey through the mind of a depressed individual. It's been screened in 26 film festivals and 14 countries so far.
Below are trailers for two of my films. You can find more of my work on my website.
Sean Vacca: My name is Sean Vacca and I am a Pre-K through 8th grade Art teacher inside of the Chicago Public School system. This is my second year of teaching. My first year teaching was spent educating the K-8 scholars at a charter school in Southwest Detroit, Michigan. I am from the Metro Detroit area originally and have just recently moved to Chicago. I received my Bachelor in Fine Arts in Art Education degree from Western Michigan University which had an emphasis in painting. I also gained my minor in Comparative Religion during my time in Kalamazoo, MI. I have practiced many different styles and practices of art while at WMU, from Film to Jewelry/Metals, and I am very excited to be participating in this upcoming project.
Aaron Marshall: Aaron hails from Bloomington, Indiana. He's a composer, producer, mix and mastering engineer that is self taught. Through intense almost monastic self discipline, he's gained a reputation for excellence in his work. He has composed and produced over 10 full length albums under his own name, and through collaborative projects such as Hydra Coil and Spindrift. He evokes the integrity of Brian Eno, Vangelis and Robin Guthrie. His tracks are timeless escapist, and meticulously engineered.
His music and links to social media can be found on his website.
- Donate! Kickstarter is an all or nothing fundraising platform, so if we don't make our goal we don't get anything! Every dollar will help us to make this project a reality! Additionally, having more backers will boost our rating on Kickstarter and make it easier for people to find our project, so even if you can only donate $1, it really does help!
- Spread the Word! Share our campaign on your social media accounts or via e-mail! Crowdfunding is all about getting the word out! This will help us to build a community around this project and get more people interested in the project. Use the hashtag #KidsScribble on your social media posts!
- Follow us on Facebook or Twitter! We'll be sharing behind the scenes info and photos, as well as updates about the film. We'll also be posting about screening dates and times once the film is completed!
① Log into your Kickstarter account, or create a new account.
② Click the green “Back This Project” button at the top of this page.
③ Enter your pledge amount and select a reward tier (this is the reward you want to receive). If you don't want a reward, select "No Reward."
④ Submit your payment information, and that’s it! Your card will not be charged unless we meet our funding goal.
I put stretch goals in quotes because the following aren't promises, but rather all the things we'd like to do with this project if we had the money. The budget above is the bare minimum we need to make this film, but there's so much more we could potentially do! If we make more than asked for, we'll be able to do some or all of these things!
These are not in order of cost (though, by random coincidence, the cheapest things are the ones we want to do most), but priority. The ones on top are the ones I want to happen most, and that your funds are most likely to go to!
- Kids and family screening! I really want the kids to be able to see their work on a big screen. Ideally, the film will make it into film festivals in the Chicago area that the kids will be able to attend, but there's obviously no way for me to guarantee that this will happen. Even if it does, tickets to film festivals can be expensive and some children might not be able to afford them. I want to have a screening at the kid's school so that they and their families can see their work up on the big screen! Approximate cost: $100
- "The making of" video and photos! Wouldn't it be great to have video and photos of the kids creating the film? These would be used both to promote the film and to help show where it came from. Approximate cost: $300
- Film festivals, film festivals, film festivals! Film festivals are expensive, and we want to enter as many of them as possible so as many people can see this film as possible. The more money we make, the more festivals we can enter. Approximate cost: Variable
- Kids are musical! We'd love to take an original composition of music into a music classroom or to a school band and have kids preform the soundtrack for this film. This would require purchasing recording equipment, printing sheet music for the kids, several days, or even weeks, of working with them so they could learn the piece, possibly working with a second school, and lots of preparation and planning. As a result, we would have to go well above our goal in order to make this happen. Approximate cost: $1,000
- More schools! More kids! With more money we could travel to more schools and work with more kids to create a larger and better project! This would, of course, require more film and create travel costs, so we'd have to go far over our goal. Approximate cost: $850 per school
Risks and challenges
There are challenges to every film, and this one is no exception. The kids could be less excited about the project than I predict, for instance. In my experience, young children get excited about the idea of making a movie, but every group of kids is different and you never know. Hopefully by working with teachers we can minimize the risk of this. Kids can also be destructive, and might accidentally damage the film they're drawing on. We'll have to make sure they're carefully supervised to keep this from happening.
It's possible that digitizing the film could take longer than anticipated. The film to digital converter we'll probably purchase for the project will only digitize one frame at a time. With 1000 feet of film, that could take a while! We've given ourselves a good chunk of time for this process, but it could still slow us down. Finally, we're planning to get into a classroom before the end of the current school year. However, if, for whatever reason, this doesn't happen, the project would be heavily delayed as we wouldn't be able to work with the kids until fall. Neither of these would keep us from finishing the film, only delay its completion.
Oh, and the film could spontaneously combust.
No, not really, I promise. Film manufactures fixed this issue with film in the 1950s.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)