Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 14, 2012.


We're making three short documentaries, each about one of our favorite federal agencies, because we do *heart* government.

Update: We met our goal!  But we're not done yet. If we double our fundraising goal, we'll have enough money to hire a professional cinematographer. So donate a buck and tell us about your favorite government agency!


We love government. We love our clean streets. We love our clean drinking water. We even love those government agencies that continually get a bad rap: we love the Postal Service and the VA. The more we thought about it, the more we realized how many virtually invisible services we receive from the federal government every day. We just can’t imagine what our lives would look like if these vital agencies and the services they provide were taken away.

So we want to make three short documentaries––love odes, so to speak––each about one of our three favorite federal government agencies.  

But we need your help! We need your help picking the subject of the third documentary. The Postal Service and the VA are a lock, but we’re having troubling deciding on a third agency. We’ve thought about the IRS. We’ve considered both the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. But there are just too many great agencies out there. Which government agency is your favorite?

A bit like the Iowa Straw Poll, we’re selling votes, but for the low, low price of $1. Whichever agency gets the most votes will win it’s own short documentary love ode!

Uncle Sam.Our very own Jenna Abts has conceived of a new look for Uncle Sam. See Project Update #5 for a sneak preview. (See the rewards on the right to learn how you can get your very own revamped Sam!)

We’re sure you’ve got some questions. Here’s our attempt to answer some of them.

How do I vote? After the fundraising period is over (April 14), we'll send out a questionnaire (aka ballot) to collect your vote. As soon as the votes are counted and verified, we'll announce the winner!

How short will these short films be? Five to seven minutes. We’re assuming that most people’s attention spans are as short as ours are.

What’s going to happen with these films once they’re made? Film festivals! We think we’ve got a really good chance of getting these short films into festivals. Why? Because we’ve got a lot of experience working on films that have succeeded at film festivals and because film festivals are looking for shorts! We’ve seen a trend of film festivals looking for fun shorts to pair up with the longer documentaries that they show. (If we do well at film festivals, PBS here we come!)

Why $2,500? It is true that $2,500 won’t cover the cost of making three short films, but we’re just looking for a bit of money to pay for those things we can’t do ourselves. We’ve got the producing, directing, filming, editing, title design, and writing all covered. But we still need to hire a music composer, a sound mixer, and cover the cost of submitting to festivals. And if we’re really lucky, we’ll raise enough money to hire a color corrector, with perhaps a little left over for publicity!

Can contributions still be made if the project reaches its goal? Yes! Have we mentioned how nice it would be to have the finished DVDs professionally printed and packaged? Any additional money raised won’t go into our pockets. It’ll all go into making these love odes more and more beautiful!

What happens if the fundraising goal isn’t met? This is an all or nothing deal. Either we make or surpass the goal of $2,500 or we get nothing. Your credit card is only charged if the goal is met.

Are contributions tax deductible? Sadly, no. But they do come with an extra dose of good karma and some nifty thank you gifts!

Who are the people who make up the Flying Ninja Story Collective?

We are:

Amanda Vail is a writer who loves the arts, and by “the arts” she means all the arts. She has worked at the prestigious Minneapolis Institute of Arts, has written about popular manga graphic novels, and through her own blog that brings attention to artists of the Pacific Northwest, she reviewed a series of sculptures made partially out of crystallized sugar. In the last couple of years, Amanda has used her writing and editing skills to help arts organizations and restaurants use social media to better connect to their audiences.

Cassy Soden has directed and produced videos of all shapes and sizes. Along the way she’s learned a great many things, from the fact that great Italian cooking can be found in Texas, to learning that pikas are a darned cute little rodent important for the health of the Cascade Range’s ecosystem. Recently, she’s been focusing on how videos can be used effectively for sharing knowledge and learning purposes, both within and reaching far beyond academia.

Dina Guttmann loves editing documentary films.  Whether she’s working on a big National Geographic special portraying the world’s last remaining monarchs (not the butterfly, but the royalty) or an itty-bitty PBS short about people who make artificial eyes for a living, she loves the fact that in nine months’ time she’ll be learning about something completely unrelated to what she’s currently learning.  

Jenna Abts
is an artist and graphic designer whose influences range from Japanese sumi-e painting to Nordic mythology.  She has honed her artistic skills studying under various art professionals in the Twin Cities, the Skagit Valley, Japan, and Rome, and is now studying at Seattle Central Community College’s highly competitive graphic design program.  Despite this, her friends keep on bothering her to paint more of her jackalope icons.


  • Once the fundraising period is over, and we've reached our goal, we'll send you a questionnaire (aka ballot) and the voting begins!

    Last updated:
pledged of $2,500 goal
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  • Pledge $1 or more
    You selected

    19 backers

    Vote for your favorite federal agency! It might just be made into a short documentary!

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  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    18 backers

    A vote for your agency AND a thank you postcard delivered to you by our very own Postal Service! But that’s not all! The postcard has our Uncle Sam “I want you! To want me!” logo. You can tape the postcard to your car, glue it onto your backpack, or wear it on a chain around your neck. In short, you can use it to show the world just how much you *heart* government!

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  • Pledge $20 or more
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    29 backers

    A vote for your agency, an Uncle Sam thank you postcard AND a thank you in the film’s credits! Is a postcard not enough to show the world just how much you love government? Your name emblazoned on a film festival screen may be just the thing you need!

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    17 backers

    A vote for your agency, an Uncle Sam thank you postcard, your name in the film’s credits AND a DVD of the finished films signed by the filmmakers! Worried that the films won’t play at a film festival near you? Worried that one screening of the films just won’t be enough? Want a DVD that just might become a collectors item? Then this gift is just the thing for you!

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  • Pledge $75 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    A vote for your agency, an Uncle Sam thank you postcard, your name in the film’s credits, a DVD of the finished films signed by the filmmakers AND a letter-sized glossy print of our very own Uncle Sam “I want you! To want me!” image. Is the postcard fine, but not quite flashy enough? Well give this reward a test drive!

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  • Pledge $100 or more
    You selected

    10 backers All gone!

    A vote for your agency, an Uncle Sam thank you postcard, your name in the film’s credits, a DVD of the finished films signed by the filmmakers AND a limited edition 11” x 17” poster of the Uncle Sam “I want you! To want me!” image signed by the artist! Our very own Jenna Abts will print a limited run of ten posters of her rendition of our beloved Uncle Sam. Government and art, what more can you ask for?

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (60 days)