Narrated by Tom Waits, the film chronicles the last expedition of Captain Millipede and his crew to harvest the milk seeping from the moon's craters. The story is set between the gravities of two heavenly bodies, which further complicates the attraction between the characters. Longing, missed signals, and mishaps lead to a musical enchantment of the heavens.
The story thus far...
My name is Ri Crawford. I am a stop motion animator and filmmaker and have 10 years of experience working in post-production and animation on other people’s films.
I began outlining ideas and and constructing The Moon’s Milk in early 2011. I machined the armatures for the puppets, cast their heads and hands, got some help with the clothes (Clyde's sweater was knit by Diva Zappa!), and built the sets and a whole bunch of props and secondary puppets.
Two and half years later, on July 4th, 2013, I finally shot the first frame of the film and the glacial process that is stop motion animation began to accumulate momentum. Working nights and weekends around various day jobs in a studio I put together in my Oakland, California basement, the film took almost 4 years to animate.
And now The Moon's Milk is completely animated and edited, and I am asking for your money to help pay my team of incredible post-production professionals to make this movie as good as it can possibly be.
What's left to do...
My friend and badass composer Caroline Penwarden has written a completely original score that will be performed by a small chamber ensemble and recorded at Guerrilla Recording by engineer Myles Boisen.
Caroline had some collaborative input by both Dan Cantrell and Nils Frykdahl, both of whom are incredibly talented and interesting musicians. The “band” will consist of cello, violin, contrabass, guitars, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, drums, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, vibraphone and a whole pile of additional orchestral percussion. The music is as unique as the film itself, and will capture the personalities of some of the Bay Area’s finest musicians.
Soundtracks for animated films are usually created completely from scratch. I am extremely fortunate to have enlisted the talent of Oscar© winning sound designer Richard Beggs to create the sonic environment and mix the film. Richard is responsible for some of the best sounding movies in the last 40 years. In addition to his technical prowess, he is a supremely creative craftsman, whose work will elevate The Moon’s Milk to the next, NEXT, level.
- Comping/ VFX
Due to the limitations of working in a funky basement studio with 6 foot high ceilings, I made the choice to shoot the majority of the film against a green screen. That way, I could construct background set pieces separately from foreground elements to create the illusion of a much larger environment. But I’ve also created a bit of a behemoth. The skill and experience needed to believably composite all of the practical layers together is beyond my pay grade. I’ve managed to enlist the help of award winning Tippett Studio in Berkeley, California to comp the film. These guys know what they are doing and will make you believe it’s really possible to climb a ladder to the moon.
- Color Grading / Mastering
Finally, there’s the details in which the devils reside. I’m fortunate to have a relationship with film finishing experts Kim Aubry and Ashley Pagán at ZAP Zoetrope Aubry Productions in San Francisco, who will coordinate the finishing of the film. One critical last step in filmmaking is the color grade. A talented colorist can make shots that were animated 2 years apart look like they exist in the same place and time. They are responsible for a film's final look, including all of its implied subtlety and beauty. ZAP's longtime colorist Leo Hallal is a master with years of experience and a lot of stunning films in his wake, the next of which will be The Moon’s Milk!
ZAP is also where all the work from the separate sound and picture departments get combined together to master the final film. Ashley Pagán edited the two new trailers for the film and will be overseeing the final “conform” which, translated, means she'll make sure the film looks and sounds as good as it possibly can. Kim's expertise will be invaluable keeping track of the minutiae of less apparent details critical to finishing and releasing the film.
I intend for the film to reach new and larger audiences through local and international film festivals Many of these require submission fees, which can and will pile up.
This is what it's going to cost to finish the film. All of the pieces are in place and the team merely awaits a green light. The Moon's Milk is almost done, and with your support I'll be able to release it to the world!
Everyone who backs the campaign will get to see the film. That's the whole point! For those of you who like to possess physical things, at higher tiers you can have your very own hard copy of The Moon's Milk on DVD or BluRay, plus postcards, an autographed poster, and custom t-shirts. And for the very generous, you can collect an actual piece of the film itself!
Stop motion is the most magical form of animation. Tangible, physical, real-world objects are manipulated in fractional increments to create the illusion of movement and a special kind of life. Please help support independent film and realize this truly unique stop motion project in its most spectacular form by backing my project. Thanks gazillions in advance!
Risks and challenges
Given that production has wrapped on this film, many of the typical risks and challenges associated with independent animated shorts have passed. The greatest risk at this stage is that the postproduction could take longer than anticipated. Even if fully funded, I am getting quite friendly rates from very talented and busy professionals. We are a little at the mercy of the schedules of others.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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