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A completely handmade stop motion animated short about a time when the moon was close enough to reach by ladder.
A completely handmade stop motion animated short about a time when the moon was close enough to reach by ladder.
581 backers pledged $32,730 to help bring this project to life.

About

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The Moon's Milk (A Stop Motion Animated Short Film)

$32,730

581

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.

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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.

Making puppets
Making 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.

The basement studio.
The basement studio.

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. 

Narrator!! 

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What's left to do...

  • Music

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 composing.
Caroline composing.

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.

  • Sound 

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.

Ansley misbehaving.
Ansley misbehaving.
  •  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.

For comp comparison
For comp comparison
  •  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!

before / after
before / after

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.

  • Release

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.

  • Budget
Breakdown of the post budget in pie graph form
Breakdown of the post budget in pie graph form

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!

  • Rewards

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!

Some potential rewards!
Some potential rewards!
Moon Chunk from the Low Gravity Assistant reward tier
Moon Chunk from the Low Gravity Assistant reward tier
Bucket from the Serious Moon Enthusiast reward tier (The pedestal is the prototype, casting to make multiples)
Bucket from the Serious Moon Enthusiast reward tier (The pedestal is the prototype, casting to make multiples)

Thank You

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!

Final thoughts
Final thoughts
The secret to title animation!
The secret to title animation!

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.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Amateur Astronomer

    You'd really like to see this film, and for that you are loved!

    Includes:
    • Digital download of the film.
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    260 backers
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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Galileo's Cousin

    Not content to merely spectate, you want a poster!

    Includes:
    • Digital download of the film.
    • 11x17 poster (folded for shipping)
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    46 backers
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    Pledge US$ 30 or more About US$ 30

    Lunar Daytripper

    Adds a set of 5 exclusive postcards, perfect for sending to your friends the old school, stop motion (slow) way.

    Includes:
    • 11x17 poster (folded for shipping)
    • Digital download of the film.
    • Postcards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    25 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Cosmological Navigator

    Adds a DVD copy of the film AND have your name animated in the Moon's Milk font, thanking you, in the end credits.

    Includes:
    • DVD
    • Your name in the end credits!
    • Lunar Day Tripper level rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    107 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    Ladder Specialist

    The Moon's Milk is gorgeous in high def. Unfortunately, BluRay costs more to make, but you know it's worth it! Plus have your 11x17 poster signed by Ri!

    Includes:
    • Blu Ray
    • 11 x 17 poster signed by Ri Crawford!
    • Cosmological Navigator level rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    48 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Low Gravity Assistant

    Collect your very own chunk of the "big" moon, cut from the toilet paper mache 6 foot moon used for the backgrounds.

    Includes:
    • Chunk of the Moon
    • Ladder Specialist level rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    4 backers
    $

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Sea Critter Wrangler

    Adds a large (22x28) poster, signed by Ri Crawford!

    Includes:
    • Large (22 x28) poster signed!
    • Ladder Specialist level rewards
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    13 backers
    $

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    The Fashionable One

    Show everyone how much you dig The Moon's Milk with a limited run custom tee shirt!

    Includes:
    • Tee shirt
    • The Low Gravity Assistant OR the Sea Critter Wrangler rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    8 backers
    $

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    Lunar Light Keeper

    Adds a lantern, a direct replica of those found on Captain Millipede's ship. It Illuminates with a 9 volt battery (not included) and is perfect for every single time you need a miniature lantern!

    Includes:
    • Moon's Milk Lantern
    • Serious Moon Enthusiast OR The Fashionable One rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    $

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 400 or more About US$ 400

    Milk Miner

    Get a bust of your choice of one of the characters from the film, made from the original molds and hand painted.

    Includes:
    • Serious Moon Enthusiast OR The Fashionable One rewards
    • Bust of one of the characters
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 400 or more About US$ 400

    Marine Biologist

    Get a non-articulated sea creature replica of one of the puppets in the film.

    Includes:
    • Non-articulated sea creature
    • Serious Moon Enthusiast OR The Fashionable One rewards
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    $

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 600 or more About US$ 600

    Mission Controller

    Get a customized, made just for you, animation! You provide a short script (240 characters) and I'll animate a 6-10 sec stop motion film for you!

    Includes:
    • Custom Animation
    • Milk Miner OR Marine Biologist level rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Lunar Supervisor

    Gets you an Associate Producer credit as well as a fully articulated Stop Motion sea critter puppet from the film.

    Includes:
    • Milk Miner OR Marine Biologist level rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    5 backers
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 8,000 or more About US$ 8,000

    Patron Saint of the Moon (A)

    Not only will you be credited as Executive Producer, you will also get the Noemi puppet. She is one of a kind, and is the actual puppet used to shoot the film.

    Includes:
    • All previous level rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 8,000 or more About US$ 8,000

    Patron Saint of the Moon (B)

    Not only will you be credited as Executive Producer, you will also get the Otto Forest puppet. He is one of a kind, and is the actual puppet used to shoot the film.

    Includes:
    • All previous level rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $

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  16. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Serious Moon Enthusiast

    Get your hands on one of the actual buckets used to collect the milk in the movie! Mounted on a commemorative Moon's Milk pedestal.

    Includes:
    • The Low Gravity Assistant OR the Sea Critter Wrangler rewards
    • Milk collection bucket
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 15 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (30 days)