(The road ain't over just yet: Now pushing towards our 2K Stretch Goal to rustle us another animator!)
The Good Road is the story of two men crossing the Oregon Trail in search of something out of reach. For Pastor Abbey, it's hope, and for Mr Cooper, it's escape. What they find is each other...and that their group has made a crucial mistake.
Set in 1820, this animated short follows a wagon train travelling from Missouri to Oregon for its last run of the season. Heading west with them is a double-amputee preacher who’s risking a hell of a journey for a reason he doesn’t feel like sharing, and a wagon-hand who’s desperately trying to do the right thing - whatever that is.
Inspired by the events of the Donner Party, their journey is fraught with disaster, and as tensions rise and man turns against man, our heroes must overcome their personal fears to protect each other, or else they might not make it to Oregon alive. It’s a story of perseverance, love, peril, sweeping landscapes and group tension that's about to cut someone with a knife.
This short film is a work of love for us, combining our passion for animation and story-telling with a deep-dive into the grizzly side of American history. We’re a very small team with a lot of passion for bringing this project to life; we’re excited for other people to see a story that we’ve fallen in love with, because it has us PUMPED!
Mild-mannered right up until he isn’t, Shea is the sort of preacher who’s ‘had it up to here’ from the moment he walks in, but Lord give him strength, he believes in patience. Well-meaning, reclusive and dealing with a whole heap of worries (and secrets), Shea just wants to survive the journey to Oregon, but he quickly finds himself on the wrong side of the hard-bitten men who are taking him there.
Shea was fun to design and is a lot of fun to animate. You can tell from our WIPs that we’re fond of him, and trust us, he looks even better in motion. One of the interesting challenges with Shea, other than his wispy hair, is animating his movement. As a double amputee, whilst Shea is often on horse-back, the times that he’s on his feet have raised a series of interesting design questions. It's amazing what prostheses existed in the 1800s, but the Oregon Trail is still a hell of a journey for anyone, and we want to make sure we don't gloss over Shea's struggles. Thankfully, he's a stubborn thing, and he means to finish what he's started. He doesn't have much choice...
Chase has been working the Oregon Trail for too long, because he’s not sure what else to do. Settling in one spot might force him to take too hard a look at himself; it’s easy to avoid some truths on the road. However, as he’s soon going to learn, truths have a way of catching up with you.
Riding, lifting, heaving - in terms of animation, the fun of Chase is in the shameless heroics. However, Chase is a sweet and humble soul, and a firm believer in keeping your head down, being honourable and doing your duty...Unfortunately, those three things aren’t always possible at the same time. Chase has a lot of growing to do if he hopes to come out of this journey with his conscience intact (or even if he even wants to come out of it in one piece).
Do you want action? Tension? Romance? Gore? Awe-inspiring visuals? Do you not care as long as there’s a solid wild-west soundtrack? Cool - we’ve got you covered. Or, we will, if we can get this made!
This film is a tale of survival and determination, and yes, it gets a bit grisly. Have you heard of the Donner Party? Then you know how grim it might get...
On top of all of that, though, this a love story between two men who have everything at stake, and, once we're done with it, it's also going to be a beautifully animated piece of art. We can't wait!
This is not the literal story of the Donner Party - for one thing, it takes place 20 years earlier. However, our research has definitely taken a lot of guidance and inspiration from this part of American history. We’ve done what we can to keep the challenges that the team faces as historically accurate as possible, but we can’t promise to be flawless. That said, real buffs might spot a number of shout-outs to some shocking, little-known moments from the real Donner Party throughout the film. If you donate enough to receive one of our Digital Art Books, then amongst all of the concept art you'll receive, you'll also get the details of the real-life stories that these scenes have borrowed from. Let's face it - real life really is more strange and shocking than fiction.
Shea and Chase are characters of ours that we’ve loved for a while, and we thought the trials of this story were the perfect struggle to throw them into. This film wasn’t designed to make a point - Shea and Chase just are who they are - but we’re SO EXCITED that it’s given us the opportunity to represent both the LGBTQA+ and the disabled communities through them. Neither of us have a physical disability, but to make sure we’re representing that well, we’re in communication with local disability charities. (We aren’t wagon hands or preachers, either, but we are both LGBTQA+)
There's two of us driving this project. We've been friends for around 15 years, and we’ve worked on so many just-for-fun projects together that this was long overdue.
Rosie is an animator, layout artist and writer. As well as co-writing the story, Rosie has designed all of the art and look of this film, is our story-boarder and, currently, our sole animator.
Whether we reach our stretch goals or not, Rosie is able to animate this film and won’t settle for anything less than stunning quality, so there’s no risk that it won’t get made. However, the more funding we have to get her a team, or at least an assistant, will help her to stay alive and will allow her to push the quality as far as she wants to take it.
We’ve written this story together, but Alice had the merry task of keeping our timing tight and turning our writing into a screenplay. She’s also the one organising production, and the one who will cry the hardest if this Kickstarter fails.
Alice has previously worked on a few indie film projects as the scriptwriter, co-writer or script editor. Her favourite project was God Save the King (Moore, 2016); if there’s one thing she learnt from that, it’s that animated horses are far easier to work with than live-action ones!
Alice has also worked as a script reader for Write2Screen, in association with Creative England. However, this is the first project that she’s attempting to produce, and will hopefully be the first of many for the pair of us as a team.
WE HIT OUR TARGET!!!
What does that mean?
That means we've got what we were missing to fund the next stage of production - casting our actors, recording our sound and commissioning a western-style score. This movie's going to sound gorgeous.
However, we're still pushing towards our stretch goals!
We're so thrilled by your support so far! Really, we'd like to get this goal doubled or even tripled. If we can triple that goal and hit 3K, you guys will have fully funded production for us, AND allowed us to get some gadgets and goodies that really push the quality as high as we want to take it.
We've broken down how that 3k would be spent:
As you can see - we still have a ways to go.
Most importantly, we want to hit our stretch goals so we can hire at least one additional animator, to stop Rosie’s hand from falling off. Additional animators will not only speed up how long it takes to create this film, but through that extra time and support, will also allow us to push the quality as high as we want it. Rosie’s test reels have smooth animation, sweeping landscapes and beautiful detail, and we’re hoping for some really epic-scale weather...but to pull any of that off, we need to reach and beat our target.
Funding will also go towards our ability to hire local musicians, to access the best sound effects and, excitingly, to get The Good Road seen further afield. The bottom line is this - the more we raise, the better quality the final product is going to be.
Risks and challenges
There aren’t many! We’re a small team that are dedicated to seeing this project through. We’re bringing in voice actors and an animation assistant etc, but we’re doing as much of this in-house as possible. Short of a natural disaster or us eating each other, there’s no reason this won’t get made - it’s just a question of when. The more money we raise, the more resources we can throw at this, and that equals the more time we can save.
We’d rather produce something fantastic than something fast, so if there are any delays, they’ll be so we can make sure we’re putting out the best quality possible. If delays do happen, we’ll always keep you updated. Remember, our main animator is doing this in her free time, and she’s helping to fund and organise this thing, so until we raise enough to help her out, there’s only so hard we’re allowed to whip her.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)