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When two teenagers hack into a drone delivery system,  they soon find themselves targeted - and scrambling to cover their tracks.
When two teenagers hack into a drone delivery system,  they soon find themselves targeted - and scrambling to cover their tracks. [Donations now being accepted via PayPal!]
When two teenagers hack into a drone delivery system, they soon find themselves targeted - and scrambling to cover their tracks. [Donations now being accepted via PayPal!]
490 backers pledged $52,928 to help bring this project to life.

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SKYWATCH: a sci-fi short

$52,928

490

1st Stretch Goal Reached!!

Holy smokes - we've not only reached our initial funding goal, but just crested our 1st stretch goal as well! Which means that we've got enough to finance our film's opening sequence, in addition to the visual effects.

Huge thanks to our generous backers!

Anything else we can raise before the doors close will give us more flexibility in how we can achieve our ambitious workload. In the extremely unlikely scenario that we raise 60K, we will make training materials based on our visual effects work, release all of our Blender assets creative commons (BY-NC) after the film's release, and ship every backer who pledged $100 or more an extra print - of a full resolution frame from the film.

Thank you for getting us to this incredible milestone!

--Colin & the SKYWATCH team

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THE FILM

In the near future, a pair of mischievous friends hack into the infrastructure of a drone delivery system. As they reroute orders zipping through the sky, they set off a chaotic series of events and soon find themselves on the run from forces they can barely see.

SKYWATCH is an original sci-fi short that I’ve been working on for the past couple years. This project is designed to stand alone as a fun and gripping piece of entertainment, but is also intended to serve as a proof of concept for a mid-range live-action feature. Our goal is to build a world, set a tone, and introduce characters that could form the foundation of a compelling feature film. 

This has been a passion project for me and my core team. Throughout the process, we have relied heavily on the generosity of friends and volunteers. Now, we’re in postproduction - with over 150 visual effects shots to execute. We’ve got a good head start, but we need your help to complete the remaining shots. 

This Kickstarter campaign will fund the visual effects and remaining production to get this project across the finish line. When the short is finished, we will be releasing it for free online - for the world to watch!

THE TEAM

Our two young leads are rising stars Uriah Shelton (The Glades, Warrior’s Gate, Girl Meets World) and Zach Callison (Steven Universe, Mr. Peabody & Sherman), who deliver excellent performances. 

Our talented leads Uriah Shelton & Zach Callison
Our talented leads Uriah Shelton & Zach Callison

Our core creative team has made up of longtime friends and collaborators: myself (writer/director Colin Levy) producer Andre Danylevich, VFX Supervisor Sandro Blattner, and DP Adam Habib. The short was production designed by Julie Chen, Morgan Johnson is supervising the sound, and Jasper Blunk is composing the score. The talented Mike Sundy is co-authoring the feature screenplay, based on the short.

PREVIOUS WORK

Before dedicating myself to SKYWATCH, I worked at Pixar Animation Studios as a Camera & Staging Artist, working on several features including INSIDE OUT and FINDING DORY, and serving as the Camera DP for the animated theatrical short LAVA.

 

I also have directed several short films in the past, including THE SECRET NUMBER, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter, and the animated short SINTEL, which has over 4.5M views on YouTube - and was made entirely with the Open Source software Blender.

Visit my PORTFOLIO SITE for more.

WORLD & THEMES

SKYWATCH takes place in a future defined by immediacy and convenience. In the world of our short film, you can order anything - anytime, anywhere - and have it delivered into your home in minutes. A physical pipeline now exists in every home, building and skyscraper - pneumatic tubes that funnel products right to your fingertips. But at what cost? Our short explores themes of voyeurism and surveillance, privacy, identity, and control. In some ways, we’re telling a cautionary tale about the sacrifices we make in the name of convenience - in a future where corporations have immense power and control over how and what we consume.

THE VISUAL EFFECTS

Our VFX team has high standards. Our lofty aim is for SKYWATCH to be visually indistinguishable from a Hollywood blockbuster. Of course, working without the resources of a studio has meant making sacrifices – in our case, time. Our small but dedicated international team started modeling, shading and rigging our assets in early 2015. Now, our key assets are complete - and it’s time for the animation, lighting and compositing of shot work. We’ve made it through two of our six sequences, but we still have over 150 shots to complete.

We chose to use the Open Source 3D software Blender for the CG work in this project. Even after using Pixar’s Presto for years, Blender remains my favorite tool for 3D. Partially due to the thriving community of artists and potential collaborators, we have developed a Blender-centric pipeline that also includes Nuke and Houdini - and we’ve been very pleased with the results.

STRETCH GOALS

Raising $35K is literally the bare minimum we need to be able to bring on freelance VFX artists to finish the film. This figure doesn't include the additional photography that we still need for our film’s opening, nor any funds for the final tasks of music/color/sound design. For a variety of reasons, it would be phenomenal to have a bit more wiggle room in the budget. 

We know it's a longshot, but better to be overambitious, right? Here are our Kickstarter STRETCH GOALS:

$45,000 - PRODUCTION: In addition to sound, music and color, we will be able to finance production for our film's "cold open.” Although it was in our original shooting script, we’ve simply not had the bandwidth to tackle it - which I think is a daggone shame! This stretch goal would pay for actors, food, crew, and the same high end film gear that was used for principal photography. Help me make my original vision a reality!

If we reach this stretch goal we will make some of our HERO ASSETS available to our backers in .blend format. Play with the rigs, examine our node trees, or create your own animations!

$60,000 - VFX VENDOR: At this level, instead of hiring individual freelancers for visual effects, which requires a huge amount of coordination and overhead, we can consider working with a small studio or VFX vendor. Which would be awesome! With these additional resources, we could get the work done in less time - and perhaps achieve a couple additional dream shots while we’re at it.

If we hit this stretch goal, we will make training materials based on our visual effects work, release all of our Blender assets creative commons (BY-NC) after the film's release, and ship every backer who pledged $100 or more an extra print - of a full resolution frame from the film.

$100,000 - IDEAL BUDGET: To be honest, even 60K is chump change for most VFX vendors. With this stretch goal, we would assuredly be able to find a suitable studio, and could accomplish all our goals for VFX and remaining production without sacrificing quality - or asking people to work for free. And while I’m dreaming, I'd love to develop a website and produce a fictional TV commercial for our near-future drone delivery service, which I feel could be a great companion piece for the short!

THE REWARDS

We’re excited to finally share a glimpse of the film with the world! If you like what you see, we hope you consider backing the project. 

We have some nifty rewards - but you'll notice that a lot of 'em are digital. For this campaign, I’d like to really focus on putting as many dollars on the screen as possible - and make sure we can deliver our rewards in a timely fashion. Thank you!

Risks and challenges

SKYWATCH is an ambitious project and while we are confident in our abilities and our track record, we have a lot of work ahead of us! As with every film project we've done, there will be bumps in the road - challenges and unforeseen circumstances that will affect how we move ahead. But in bringing the project to this point, we have already had our fair share - and have gotten pretty good at rolling with the punches!

It's probably worth saying that there has been an incredible amount of sweat, blood, time and money invested in this project already - so there's no way we're *not* going to get it done.

Perhaps a more relevant concern is the Kickstarter rewards themselves - that takes a lot of work too! I learned that lesson the hard way on my previous campaign for my film The Secret Number. (So. many. postertubes.) This time around, I won't be doing it all myself - and the workload will be decidedly sane: we have been careful to select rewards that we know that we can fulfill responsibly and in a timely manner once the film is completed.

Thank you for taking a chance on us!

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Join the Team

    Every dollar counts. Get a warm fuzzy feeling for chipping in to make this film a reality! Also get access to exclusive updates on Kickstarter.

    Includes:
    • Warm fuzzy feeling!
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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Public Thanks + Trailer VFX Reel

    Warm fuzzy feelings are ephemeral. Get your name etched permanently into a THANK YOU section on our website. And for fun, we'll send you a VFX comparison reel for our teaser trailer.

    Includes:
    • Thank you on our website
    • VFX comparison reel for our teaser
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Download the Film + Read the Script

    Receive the full-HD, 5.1 surround sound digital download of SKYWATCH to watch with family and friends upon the film's release, along with our shooting script.

    Includes:
    • All Above Rewards
    • Digital Download of the Film
    • Digital Download of our Shooting Script
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Get the Film Early + Own the Score

    In addition to the above rewards, get a private link to watch SKYWATCH before its online premiere - as well as a digital copy of the film's score, composed by Jasper Blunk.

    Includes:
    • All Above Rewards
    • Early Access to the Finished Film
    • Original Score composed by Jasper Blunk (Digital Download)
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Blender Cloud - Early Bird Special

    Thanks to generous sponsorship by The Blender Institute, we're excited to offer a limited reward to early backers:

    Get a 6-month subscription to the Blender Cloud!

    Access 100+ hours of training and high-quality assets for Blender 3D - as well as week-by-week updates from an animated short currently in production. Find out more at: https://cloud.blender.org/

    Includes:
    • All Above Rewards
    • 6-month subscription to the Blender Cloud
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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Name in the Credits + Concept Art

    Get your name in the credits under our "Special Thanks" section in the finished film!

    Also receive a physical print of an early piece of visual development by our concept artist Matt Bell.

    Includes:
    • All Above Rewards
    • Special Thanks On Screen Credit
    • Concept Art Print
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    70 backers
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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Limited Special: Space VFX Course

    New reward! Thanks to CreativeShrimp and CGMasters, we have 25 copies of their "Space VFX Elements" course to offer at this tier only - on top of all above rewards.

    Create your own galaxies! Learn more here:
    http://www.creativeshrimp.com/spacevfx.html

    Includes:
    • Space VFX Elements - 3D Course from CreativeShrimp
    • All Above Rewards
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    Reward no longer available 25 backers
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    POLIIGON - Early Bird Special

    Thanks to Andrew Price, we have an exciting reward for a limited number of early bird CG artists!

    Receive One Year of Gold Membership to Poliigon.com.

    With this membership, you will have access to full CG materials to create photorealistic renders in any 3D Software. Check out the website for more: www.poliigon.com

    Includes:
    • All Above Rewards
    • 1 year Gold Membership to Poliigon
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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Poster + Very Special Thanks Credit

    Receive preferred placement in the on-screen credits under "Very Special Thanks" - and a printed poster.

    Includes:
    • All Above Rewards (except Poliigon membership)
    • Very Special Thanks Credit
    • Printed SKYWATCH Poster (24x36)
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Unique Concept Art Poster

    In addition to the above rewards, you'll get a unique concept art poster designed by Matt Bell specifically for this Kickstarter.

    Matt will be taking the coolest and most interesting design elements from our concept phase and fleshing them out into a slick composition.

    Stay tuned for the final image - Matt is working on it right now!

    Includes:
    • All Above Rewards (except Poliigon membership)
    • Concept Art Poster (24x36)
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  11. Select this reward

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

    Associate Producer + 3D print

    In addition to the above rewards, you will receive an Associate Producer credit in the film and we will invite you and a guest to an exclusive screening of the proof of concept in Los Angeles before it's premiere. You will be responsible for your travel and lodging.

    ALSO! You'll get your very own physical 3D Print of our supercool delivery drone model in a dynamic pose.

    Make some room on your mantel!

    Includes:
    • Associate Producer Credit
    • Exclusive Screening Invite for you and a guest!
    • 3D Print of our Drone Model
    • All Above Rewards
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Co-Producer

    In addition to the 3D Print and above rewards, you will receive a Co-Producer Credit in the main titles of the film and we will invite you and a guest to an exclusive screening of the proof of concept in Los Angeles before it's premiere. You will be responsible for your travel and lodging.

    Includes:
    • Co-Producer Credit
    • Exclusive Screening Invite for you and a guest!
    • All Above Rewards
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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Co-Executive Producer

    In addition to the 3D Print and above rewards, receive a Co-Executive Producer Credit in the main titles of the film and we will invite you and a guest to an exclusive screening of the proof of concept in Los Angeles before it's premiere. You will be responsible for your travel and lodging.

    Includes:
    • Co-Executive Producer Credit
    • Exclusive Screening Invite for you and a guest!
    • All Above Rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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Funding period

- (20 days)