CHILLING TALES FOR DARK NIGHTS: THE ANIMATED HORROR SERIES
The first fully-animated anthology horror series, featuring a cast of independent voice talent and the work of independent authors!
Chilling Tales for Dark Nights is a popular horror-themed audio
storytelling series and YouTube channel produced
by Chilling Entertainment, created in late 2012 by lifelong scary stories
fanatic Craig Groshek,
and produced by a multinational team of independent authors, sound designers,
composers, illustrators and voice over artists. The series is known for its
immersive high-quality enhanced audio book style productions, which feature
full casts, professional voice acting, exceptional sound effects and original
As of February 2017, the Chilling Tales for Dark Nights YouTube channel has released more than 800 audio productions, and is followed by 170,000+ subscribers, and has accumulated nearly 18 million views. Its programs have been prominently featured on the Dark Matter Radio Network and the world’s largest podcast network, PodcastOne, and its adaptations of horror classics have been utilized for educational purposes in classrooms around the world, and as part of the Washington, DC-based SeeNoSun Literacy Project.
Over the course of its storied history, Chilling Tales for Dark Nights and The Simply Scary Podcast have accumulated hundreds of unsolicited fan testimonials and iTunes 5-star reviews, and the team behind the series has had the pleasure of adapting fiction penned by Bram Stoker award winners, as well as New York Times bestselling authors. They've also featured guest performances by the likes of renowned fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss, as well as multi-million subscriber YouTube personalities such as Mark “Markiplier” Fischbach, Tay Zonday, Rob Dyke, and Cryaotic.
Having worked diligently to bring radio theater “back from the dead” for more than 4 years, the team behind the audio excellence of Chilling Tales for Dark Nights and the critically-acclaimed Simply Scary Podcast are determined to take their high-quality audio productions to the new level, by producing the world’s first-ever fully-animated horror anthology television series.
Once successfully funded, any episodes produced will be distributed to campaign backers, as well as used to demonstrate the potential of the series to networks such as Netflix, Amazon, SyFy Channel and others.
The series is produced and directed by the duo of CTFDN creator Craig Groshek and executive producer Jesse Cornett, and is illustrated and animated by an accomplished team of artists including David Romero, Giselle Rosser and Bo Mathorne (the filmmaker responsible for the award winning short film, the Backwater Gospel).
On account of its anthology-style formatting and penchant for psychological terror and suspense, Chilling Tales for Dark Nights is compared frequently to spiritual predecessors such as Tales From the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Penny Dreadful, and Black Mirror. In spite of these comparisons, however, CTFDN’s animated incarnation will be unique in its field in several ways:
Notably, the Chilling Tales for Dark Nights animated series, upon its release, will be the first series of its kind which could truly be considered a product of the Internet age. Drawing together talent from across the English-speaking world, including the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia, the collaborative effort pulls together the myriad contributions of countless talents spread throughout the globe – the majority of whom have never set foot in the same room together, or so much as spoken in person.
Like its audio entertainment productions, the animated series will rely not on multimillion-dollar studios and Hollywood celebrities, but on the incredible talents of a veritably unknown, widely-dispersed community of underappreciated and remarkably creative individuals owing no allegiance to any corporate studio or media entity.
A proud contributing member of the online horror fiction and creepypasta communities, Chilling Tales for Dark Nights and its producers take great pride in the fact that theirs will be the first of its kind to feature an original cast comprised entirely of independent voice over artists, and to rely exclusively on the written works of indie, unpublished authors for its episodic adaptations.
Turn Off the Lights, and Turn on the Dark.
Our immediate goal is to produce one or more high-quality animated horror productions suitable for public release, which can also be utilized as part of a major network pitch, which demonstrate the technical and artistic/creative capabilities of our team of producers and voice over artists.
Our ultimate goal is to fund as many original episodes of Chilling Tales for Dark Nights as possible, either in an animated graphic novel style, or in a fully animated style, depending on funding, and to release those episodes first to our campaign backers, and then to the general public. The more money we raise, the more episodes we'll be able to make (and the better the animation!).
Full animation is exceptionally time-consuming, and thus expensive. Therefore, our initial goal is a modest one: to fund the production of a single animated graphic novel-style adaptation (similar to this music video) of an existing CTFDN audio production, “The Scarecrow Corpse," written by independent author Kristopher Mallory, and featuring a collaboration with 16+ million-subscriber YouTube Let’s Play gaming personality Markiplier. The original audio production can be heard as part of a compilation here:
Funding beyond the initial goal will be applied first toward the production of a 100% original 15-minute pilot episode penned by online horror fiction and creepypasta legend Matt Dymerski, author of the wildly popular, top-rated and frequently adapted tale, “Psychosis.” The pilot episode’s story will be written exclusively for the series and will have never been heard or released elsewhere.
The Matt Dymerski pilot episode, currently in the writing stage, will be adapted for television by Boise, Idaho-based writer Joshua L. Hood, a frequent collaborator with CTFDN responsible for stories such as “A Truck Stop Horror” and “False Prophet.”
Whether the pilot is done in an animated graphic novel style (more on this below) or in a fully animated style depends entirely on the funding we receive.
$160K will allow us enough funding to cast Robert Englund (the actor who portrayed Freddy Krueger) - in a significant role in the pilot. We are in negotiations with Mr. Englund's representatives already, and are in the process of receiving final quotes.
Should both the “The Scarecrow Corpse” and the pilot episode be produced, and Mr. Englund's involvement confirmed, further funds will go toward the production of additional episodes, to be either fully animated or done in an animated graphic novel style, depending on the total funds received. The length of those episodes will also depend on the funding available.
Production of the first two episodes has begun already, with storyboards, script drafts and character design art having been created. All that is needed is the funding necessary to compensate those involved with the project, and once that funding is received, production in earnest will begin. The first two episodes (or more) are expected to be released in 2017, with future episodes released on a timetable yet to be determined.
As an independent
entertainment production company, Chilling Entertainment requires either
outside investors or advertising-derived funding to produce all of its programs.
The team and plan we have assembled together provide a unique vision and a quality of storytelling and animation that we and our fans can be proud of. We want to blow you away, and it is increasingly difficult to attain that level of excellence with traditional partnerships, especially for a new intellectual property.
The process of rounding up industry investors to provide the amount of financial support necessary to produce a world-class animated series would take a long time – years, usually. Furthermore, funding a project of this size and scope with inconsistent, unreliable and constantly fluctuating advertising revenue is impractical.
If investors were to be
involved to help fund the production of our animated series, those companies
would undoubtedly want a say in how the series is made. Inevitably, we would be
micromanaged, subjected to scrutiny, and a portion, if not all, of our
creative control would be sacrificed to those bankrolling the project.
Crowd-funding the animated series through Kickstarter is not only the fastest way to bring you an animated series of Chilling Tales for Dark Nights, but also the best way to preserve the artistic vision of our illustrators, animators, authors, production team and voice talent. This method also allows us to retain creative independence and 100% of our intellectual property rights.
All the while, Kickstarter provides you – the fans – with a unique opportunity to help make possible a show you’ll love, produced by the dyed-in-the-wool horror fanatics responsible for the Simply Scary Podcast! We know you, as fans of the horror genre, have an interest in seeing something like this happen – and we love the idea that our fans will be involved and given the opportunity to help the series progress!
The successful funding of this – our first Kickstarter campaign – will also pave the way for us to expand our current programs and build upon the existing Chilling Tales for Dark Nights universe, perhaps including gaining the ability to work on additional series, or allow us to delve into other industries, such as publishing and video games. The sky is the limit!
Based on listener feedback, we endeavor to produce an anthology series. With possible exceptions, each episode will feature a single enclosed story. However, we cannot and will not rule out an occasional “two-parter” or mini-series of episodes. This format will be reminiscent of live-action spiritual precursors such as Tales From the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Penny Dreadful and Black Mirror.
With that said, we endeavor to produce something totally original, which
reflects the collaboration between the many individuals involved with our
project, each of whom have their own preferences and influences.
The series will be 2D, with a hand-drawn look and feel. The art style fans of ours told us they preferred was David Romero's, particularly that of “Other Lily” and "Midnight Snack." You can view Romero's short film collection here:
Romero is an exceptionally gifted illustrator and animator, capable of producing a myriad of styles, as is evident from his DeviantArt gallery.
Romero’s art style, coupled with the clean, professional look
and feel of the work of his female counterpart, Giselle Rosser, will add a passion and expression to the characters in our
episodes, which is guaranteed to match or rival the work of large corporate
studios. More of Rosser’s animation and illustration work can be
seen on her Tumblr.
Fans were also partial to the artistic feel of Stephen Gammell’s work, which was featured in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series. As these books are favorites of series creator Craig Groshek and many of our voice artists, not to mention our illustrators, it is likely Gammell’s style will make it into the series.
Lastly, the work of Bo Mathorne (producer of “The Backwater Gospel”) was highly prized by fans. Mathorne, based internationally, has spoken with our team and has agreed to become involved when it becomes necessary. Mathorne, like Romero and Rosser, is a remarkable multi-medium artist, capable of producing many styles. Mathorne’s animated graphic novel-style production of the music video for “Psalms of Withering” has been an inspiration to our entire team. More of Mathorne's stylistic capabilities can be seen on his blog.
Our ultimate goal is to match the quality of popular animated programs as seen on Netflix and other major networks, while retaining the look, feel and atmosphere of live-action horror films. You can expect our characters to be incredibly human in appearance, with expressions that project life-like passion, and our creatures to be monstrous, terrifying and nightmare-inducing.
SO... WHAT'S AN ANIMATED GRAPHIC NOVEL, AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM A FULLY ANIMATED FILM?
Simply put, an animated graphic novel is similar to an animatic (a rough, storyboard-like animation generally used to pitch a film concept to a studio), but far more polished and professional-looking.
An "animated graphic novel" is about 85% of the way to full animation. Unlike a fully-animated feature, this style does not incorporate full-frame animation. As a result, it is far less time-consuming to produce, yet manages to attain a professional appearance. These pared down productions may also feature added effects, such as wind, rain and snow, in order to accentuate the simplified environments.
Not familiar with the world of animatics? Take a look at our own, for "The Scarecrow Corpse," here:
If you'd like to get an idea as to what an "animated graphic novel" version of our animatic could look like, imagine the above, but with high-quality illustration, fluid motion, and special effects, as in this Bo Mathorne-produced music video:
Or consider this Silver Fish Creative film, which was successfully used to pitch an animated film to Neil Gaiman himself:
The ultimate goal, of course, is to produce fully-animated episodes, and we intend to do so, if we generate enough funds to do so, or if the series is picked up by a major network willing to fund it on a corporate level after we've made our pitch.
An animated graphic novel approach to our first production still offers tremendous benefits, however, as it will allow us to produce our initial film far more quickly and with a modest budget, while still allowing our artistic team to show off its capabilities.
SAMPLE ANIMATIC VIDEO
Audio is our specialty. For years we've worked to combine great storytelling with stellar voice acting, custom sound effects and original scores to create immersive, engaging environments. But don't take our word for it. If you're unfamiliar with our work, listen to some of the playlists and compilations below to see who is behind the sound that makes these nightmares come to life.
ILLUSTRATIVE AND ANIMATION TEAM
AUDIO PRODUCTION / SOUND DESIGN / MUSIC COMPOSITION TEAM
ANTICIPATED SPECIAL GUEST
MORE OF GISELLE ROSSER'S WORK
We at Chilling Tales for Dark Nights pride ourselves on being one of the most responsive, fan-friendly and interactive entertainment producers on the Internet and YouTube today. In keeping with that philosophy, we've all worked together to bring some truly amazing, one-of-a-kind rewards to those who opt to support our newest endeavor!
Whether you support us with $5 or with $5,000, you'll get some truly amazing things in exchange for that assistance! From backer-only updates and public displays of our appreciation (on our website, in the credits, or on our podcast), to custom wallpapers, a Kickstarter-only audio book or a complete collection of our existing audio productions, there's something for everyone, at every level of support!
As a big-league backer, you can expect to be treated to several livestream events, where you'll get to interact with our crew and cast, listening to us perform or illustrate live! Or, who knows? You might even get to name a character, get your likeness rendered into an episode, or get the opportunity to guest voice act! If you're an author, support us for a chance to get your story narrated or fully produced!
Below you'll find a few examples of our artistic prizes, but we encourage you to investigate the full range of prizes below, and along the sidebar, as some of them are quite intangible, but incredibly unique!
Thanks for your support!
With production of additional 30-minute episodes, every aspect of the production process will be from scratch, or close to it. Stories will be custom, or adapted from existing material to a teleplay format. Voice over artists, composers and sound designers must be compensated. Preliminary artwork and designs must preclude the actual animation, as a natural part of the development and approval process.
The prices listed are relatively standard across the animation industry, and provide just compensation to everyone involved in the project.
$30,000 – TOTAL REQUIRED TO MEET INITIAL GOAL
$15,000 – 50% - Animation Production Costs
This is the budget for the actual design, direction, and animation of approximately 15-20 minutes of graphic novel style animation for the production of “The Scarecrow Corpse.” Funds to be paid directly to the members of the animation and illustration team involved in this phase.
$6,000 – 20% - Backer Rewards Costs
This is the budget for reward production and distribution (including shipping, if necessary).
$4,500 – 15% - Pre-Production Costs
Money we would like to recoup from investing our own funds in the pre-campaign production of rewards, preliminary artwork, animatics, trailers, sound design, voice over services and musical composition.
$1,500 – 5% - Operational and Overhead Costs
Budget for operational and overhead costs such as payments to staff and independent contractors, web hosting and maintenance, promotional and marketing expenses related to the campaign, payment of bills related to the campaign, etc.
$1,500 – 5% - Kickstarter Fees
Kickstarter levies fees for all Kickstarter campaigns. This amount covers those fees.
$1,500 – 5% - Amazon Credit Card Processing Fees
Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments as a credit card processing agent. This amount covers the fees collected by Amazon itself.
We understand some folks might
just be tapped out at the moment, but that doesn't mean you can't help the
cause! So please get out there and make some noise about our campaign.
Feel free to use the Kickstarter share tools – post to social media regularly! Call friends, family and like-minded folks and tell them all about us! Or if you really want to help, contact bloggers, sci-fi and horror websites, fan sites and fan clubs, and rally them to the cause! Social media is incredibly powerful!
Whether you post, share, tweet, email or physically hand out flyers promoting our campaign, you can make all the difference!
Risks and challenges
Making great horror content is challenging, with or without animation! Our animated series endeavors to blend our existing audio and story writing capabilities with a new visual medium to create a cohesive experience. It takes time to iterate and expand on ideas, and to do things right. There is a reason many amazing, original films and animated features take years to be released, or never see the light of day at all.
The biggest risk is that our animated series will take longer to produce than anticipated. Potentially, we may generate enough funds to complete one leg of production, but not enough to fully complete the next. In the event of such a scenario, our plan would be to pool our remaining funds and partner with venture capitalists or other entities to get the series produced, or use whatever episodes did get funded to pitch a full series to the major networks on our own. This series is our livelihood, so we will do whatever it takes!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)