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When a long-extinct fish crawls out of the ocean and into a creationist's worst nightmares.
When a long-extinct fish crawls out of the ocean and into a creationist's worst nightmares.
78 backers pledged $10,085 to help bring this project to life.

About

TIKTAALIK - A Short Film

$10,085

78

7 days to go and we can't be any happier about everyone's contributions. That's why we're creating a NEW REWARD for people who want to support the project more, or get their hands on some more merch. For a $60 contribution we will now be offering limited access to TIKTAALIK PLUSHIE DOLLS from Paleozoic Pals!!

 

TIKTAALIK is a short film about an over-the-top, creationist congressman that has a crisis of faith. On the brink of passing new legislation for the expansion of creationism in public schools, he stumbles across the missing link in evolution, and the literal representation of his opposition: a fish with legs. Congressman John Barron must reconcile with his beliefs and decide what to do with a creature that could destroy his entire career and legacy.

In this dark, political satire, we hope to raise awareness on the dangers of anti-intellectualism and political division. By putting our protagonist's beliefs to the ultimate test, we want to show the importance of adopting a scientific-method of thinking: if you're proved wrong, then you accept the opposing argument because it's part of pushing humanity forward.

My name is Dylan McGale, the director of TIKTAALIK. In the last few years of working on countless narrative films, music videos, and commercials, I served the vision of a lot of different directors. I learned what I believe separates my tastes and interests. I’m not looking to exclusively tell a compelling story, but one with social relevance— you could watch 10 years from now and know that there’s something in the story that society had to confront at that time. I want to present these issues because of all my creative endeavors and technical achievements, the films I’ve made with these goals have remained the most fulfilling. I don’t want to be just an artist, but an artist that at least tried to make a positive change and I hope that’s what you can see in my work.

The centerpiece of our film is a creature called Tikaalik Roseae, an important evolutionary species that marks the transition between aquatic creatures, and the first animals to walk on land. It is a symbol of unavoidable scientific evidence which is why it holds so much significance in our story. Unfortunately the creature has been extinct for over 300 million years, making it challenging to bring to the screen. 

In order to accurately recreate a creature that no human has ever seen in the flesh, we are working with paleoartist Tyler Keillor. His reconstructions of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures can be seen in museums across the country. 

Tyler's past works
Tyler's past works

 

Tyler's workshop
Tyler's workshop

When the first Titkaalik fossil discovery was made in 2004, Tyler was tasked with making its reconstruction. Now, Tyler has made a screen-ready version of his original model, one that has a life-like quality when touched, and can be manipulated like a puppet by our special effects department.

Tyler starting work on our screen-ready Titkaalik model
Tyler starting work on our screen-ready Titkaalik model

Despite the advantages using a practical model has in both production, and in the realism of the creature, some shots in our film require Tiktaalik to be computer-animated in order to have a greater range of movement. To ensure that our digital Titkaalik looks and moves exactly like a real Titkaalik would have, Tyler has also signed on to advise our Visual Effects department.

 

Dylan McGale is a filmmaker from Portland, Oregon, now studying Film Production at Chapman University. He believes artists have a social responsibility not to be taken for granted and uses his minor in Race & Ethnicity Studies to widen his perspective and expand the landscape of what topics are addressed in movies. He hopes to situate his work somewhere between his greatest influences: Spike Lee, Charlie Kaufman, John Cassavetes, Harmonie Korine and Terrence Malick.

Sho Schrock is a filmmaker from Seattle, Washington, currently pursuing a degree in Creative Producing at Chapman. He has always sought out and pursued forward-thinking narratives; new ways of telling stories, including Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. He chose to work on Tiktaalik because of its unique story and theme, and its meaningful use of computer-generated graphics, and hopes the film will inspire viewers to become forward-thinking in their own lives, especially when it comes time to think about the future of our planet.

Jonathan To is a writer from the scenic San Francisco Bay Area. He has a mouth that can't stop, and a brain that can't concentrate unless it's in front of a screen, but that's okay because occasionally, he can type a couple words on a blank screen that make people like him a little bit. This is his second time working with director Dylan McGale, with whom he is so glad to be collaborating creatively. As a Bleeding Heart, Jonathan pursues justice in the greater good, and liberty of language. He goes to Chapman University, where he majors in Television Writing and Production. 

Eric Vera is originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he lived until he was 10 years old. His positivity makes him the guy who brightens the mood of any room he enters. He transferred to Chapman as a Sophomore and quickly became one of the most sought-after Director’s of Photography because of his thoughtfulness, incredible work ethic, and open-mindedness. He takes his job seriously, knowing that every story deserves to be told in a unique way. He’s someone who’s not afraid to ask for help when he needs it and it’s a trait that has undoubtedly slingshotted Eric to success in all of the films he’s shot at the Dodge College. I can't imagine having my thesis shot by anyone but Eric.     —DM

Corinne DeLouise grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts before moving to Orange, California to pursue her passion for film, seeking out projects that challenge the reality we know. She loves being allowed to go to the extent of her imagination when working on a film, and is excited about the creative challenges in making Tiktaalik come to life.

Tyler Keillor has been preparing fossils, creating skeletal restorations, and sculpting flesh reconstructions of prehistoric life at the University of Chicago and other institutions since 2001. A life-long love of natural history, and a mission to combine art and science, have driven Tyler as he continues to create paleontological reconstructions for researchers, museums, exhibitions, publishers, filmmakers, and collectors around the world.

Renee Plaza, from Wilmington Delaware is pursuing degrees in both Creative Producing and psychology. She has always enjoyed a variety of themes and plans to utilize the skills from her dual major in future films and television series. She chose to work on this film in hopes that it would inspire and urges to think about themselves and the world around them.

 

Budget breakdown of our project
Budget breakdown of our project

 

Risks and challenges

There are many moving parts, risks, and challenges when creating a short film. The TIKTAALIK team is made of a group of incredibly passionate and capable filmmakers, ready to take on anything when it comes to delivering a quality project. We are looking for you to join our team in an effort to make a difference through film. If you're not able to jump in right now, just spreading the word, following this page, and following us on social media are great ways of contributing.

Thanks for checking out our project!

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https://www.facebook.com/tikaalikfilm/

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    Tiktaalik Roseae

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    NEW - Late Amphibian

    NEW!! In addition to a Tiktaalik postcard, we'll be throwing in a TIKTAALIK PLUSHIE DOLL from Paleozoic Pals

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    All of the above + access to an exclusive Augmented Reality promotional app featuring Tiktaalik Roseae.

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    Human

    All of the above + a photo with TIKTAALIK + invitation to join Dylan for late-night coffee at his favorite late-night Diner to talk about the film and meet the servers who know his name. (Travel accommodations are literally impossible.)

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    AI Robot

    Executive Producer credit on the film + an invitation to visit the set (travel accommodations not included) + a photo with our Tiktaalik Roseae!!

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Funding period

- (30 days)