A documentary film exploring the art & impact of the greatest comic strip ever: Calvin & Hobbes.
We've had such great success and exceeded our goal, so for all Backers at the $35 level and up, you'll be able to upgrade from a DVD to a BluRay copy of the film at no additional cost. (When we request shipping information, you'll simply need to choose which format you prefer.)
Thanks so much for supporting Dear Mr. Watterson!
Calvin & Hobbes dominated the comics in thousands of newspapers for a decade, but when the strip’s creator, Bill Watterson, retired the strip in 1995, readers everywhere felt the void left by the departure of Calvin & his tiger, and many fans would never find a satisfactory replacement.
Newspaper readership and book sales can be tracked and recorded, but the human impact Bill Watterson has had and the value and significance of his art are perhaps impossible to measure.
This film is not a quest to find Watterson, who prefers his privacy. It is an exploration to discover why his 'simple' comic strip made such an impact on so many readers in the 80s and 90s, and why it still means so much to us today.
Here's What We've Done So Far
This project began as a small passion project in the fall of 2007, but with the help of Kickstarter in early 2010, the film took a huge step forward. 359 backers pledged nearly $25,000, enabling us to capture interviews with cartoonists and people in the comics industry, including:
- Lee Salem (Bill Watterson's editor)
- Jenny Robb (OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum)
- Bill Amend (FoxTrot)
- Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County, Outland, Opus)
- Jef Mallett (Frazz)
- Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine)
- Jean Schulz (widow of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz)
- Charles Solomon (Animation & Comics Historian/Critic)
- Seth Green (co-creator, Robot Chicken)
- Keith Knight (The Knight Life, The K Cronicles)
- Jan Eliot (Stone Soup)
- Wiley Miller (Non-Sequitur)
- Dan Piraro (Bizarro)
- Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum)
- Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange)
- Brian Anderson (Dog Eat Doug)
- Tony Cochran (Agnes)
- Norm Feuti (Gil, Retail)
- Dave Kellett (Sheldon, Drive)
- Nevin Martell (author, "Looking for Calvin & Hobbes")
- Joe Wos (Toonseum)
- John Glynn (Universal Uclick)
We've been cutting together all of this footage and the film is now 90 minutes long, and we're closing in on the finish line.
(In case you blinked, here's the first third of the film just one more time:)
And here's a breakdown of how funds have been spent to get to this point:
Here's What You'll Help Make Happen
It's like we've run the first 25.2 miles of a marathon, and we just need to finish up that last mile.
This last mile, however, is a bit of an expensive one. We've gone very far on a very tight budget, and of course, the less you have to spend, the longer things take to accomplish. Things like scoring, animation, music licensing, sound mixing, legal fees, and insurance add up in cost, and we also have a couple additional shoots we need to fill in a couple gaps. The film has evolved and grown over the last couple years, and we think it is more than just a film about Calvin & Hobbes.
So, we're calling this our KickFINISH Campaign, as that's what we hope this'll help us do: finish the film so that we can share it with all of you.
If we can raise $50,000 by July 14th, we'll use those funds to sprint to the finish.
This film began as a small idea that has grown much bigger thanks to all of our supporters. Over the last few years, there has been occasional interest from possible larger investors, but I absolutely believe that the most appropriate way to fund this film is through a community of individual backers putting their resources and enthusiasm together.
This has been a labor of love, and I cannot wait until I can share it with you all.
Thanks so much for helping this project happen!
Director, "Dear Mr. Watterson" www.dearmrwatterson.com
Here are some stills from the film:
We feel that Kickstarter is not simply a retail environment where you can buy a product, but a platform where backers can help make projects happen. So, yes, $35 is more than the DVD will cost once the movie is completed, but if you become a backer, you'll always know that you were a part of this project.
When an editor used to cut a film by actually cutting and splicing the 16mm or 35mm film, their fingerprints would literally be physically on the film itself. This is your chance to figuratively put your fingerprints on a film about the greatest comic strip in the history of the universe, and we think that's worth a bit more than a DVD.
It is a little complicated. We would need a digital download service provider who would be able to provide us with a way to get the download securely to our backers, and from our research that is more difficult than you might first think. We plan on having the film available for purchase at the iTunes store and other services like that down the road, but that might not be able to happen until after the film has played in festivals, so that delays the delivery of the final film to those backers.
Also, since we had an earlier Kickstarter campaign for Production of the film, and this is our Post Production campaign, we have lots of backers who pledged at the $35 level to get a DVD of the film. If we were to offer a (digital) copy of the film at such a lower pledge amount, it would not be fair to our earlier backers.