Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 14, 2012.

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A documentary film exploring the art & impact of the greatest comic strip ever: Calvin & Hobbes.

UPDATE!

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!

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The Film

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!

Joel

Director, "Dear Mr. Watterson" www.dearmrwatterson.com

Here are some stills from the film:

Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County, Outland, Opus)
Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County, Outland, Opus)
An original Calvin & Hobbes strip
An original Calvin & Hobbes strip
Bill Amend (FoxTrot)
Bill Amend (FoxTrot)
Jef Mallett drawing Frazz
Jef Mallett drawing Frazz
Seth Green (co-creator, Robot Chicken)
Seth Green (co-creator, Robot Chicken)
Dan Piraro (Bizarro)
Dan Piraro (Bizarro)
The final strip
The final strip
Lee Salem (Watterson's editor at Universal Press Syndicate)
Lee Salem (Watterson's editor at Universal Press Syndicate)
Jean Schulz (Board President, Charles M. Schulz Museum)
Jean Schulz (Board President, Charles M. Schulz Museum)
Stephan Pastis working on Pearls Before Swine
Stephan Pastis working on Pearls Before Swine
An original Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay
An original Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay
Jan Eliot inking Stone Soup
Jan Eliot inking Stone Soup
Tony Cochran (Agnes)
Tony Cochran (Agnes)
Hilary Price (Rhymes with Orange)
Hilary Price (Rhymes with Orange)
Brian Anderson (Dog Eat Doug)
Brian Anderson (Dog Eat Doug)
Charles Solomon (Animation & Comics Historian)
Charles Solomon (Animation & Comics Historian)
Wiley Miller at work on Non-Sequitor
Wiley Miller at work on Non-Sequitor
Keith Knight (The Knight Life, K Chronicles)
Keith Knight (The Knight Life, K Chronicles)
Pogo, by Walt Kelly
Pogo, by Walt Kelly
Norm Feuti (Retail, Gil)
Norm Feuti (Retail, Gil)
Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum)
Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum)
Jenny Robb (OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum)
Jenny Robb (OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum)
Joe Wos (Toonseum)
Joe Wos (Toonseum)
John Glynn (Universal Uclick)
John Glynn (Universal Uclick)
Nevin Martell (author, "Looking for Calvin & Hobbes")
Nevin Martell (author, "Looking for Calvin & Hobbes")
Lucas Turnbloom (Imagine This)
Lucas Turnbloom (Imagine This)
Dave Kellett (Sheldon, Drive, "Stripped")
Dave Kellett (Sheldon, Drive, "Stripped")

FAQ

  • 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.

    Last updated:
  • 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.

    Last updated:
1,724
Backers
$96,772
pledged of $50,000 goal
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  • Pledge $3 or more
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    204 backers

    $1 for Calvin, $1 for Hobbes, & $1 for Bill Watterson. You'll get access to our Kickstarter updates (non-backers get them later or not at all), and that pleasant feeling of satisfaction.

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    39 backers

    You'll get an online Thank You on our website, plus all of the above.

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    777 backers

    You'll get a DVD of the film, plus all of the above. International backers, please add $8.

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    379 backers

    DVD of behind-the-scenes footage and/or extended interviews, plus all of the above, and the DVD of the film will be signed by crew members. Plus all of the above. International backers, please add $8.

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    123 backers

    "Special Thanks" credit in the film plus all of the above. International backers, please add $8.

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    87 backers

    All of the above, plus you'll get an 11" x 17" Dear Mr. Watterson movie poster, signed by the director and any crew members who aren't worn out after signing DVDs. International backers, please add $8.

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  • Pledge $150 or more
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    28 backers Limited (222 left of 250)

    All of the above, plus we'll send you a Sunday Calvin & Hobbes strip cut out from the newspaper that we've used while making the film. If you're like me, you don't have those originals that you cut out back in the 80s and 90s.... International backers, please add $15.

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  • Pledge $200 or more
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    14 backers Limited (86 left of 100)

    All of the above, plus we'll send you two additional copies of the film on DVD to give to fellow Calvin & Hobbes enthusiasts. International backers, please add $15.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    9 backers Limited (11 left of 20)

    All of the above, plus, I, Joel, the director of Dear Mr. Watterson, will write you a personal thank you note using a Calvin & Hobbes pad of paper I made in junior high school. And I'll send it in an awesome homemade Calvin & Hobbes envelope.

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  • Pledge $1,250 or more
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    7 backers All gone!

    Associate Producer credit in the film, and all* of the above, plus an invitation to our first official screening in Los Angeles. (You will be responsible, however, for your own transportation and lodging). *Only a certain number of pages of the Calvin & Hobbes notepad pad remain, so if the $500 level sells out, 'replica' pages may be used for your thank-you note.

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    3 backers All gone!

    Associate Producer credit in the film and all of the above, plus an invitation to our first official screening in Los Angeles. (You will be responsible, however, for your own transportation and lodging).

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Funding period

- (29 days)