About this project
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This project is a new type of walk-thru diorama experience. Think of it as an experiment in storytelling. You'll walk thru my back yard which has been transformed into an abandoned field, then peer thru branches and weeds at the little buildings of the pumpkin people. Inside the buildings 2' tall pumpkins will be sitting and working, others will be waiting in the pumpkin health clinic, nursing their unfortunate wounds. One will be sitting at her boudoir, staring at a shattered mirror. There's dozens more scenes, and each is unique... the surgery suite... the knife sharpening shop…
Will it be free?
Yes, Fall of the Pumpkin People will be a free experience, this Halloween night, open to anyone who wants to wander through my backyard in Los Angeles, through the abandoned field to peek at the hidden village of the pumpkin people. We’re working on a ‘free timed-admission’ ticket system, just to keep the lines minimal, but that won’t be necessary for this first year. We’ll see.
What will be built for this first, premiere year?
This first year, Halloween 2012, will be small, maybe just 4 little buildings. It’s just a start; but there’s so much infrastructure, so many computer boards and electronics and servos to specify and build. And ya know, everything in this show is custom and unique...nothing's off-the-shelf for this crazy project. Slowly, in the next few years it will grow significantly. Just you wait!
Who is gerG, and why is he building this?
As an artist and ex-Imagineer, i've worked on dozens of theme park and museum projects over the decades. Some of my past projects have been the design/fabrication of the special effects for four of the Buzz Lightyear rides around the world (Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris), and so many other interesting, secret projects for Disney. Oh, and before the mouse, i was part of the small team that designed and built the original Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Florida. Boy, those were 3 difficult and wonderful years. Overall, the two main jobs i’ve had in this theme park industry are concept design and special effects design. This dream of the pumpkin people uses both of these skills, in a very unique way. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple years and have been designing it obsessively.
Is this initial Kickstarter goal sufficient?
I hope to reach this Kickstarter goal. I am putting a ton of my own money to build this project, and am amazed and excited that others want to help. It's great. But even with this Kickstarter, our first year costs will be very high. I’ll be spending tens of thousands of dollars of my own money on this first year, just on materials. Servos are expensive, and we’ll need dozens just to start. Custom parts and machining, amplifiers, custom servo/MP3 controller boards, not to mention PVC pipe, Gorilla Glue, solder, video and audio media costs, heim joints, stainless steel hardware, themed and practical light fixtures, rusted kitchen knives, corroded headphones, three 1950's nurse's caps, extension cords, bondo, sculpey and foam, work dinners for my friends, and black spray paint. Why is it we always run out of black spray paint?
I hope i've been able to share some of my enthusiasm for this idea. It's difficult, but i hope you understand. I’m gonna love having you wander through the abandoned field to peer at the hidden village of the little pumpkin people for the very first time...
Thank you so much.
You can follow this project on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FallOfThePumpkinPeople
So many people helped with this Kickstarter video. Thank you all!:
Warren did the videotaping.
Peter provided editing and mixing and ideas, and Peter chose some great sounds and music from Freesound:
The music box: nice-tune-0q-15mb by Setuniman (http://www.freesound.org/people/Setuniman)
The strings: scaryscape-voicestringcalling by suonho
The ticking: hand-powered-pillar-drill by Benboncan
And thanks to Daniel Johnston for his song Love Enchanted. It's wonderful.
Risks and challenges
Constructing and opening this project by this year's Halloween evening is certain; i've built and worked on crazy projects like this over the past 25 years. But the wish, the hope for this kickstarter is to build more of it and build it well and make it reliable, so we can re-use this work for future years.
Fall of the Pumpkin People IS an experiment in storytelling, and there are many unique challenges to this concept:
First, we have to find new ways to communicate a complex story to an audience who is wandering thru this little village. This format isn't linear. It's segmented; each building will have one part of the story. Can the audience piece the story of these pumpkin people together? Will they care? Only by creating this project and letting an audience experience it can we find out and then alter our technique to make the story clear.
Additionally, can i get an audience to care about these little pumpkin people?
My inspiration for this pumpkin people project became enriched when i studied the true biology of the genus Cucurbita...pumpkins. That deep research inspired some core story points. One of these core story points is that once their head gets cut, they die. You all know this when you carve a jack-o-lantern...it rots within a day or so. So these little guys are fearful of getting their faces cut. But can i create pumpkins without eyes or a mouth, and still get the audience to relate to them? This is key, but it's also severely restricting my artistic ability to communicate. I think i have many interesting ways to get around this, but it's going to be interesting to see how the audience accepts it.
And, we humans normally look at pumpkins with the stem on top. Here, these little guys use the stem as their neck. The pumpkins think we humans turn them upside down. Will the audience understand this and accept it? It's small, but it's key to the biology of these little pumpkin people...
It's all a challenge. A wonderful challenge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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