Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 16, 2012.

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I AM BIG BIRD is a documentary about Caroll Spinney, who has been Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969.

UPDATE 6: WE MADE IT... BUT WE'RE NOT DONE!

Wow.

We are in complete awe of what just transpired. We knew Caroll's story transcended age, gender, nationality and just about every barrier out there, but to see people rally around this film has been amazing. We're going to make I AM BIG BIRD... and it's all thanks to you.

We didn't pick the $100,000 number lightly--as a matter of fact, this film will cost a lot more than that. But we knew that with a minimum $100,000, we could make this film. And now we'll be able to. Thank you.

So what next? We know Caroll's story has staying power and it seems like our Kickstarter momentum has just gotten started. Now, we're aiming to break the record number of documentary backers. As we write this, we're at 1426 backers. The record is 6508. It's in our sights. Remember, every pledge--even a dollar--counts towards that goal. We've achieved one milestone--a crucial one--now let's take on the next one.

We have 6 days left to reach that hurdle and every pledge past $100,000 means we can make the film that we've envisioned, the film that we've been sharing with you for the last 24 days. Don't stop now, folks. Spread the word. Let's make history together.

Much love,

The I AM BIG BIRD CREW

UPDATE 5

Hey folks,

Well here we are. One week to go. Crunch time. With only 7 days remaining, we are $20,000 from our goal. How are we going to close that gap and surpass our goal with a fury? Why, with your help of course!

If you’ve already pledged, awesome. You’re the best. We love you. But we’d also love it if you found it in your heart to do more! You can call a friend and tell them about the film. You can Tweet about it. You can blog about it. Get the story out there!

Also, we’ve heard from tons of you that HAVE already pledged that you wanted a t-shirt, which we weren’t offering, or the alternate film poster designed by Caroll himself, which we only offered as part of the $500 package. In our ongoing effort to meet your demands, we’re now offering the official I AM BIG BIRD crew t-shirt for $30 and an unsigned poster designed by Caroll for $60. These are both KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVES. You’ll never get them anywhere else.

We know you also wanted the signed 2-disc Blu-Ray special edition, but those packages keep selling out. So, in a last ditch effort to make sure everyone that wants one gets one, we’re now offering a $150 package that has both the signed 2-disc Blu-Ray and the unsigned poster designed by Caroll. It’s a great deal for two Kickstarter Exclusives. This really is the last chance to get the 2-disc Blu-Ray!

Finally, in an effort to make it more accessible, we’ve SLASHED the cost of tickets to the New York premiere from $5000 to $1100. Again, we’ll never make these available to the public, so if you want to participate in what is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, get your tickets now! Don’t have $1100 but still want a chance to get to the premiere? Head over to YouTube and make a video response telling us what Caroll means to you and you’ll be entered to win two tickets to the premiere—for free!

If you haven’t pledged yet, here’s a friendly reminder: you’re running out of time. If we don’t hit our goal, all pledges are forfeited, no one is charged and I AM BIG BIRD won’t get made. And that would mean that all the content we’ve been sharing, like this great clip of Caroll talking about how he met his wife, is going to go back into the Spinney archive, never again to see the light of day. Help us keep bringing this amazing content to the world! Happy pledging!

Much love,

The I Am Big Bird Crew

UPDATE 3

Hey everyone!

We're about to start week 3 of our Kickstarter campaign and things are looking good!  We want you to know we appreciate what you guys have done for us.  We also want you to know that we have heard you!  We know people are really interested in getting the 2-disc Blu-Ray special edition signed by Caroll, but couldn't afford the $350 package it came in.

To that end, we've made limited quantities (50) of just the 2-disc Blu-Ray available for $99.  This Blu-Ray is going to be chock full of all the archival footage we couldn't get in the film and is a must-have for any Sesame Street or Muppet fan!  We can't stress enough that this is a KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE.  This special edition will never be available anywhere else.  Ever.  Get it?  If you've already pledged, you can simply increase your pledge and opt for this special edition.

Finally, in this week's clip, OK Go, rock band extraordinaire, tell you why they support our Kickstarter campaign!

Much love,

The I AM BIG BIRD Crew

UPDATE 2

Hi everyone!

We’re going to keep this update short, but we just wanted to thank you. A quarter of the way through our campaign, we’re almost at 37% of our goal—that makes us feel pretty great!

The response from Caroll's fans has been incredible. This outpouring of support is why we turned to Kickstarter in the first place.  It lets us interact with fans on a whole new level.  With Kickstarter, we're not tied to making the movie that an investor demands of us, rather we are free to make a film that honors Caroll's work and is true to who he is.  In essence, Kickstarter lets us make the movie the fans want to see--and as fans ourselves, that is crucial to us.

You’ve already done so much by pledging and we can’t thank you enough.  But since you’ve pledged, you obviously want to see this movie get made.  How can you help us do that? Tell your friends and family about the project.   Blog about it.  Tweet about it. Post flyers in the subway about it (not really, that might be illegal).

This campaign is only going to succeed if people know about I AM BIG BIRD so anything you can do to spread the word about the film is crucial.

And we’ll do our part too.   Do you have a blog and want to do a piece on the film?  Contact us and we’ll either do an interview or provide you with content to use there (we’ll also then share that blog and hopefully get you more traffic).  No outlet is too big or too small!  We’ll help however we can!

Finally, to celebrate our one week Kickstarter anniversary, here’s another clip from the film in which Caroll rehearses for a Christmas special with Michael Bublé.  We think you'll agree that it’s pretty charming. Enjoy!

Much love,

The I AM BIG BIRD Crew

UPDATE 1

Hi everyone!

When we first started this Kickstarter campaign, we thought we might post an update a day; however, since we started releasing photos and videos from Caroll's archive, we have been bombarded by emails from people telling us how Caroll impacted their lives.  Responding to each one personally takes time and is very important to us because your support and kind words mean the world to us.

It's simply amazing.  Many people have told us that they didn't know who Caroll was.  It's not that they were indifferent.  They, like us, had just always thought of Big Bird and Oscar not as puppets, but as beings. They just existed.  It seems like as people have gotten to know Caroll, even in the brief clips we've released, they've realized that the man behind the Bird is the man that makes the Bird.  In other words, Caroll is a remarkable person who deserves to be recognized for shaping generations of people.

We've had some early success in this campaign--and it's too early to say whether or not that will continue--and we believe that's all due to who Caroll is.  As we've said to countless people, he's exactly what you'd want the man inside Big Bird to be.  We hope that you take the time to get to know Caroll through the photos and videos we'll be releasing here and on Twitter over the next few weeks.  We also encourage you to visit our production journal to catch up on any photos or videos you might have missed.  We think you'll be glad you did, and we hope it moves you to pledge to help us tell Caroll's story to the world.

Finally, we've updated this page with a wonderful video of Caroll talking about how he met Jim Henson. The video features some touching moments from Jim, which came during the celebration of the 15 year anniversary of Sesame Street, which Jim chose to hold in honor of Caroll.  It's the sort of rare video that Caroll has tucked away in his archive that he's chosen to share with us so the world can get to know him a little bit better.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Thanks for reading, and please keep spreading the word.

Much Love,
The I AM BIG BIRD Crew

About I AM BIG BIRD

I AM BIG BIRD is a feature-length documentary about Caroll Spinney, who has been Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969 and at 78 years old, he has no intention of stopping. 

Think you know everything there is to know about Sesame Street?  You don’t.  You might know that Frank Oz turned down an offer to play Big Bird, but you probably don’t know that until a last minute change of heart by NASA, Big Bird was supposed to go to space aboard the Challenger.  Or you may know that Oscar the Grouch got his voice from a cantankerous cabbie, but you’d be surprised to learn that a fire in his trash can almost led to Caroll’s untimely demise. 

Caroll’s stories are the stuff of legend.  He has been a constant presence in our lives for over 40 years, his path weaving through American history like that of Forrest Gump.  His time inside the Bird has taught him about the world and about himself.  I AM BIG BIRD will peel away the instances in his life that inspired his creation of characters that have influenced generations of children. And, as the yellow feathers give way to grey hair, it is the man, not the Muppet, who will steal your heart. 

What You'll See

In addition to compelling interviews with Caroll and his luminary cronies, I AM BIG BIRD will feature fascinating material from Caroll’s personal archives.  Among the treasures in the Spinney vault, we’ve found…

…never-before-seen footage capturing unscripted moments of Caroll with giants like Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson. 

…Caroll’s short films, in which he showcases his skill in animation, a talent which led to a job offer at Disney… which Caroll turned down.

…Thousands of snapshots and hundreds of hours of videos that capture his undying love for his wife.

…Art displaying his hidden passion for illustration.

…Puppets that were lovingly crafted by Caroll’s mother over 70 years ago and that he still uses today. 

We’re using these amazing artifacts to create a dynamic portrait of an unknown man whose characters have had unrivaled influence in American pop culture. 

Why You'll Love It

You haven’t outgrown Sesame Street.  Maybe it won’t be the opening strains of the theme song that brings memories rushing in, but at some point during I AM BIG BIRD, a skit, a line or a character will bring you back. I AM BIG BIRD won’t just give you a chance to relive these moments, it will let you see them through Caroll’s eyes.  And when it finally becomes clear that Caroll doesn’t just operate Big Bird and Oscar, he gives him their souls, you’ll realize just how much impact the faceless puppeteer has had on your life. 

You know his characters. Isn’t it time to get to know Caroll? 

Why We Need the Dough

We made it through pre-production and now we’re facing the two costliest parts of making a film: production and post-production.  The money we are aiming to raise on Kickstarter is targeted for three very specific areas: 

-Production Travel—Caroll has spent his career criss-crossing the globe; in order to truly feel his impact, we’ll need to retrace some of those steps—and that doesn’t come cheap! 

-Rights/Licensing/Clearances—The costs associated with licensing Big Bird, Oscar or Caroll’s appearances on programs outside of Sesame Street can be astronomical.  Unfortunately, many of these sorts of cameos are integral to the film. 

-Production Crew—in order to assure that we give Caroll’s story the treatment it deserves, we need to make sure we have the best people at each position.  We have a solid network of freelancers, but those freelancers need to get paid!

FAQ

  • The answer to this one is pretty simple: we went to http://USPS.com and calculated what the reward shipping would be. To send a DVD/Blu-Ray via Priority Mail International, the flat rate is $16.95. To ship a poster and a DVD/Blu-Ray via the same service, the total price comes to $35. In other words, if we don't charge that fee, we're losing money and when you multiply that by a large number of backers, it could hurt our ability to make the film. We are sorry for this inconvenience and hope that an international backer who wants to see the film will at least opt for the digital download if they don't want to add the extra money for shipping.

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  • In addition to having jacket art designed by Caroll Spinney, this special edition is going to be chock full of extras. We have access to literally hundreds of hours of video and thousands of photos from Caroll's archive. There's just not enough room in the film for all that material. Still, we know fans want to see it, so we're going to get as much of it as we can on this 2-disc set.

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  • Sadly, you cannot. This 2-disc special edition is a KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE. You will only be able to get it here.

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  • Great question!
    It's hard to say what the alternative poster will look like as Caroll is still designing it. We suggest visiting one of the following sites to get an idea of what his art is like:
    http://carollspinney.net/ (Click on the "Caroll's Art" link)
    http://carollspinney.com/artist.html
    http://www.genesisgalleryhawaii.com/CarollSpinney.htm

    This poster is a Kickstarter exclusive, so if you collect movie or Sesame memorabilia, you should consider making a pledge for this poster!

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  • Yep. It's a special offer because so many people wanted the Blu-Ray, but couldn't afford the $350 package it was offered in, so we stripped everything out and we're just offering the Blu-Ray for this price. Remember, it's a KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE!

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    Muppet fans, you asked for it, you got it--but this is the only place you'll be able to get this for this price. Ever. The 2-disc special edition Blu-Ray signed by Caroll Spinney. This edition has cover art designed by Caroll Spinney, includes archival footage not seen in the film and features Caroll's short films. (Non-US, please add $17 for shipping)

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    The 2-disc special edition Blu-Ray signed by Caroll Spinney PLUS a digital download of the film and soundtrack and access to the production blog. This edition is a KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE and has cover art designed by Caroll Spinney, includes archival footage not seen in the film and features Caroll's short films. Get it before it's sold out--it won't be available anywhere else! (Non-US, please add $17 for shipping)

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    The 2-disc special edition Blu-Ray signed by Caroll Spinney PLUS an unsigned alternate I AM BIG BIRD movie poster designed by Caroll himself AND a digital download of the film and soundtrack and access to the production blog. The poster and Blu-Ray are KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVES and will never be available anywhere else. The Blu-Ray has cover art designed by Caroll Spinney, includes archival footage not seen in the film and features Caroll's short films. (Non-US, please add $35 for shipping)

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    Exclusive invitation to a 60-minute group video chat with Caroll Spinney, moderated by the I AM BIG BIRD filmmakers, a DVD or BluRay signed by Caroll Spinney, a digital download of the film and soundtrack, plus access to the production blog (Non-US, please add $17 for shipping)

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    An original, signed sketch by the hand of Caroll Spinney, plus an invitation to the video chat, the signed alternate I AM BIG BIRD film poster, the 2-disc special edition DVD or BluRay, a digital download of the film and soundtrack and access to the production blog (Non-US, please add $35 for shipping)

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    Tickets for backer and guest to attend the New York premiere of I AM BIG BIRD (travel expenses are responsibility of the backer), plus a sketch from Caroll, an invitation to the video chat, the signed alternate I AM BIG BIRD film poster, the 2-disc special edition DVD or BluRay, a digital download of the film and soundtrack and access to the production blog (Non-US, please add $35 for shipping)

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    A private dinner for the backer and guest with Caroll Spinney in New York, premiere tickets for backer and guest (travel expenses for both events are the responsibility of the backer), plus a sketch from Caroll, an invitation to the video chat, the signed alternate I AM BIG BIRD film poster, the 2-disc special edition DVD or BluRay, a digital download of the film and soundtrack and access to the production blog (Non-US, please add $35 for shipping)

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