A series of quality animated shorts designed to provide a concise and accessible introduction to the rationality of secular reasoning.
Addendum to the video: I've received a number of messages asking about what our particular viewpoints are, and what opinions we will be sharing through these videos. A lot of these questions came from the misleading phrase in the video "...what atheists and freethinkers actually believe." To be clear, I recognize atheism as nothing more than the rejection of theistic god claims. Positive belief claims are an entirely other issue, and vary between team members. To get a feel for what views I personally hold, feel free to read through this booklet I wrote a while back as a defense of my views. This booklet is what eventually inspired this project's creation.
A bit about the project: If you search "atheism" on YouTube, you will find yourself with over 160,000 results to sort through. Many of these videos are either passionate rants against religion, or in-depth philosophical debates and speeches about a variety of subjects. For a new-found freethinker, or simply someone curious about hearing the other side to an issue, this can be incredibly daunting. Where to begin? Which questions do I really need to be asking? How can I make sense of all of these top-tier philosophers' arguments? As a Christian, how can I gain knowledge from these activists if they spend the majority of their time telling me that I'm a lunatic? These are the problems plaguing the realm of secular activism, and this project aims to assist in simplifying that. The Animated Freethought Project aims to create a fun, funny, engaging, non-offensive and easily-accessible introduction to secular reasoning and life without God.
Animated Freethought will be represented by an assortment of animated series'. Although we plan to continue creating new episodes and series' into the future, for the sake of this Kickstarter, we have set specific aspects of the project for this fundraiser to attribute its funds to. The goal is to create "pilots" of three series', so three episodes in total. Each series will be created with its own unique style and will require its own original assets. Once the pre-production and assets (storyboards, character designs, character rigs, environments, etc.) are created, animating the actual episodes will be a breeze. The funds will go towards purchasing quality microphones and animation software (including the Adobe CS Suite and automatic lip-sync extensions to cut production time drastically).
Here are some working ideas for the three series'. They are in the early stages of production and are prone to change.
The first involves a Christian teenager who is curious about the world, and begins asking questions. An atheist responds to his questions, through a variety of easy-to-understand ideas and metaphors, complete with animated examples and such. Story will be heavily involved, and the future episodes will continue plot threads and character arcs. This simple series aims to establish the foundations for secular reasoning, and to provide a clear path to rationalism and intellectual honesty. Clarity is the focus here.
The second series involves two dinosaur friends discussing the meaning of life and existential issues while they watch the meteor which will destroy them approach earth. The topics covered will involve consciousness, the origins of life, and purpose.
The third series will aim to provide hard evidence to the uninformed. It will feature a scientist who begins teaching at a "Bible Belt" school and is shocked by the scientific ignorance of the students. Topics covered will include evolution and natural selection, the classical arguments for God's existence, and how something can come from "nothing." This series will portray our natural world as the beautiful and wondrous reality that it is.
We are all students and alumni of the Savannah College of Art and Design and we place a high standard of quality on each other. We aim for our work to stand out as it is distributed online and for it to assist in spreading our secular "good news" to the world.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Creating animated shorts is always a huge challenge. Computers die, software crashes, hard drives get erased, and workloads always exceed expectations. We all attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and are either seniors or have already graduated. The animation majors among us have gone through the process of creating a senior film. Our school has successfully prepared us for the challenges of creating film and animation.
We've all been using and have been trained in Adobe software for years, and have solidified many workflows that are tested and efficient. While we will look into freeware if the Kickstarter falls through, relearning and adjusting to an entire new suite of software would be very time consuming and challenging, especially when for a non-paying side project, such as this.
Our school provides us with this software but the activation codes expire as soon as we graduate (within the next few months). Production on these shorts won't start revving up too much until we graduate, since we are hard at work on finishing our senior films at the moment. Before that happens, we'll need to purchase full student versions, which do not expire after graduation. They are around $400 a piece.