UPDATE: I've added a new reward level. For a $199 contribution you can get everything from the $50 dollar reward level plus a 3d Print of Buck Chili. There are only 10 available.
Hello cartoon fans. My name is Chris Neuhahn, an Emmy and Annie winning producer and animator, and I love cartoons. I've had a hand in creating shows like Penguins of Madagascar, Planet Sheen, and the recently premiered Monsters vs Aliens at Nickelodeon. And I've made a few solo projects like Vacant Planet.
Now I am heading up a new project called
Factions is a show that captures the feeling from when I was kid watching movies and cartoons. Humor and a real sense of danger. It has spies, guns, car chases, exotic locations and villains. Factions is all about fun.
Buck Chili and Julius Jones left the stodgy CIA to fight espionage without all the bureaucracy. Now they play things a little looser at the independent spy agency Man of Action Network. Buck swears the Acronym is M.O.A.N but its actually M.A.N.
Man of Action Network doesn't have the giant budgets of the CIA but Buck and Jones don't need satellites or gadgets or backup; they dive into a situation and sort it out afterwards. They get by on their wits (or 'borrow' some satellites and gadgets from the CIA). And being crack shots doesn't hurt either.
But The CIA isn't out of the picture. It's often a race between MAN and the CIA to stop the world's most dangerous spies and terrorists.
The top CIA agents are McManus and Murphy. They don't much like the methods of Buck and Jones. The men from MAN are smart asses. They break rules and generally screw off too much, they argue with each other and worst of all they make McManus and Murphy look bad. Buck and Jones wouldn't disagree with all that but their results speak for themselves. They are the best in the business and that just rubs the CIA wrong.
McManus is a beautiful but humorless female agent with a few years experience. Murphy is enthusiastic but green. He's torn between the professionalism of McManus and the results of Buck and Jones. Plus he secretly thinks Buck and Jones are the coolest thing ever.
Rather than jumping right into making the series I'm doing this project in three phases. Each one designed to earn and build upon the trust of the audience and Kickstarter community.
Phase One will be producing 6 or more 10-30 second shorts. These will be to introduce the action and humor of Factions to the world. They will also help nail down the production pipeline for future episodes. Most of the scripts are written, and the dialog for the first one is recorded.
Phase Two will be a larger undertaking to create a pilot episode for the series. This will be a ten minute episode that sets up the series. The script is nearly finished.
Phase Three is the ultimate goal: The production of Season 1 of Factions. The season will consist of ten episodes of about ten minutes each.
For now it's Phase One. The shorts will help further develop the production pipeline and push the quality well past the teaser trailer. The new version will feature all rebuilt characters. They will be rendered with Vray (a special professional rendering system) which has made huge improvements in the look. I had always set out to make Factions feel like stop-motion and Vray is going a long way to make that happen. But I'm using the watermarked demo version. That's where Kickstarter comes in.
Why Launch a Web Series on Kickstarter:
In my position I certainly have the contacts to pitch the show to a cable network. But I want to have the freedom to make the cartoon as I see it. Not only is online content the future of entertainment, it is the great equalizer. There is no middleman between creator and audience. No gatekeeper of content.
Where the money goes:
I want to push the visual quality of Factions. The tests and trailer were done quickly as a proof of concept. With that milestone reached I can turn to finalizing the show's visual style. The characters are being rebuilt so they look like they're made of wax and the sets are made to look like stop-motion miniatures. Additionally more rendering power is needed as are sound design and music.
Money raised beyond the goal will go towards higher quality music and sound, and for the next phases.
I've tried to make reward levels available that usually involve much larger investments for animated projects. There will be full HD downloads, signed scripts and signed full-color script books that include production stills and concept art. My favorite rewards are the animated thank-you where contributors can chose which character personally voices thank-you. And at the highest level are the 5-inch tall Buck Chili and Julius Jones figurines.
And how about some stretch goals! If the funding hits $5,000 all levels will get all the HD downloads and all pledges above $50 will get a T-Shirt with the Factions logo. And should it hit $10,000 all pledges above $600 will get the 5-inch tall Buck Chili and Julius Jones figurines.
And finally to show appreciation for loyalty anyone who pledges over $50 will be kept on a list to receive extra rewards after pledging on the next Phase.
Risks and challenges
Producing six minutes of polished and engaging animation is a challenge for any artist or studio. But with fifteen years in broad media production and eight years in television series production, I've been involved with delivering more than 260 eleven-minute cartoons. I'm cognizant and vigilant of all the problems that can plague a project. Snags and hiccups can pop up in any section of my animation pipeline but I'm confident I can handle all potential problems.
And by building this project in phases the Kickstarter community can see the goals met on a smaller scale before pledging on a large $100,000+ production.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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