About this project
8/4/2015: The Hoodie design!
The number one question we've been getting is whether or not we've posted the hoodie design yet, and I've been reluctant to commit to doing so until I knew the design was truly ready. And I can tell you right now - it's beautiful.
The chest portion will be embroidered, and the clocktalk on the sleeve and lower back will be screen printed, black-on-black.
So a couple of things to note:
1. Everyone has been asking me what hoodie "type" this will be made of, and I was told it would be the same as the Thanks Obama hoodie we sell on the store. Well, the designers decided to upgrade it to a more expensive type, but unfortunately we lose the thumbholes. So if you were dead set on the thumbholes, we understand if you have to change your pledge BUT...
2. ... The upgrades to this hoodie are now have an athletic, water resistant, tight weave to it (water beads on it, rather than soaks it up). Although it is obviously a very cool and useful feature, the reason for it was more aesthetic - the sheen to the material was decided to be more thematically appropriate for Automata, and it really made the black-on-black design pop. For sizes 4x and above, it'll be the same design but with a slightly different hoodie blank (same color).
3. If you have not purchased the hoodie yet, you still can via our add-on offer ($70 per hoodie for domestic, $75 for international). If you'd like to take advantage of the add-on offer, go to this page and click "Manage" on the right side. Add $70/75 per hoodie to that amount, and then when we send out the surveys, we'll ask you how many of the ADD-ON Hoodie you wanted. (Yes, you can add on as many hoodies and add-on pins as you'd like - we will sort it out at the survey process)
And as with all the stuff here, this hoodie will NEVER be made or sold again outside of this kickstarter campaign.
Thank you everyone! We've got 6 days to go!!
7/28/2015: 2 Weeks Left! ANOTHER PIN DESIGN!
Wait, what do you mean another pin design? You only have one pin available on this campaign, right?
That was true... UNTIL NOW!
We're offering a Second, Completely Different and Unique pin design for those pledging at the PIN DESIGN tier or higher as an optional ADD-ON. If you'd like this new design, add $25 per Add-On pin (regardless if you are shipping internationally or domestically).
This pin is DUAL LAYER, so the broken Carl mask will sit on top of the base level. This pin will NEVER be made or sold again, so not only is it exclusive for the next two weeks, but the quantity made will be limited to that actually ordered for this Kickstarter Campaign. The quantity made will be stamped on the back of the pin.
So if you'd like to take advantage of the add-on offer, go to this page and click on "Manage" on the right side. You can change the amount at the top without changing the reward. So, for instance, you are currently at the $150 tier, there's a little box with your pledge amount in it (it says "It's up to you. Any amount of $1 or more." to the right of it). Add $25 to that amount, and then when we send out the surveys, we'll ask you how many of the ADD-ON Pin you wanted.
Also! If you added on the Hoodie already, you can stack that as well! No worries, we'll get it all sorted in the Post-Campaign Survey stage!
Two weeks left and 10k to go! We should be able to close this out soon, and then it's stretchgoal territory! Thank you everyone!
7/22/2015: HOODIE ADD ON UPDATE!
We've been getting tons of emails and messages asking us to open up more hoodies... so the best way to do this without messing with the rarity of the pins is to offer it to you as an add-on at ANY LEVEL. What this means is if you want a hoodie (or an additional hoodie), INCREASE your pledge level by $70 for U.S. addresses and by $75 for International addresses, and we'll make sure you get the exclusive hoodie. (do it again if you want additional) When it comes time to issue out our surveys, we'll ask you if you pledged for an additional hoodie and what size you asked for etc.
Click on "Manage" on the right side, you can change the amount at the top without changing the reward. So, for instance, you are currently at the $55 tier. There's a little box with $55 in it (it says "It's up to you. Any amount of $1 or more." to the right of it) - you can change it there.
Six years ago, we released this comic.
Since then, it's spawned two additional mini-series (Blood & Oil and Silverside), a dedicated base of fans, and even interest from Hollywood. The goal from the beginning - with any of our side projects - is to find someone who loved it enough and could dedicate the time necessary to fully flesh out the Automata universe. That happened pretty quick: before we knew it, we were in talks with a number of different movie studios. To us, it became not a matter of if, but when, we'd be able to buy a ticket and watch a very, very large Carl and Detective Regal brooding on a movie screen.
But after spending four years trying to do things the "Hollywood Way," we've learned one thing: It's really really hard to get a movie made. The negotiations, the moving parts, the politics… Even when we had a property optioned - another project called The New Kid - it's not really a guarantee that anything will ever happen. The words "Period Piece" and "Sci Fi" together in close proximity give that town the hives. We found ourselves right back where we started.
But, maybe that isn't such a bad thing.
We went back to the drawing board, and with the help of friend and filmmaker Van Alan, we laid out the most pragmatic plan for what it would take to make an Automata series ourselves. Locations visited, scripts written, test footage shot - after two years of work from Van and his team, it started to seem like something we might actually be able to pull off.
Making a live action mini-series is expensive, and maybe not a very good "investment" in the classic sense. An actual movie studio would have a "portfolio" of films where one or two hits covers the losses for the rest of their lineup. Well, THIS IS THE ONLY ONE WE HAVE. And it doesn't have to make money - it just has to pay for itself. Its only responsibilities are:
1. Get made, and
2. Be cool
... We'll handle the second one, if you can handle the first. Sound good?
TELL ME MORE
The series will tell an original Automata story over five webisodes, each episode roughly 10-12 minutes long. Van has been working closely with Tycho/Jerry Holkins (that's, um, me) on the script. I don't really want to spoil it in, like, the Kickstarter pitch, but...
Read at your own intense risk for spoilification:
Sam & Carl are hired by a wealthy businessman to spy on his wife. When she winds up dead, and an automaton goes missing, Sam & Carl find themselves wound up in an intricate plot of sex, intrigue, and deception. It will be rad. The end.
If the project funds successfully, Van and his crew are going to get started on this IMMEDIATELY. They will begin casting the key roles, building sets, working on the VFX, etc. They're raring to go.
They'll "shoot" (movie term) before the end of the year, and those that back via the digital download reward will get to view it in the Summer of 2016, 3 months ahead of the worldwide release.
Tell me about Van and his crew!
VAN ALAN : Van is a Seattle-based filmmaker originally from Houston, TX. He has directed numerous music videos for bands such as The Presidents of the United States of America, Better Than Ezra, and Copeland. He has written and directed four short films and has been selected as a participant in the Texas Filmmakers Showcase in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, Van moved to Seattle to work with Penny Arcade to produce and direct their reality web-series and became the go-to guy to capture PAX conventions and other video projects.
WILL LUMMUS : Will is an independent film producer originally from Nacogdoches, TX. In 2009, he moved to Seattle and became integrated into the Seattle Independent Film Community, working as a production and location assistant and eventually location coordinating and producing. His recent production credits include films such as Touchy Feely, Laggies, You Can’t Win, Captain Fantastic, and Ridley Scott’s The Man In The High Castle.
LACEY LEAVITT : Lacey is a Seattle-based producer. She has produced and co-produced many of the best Seattle indie films of the last five years including Colin Trevorrow's Safety Not Guaranteed (Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson), Lynn Shelton's Laggies (Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Chloe Grace Moretz) Megan Griffiths' Lucky Them (Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, Johnny Depp), and Todd Rohal's The Catechism Cataclysm (Steve Little, Robert Longstreet). She's a Sundance Creative Producing Lab alum and also co-directed the roller derby documentary Blood on the Flat Track.
That's a really... interesting... funding goal.
We think so, too. After running two decent sized Kickstarter projects, we now know more about the tiny details of running them. We've seen how expensive rewards get, we've backed projects that failed, and we wondered if there wasn't a clearer way to handle it.
If you're interested in the nuts and bolts, business guy Robert Khoo put together this summary.
You’ve probably noticed that the goal for this project is a weird number. $322,637.09 is an oddly specific figure, some might say. Well, let’s break down that number to make sure you, as a backer, know what your money is actually going toward.
Let’s first start with this: $251,842.46. That’s the ACTUAL cost of producing the series. The breakdown of this budget, put together by Van, are as follows.
You may have heard that Van was able to secure funding from the State of Washington which reduced the budget by $46,000. So we can go ahead and deduct that amount right off the top from $251,842.46, which leaves us with $205,842.46 that we need to raise from backers via Kickstarter.
But wait! $205,842.46 doesn’t match up with $322,637.09 we’re asking for. Where did that extra money go? Well, two things.
1. Based on our previous Kickstarter projects, we now know our average Reward Cost Rate is 27.7%. That means for every dollar you kick in, it actually costs us (on average) 27.7 cents to produce and fulfill the reward you asked for. This includes design, production, warehouse labor, and even the box and tape that is necessary to ship the thing.
2. The Kickstarter Fee is 5%. The average processing fee is 3.5%.
Since we know it’ll cost us 27.7 cents for every dollar we raise AND we need to pay Kickstarter and CC companies their fees, we need to raise more than $205,842.46. In fact, after accounting for Rewards and Fees, you can see where we reach our actual goal of $322,637.09.
This makes more sense if we do it in reverse:
$322,637.09 is what we’re asking for.
Kickstarter and credit card fees knock off 8.5%. That leaves us with $295,212.94
To fulfill the rewards of $322,637.09, it’ll cost us 27.7% of that. That breaks down to $89,370.47. $295,212.94 less $89,370.47 is... <drum roll> $205,842.46.
Risks and challenges
I would say the biggest risk we will run into are with budget overruns and unforeseen delays in productions. We've been working with Van for the past four years now on PA: The Series and other projects, and he's one of the most skilled project managers we know. But again, there are still things that could come up that no one could possibly be aware of. You have both Penny Arcade and Van's promise that if this funds, this project is going to get done.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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