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AFK is a web series following the adventures of six gamers trapped inside their characters' bodies in the world of an online RPG.
AFK is a web series following the adventures of six gamers trapped inside their characters' bodies in the world of an online RPG.
281 backers pledged NZ$ 16,531 to help bring this project to life.

About

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NZ$ 16,531

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AFK would be a compelling and frequently hilarious look at what would happen to a group of modern gamers if they were suddenly forced to inhabit the world they (virtually) spend so long in.

Earlier this year we ran a kickstarter campaign to fund our web series, AFK. Since that first campaign, we have regrouped, learned a lot and gained a lot more support and exposure. Now we have an entire 22 minute pilot episode available online as a $15 pledge reward to really whet your appetite. Read on to learn more.

THE WORLD OF AFK

A place devoid of modern conveniences and technology, driven to live off the land.

They are AFK - away from keyboard. A group of disparate individuals forced to work together in a new land with no rules, no game masters, and no multiple lives ... only the fittest, fastest, strongest and most cunning will survive. Basically, AFK is: Lord of the Rings meets Battle Royale meets The Breakfast Club.

The main story arc would follow the lead character 'Q' searching for a way back to the real world and the child she left behind, while dealing with the various factions and splinter groups that form in the fantasy environment.

There would be chaotic roaming killers known as 'PKs' (Playerkillers) and bandit groups who would steal as much food, armour and weapons as they could get their hands on.

As well as that, there would be other, more peaceful communities that form, just trying to survive and protect themselves.

Groups may even form from existing real world guilds, with online rivalries carrying over into the new world. 

On top of these challenges, the characters also have to deal with their new bodies, identities, and in some cases, genders.

Q the Ranger (Mia Pistorius)
Q the Ranger (Mia Pistorius)
Jack the Rogue (Calum Gittins)
Jack the Rogue (Calum Gittins)
Steven the Warrior
Steven the Warrior
Brendon the Wizard (Grae Burton)
Brendon the Wizard (Grae Burton)
Maybel the Rogue (Ravi Narayan)
Maybel the Rogue (Ravi Narayan)
V'Rugga the Orc (Dallas Barnett)
V'Rugga the Orc (Dallas Barnett)

How would these very different personality types work together when they are thrown into this new and high stakes environment.

Their first meeting. Their first hunt. The first time they are forced to kill another player. Exploring a world that is at once familiar and strange. Deciding who wants to leave and who wants to stay.

All of these elements would ensure that AFK would have no shortage of drama, comedy and compelling story element.'

Q' wakes up in a world not her own, in a body not her own. Finding herself in an eerie graveyard, she is surrounded by people in a similar state of confusion, some of whom quickly turn their confusion to violence. 

 As the ensuing chaos grows, Q rescues Jack, a young rogue, from being attacked, and together they escape the graveyard into the surrounding countryside, piecing together what has happened as they go.

They are inside the bodies of the characters they play in the same MMO, but with none of their special skills or magic, only whatever abilities they have in the real world.

On top of that, the world seems to be deserted apart from the players. There are no farmers, no food vendors, no villagers ... only a large population of gamers, gradually realising they are inhabiting a world with no rules.

Fortunately, Q has many real world skills that translate well into the new environment. She is a re-enactor and a larper, well versed in swordplay, archery and outdoor living.

Jack is forced to face the uncomfortable truth that although he may have been a top dog in the game, in this environment he often has to bow to Q's wisdom in order to survive.

As the pair look for a safe haven, they meet other body and gender swapped players: a 15-year-old named Brendon trapped in the body of an adult wizard; a female warrior named Steven; a male gnome named Maybel; and finally, an eight-year-old boy inhabiting the body of a massive Orc called V'rugga who quickly becomes Q's protector. 

V'Rugga (Dallas Barnett) and Jack (Calum Gittins) have a difference of opinion
V'Rugga (Dallas Barnett) and Jack (Calum Gittins) have a difference of opinion

The mysterious Q very quickly sets a clear goal - find a way back to the real world so she can return to her child.

But first, she must transform her rag tag band of gamers into a team that can survive in an unpredictable world populated by griefers, campers, gankers and player killers.

Amy and Maybel, our two Gnomish characters
Amy and Maybel, our two Gnomish characters
Brendon the Wizard
Brendon the Wizard
One of the dangers the players must face..the Behemoth
One of the dangers the players must face..the Behemoth

The crew behind AFK are a group of seasoned professionals who have worked before on projects of many different genres and sizes.

We are a diverse mix of multi-skilled individuals who have immersed ourselves into this epic project and are committed to the success of the web series.

You can see a little of how well we work together in the video pitch for a horror movie named Penance, linked below.

 We also produced a short film earlier this year which won high praise from Peter Jackson himself.

'Very clever story-telling; terrific use of camera, visual Fx, and sound design plus wonderful performances, create a genuinely scary, very memorable tale.' - Peter Jackson 

AFK also has the full support of the local Larping and reenactment community, who have provided time and equipment towards the making of the pilot, and will continue to do so for the remainder of the series.

Who will AFK appeal to?

Many people in the cast and crew are avid gamers, and we understand the  unique feeling of exploring the world of a new game for the first time.

We want to try and recapture some of that magic in AFK, while adding an element of real danger.

There will be action, adventure, witty dialogue, romance and enough gaming references to appeal to the hardcore players, while still being accessible to more casual gamers, or even the general public.

One of the most desirable items on our rewards list, is our 22 minute pilot. Pledge your support, and you'll be sent a viewing link on completion of the campaign, whether it's successful or not. 

Donators will be able to choose rewards at many levels, but our highest ranking donators will receive some truly epic loot. From beautiful items such as the mystical choker made by Hannah of Kingsland...

+10 to stylishness
+10 to stylishness

To the rugged adventurers kit provided by local steampunk artisan Mike Hansen of Steamworks.

Ze googles do nuzing! (but at least you'll look cool)
Ze googles do nuzing! (but at least you'll look cool)
Weapon design may vary
Weapon design may vary

You could even score yourself a replica of a piece of armour worn by one of our cast.

Crush your enemies, etc.
Crush your enemies, etc.

Pick the one that suits your bank balance, and thank you in advance!

Other ways you can help:

Even if you're strapped for cash, there are plenty of ways you can help AFK become a reality:

  • Share this Kickstarter campaign on Facebook, Twitter, etc … 
  • Email the link to friends, family, and gamers.
  • Have a blog, or are active on a gaming forum? Let people know about us. 
  • Suggest us as a story to some of the bigger news sites..io9.com, or Kotaku.
  • Post our links on Reddit and other news sites. Basically, we never know which one is going to be the magic link that makes us go big, so every little bit counts.

Risks and challenges

It is definitely an ambitious web series, but can we do it? Well, if you look at our trailer and pilot episode, you'll see we've already made a pretty good start.

We aim to deliver the highest possible quality product for the budget.
The dream cast and crew who have already put in a great deal of work at no cost are all totally committed to this project and its success, because they believe in the concept and the story.

To reduce costs, we would also shoot as much as possible in easily accessible but picturesque areas, of which there is no shortage in the Auckland area.

As an example of this, the entirety of the promo trailer was shot in suburban Auckland, 90% in one small park. The pilot episode only ranged slightly further afield, maybe 20 minutes from the CBD (Right next to the countries main international airport!)

However, much like LOTR and The Hobbit, we would want to make the best use we can of the NZ scenery, and are currently in negotiations with tourism NZ to gain access for filming in some of the most beautiful places in the world, to really sell the idea of a fantasy world come real.

Many thanks for reading our pitch, and we hope to see you on the other side :)

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 5 or more About $4

    Guild Member: For $5 and above you will become an exclusive AFK Guild to receive Guild-only updates and behind-the-scenes videos showing you the process.

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    21 backers
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    Pledge NZ$ 10 or more About $8

    Food Vendor: Warrior needs food badly! Cast and crew, like RPG characters, need constant nourishment, otherwise they become cranky and refuse to quest. For $10, you can help provide our characters with enough food to survive the shoot, supplying them with the vital sustenance they need for the quest ahead. Let us know which character you would like to feed, and we'll take a photo of your chosen character with the food you helped provide, and a note thanking you personally.

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    11 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 15 or more About $12

    Achievement unlocked: Pilot! As well as being a Guild member with exclusive viewing access to behind-the-scenes videos, we'll also send a mystical password allowing early viewing access to the full 20-minute AFK pilot.
    (Please note: regardless of the outcome, the pilot will still be sent to you once this Kickstarter campaign ends, to say thanks for your support.)

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    43 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 20 or more About $16

    Pilot PLUS: As well as being a Guild member with exclusive access to behind-the-scenes videos, we'll also send a link to a site allowing you to download the full 20-minute AFK pilot, so you can watch it at your leisure. (Please note: regardless of the outcome, the pilot will still be sent to you once this Kickstarter campaign ends, to say thanks for your support.)

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    84 backers
    NZ$
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 25 or more About $20

    Muse: As well as being a member of the Guild, with Guild-only updates and behind-the-scenes videos, your generosity will inspire our bard, Luke of Glenfield, to compose an epic sonnet containing the names of our muses, and sing it out in an exclusive video made just for the muse level donators.

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    26 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 50 or more About $40

    Achievement unlocked: Autographs! Along with the exclusive Guild membership, behind-the-scenes videos and access to the 20 minute pilot download link, we will post you a signed A3 poster of the cast.

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    32 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 75 or more About $60

    Guild Veteran: Once you reach this rank, you will receive the following rewards - behind-the-scenes videos, pilot episode download file and a signed poster. You will also receive early access to the first four episodes of the series (plus the pilot, making 5 in total) allowing you to watch half the series before anyone else.

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    6 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 100 or more About $80

    Guild Officer: For this generous donation, not only will you receive the behind-the-scenes videos, pilot episode download file, and a signed poster, you will also be sent a link to view the entire series before it is released to the general public, allowing you to binge watch to your hearts content.

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    41 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 500 or more About $399

    Adventurer: - This legendary donator will not only receive the behind-the-scenes videos, pilot episode download file, entire series advance link and a signed poster, we'll also send them the AFK Adventure Pack which contains a customised steam punk pistol with leather holster, steam punk goggles plus a leather adventurer's pouch. Happy questing!

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    Limited 5 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 1,000 or more About $798

    Epic Loot: - For the discerning backer who desires a truly epic reward, we have one for you. You will become a Guild officer, receive the behind-the-scenes videos, pilot episode download file, entire series advance link and a signed poster, but we'll also send you the mystical choker made in brass and steel by local armourer Hannah of Kingsland. You'll be the envy of any adventuring party wearing this!

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 2,500 or more About $1,994

    Pauldron of might: - We can see that you not only want to support our cause, you want to be well protected while doing so. To aid you in this, as well as making you a Guild Officer with access to behind-the-scenes videos, pilot episode download file, entire series advance link and a signed poster, the director will craft a custom made gladiator's pauldron, like the one our female warrior wears in the pilot, just for you. Crush your enemies!

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 5,000 or more About $3,988

    Guild Master: - We bow before you, O generous one! Your name will be immortalised in our web series credits. You will be listed as Guild Master with access to behind-the-scenes videos, pilot episode download file, entire series advance link and a signed poster, and as a special reward befitting your rank, our bard Luke of Glenfield will compose a special sonnet in your honour which will be performed in a music video by members of our cast and crew.

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Funding period

- (30 days)