Thank you all for your support!

Thanks (And I’m sorry…)

Thanks to all of you for backing our project, even though it’s clear as the minutes tick down (in fact, it’s honestly been
pretty clear to me for a couple of weeks) that we’re not going to make our
goal. I could sell you some sunshine about how I’m not unhappy about
this, but actually it has in fact been an ego-crushing disappointment.
I made some misjudgments about how many people would back us and how
far news of our project would travel. I’m sorry about the disappointment
that we didn’t make it. It sure would have been better if we had.

I have, however, had a couple of weeks to get used to the idea.
And we are NOT stopping our production.

I’ve talked to the people involved, and no one is actually going to bail out
on us. What we are losing is priority and predictability. So the
schedule on producing “No Children in Space” may be shot. We’re going to
be re-arranging our priorities around the uncertainties of a
volunteer/amateur project now.

We’re also going to focus on what we can produce immediately, and try to get
more “finished work” out there to advertise the project.

What’s Next

First, because I want to do something nice for you amazing folks who’ve supported us, I
will be posting a little download package this week. It will have some
desktop background artwork with Lunatics!themes, and some
printables — I figured out how to put all of the finger-puppets on one
single Letter (or A4) sheet of paper. So that’ll be in there. I’ll post
another backer-only private update with the link. I may think of
something else. I’m going to work on that tomorrow.

Early next month, we are going to be finishing the audiodrama for “Earth”. It’s a
more conventional story than “No Children in Space” — more accessible,
faster-pacer, funnier, and more dialog-driven. It should work pretty
well as audio-alone. If we can work fast enough, I’ll have an
opportunity to get copies of it into the hands of some serious
science-fiction fans in October at “FenCon” in Dallas — perhaps we can
get a few of them to listen to it and get hooked. It’s a bit tight, so
I’m not positive we can make the deadline. If not, then we’ll try to
find a similar opportunity later. In any case, though, I will make sure
to make the audio download available through a private update like this
one.

We’ll be selling copies of the same audiodrama on CD as a major feature of another
campaign in September — probably through IndieGoGo,
using their “flexible funding” model (i.e. we get to keep what we can
raise). That way, we don’t have to go around again if we still don’t
make our goal (and the goal will be lower — I’d like to see if we can
raise the cash for the infrastructure requirements alone). It’s also
going to have a special category of rewards which are “artist
sponsorships” — i.e. money earmarked to pay Blender artists’
commissions. That will give you a little more control over where your
money goes. Also, some of the same rewards we’ve offered on this
campaign will be included on that one as well, although we’ll have to be
a little more careful about what we promise on a lower and uncertain
budget.

The fixed-funding model of Kickstarter has some
advantages, but it’s kind of fatiguing (I know it is to me, and I
suspect it is to you as well), and not necessarily appropriate for our
situation, where we’re going to do this anyway, and every bit is therefore going
to help. So please remember us for that — again, I will send an update when we launch.

If you have some skills (mainly Blender 3D skills) — even at an intermediate level — you may want to check out our
Wreck-A-Movie page, where you can contribute directly to the production. I’ve begun to add
“tasks” for the production, which are mostly things like modeling a
monument in Baikonur or a two-hump camel based on photographic
references.

Feedback / Changes

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on our campaign, our project, and our film.
After a lot of thinking, I’m certain I don’t want to change the film itself. It’s
important to me the way it is made, even if some people are going to
hate it. It is an unusual combination of features, but that’s because
it’s an original work — it’s not trying to be “just like” some other
production. It’s also not trying to fit into the genre-expectations of
American animation audiences — in fact, it’s challenging them. If
anything, it’s more in the tradition of Japanese anime works. In fact,
the pilot is probably going to look more like a Takahata film in style
and structure (I promise though, that a lot of the later ones will be faster-paced).
Sorry about that if that’s not what you wanted, but I never intended this to
be an “action/adventure” genre series. It’s also not really a “children’s film”
(and it’s certainly not a children’s series — a lot of the later episodes are most
definitely about the adults and adult issues). The pilot is about a journey made
by a mother and daughter together. And it’s told through the eyes of a child, because
it’s very specifically about the “element of wonder” that is central to
science-fiction. That will also be an on-going thread in the series,
although it will be juxtaposed with humor and human conflicts.

But it has been suggested to me (by people who’ve read both “No Children in
Space” and “Earth”) that we may have a similar problem to the one
Firefly did with the two “pilots”, “Serenity” and “The Train Job”. The network
execs found “Serenity” to be too slow and burdened with exposition. The
thing is, though, I personally really liked “Serenity” a lot better than “The Train Job”.
I like the slower, more deliberate pacing. And I’m doing that on purpose.
It’s hard though, to say “this is an adult show”, without people’s expectations running
to the other extreme, and thinking it’s going to be all sex and violence. It’s not.

But there are adult issues like parenting, responsibility, marriage,
politics, freedom, and personal liberty. We’re tackling a lot of the
subtler social and philosophical issues that surround space
colonization. A lot of that will go over the heads of children — at
least consciously (maybe it will affect them in later life the way
Star Trek
affected my personal values). But we do intend to have stories that
will interest children along with their families — most parents should
probably be okay with their kids watching the show (I say this with
caution, because parents have a lot of different opinions about what is
okay for their kids — ultimately you’ll have to make that decision
yourself).

So… thanks again, and I hope you will want to stick with us!