Thanks for a nice first day!

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who supported our Kickstarter on our Moon Day opening, and
thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about it! You never really
know what’s going to happen, and I do hate the sound of those darned
crickets. So I’m really grateful that we had some noise on our opening
day.

How good is 2%?

That’s a little complicated to say: First, and most importantly, it is better than
any of our previous Kickstarter campaign attempts, including our successful
pre-production campaign! So that’s a really good sign.

Second, it falls short of the “linear projection to 100%” — if we only
continued at this rate, we’d hit about 60% at the end of the campaign.
Fortunately, that’s not really how Kickstarters work, but it does show
that we have to work to get the word out more.

Third — I kind of doubt it gave us the kind of opening spike that would really draw
attention to our project. We did managed to get on the “popular this
week” list for the “Film/Animation” category — so that’s something.
Gone are my fantasies of being the next “Veronica Mars” campaign (but
yeah, those weren’t very realistic — I wasn’t really expecting that).
There is still a chance that rapid growth this week could help produce
this snowballing effect.

Four — I seriously think we can make it to 100%. There’s a good chance,
based on the behavior of our previous campaigns, that we’ll balloon a bit
during the first week as the word gets out. We don’t have a large advertising
budget, so it takes a little more time for people to hear about us — we depend
heavily on word-of-mouth social-media connections. Chances are, you know other
people who’d want to see “Lunatics!” happen. Sharing and re-blogging is
very much appreciated!

Five — We did launch on the weekend, and of all times, the weekend of the
San Diego ComicCon, which may mean a lot of potential fans have their attention
elsewhere. With some luck, they’ll notice us when they get back home.

So… on the whole, I think 2% is pretty awesome. But we need a lot of help to
let people know about the campaign if we’re going to get to 100%.

I did actually do a little semi-conventional advertising this time around, instead of
relying entirely on word-of-mouth. We’ve got some ads on a number of
popular web comics, via “Project Wonderful”. I’ve generally avoided paid
advertising, but I decided it was worth $20 to find out if it would be
useful for us. I do know that at least one you discovered us through one
of those ads — so, welcome!

What’s next – Budget

It’s the middle of the night in the USA right now, so I’m not going to post
an elaborate update. Tomorrow, though, I will publish some details about
the budget we’re trying to raise money to support. I get a variety of
reactions to our goal of $42,000, ranging from “that seems like a lot of
money” to “how could you possibly make a 3D-animated film for that”?

I can offer some comparisons: The Blender Open Movie, “Sintel”, which was
just 15 minutes long, cost €400,000 (roughly $600,000 at the time).
“Elephants Dream” was a bit cheaper at around €120,000 (or about
$180,000). Recently, I backed another Kickstarter for “A Cautionary
Tale”, which was just finishing funds — that had a goal of $40,000 for a
13-minute film which used a combination of physical miniature sets and
computer-animated characters (best described as an “independent short
film”). Disney/Pixar, of course, typically spends over $100 million on a
2-hour 3D-animated feature film.

“No Children in Space” is approximately 55 minutes long — almost an hour.
And of course, the sets and props we are creating are actually meant to support an
on-going series, not just a one-off short film. That requires a much
higher level of thoroughness.

The animation is somewhat different — it intentionally focuses on the kind of
mechanical animation that is particularly easy to do with 3D animation. And so,
there will be quite a bit of path-based animation. We’ve also designed our
production with our limitations in mind. So for example, our characters have
mesh hair, and we’re using “toon shading” to give them a softer look. Also, the
physics in space are a little more “pure” — it’s somewhat easier to
animate a character drifting across a module in free-fall than to
convincingly animate them walking.

Even so, though, it’s still an ambitious amount of character animation,
and an ambitious amount of CG modeling to be done to support it.
Counting all of the extras and walk-on parts, there’s something like
50 characters in our pilot (clearly Bela Szabo is not going to single-handedly
make all of these. He’ll be making the main characters, and then some
base meshes we can modify to fill in the rest. This is similar to how all of the
background and crowd characters in “The Incredibles” were handled).
Chris Kuhn has already created some impressive mechanical models, including
the real “Gagarin Start” launch pad at Baikonur and the fictional Lunar
Transportation System “Moon Shuttle”.

So clearly, we’re trying to produce a very ambitious film with a very shoestring
budget. Figuring out how to do that has been quite a challenge.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to give you a closer look at how I’ve actually figured out
the minimal budget to make this film, and how I came up with $42,000 as our goal
here on Kickstarter. It can be done!

So good night, and again, thank you!