We are now actively looking for collaborators to work with us on model development, rigging, and animation for "No Children in Space", the pilot episode of "Lunatics", a free-culture animated science-fiction web series about the first settlers on the Moon.
This production will have a very different emphasis from previous Blender Open Movie projects, in that we are focused primarily on the storytelling and are working on a longer format story (the pilot is about an hour, most episodes will be 30 minutes long). Thus, the emphasis for Lunatics will be on rapid workflow and reuse of material to maximize animation and model assets, and less on extremely intricate models or photorealistic rendering.
In fact, we hope to make extensive use of non-photorealistic rendering through the use of the "Freestyle" renderer. We also hope to use motion capture data and digital puppetry techniques to provide "performance-based"/"near real-time" animation. There will also be extensive physical simulation and path-based animation in this project, as we also need to simulate a lot of space hardware (this is particularly true of the pilot episode).
To give you an idea of the aesthetic we're hoping to achieve, here's the character lineup artwork that we created for our pre-production Kickstart backers. As you can see, the background is rendered with more texture and photorealism than the foreground characters -- this is something like the "masking effects" as described by Scott Adams in "Understanding Comics". This is a very common technique in Japanese manga and anime, which is a major source of inspiration for "Lunatics".
I should mention that the appearance of the wall and floor here are not quite as realistic as I would prefer, but I was trying to keep it simple for this poster. The moonscape behind the windows has texture and the Earth is actually an unmodified NASA image, so it's completely photorealistic.
I would ideally like to break down the tasks into these roles -- possibly each role is one full-time or part-time intern, but the actual distribution of roles will depend on the talents of those who apply:
|Role||Effort (FTE*)||How Long (Months)|
|"Mech" & Set Modeling||1.0-1.5||2|
|Rigging (& Pyppet)||1.0||2|
|2D Synfig Animator||0.5||2|
|Traditional 3D Key Frame Animator||1.0||1|
|5.1 Surround Sound Mixing||0.5||1|
|Digital Terrain Mapping (GRASS)||0.5||1|
"FTE" = "Full Time Equivalent": so 1.0-1.5 means "either one full-time person, or 2-3 part timers".
"CC" = "Community Call": These are things we might ask the Blender community to contribute.
Although on this project, we are more focused on free culture than on free software, you will be expected to do this work using Blender, Gimp, Inkscape, Synfig, or other free-software tools. This is the easiest way to ensure that our source files are in a format that will remain accessible and editable for anyone (including other team members).
"Remote Internship" stipends on a "full time" or "part time" basis are planned (conditional offers will be made, based on the assumption of a successful Kickstarter campaign to finance the project).
"Part-time" stipends will based on an estimate of $800/month and will be the same everywhere (this is an estimate -- more specifics will be in the offer letter / contract). At this level, you are expected to put in something like "half time" work on the project, but you can keep your day job or remain in classes.
For "Full-time" stipends, we understand that you will be taking off time from work or school for the few months of production (roughly coincident with the "Fall semester" of 2012, or September to early December). We can negotiate short-durations if needed. Because we understand that the cost of living can vary a lot between locations, we can negotiate somewhat on the amount. It should be enough to pay your basic living expenses for these months, but due to the nature of this project, it will not be on "industry rates" by any means.
However, we do also include a percentage-based profit-share on profits made through our "creator endorsed" sales of the video and ancillary sales. We can't predict how much this will be, but if we make money from "Lunatics", so will you.
The percentage will depend on the relative amount of the contribution you make -- we will have a semi-objective method of evaluating this, although we have not settled on the method of computing it yet (but it will take into account the subjective quality of the work, the complexity or difficulty of the work, the importance of the work to the story, and the amount of time it is on screen).
All internships on the project will be on a remote/telecommute basis, as we don't really have the facilities for this project to be done on our site. This make interaction a little bit more challenging, but also means you don't have to move. You can collaborate from anywhere on Earth with an internet connection.
We also feel that this arrangement will be easier to sustain during the series run, and we need to test the technology to make sure it all works for that.
We will probably have an event in Dallas, Texas as a "wrap party" associated with a premiere showing of the pilot which will let you meet your collaborators. This will not be mandatory, however, and we'll arrange a webcast for people who can't be here in person.
Day-to-day collaboration on the project will be through social media and other electronic means. We will probably be making extensive use of Google Hangouts, as this seems to be a very low-maintenance option for teleconferencing.
You will be expected to provide your own computer equipment (GNU/Linux based with appropriate software installed -- we may be able to provide some advice with this, but you will have to do the installation yourself).
According to our plan, the Lunatics Pilot Episode Kickstarter Campaign will run from July 20th, 2012 to August 20th, 2012, and internship work on the pilot episode will begin on September 1st and extend up to December 15th.
If you are selected for the "core team", then you will be asked to do some work in July, before the Kickstarter begins. This will be compensated $200 each out of our seed budget, and will require about 2-3 days full-time or 5 days part-time work. The goal will be to test out your skills, your collaboration with your team mates, and also to produce a brief "teaser trailer", which has already been scripted. This will, of course, be part of the Kickstarter campaign.
Officially, you will be working as an independent contractor, and you will need to pay taxes on that basis in your home country. I can give you some minimal advice on how to report that in the USA. If you are in other countries, you'll need to find local advice.
We are happy to have students working on the project -- either part-time while attending classes or full-time by taking a semester off. Of course, this will be useful experience and good material for your future portfolio -- that's one of the best things about an open-movie.
We have not worked out any college-credit arrangements with schools, but we'll be happy to talk to a counselor or dean at your school to see if it can be arranged for you to count this project towards your degree program.
You absolutely will be able to include this work in your future portfolio as a credited project, and you will be listed in the episode credits for the pilot (and in the future, when your work is re-used during the series run).
If you are not up for a full-time or part-time commitment on the project, you can still contribute through non-paid "community theme projects", in which we will announce a particular modelling theme, and ask for participation from the Blender community. These will be announced separately.
We may also host a few "modeling sprints" associated with these projects in which we teleconference or chat online while working together to finish up important models.
Send an email to "auditions at anansispaceworks dot com" (). In it, please include:
We will respond with a confirmation to let you know we got your submission. This will generally be the same day, at least during the work week.
We will then respond to the applications during the first week of July to negotiate roles, special needs, schedule, and stipend amounts. We should have our core team defined by July 7th.
Depending on your experience or portfolio, we may ask you to submit a small demonstration project (less than a day's work) and/or a brief video introducing yourself, to be used in the Kickstarter campaign.
|Production Type:||Free-Culture / Open Film / New Media|
|Project length:||Animated Web Series Pilot, About 60 minutes|
|Project format:||HD (1920x1080p x 30fps)|
|Project License:||Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike, version 3.0/unported (CC By-SA 3.0).|
|Open Source?:||All of the original production materials will be made available.|
|Free Software?:||The use of free-software programs for the production is preferred. All material must be submitted in open formats.|
|Posted on:||Saturday, May 26th, 2012|
|Production location:||Where You Live. See "Workflow" below.|
|Production Company:||Anansi Spaceworks|
|Audition Location:||Teh Intertubes!|
|Working Location:||Also Teh Intertubes! / Wherever you like.|
|Email:||"Lunatics Auditions" - "auditions at anansispaceworks dot com"|
|Compensation:||Stipends available on a "full time" or "part time" basis.|