Pre-Production Kickstarter Launched!
We're very excited about this, of course. And a little terrified. This will be our first real chance to see just how much interest there is in Lunatics, so I hope the news will be good. It's also our first chance to test out Kickstarter and the general "crowd-funding" (or "community-funding" as I prefer to say) model of financing a project like this.
After all, we are engaged in an experiment in producing commercial free culture, so this will be an important milestone for us.
Here's a brief summary, although you can just go to our Kickstarter site to see the whole thing:
"Somebody Has To Be Crazy Enough to Go First"
Lunatics is a concept we (Rosalyn Hunter and Terry Hancock) first had about 10 years ago at a space conference (the International Space Development Conference) when we asked ourselves this question: if the Moon were colonized not by corporations or by government but by a grassroots organization by the same people who today are space fanatics -- as seems likely to happen -- what will that look like? ("Lunatics" is a tongue-in-cheek label for space advocates who promote the Moon as a target for settlement, as opposed to Mars, Near Earth Asteroids, L5 Station, or some other vision of space development).
It's a story about confident, resourceful people facing serious problems with a sense of humor; it's about the fundamental dangers both of nature and of human nature; and it's about a truly realistic view of space colonization and settlement.
A Free-Culture 3D Animated Web Series
At first, we didn't know how we were going to create Lunatics, nor exactly what it would be. Should it be a series of stories? A web comic? A live-action television series? Each presented its own problems.
What we have settled upon is telling the story with 3D animation using the Blender animation software and other free software tools. We will also make extensive use of existing free-licensed artistic works, include some fantastic music and sound effects libraries that already part of the intellectual commons created by free licenses, like the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike. Releasing our work under the same free-license means, among other things, that we have access to so much of this material.
Phase I - Characters and Pre-Production Art
Although Rosalyn and I are willing to do quite a bit of work on speculation, we need to pay advances, especially on early work on Lunatics, when the perception of risk is a lot higher.
So, we've agreed to pay Daniel Fu $1600 for commissioned character design work which eliminates a lot of the risk for him, and justifies the amount of time we need for him to spend on creating good character design model sheets from which we can create 3D character models (having a good plan is an important part of getting a good model).
We've decided to let the minimum funding goal be just enough to ensure we can pay this advance, after the platform overheads and costs of producing and shipping the rewards. This will cover the costs of creating:
- Full model sheets and plans for the eight colonists
- Full model sheets and plans for four secondary characters
- Model sheets for "extras" with mix-and-match elements we can use to fill in "extras" or "walk-on" characters
- A "Character Line Up" sheet which shows the correct relative scaling of the characters to each other -- we'll also be using this for marketing purposes, as it will replace the current "silhouettes" logo we've been using
However, of course, we will be continuing our own work at the same time, and this will be reflected in the rewards from this Kickstart. Rosalyn Hunter has a full time job, so she's not able to spend as much time on this project yet, but she will be doing some important things nevertheless:
- Finishing up the script (especially polishing some of the dialog) for "No Children in Space"
- Voicing over several roles on the temporary track
- Consulting on character design issues
Some of my directing and producing work is already done, although in most cases, I still have a lot of finishing work to do. Here's what I'm committing to finishing by April 2012:
- Floorplans for the entire ISF-1 colony (for most of the series, we'll be on this one set, but it's a HUGE four-story set)
- Plans and a 3D model for the "Lunar Transportation System" moon shuttle and associated components. This includes the "Space Station Alpha LTS Servicing Platform" as well as some of the ground facilities and vehicles on the Moon
- A partial set of "Iridium Station" (the USAF-sponsored lunar base from which ISF-1 is supplied) including the "terminal" module.
- Diagrams, maps, and some 3D models for the "Gagarin's Start" launch facility at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (this is a real place, updated to 2040)
- Updated storyboards -- I need to fix a lot of inconsistencies that have crept in due to script revisions and design changes
- The music selection for the soundtrack is nearly finished already
- Complete soundmixes will need additional recorded dialog (at this stage, this will just be temporary voiceover done by us and drafted family members) as well as additional processed sound effects and foley work
- With these elements, I will be able to cut together the first complete version of the pilot episode, using the temp sound, hand-drawn storyboards, and a few 3D animatics for moving shots