News for crowdfunding and films in the making

Fang & Talon: fantasy webseries by tabletop gamers for tabletop gamers [Kickstarter]

I chatted with Kyle Dekker about his webseries, Fang & Talon. The show will follow the adventures of the Fang & Talon mercenary company in a world inspired by classic tabletop RPGs. This is a great team to finally deliver a show for tabletop gamers. The team are all gamers and most of the crew has studied one aspect of filmmaking or another at the University of Minnesota. In short, we have a talented group making a series about something they love. Fellow gamers rejoice! (And check out their rewards, which are are creative and kinda awesome!)

They’ve been inspired by the numerous scenic parks throughout Minnesota including St. Croix, Mississipi Rivers, Battle Creek State Park, and Swede Hollow among others. Fang & Talon will be shot on location in many of these natural vistas, which go way beyond just another forest, with craggy rocks, steep cliffs, wide rivers, and what else I don’t really know but am looking forward to finding out.
This is a really smart move for a series on a budget. Shooting on location can make your film look great if you seek out unique and interesting places. It can be much cheaper than building a fancy set, and nothing looks better than the real thing.
For camera buffs out there, they’re shooting with a Canon 60D DSLR, which is a great camera for taking advantage of natural light available on locations, and much more affordable than a RED or 35mm film, while still giving a cinematic look. You can see this in the teaser on their Kickstarter page.
Kyle and the Fang and Talon team have tailored a number of their rewards to gamer fans, form nifty dice bags made from actual costumes in the show, to a custom Castles and Crusades adventure module, to a character named after your favorite RPG character. Kyle says he wants to give their backers as much as possible for their money.
Let’s see what some gamers who just so happen to be talented filmmakers can do!
David Jordan
I fail a spot check, don’t notice anything else, signs off. It looks like you’ll just have to check out Fang and Talon’s Kickstarter page for more.

If you’re coming here from Fang & Talon, check out these worthy projects:

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Year of Open Source [Indiegogo]

Have you ever considered the amazing things open source software has done for us? From tabbed browsing to powering our smartphones, to this very website, the ability of open tools to adapt to our needs is stunning. But that’s not enough for Sam Muirhead, who has only recently begun exploring the world of open source. He’s going to try to live the next year of his life using only open source products and tools in everyday life, not just software, but everything from cameras to toilet paper.
He’s going to document his journey, noting where there are viable open options, and where he can’t find an existing one, he’s going to try to make one and release his efforts.

Sam is going to do this regardless of how much money he raises, but his ability to document and make open replacements will depend on the amount he has to work with. With a little money, he might just be holding a cheap camera and talking into it. With more to work with, he’ll be able to pay people something for helping him document his efforts, built new open hardware projects, and more.
Sam is a professional video editor, who has until now mainly used Final Cut Pro, but he will be trying out the various open source options possibly Lightworks whenever it’s released as open source as well as Novacut, which he’s excited about because it’s trying something new rather than attempting to clone any existing editors. I felt a bit of pride hearing Sam talk about Novacut in a positive light, since I’m one of the developers, and I hope he’ll find Novacut useful and help us learn from his experiences to make it better.
Sam’s campaign has just four days left, and he can use every dollar you can spare. Any money you donate *will* go to him regardless of whether or not he meets his goal. With your help, this will be a fascinating year-long experiment to watch, and I’m certain we’ll all learn from it!
David Jordan, signing off.

If you’re coming here from Year of Open Source, check out these fine projects:

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The Broken Continent: fantasy webseries [Kickstarter]

It’s time to don our cloaks and draw our daggers for today we trek through vale and forest of The Broken Continent. The Broken Continent is a new webseries project created by writer, director Francis Abbey. It’s a fantasy story in the vein of Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings with a dash of The Princess Bride. Inconceivable, I know.

The project is currently 93% funded to their $35,000 goal, which will let them shoot about half of their pilot episode, with the whole thing being possible at $50,000. That might seem like a lot but it’s actually a pretty slim amount to create something as professionally made as The Broken Continent appears. They’ve got costuming, a very talented director of photography, and epic fight choreography all on display in the kickstarter video. Their video is both epic and funny, with ROUSes to boot, that’s References of Uncanny Splendidness.
Francis has taken a story first approach with The Broken Continent, focusing on crafting great story and characters, so that the setting and fights support an already solid foundation. In the second half, there will be a fight sequence which progresses through several phases as the story builds.
The whole interview is filled with lots of insights by Francis Abbey on making The Broken Continent and filmmaking in general. Enjoy, and be sure to check out the kickstarter page with a brilliant video and only *mostly* successful funding. Successful is successful, but mostly successful means a little bit not successful. Let’s fix that, so Miracle max doesn’t have to.
David Jordan, signing off.

If you’re coming here from The Broken Continent, check out these worthy projects:

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Tabletop Moviemaking Studio

Yesterday we discussed Lunatics, an animated science fiction webseries about the first private colonists on the moon. It’s well worth a look for anyone into science fiction or good storytelling.
Today I interviewed Brick Maier about his Tabletop Moviemaking Studio and thoroughly enjoyed his thoughts on storytelling and how he’s working to teach kids storytelling. Brick, who is a teacher and has made a documentary in Haiti, began developing his tabletop moviemaking method after seeing examples of Victorian Toy Theater and set about making something like it to help teach filmmaking and storytelling to kids.

He began developing the tabletop technique in 2005, working with groups of kids with DV cameras and firewire, but things really took off when Brick recognized the potential for tablets to really make everything feel natural. The proscenium at the front of the kit is just about the same size and shape as a modern tablet.
The tabletop technique is offers two really great things. It lets kids focus on storytelling and iterate through several projects really quickly, and it gives a nice overview of the entire process by letting kids look down on everything from a birds eye view. In a two hour session, kids can make a one minute story, reflect on that for a week (or just watch some TV and movies for “research”!), and come back the next week and make something new based on what they’ve learned since the last time. It takes away the logistics and boils everything down to the story, the tablet, and the little set on the table.
Watch the whole interview, and check out his Kickstarter campaign. The project has already met its funding goal, and he’s excited for even more people to benefit from his kits.
David Jordan, signing off.

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Lunatics: scifi animated series [Kickstarter]

Lunatics is one of those projects that has me jumping over the moon. Writer Terry Hancock has a wonderful outlook on writing science fiction that’s both optimistic and daring yet rooted in real science, and he’s a big supporter of free culture and open source production tools for artists.

Lunatics is about the first group of colonists on the moon. Unlike a lot of dark and gritty science fiction these days, Terry wants to make Lunatics a series that looks forward to a future on the final frontier:

Optimism isn’t a fantasy that everything will turn out great on its own — it’s confidence that even when things do go wrong, we’ll be able to do the right thing. Life is complicated, and our brave protagonists will not have an easy time of it, but in the end, this is a story about success, not about failure. Politics and physics will both present significant obstacles for our tiny Lunar colony, but our characters are clever people who can solve those problems.
Of course, implicit in this problem-solving view of the world, is Rationalism: the idea that the universe is understandable and that we as humans can figure it out. Lunatics is science fiction, not fantasy. It’s about the understandable, solvable problems.

I interviewed creators Terry Hancock and Rosalyn Hunter, and their enthusiasm and vision for the series came through. Moreover, they shared an idea for how freely shared art could not only build a commons that artists can easily build on but also become a viable business model. Sustainability for people making stories is key. Artists can still be paid, while being generous with fans and fellow artists.
Watch, the interview, be inspired, and please contribute to their Kickstarter campaign if you want to see their optimistic science fiction series get made!
David Jordan, signing off.

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Introducing Fund Indie Films

Fund Indie Films is a site dedicated to helping fans and filmmakers connect with each other.  We will be reporting on new crowdfunding projects that seem noteworthy on Kickstarter and Indiegogo as well as independent projects already underway as they go through various stages from pre-production through post-production.

I’ve been keeping close tabs on a number of Kickstarter film and webseries projects and noticed them struggle to find ways to get the word out beyond their social circle.  There are a million news sites out there from the general to the niche, but not a great deal of places where independent filmmakers can reach potential fans.

Artists need to find potential fans.  People can’t support a show they’ve never heard of, and crowdfunded shows can’t happen without that support.  Fund Indie FIlms is a place where fans can find out what’s being made and how they can help make it happen.

David Jordan

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