Friday, October 26, 2012

Valiant Interview

Greetings friends!  Today I’m joined by the talented Shyam Sundar Sengupta, Producer for the Kickstarter Film Project “Valiant.”  So I guess my first question has to be why Kickstarter?  Did you already try traditional funding methods or are you doing both simultaneously?  

Kickstarter has a great feature, which many other methods do not; the ability to share your creation and work with a large base of people, who all become part of the project.  Considering there’s a lot of fans on the type of work we are doing, and we are driven ourselves by being the same kind of fans, Kickstarter seemed like a perfect place to go and share.

So “Valiant” sounds like one of those plucky labor of love kind of films where those who started it couldn’t help but want to finish it.  It seems perfectly suited for Kickstarter, how much of it is done at this point?  

It’s almost done!  That’s the most amazing part; this was a dream many said was impossible, that it was just too big or too hard, but our team has managed to already do a lot of the most difficult work.  We already have a full edit done, but now we are working on finishing the world, and doing it the right way, which is where Kickstarter came in.

So the $13k from the Kickstarter is just for the modeling and CG?  

Yep!  We were originally going to do the best we could with student help in CG, which in actuality does not look nearly as good as VFX which combine practical and digital elements.  Doing this at full price would cost easily between $150-200k, but after showing what we’ve already accomplished to the pros, many have come on board to help us do this for literally almost nothing.  That’s what the 13k is for, but without it, we won’t be able to push to this final level of excellence.

Now as an unabashed Browncoat (Firefly fan) I can’t help but have a little bit of nerdy glee to see Greg Boettcher, one of the modelers who made Serenity on board.  How do you draw all the professional talent that you have to the project?

First off, we looove Firefly, and it’s one of our inspirations for sure.  Basically, we showed them the project, and explained us, our team, and our goals.  “Valiant” is different from most short films; it’s really not a short film, but a whole franchise based on a world we’ve spent years creating.  This level of dedication is what it takes to become a professional talent in the first place, and when they saw such a young team shooting so high, they offered to help and donate the majority of their work.  They know this is an impressive accomplishment, and they love projects like ours and what they do themselves; it was a perfect match.

So what’s the long term goal for “Valiant?”  Once the model work and editing is all done and it’s “in the can” are you going to competition or distribution?  

The world has many possibilities, and they’re already part of our plan.  There’s already a feature in development, and a TV mini-series outlined.  Think just like Firefly.  But most importantly, we want to share this creation with the world and the communities that helped create it.  It’ll be shown at various premieres, online, and hopefully watched all over the world.  And of course, be shown and given to all our amazing pledgers who are just a much a part of the film and anyone else.

(Laughs) Don’t be too much like Firefly, I don’t want you getting canceled that quickly! So a “Steampunk Action-adventure” film is it?  What makes it Steampunk and why Steampunk?  

The film is set in a world we have created ourselves, an alternate reality in the future.  The is a combination of older World War II era concepts, monarchies, and cutting edge nuclear concepts.  In some ways the film falls more into an subset of Steampunk known as Dieselpunk, which is also a subset of cyberpunk.  In the end, it’s a fully original creation, taking from things we love, things we grew up with, and futuristic fantasies.

What’s your current plan for “getting the word” out about “Valiant?”  Are you going to put our more clips?  Behind the scenes videos?  Interviews?  

We have a lot of content coming up.  We’ll be releasing more bits of the trailer, more behind the scenes material, more interviews and a lot more.  We really want to bring everyone into our creation, and this won’t be stopping any time even after the Kickstarter is complete; as we progress further into the post process, then towards the release, everyone will be brought into not only the world of Valiant itself, but also the world of its creation and development.

So you've earned almost $5,000 in pledges with still half the campaign to go, so what are you doing to keep up the excitement?  Have you looked into Kicktraq to help you keep track of the metrics involved with the campaign?  

The main difficulty is always continuing to bring new eyes to our campaign.  We’ve been working on sending information to other sites and blogs, but as always, if you like the project, give us a hand with a share or a post.  We do use Kicktraq to track our project, it’s quite a useful service.

What words of advice do you have for any up and coming filmmakers out there who want their projects to attract such positive attention from those already in the business?

The key is always to truly believe in your project and give it everything you’ve got.  Our core teams works 18 hours days sometimes, and every single day for many of us has involved working on this project for years and years now.  It’s paying off, and it will continue to do so.  People can sense passion, and if you have it, that’s the most important place to start.  Love what you do, do it, and make sure it always gets done.

What’s the best thing that’s happened with the launch of this Kickstarter?  The worst?  

Mostly everything has been great.  Just by the support we’ve already gotten, much of which has all come from people not connected to us in any way, we know people like this project and believe in it like we do.  But it’s always hard to find the time to promote a Kickstarter while still working on a project, and this has been hard.  We need your help, and the help of others who love this creation as much as we do.

How much harder or easier do you think running a Kickstarter for a film is versus a game or tech device (Which seem to be the big earners in Kickstarter).  Do you think Kickstarter going to become a good way for independent filmmakers to fund their projects?

Funding films is always hard.  Like anywhere in the world, and similarly on Kickstarter, the market is flooded with films, and there’s only so much funding to go around.  I do think Kickstarter is a great way to fund films, but you must develop your project and really prove you love it as much as we all love “Valiant.”
How can backers and other interested parties help out your campaign?  

We mostly just really need publicity and more eyes on the project.  If you like the project, share around the Kickstarter link, post it on Facebook, your Tweets, blogs and forums you like, and anywhere else you think interested people might be.

I thank you for putting up with my questions today, are there any last words you’d like to leave us with?

My pleasure!  We’re artists, and other people willingness to even just look at what we’re doing means the world to us.  You and everyone like you out there reading our page, watching our video, even just glancing at our logo is what makes what we do so worth it.  It’s your choice if you like what you see, but thank you all for your time; that’s what matters the most!

Thanks again for your time I look forward to seeing more about “Valiant” in the weeks to come!

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