Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day of the Dead

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am pleased to be speaking to the trio of ladies behind the “Day of the Dead” animation project.  Ashley, Lindsey, Kate, thank you for joining us today.  

Hello James ! We are very glad to be here. It’s really nice to receive such a warm welcome from the Kickstarter community.

Would you be so kind as to talk about the animation project and how the Kickstarter relates to it?  

Well, every year, Ringling College of Art and Design has their seniors demonstrate what they learned during their time at school by making a short film. They can either make one by themselves or in a team (in our case, 3 students). The students must come up with their own story, characters, and environments. They also have to animate, texture, and light their film all on their own. You might say it’s 100% made-from-scratch by us, so it’s a very personal and special project. They staff also encourages us to have a good musical score that helps tell our story. It’s not a requirement that we hire a composer, but we want our film to be as great as it can be.
Music can be a very important part of a film; it can help convey the emotions that the character is feeling, and helps captivate the audience by bringing our world to life. Without music the film will be boring and dull! As visual artist we are not that great when it comes to composing music, so that is why we hired Corey Wallace, a professional composer, to help us write beautiful, fun, and entertaining music.

However, as typical poor college students, it’s been hard to scrape together the funds to get a great composer; so that is why we have turned to Kickstater.  We hoped that the people of the internet will love our film as much as we do and help us reach our goals. Which we did!

Dia de los muertos” or “Day of the Dead” is a pretty well known celebration in my neighborhood (New Mexico), but I understand it’s not so well known further north.  

Day of the dead is a beautiful holiday that takes place November 1st and 2nd. The holiday is about honoring family members or friends who have passed away. You do not mourn the ones you have lost, you celebrate and remember them. This usually means making altars where you place sugar skulls, marigolds, favorite foods, drinks, and other  items. The family goes down to the graves  to clean them and decorate them with altars they have made.
The reason we chose to make this film is because there really aren’t many animated movies or shorts out there about it. And we saw an opportunity to make a fun, sweet, loving story that could give us a fun world to play around with and show people who know nothing about the holiday what it’s about.  

I think among some people there is a misconception about Day of the Dead. For those who don’t know anything about it, it can seem like a creepy or morbid idea, to celebrate death or put up skull decorations or whatnot. But it’s not-- and that’s sort of the message we wanted to drive home. Not to mention, the holiday’s very colorful traditions gave us a lot of freedom to have some fun :)

This is your senior project for school?  

Yes. Going to school to make cartoons may seem odd to some, but it’s something we take very seriously here. We have been working up to this film for the last 3 years, and now it’s almost done! And after it ends, we’ll be taking our talents into the professional world-- you haven’t seen the last of us :)

So the actual film and voice work is already “in the can” basically?  This Kickstarter is just about musical score?  

Yes-- musical score, and professionally-mixed sound effects.  We are finishing up the film now,  and we were able to work with a cute little girl who was kind enough to help us out with voice acting.  All we need is help paying for our composer and sound designer.

So how did Corey Wallace get involved in this project?  

We contacted him after finding out that he has worked on past Ringling films. Since we loved his professional work, we asked if he would be willing to work with us. Luckily he said yes, and he has been working closely with us to make this film great.

Well Kickstarter seems to have been the perfect choice for your project as you’ve hit your goal already, congratulations!  Are you prepared for your post campaign program?  

Yes, we have started some push goals. For $1,500 it will pay 100% of the composer and for $2,000 if will not only pay for the composer but the sound designer as well.
Now that we’ve reached those too(!!)-- well, we don’t want to get greedy, so any other push goals will be just for fun. We’ll hopefully be giving away things like buttons, t-shirts, etc. Stay tuned!

Why isn’t the final film a reward?  I’d love to see it!  

It is part of the rewards! We’ve updated this.  If you donate $10 you get a high-quality digital download, and if you donate over $80 you get your own DVD copy.  But we won’t be able to give them out until after film festival season is over.

The film will also be available to the public to watch online, in late summer (July-August)

How did you discover Kickstarter?

Two Ringling seniors who graduated last year used Kickstarter, and they were able to reach their goal and make their film wonderful. So we thought that this might be something we should try.

A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

We hope to be able to share some more artwork, frames from the film, and other updates to let people know what’s going on.

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

We used Facebook, and our friends and families helped us pass the word by re-posting; their friends and families did the same, and so on and so forth. We also posted onto our blogs so that anyone who was following us or accidently came across our page could look at it and pass on the word.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

Just go for it, keep motivated, and love what you do so people can love it too. People are willing to help, you just need them to know.
Yep. Be honest, be sincere. Be serious about your idea, and be dedicated.

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us, and Thank you James for this wonderful opportunity.

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

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