Ah, Kickstarter. If it isn’t Zach Braff (understandbly?) asking for money he doesn’t really need, or Dan Harmon and Starburns (and Charlie Kaufman) getting their animation studio off the ground, or “Veronica Mars” becoming Veronica Mars: The Movie, the most popular crowd funding web site for creatives is always in the news. This is great for all kinds of artists — from the starving to the pros who don’t want any corporate meddling — because the more the site becomes a household name, the more promising it is for all sorts of projects that would never exist to finally, actually, become more than just ideas in somebody’s head. Then there are times when things become real and, for the good of all humanity, probably shouldn’t have. If you haven’t learned about the controversy over the campaign for the rapey “gentleman’s” guide to getting women, Above the Game, then you’re one of the lucky ones. It’s vile and grotesque and earned more than 8 times its stated goal. I don’t know if Kickstarter could have halted the funding drive for this book before it reached its goal, but it almost certainly can’t do anything about it now that its completed.
Regardless, creeps will always find a way to use technology for their vile aims, but the site itself is still doing so much more good than it is evil. In light of that, I’d like to draw your attention to several currently running fund raising campaigns that aren’t morally despiscable, don’t involve wealthy Hollywood talents, and may even be pretty great once they’re eventually completed. Without further ado, here seven Kickstarter projects that really do deserve your money, or at least your attention. (Full disclosure [Correction]: I’ve yet to donate to all of these, but only because Kickstarter and my bank seem to be having a money fight over converting dollars to British pounds, or vice versa.)
His Heavy Heart (Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins)
Even though Moore’s comic work is never very far from my brain, I probably wouldn’t have discovered his current short film cycle with photographer/director Jenkins if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to review the From Hell Companion last month. That article was tweeted around a bit — even by Eddie Campbell’s daughter, you guys! — and because of that I stumbled onto an Alan Moore fan account that led me to this, the Jimmy’s End project. I’m not entirely sure what it’s about, other than a darker, more intelligent amalgamation of Moulin Rouge and Sucker Punch, or maybe Showgirls meets “Secret Diary of a Call Girl?” Either way, Moore is writing it and these two trailers, more so than the Kickstarter video, sold me on the whole series of shorts that His Heavy Heart is meant to complete.
Dude Bro Party Massacre 3 (5-Second Films)
The guys and gals behind the long-running Internet sketch troupe are taking a crack at making a totally independent feature length horror movie, and based on the footage below and their general output, I think we can predict something along the lines of Grindhouse but with purposefully bad effects and purposefully hilarious comedy. Like if the people behind the Scary Movie franchise evinced any talent or sense of humor whatsoever. (Seriously, any amount; even with the Wayans and Anna Faris, those movies are terrible.) I’ll admit to being a sucker for bad horror movies, no matter the intent, but especially the potentially so bad-they’re-good. If anyone can pull that tricky feat off, it’s 5-Second Films and their “third” installment in the Dude Bro Party Massacre franchise. Or, maybe the Internet Comedy Writers at Cracked, but they aren’t making this, are they?
Lunar Attraction (Michelle Arbon & Mab Graves)
I also tend to mentally drool over steampunk iconography, puppetry and marionettes, and whimsically anthropomorphized fairy tales. Thankfully for me, and you?, Arbon and Graves’ proposed stop-motion short film seems to hit all three of those triggers. From what I can gather, the story is a Victorian-styled tragic romance and a metaphor for the sun’s and the moon’s orbits around the Earth, with their relative proximities during eclipses functioning as the only time Sol and Lunar, envisioned as a man and woman, respectively, can ever be together. Lunar Attraction isn’t as sci-fi as that might sound, but it looks to be one of the more imagintive and unique short films I’ve seen emerge from the Kickstarter aether.
Double Trouble (André Hedetoft & Andreas Climent)
Just like how C and HENRi appealed to the twelve year-old in me who remembers being awed by 70s and 80s science fiction, Double Trouble appealrs directly to my love for 80s comedy action/adventure films. There isn’t much to go in the way of plot, other than to say that, like Back to the Future, this short film is a time travel comedy, with maybe a bit of Multiplicity thrown in to raise the stakes. Regardless, I dig the style that Swedish filmmakers Hedetoft and Climent are bringing to this project and if it looks anywhere near as good as this sizzle reel, then the $2,500 they’re asking for will be incredibly well spent. Honestly, I really want to see what they do with that budget, and I’ve little doubt that I’ll be impressed.
Melting Point (Jonathan Vaughan)
Did you know there is a genre of short filmmaking called Brickfilms, stop-motion animations featuring Lego minifigs and painstakingly built Lego sets? And here I thought that one Captain America video I posted over a year ago was simply spawned from the mind of a mad genius. I mean, it was, but clearly he wasn’t alone. Vaughan is a Brickfilmmaker and he’s looking to finance his original idea, Melting Point, that aims to lovingly mock the explosive action films Hollywood forces us to watch every summer. It’s a little like Team America: World Police, but with Legos. Legos! Sold.
A Love Story (Darius Broussard & Alex Arias)
This project was brought to my attention by our very own Pajiban commenter extraordinaire, Jezzer, a.k.a. “Craug.” His friend, Arias, is producing his first ever indie film project with other first time writer/director/star Broussard. The boys don’t delve too much into the plot of A Love Story in their video, but I think it’s safe to say we can figure out what it’s about. (Albino alligators and their admirers who can’t resist nature’s call?) There’s always risk in Kickstarter, and I can’t deny that two first timers starting here makes me a bit apprehensive, but I know if I was their age when crowd funding became a thing, I’d have tried to do this, too. And I’d have been thrilled that anybody would even chance to write about it. Since I kind of non-ironically believe in karma, you should at least check out what the guys have to say.
The Webcomics Handbook (Brad Guigar)
Like Moore’s short film, this new how-to guide for the Internet comic publishing industry is pretty close to my heart. There are so many web comics out there, though, that I really didn’t become aware of Guigar’s work until last year, despite the fact that he was on the ground floor alongside PvP and Penny Arcade. But I got to meet him at a convention and pick up his first book; as well as talk some shop about web comicing, listen to him elaborate on the intricacies that I had never even considered in a panel discussion, and got him to draw a piece for my ongoing “Charles Darwin vs. a Gorilla” collection. It’s stuff I’m still thinking about and putting to use today, and probably will for years to come. So, I’d really like to see The Webcomics Handbook get funded, because I really, really want a copy.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He admits this post is just a teensy-weensy bit selfish, but only because he wants to see these projects succeed.