Lunatics is now Crowd-Funding for a Pilot Episode

Lunatics is now Crowd-Funding for a Pilot Episode


If you've been following my column for the last year or two, you already know that "Lunatics" is the free-culture animated science-fiction series that we are creating with free-software applications like Blender, Synfig, Audacity, Inkscape, Gimp, and Krita. We are finally crowd-funding for our pilot episode "No Children in Space" on Kickstarter. If we get funded, this will be a major step forward for free-culture and free-software in the media industry. Come check it out, tell everybody you know, and/or get a copy on DVD or other cool stuff from the project!

Why is this so important, especially to free-software and free-culture fans?

Well, Lunatics is breaking new ground in several areas:

  • This is already a larger project than most free-culture productions, and it will grow: we currently have about 20 people directly involved to a greater or lesser degree (and closer to 100, if you count all of the passive collaboration from appropriated free-culture materials such as music tracks and sound effects).

  • Part of our plan is to give back to the community, both in terms of the new assets created for the project (such as 3D models and graphics), but also by paying shares of our "Creator Endorsed" sales to actively-contributing artists as well as some passively-contributing artists (such as musical artists whose tracks are in our soundtrack).

  • By doing so, we are encouraging a sustainable commercial free-culture industry to develop.

  • We will also be scaling up both fan-funding models and collaborative, open-source movie production.

  • We will also be pushing the envelope on free-software tools for creating film and video, with new technologies such as the Pyppet digital puppetry system.

  • Since our project is a series, it has the potential to grow beyond even that, providing more opportunities.

For this pilot episode, we've already got a small team of six Blender modeling and rigging experts, a Synfig expert who will be doing animatics and also final animation for the show, and a cast of seven principal voice actors for the pilot episode (six series regulars and a guest).

This story is itself about a crowd-funded vision of the future of space settlement, since our fictional "International Space Foundation" is essentially a grass-roots crowd-funded operation.

Georgiana Lerner (age 7) on the first leg of her journey to the Moon, going up into orbit on a specially-modifiedy Soyuz (Couch model by Sathish Kumar, Character model by Andrew Pray)Georgiana Lerner (age 7) on the first leg of her journey to the Moon, going up into orbit on a specially-modifiedy Soyuz (Couch model by Sathish Kumar, Character model by Andrew Pray)

The pilot episode follows young Georgiana Lerner (age 7) on her way to the Moon with her mother to join the rest of the colonists. That's because it's really her arrival that turns "ISF-1" into a settlement instead of a mere "base" on the Moon. Along the way, we pick up most (not quite all) of the series regular cast, and we take a kind of "voyage into the future" where we start from the rather archaic (19th-century) technology of trains, pass through 20th century technologies up to and including spaceflight into orbit, and then depart into the science-fiction realm with the Moon Shuttle that takes us beyond the present. It's a vision of the future, versy much tied to the present -- a smoothly integrated future that always feels "just around the corner" from where we are now.

Sets and characters will be rendered using Blender (Model by Cosmin Planchon, Display graphics by Timothée Giet, Concept by Terry Hancock, based on existin Soyuz-TMA design by RosCosmos)Sets and characters will be rendered using Blender (Model by Cosmin Planchon, Display graphics by Timothée Giet, Concept by Terry Hancock, based on existin Soyuz-TMA design by RosCosmos)

If this sounds like your kind of fun, please help us make it happen by backing our Kickstarter or telling more people about it. We have less than 25 days left to raise about $100,000 to fund it.

There will also be some room to contribute directly. After we start getting our primary 3D assets made (to establish style and take care of the most critical design work), we'll be announcing a community call (and one or more day-long, themed sprints) for more models for the pilot.

That may sound like a lot of money, but it's actually only about 1/6th as much as what the Blender Foundation's "Sintel" cost and a little bit less than what "Elephants Dream" cost -- and with it we plan to make a movie about four-times longer (roughly an hour) with a fully-dramatized story, many 3D modeled virtual sets and characters, and a cast of speaking roles (seven principals and a dozen or so supporting parts).

A 'Character' for the teaser trailer is this teddy bear (Model by Andrew Pray)A "Character" for the teaser trailer is this teddy bear (Model by Andrew Pray)

There will also be some room to contribute directly. After we start getting our primary 3D assets made (to establish style and take care of the most critical design work), we'll be announcing a community call (and one or more day-long, themed sprints) for more models for the pilot.

This is an ambitious project, and it's 100% fan-funded (no corporate backers or foundations on this one). So, we've got a long way to go to fund it. But if, with your help, we can do that, we can send an unforgettable message to the content industry about a new way of doing business.

"Somebody's got to be crazy enough to go first!"

Category: 
License: 

Author information

Terry Hancock's picture

Biography

Terry Hancock is co-owner and technical officer of Anansi Spaceworks. Currently he is working on a free-culture animated series project about space development, called Lunatics as well helping out with the Morevna Project.