Sunday, January 27, 2013

Animated Thoughts: Animation and Depression

It's been twenty-three days since Signe Baumane launched her Kickstarter campaign to raise the $42,800 necessary to complete her film "Rocks in my Pockets". As of today, she's raised over half the amount (53%) and I remain cautiously optmistic that she will achieve her Kickstarter goal by the deadline of Thursday, February 17th.

The following video interview on her blog contains a discussion between Signe and Bill Plympton regarding how they fund their independent animated films.

Obviously, it's tough to go it alone especially if you don't have a patron, aren't willing to work within the grant system, or don't produce work that is mainstream enough to be used for commercial advertising. So other than selling the rights (and merchandise) to your previous films, what other options are there? Enter crowdsourcing with it's own advantages and disadvantages.

What happens if Signe doesn't receive the requested amount pledged by the deadline for her Kickstarter campaign? Well, by Kickstarter rules, she won't get any money at all. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Obviously, I'm biased because I want to see this film finished. But I have to wonder if Indiegogo is the better solution for independent animators. By their rules (Indiegogo), even if she didn't meet her goal of $42,800, at least she'd get a portion of whatever funds she raised.

I'll let the cat out of the bag a month early: Signe Baumane has graciously accepted my request and will be one of the two animators whom I'll be interviewing for my annual Women in Animation series of blog posts. As Signe has used Indiegogo for some fundraising efforts in the past, it will be very insightful to hear her compare and contrast the two fundraising experiences between Indiegogo and Kickstarter. I had originally planned on asking Signe my four questions about how to encourage girls to enter the field of animation--and I'll likely still do so--but, she'll be coming off of a fundraising campaign, so whether successful or not, I'm sure that she'll have a wealth of knowledge to share.

Now, if her campaign fails, I don't believe for one minute that Signe is going to throw in the towel and not complete this film. How do I know this: by her own admission, Signe is part of a select group of filmmakers who:

"... wake up in the middle of night with palpitations – they just had the greatest idea for a movie and they have to make it or die.

I belong to the latter group – an idea hits me, plus a burning need to communicate my story in a form of a film to an audience. The problem is that I have to find a way to finance it or it never leaves my head. Majority of filmmakers I know belong to this group, including The Bill Plympton."

Regardless of what happens on Kickstarter, I have to believe that this film is going to be finished. Having met her and having read her blog posts, I think that Signe has it within herself to finish this movie no matter what the status of her funding works out to be. So, I don't want to make this out to sound like a personal crusade. My hopes and dreams are not dependant on the status of one person's feature film. I'd be disappointed if I never saw 'Rocks in my Pockets', but life would go on.

I'm one of the fortunate few. My war with depression ended over ten years ago when I learned how to win those battles by using a combination of prayer, diet, exercise, willpower, and taking action whenever the darkness approached. So it is the knowledge of my personal struggles in the past which gives me the overarching reason why I want to see this film finished and screened. More than for my personal interest in the subject matter, I want to see someone who knows what it's like to struggle with depression succeed in bringing their personal vision to the big screen.

If you haven't yet already, please visit Signe's Kickstarter page to learn more about her film.