The webcomics blog about webcomics

It’s Like That Make-A-Wish Thing, But For Me

Readers of this page may recall that I have mentioned in the past a work-in-progress that I consider to be really significant: a documentary film¹ on the state of cartooning, in these times of great change, by Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder. Said documentary recently acquired a title (Stripped²) and a trailer, and reached the milestone where the real work left is post-production: editing, effects, sound mix, color timing, and other words that mean nothing to you and me because we don’t work in the film industry.

To get to this point has cost Kellett and Schroeder two years, countless trips to interview subjects³ (more than 60 of them, which means that NEWW2 must have been a godsend because they were able to talk to more than a dozen people in one weekend), and undoubtedly a serious chunk o’ personal cash. Keep in mind that documentaries don’t make a huge amount of money — this has been a labor of love, cost them each deep, and taken time that could have been spent on projects that paid them actual cash money for things like rent and food.

To finish at this point will require more money than has been spent to date, so they need some help. If I were Kellett and/or Schroeder4, I’d be going crazy right about now. Crazy that the financials won’t work out and the film won’t get finished. Crazy that the financials do work out and Oh god I have to finish it and there will be a million little things that only I notice and why didn’t I fix that bit of sound and that was a dumb question and, and, and….

While we can’t do anything about that self-doubt that seems to affect all the great creative minds, we can at least help make sure that the financials not working out fears are put to rest. The requisite Kickstarter campaign (where you may view the trailer) is live, and in the (approximate, as of this writing) 24 hours since it launched, 512 backers have gotten Freddave Kellett-Schroeder 32% of the way to their US$58,000 goal.

People, we can do better than this. I particularly want to draw your attention to a FAQ at the bottom of the project page (past all the photos of eminent cartoonists, cartoon historians, and one hack webcomics pseudojournalist):

What will you do if you exceed your funding goal for STRIPPED?

If we exceed the goal by a *small* amount:
We’ve carefully budgeted for a set amount of special effects and animations … and it’s going to look gorgeous! BUT! With even a slightly larger budget, we’d be able to add significantly more effects and animations … upping the look of the whole film.
If we exceed the goal by a *large* amount:
We have a big-picture idea that gets us very excited. We’d like to edit and make available ALL 230 HOURS of the individual interviews. These cartoonists shared incredible stories, tips, tricks, and recollections with us, and we’d love them to be enjoyed and preserved for posterity.

As we’ve said elsewhere … the 13-year old versions of ourselves would’ve killed to watch all these interviews, so making them available to the world would be a real gift to all who love cartooning.

I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned this before — knowing so many talented cartoonists, getting to hang with them over beers, counting so many of them as friends is one of the high points of my life. No fooling, no hyperbole, the sheer talent oozing out of the people I get to see on a semiregular basis takes my breath away. The only downside is that when the sketching starts, I have nothing to contribute — I can’t draw worth a damn5.

This is something that I intend to remedy before I die; at whatever point in time I can free up the hours, I will take lessons in drawing, then start doodling the thousands of hours until I develop a repeatable cartooning style, and I will join in one of those sketch-fests (that always seem to degenerate into Bomers doing rude things) … possibly not until the funerals of the older and harder-living among the circle of friends6.

This is why you need to donate. Not just because it’s a worthy project. Not just because it may become the definitive documentation of an artform at a moment of key change (something I don’t believe has happened before, in any medium). Not just because Fred and Dave are the nicest guys you might ever meet.

You need to donate so that the goal is obliterated to Hades and back, so that I get those 230 hours of tips and tricks and my end-of-life shakydoodles are barely acceptable. Fail to do so, and you will be spitting on the final wishes of a dying man. And I think we all know how horrible that would be.

¹ If you ever get Dave Kellett to do his Irish Guy voice, make sure you get him talking about the state of the “fillum” — it’s adorable.

² I’m still holding out for Hot Pen On Paper COMIXXX Action.

³ Their raw interview footage accounts for more than 200 hours at this point; if it were your full-time, 9-5 Monday-Friday job to watch that footage, it would take you more than five weeks to do so.

4 Interesting dilemma — which of those two would I be? Dave’s family is wonderful and he has a lemon tree in his yard. Fred’s a filmmaker in LA, which has to be good for meeting ladies. I simply can’t decide which of them I should assume the identity of for the purposes of this discussion.

5 Let me amend that statement — I can do circuit diagrams that are crisp, clean, balanced to the eye, and generally aesthetically pleasing, but these are geometric-symbol representations of abstract mathematics. I can’t draw things in the real world, no matter how cartoony or abstract, worth the aforementioned damn.

6 My money’s on Rosenberg to go first, from Spontaneous Whisky Immolation; eventually it will be just a coffee-infused Rich Stevens, a post-singularity Aaron Diaz, and me to document their discussion.

I’m really looking forward to this. Is there any other movies like this someone could recommend?

Thanks so much for your support on our project. It means the world to Dave and I. We are so happy you are part of the doc and hope we can make something really great for all the comics fans out there.

Backed it!

[…] New Documentary About Cartoonists Dave Kellett and Fred Schoeder have been going around interview cartoonist both web and traditional about their work.  They are now working to pull these interviews together into a documentary. Original Source: Kickstarter – Additional Discussion: Fleen […]

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