Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Bill and Jim, congratulations on the launch of your Kickstarter campaign for Revengeance! For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the project, how would you describe its premise?
Bill Plympton: Thank you very much. We just launched a week ago, and we already have our first Associate Producer. Director and Producer Sultan Saeed Darmaki from Abu Dhabi pledged $5,000 for the role. He's also the CEO of Dark Dunes Films. I'll let Jim describe the premise of REVENGEANCE as he wrote the script. It's the first time I'm working from someone else's script. I always write my own films, but I'm loving this collaboration.
BD: Bill, this is your first collaboration and your eighth animated film. What inspired the collaboration, and how would you describe your creative process?
BP: As I said above, I usually write and animate my own films - both shorts and features. This is mostly because I could never find someone that could write a script that I could work from. But, then I saw Jim Lujan's animated shorts. I've known him for years, and we would always see each other at San Diego Comic-Con, but we never worked together. He kept giving me his DVDs, and one day I just decided to watch them and loved what I saw. I called Jim up and pitched him on the idea of working together on a feature film. He would write, design the characters, do voices, and handle the music, and I would produce, animate, and direct. Since Jim is in LA and I'm in NYC, we're constantly sharing progress with each other and discussing on the phone.
BD: Jim, what inspired your story and characters in Revengeance, and how would you describe your collaboration with Bill?
Jim Lujan: When Bill asked me to collaborate, once I awoke from fainting, I asked him if he had a genre preference. He said he just wanted something with my characters and feel. I asked him to name some particular cartoons he liked of mine. He mentioned "Rod Rosse" and another called "Hard Crumbler." That told me, “Let’s do bikers and bounty hunters.” The rest all fell into place. Collaborating with Bill has been some of the most creative fun I’ve ever had. Give Bill a ball of clay, and he creates a sculpted masterpiece. I’m just glad my script gets to be the clay.
BD: In addition to working as a creator on the film, you are also lending your voice to the characters. Do you find one aspect of the creative process more challenging?
JL: I find it’s always a challenge not to drift too far from the script. When I’m recording for my own films, I have the luxury of being able to make a U-turn right in the middle of something. I can go on a tangent or switch things up at any moment. I usually do quite a bit of ad-libbing in my own films. With Revengeance, we are all literally on the same page. Sticking fairly close to the script is somewhat new for me, but it's been a really fun learning experience.
BD: Actor Dave Foley of The Kids in the Hall and A Bug’s Life will also be joining the voice cast. What can you share about his role in the film?
BP: I'll let Jim handle that one as he already recorded Dave Foley in LA at a friend's studio (Ken Mora).
JL: Dave is playing two roles, the biggest is Rod Rosse’s main rival, the low-down, dirty survivalist known as "the Ace of Spades." Picture a bearded bounty hunter in a fisherman’s cap with a short man’s complex. He has quite the temper. He’s like Dog the Bounty hunter crossed with Yosemite Sam. Dave is so mean in this. Completely contrary to his real-life persona. He nails it! He was so easy to work with. We had a good time.
BD: You recently initiated a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter to raise money for the production costs of the film. What encouraged you to use this specific fundraising method, and why do you feel that it has been such a successful tool for independent creators like yourselves?
BP: Well, I've used Kickstarter twice before - very successfully. First for the Winsor McCay Resurrection Project in 2011 and then again two years ago for my feature film, CHEATIN', which is now playing in theaters and coming to Vimeo on Demand (exclusively on April 21). Adam Rackoff, my Executive Producer on those projects (and REVENGEANCE), first convinced me to try Kickstarter. He insisted that I was the perfect type of indie filmmaker to use crowdfunding. Here's more from Adam Rackoff:
Adam Rackoff: Kickstarter works best when people know you, but not TOO well. That's when the backlash starts. If you're too rich and famous, people question why you need to go the Kickstarter route. Bill is a true indie artist, and people know that. They know that he turned down a million-dollar paycheck from Disney, so he could continue to make his personal films. I think people really respect that and want to support him as a result. Kickstarter is the best of the crowdfunding platforms. The "all or nothing approach" really encourages people to band together to achieve something. And, your backers know that if you reach your goal, you'll have enough to see the project to completion. On other platforms, if you don't reach your goal, you get to keep your money, but who's to say how that money is being spent. If they didn't raise enough to finish the project, they might be using that money to pay their rent. There's a much lower project success rate on other platforms as a result. The need to reach a "goal" and the time constraint create a sense of urgency that people respond to.
JL: Kickstarter is the best way to ensure our vision goes to screen unfiltered. The people who really want to see this happen can make it happen.
BD: For our readers who may be interested in donating to Revengeance’s Kickstarter campaign, are there any specific backer rewards that may interest our readers?
BP: I think we have something for everyone and at every price point. For people that don't have much money to spare, they can simply stream the finished film or download it for $15 and $25, respectively. It's like pre-ordering the movie, but you're getting exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the making of the film along the way. For those that still collect physical media, we have the option to get a signed DVD or Blu-ray for $50 and $75, respectively. These tiers also include all the digital rewards. I'm also offering a really cool set of limited edition caricature prints that include Indiana Jones, Steven Spielberg with E.T., Superman, and more! And, if you want to own a piece of REVENGEANCE, you can get an original animation drawing from the film (an animation cell in the old days). For those with a little more cash to burn, you can, for the first time, be animated into one of my films for only $1,500. This is a really cool idea. If you send me some pictures of yourself, I'll animated your likeness into the film as one of the "extras" in a scene.
JL: I personally think getting a poster signed from Bill will look great in any wall frame. We have some incredible artwork we’ll be sharing. I truly believe this is some of Bill’s coolest work to date.
BD: Lastly, where can readers find more information about Revengeance in advance of its release?
BP: Most of the current information can be found on the Kickstarter page and Revengeance Movie website, but we'll be posting exclusive updates for "backers only" to the Kickstarter page. We want to include our backers in the filmmaking process as much as possible, so by backing the film at ANY level, you'll get access to these updates with new interviews, music, artwork, clips, and much more.