Blur’s Tim Miller Responds To “The Goon” Kickstarter Controversy

The commentary I posted a couple days ago about The Goon Kickstarter project generated a lot of heated debate, both on Cartoon Brew and elsewhere.

A couple nights ago, I had a lengthy phone conversation with Tim Miller, who is the creative director and co-owner of Blur Studio, the studio that will produce The Goon. It was an intense but respectful discussion.

I like Blur and sincerely hope they’re able to make The Goon, but the core issue of whether it’s appropriate to use Kickstarter to fund pre-production for a feature film that has no guarantee of completion is problematic. On that issue, we weren’t able to come to any conclusion. However, I offered Tim the opportunity to respond in any way that he sees fit. You can read his side of the argument below—uncut and unedited.

Response from Tim Miller

Many of the animators here at Blur are regular readers of Cartoon Brew and we were all disturbed to see this post. We really care what the animation community thinks and we care about our reputation so I felt the need to respond. I love a healthy debate and some of his issues are worthy of discussion but what I DIDN’T love was the tone of the article and the implication that Blur and David Fincher were somehow being deceptive and that we’d broken the rules of Kickstarter.

I called Amid and we discussed some of his issues and—though I didn’t change his mind—he did offer me a forum for rebuttal—so here I am rebutting! Let’s start with this one:

“Kickstarter launched with the promise of helping independent artists raise funding for projects that otherwise couldn’t easily be financed.”

At 110 fulltime artists and production folk and NO studio or corporate backing, Blur is—by any industry definition I know—an independent studio. Blur is owned by 2 artists and a programmer (I’m one of the artists)–not wealthy corporate CEO types. Amid’s statement here describes our studio and our Goon project perfectly; we’re an independent studio that couldn’t get our project easily financed.

“….those projects have been drowned out by the established creators who are grabbing much of the attention nowadays.”

He may have a point there but that’s not really a reason to put down our project. And for a positive spin it could be looked at another way; if a big named “established creator” brings attention to Kickstarter it CAN draw eyeballs and traffic to the site that otherwise might not show up there. More traffic means more attention; more light that can shine on ALL Kickstarter projects. I’m not painting our Goon project as some sort of altruistic endeavor or even a big draw—I’m just positing the more attention Kickstarter gets the better it COULD be for everyone.

“Curiously, the story reel that will be produced won’t be made available to the backers of the campaign.”

Not true, it will be available to SOME—though—granted only at insanely high donation levels. The reason for this is simply we have to keep story under wraps and can’t have copies floating around. A fair number of people have complained and we agree it’s not optimal so we’re working on ideas to show the final product to more people. Ideas that simply didn’t occur to us before as we (naively) didn’t think it was such a big deal; live and learn.

“Should the film be made by a corporate film studio, that company just saved themselves half a million dollars on the backs of dedicated animation fans who believe they’re funding an indie project, when in reality they’re funding a mainstream Hollywood feature.”

Let me first reiterate that we aren’t some big film corporation and any money “saved” will be put right back into the film, not our pocket. But let’s look at a current Kickstarter project to invent and prototype a new type of light bulb. Let’s say the inventor reaches his funding goal and it pays for the R&D and prototype development of a new energy saving bulb, which he then takes to, say… G.E., who buys the design, makes the bulbs and distributes them around the world. Is that evil or wrong? Does that violate “the spirit” of Kickstarter? I don’t think so—I think it’s great that something got made that’s good for the world that otherwise might not have.

“There is nothing “indie” about the way Fincher and Blur are setting up the film, and they have a responsibility to be upfront about the reality of what they’re creating.”

This implies that we are somehow being deceptive about our goals when we say clearly, in bold and all caps several times on the Kickstarter’s front page that we are creating a STORYREEL. Implying we’re deliberately attempting to fool people is not only insulting but completely false. Neither Blur nor David Fincher have ever or WOULD ever try to “cheat” fans or anyone else—this is the comment that bothered us most and made me call Amid to defend our honor, something we take very seriously here at Blur.

“A number of backers have expressed their concerns on the campaign’s comments page:”

True, a few backers have issues, but one look at the comments page will show you 20 positive and excited fans for every doubter.

“The problem with The Goon Kickstarter boils down to this: They’re not producing a story reel that will be made available to the project’s backers. That means it’s an open-ended project, and if that’s the case, then it’s a clear violation of Kickstarter’s policies.”

First of all, this is a false statement. We are producing a product: The Goon Storyreel. Secondly, this project was thoroughly vetted and approved by the Kickstarter folks who have been EXTREMELY helpful and supportive and done their best to give advice and encouragement. So my question is this: Who is a better judge of the Kickstarter policies and philosophy–the people that created and operate the site or Mr. Amidi?

What really bothers me here boils down to this: Blur is trying to make an animated film that is outside the box of the usual animated films and in so doing bring joy to our artists, bring Eric Powell’s great characters to life and maybe—if we’re lucky—make enough money to keep the aforementioned joyful artists employed on future films. We’re not greedy and we’re no shills for some mega-corp—we’re just creators who want to make something different. We’ve tried the traditional routes to get this film made and they haven’t worked—so we’re trying something new that MAY help move the needle and get our project made.

And one last thing on the “David Fincher” of it all. Believe me when I say this guy has many, many, many project opportunities he could spend his time and money on. Opportunities that I’m sure have a greater profit potential if that’s what he was interested in. But truth is I know David well and I know he’s involved because he loves the project and loves animation, NOT because he needs to trick any Goon fans out of their 10 bucks.

Thanks for posting this Amid, we may not agree but appreciate you giving us our day in court.


  • http://www.vitaminsteve.com Steve Flack

    “So my question is this: Who is a better judge of the Kickstarter policies and philosophy–the people that created and operate the site or Mr. Amidi?”

    I think it’s obvious to anyone who reads his work, that Mr. Amidi believe’s he is the final word on any topic ever.

  • Darragh O’Connell

    Elegant response & best of luck with the project! I’d love to see more quality animated movies aimed at older audiences!

  • Kirby Allen

    It’s really good to see this kind of solid response. I read CB less and less after the full fledged attack on John Textor and Digital Domain. I realize completely that this is an animation news website and both topics were relevant to the industry, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a typical “news” website, many of which don’t fall very far from a tabloid. The best news sources give detailed accounts of what is happening, where it is happening and the context of the event in it’s topical history, objectively. Showing so much bias on closer relates you to organizations like Fox News. Staying neutral is a much better way to relay facts to people with clarity. Especially with a medium as ever-evolving as animation is, there are so many more things to talk about other than whether you think this person or that person did a bad thing. How about what kind technical innovations were brought to the industry through the creators problem solving? I am far more interested in breaking down a project for what it is as a creative entity than who its creator is by my own set of moral values.

  • https://vimeo.com/spartalis will

    Very glad to hear Tim’s side on this matter. While I stand by anyone’s right to question the motives and morals of someone asking for money from the greater populous, it struck me as very odd that CB jumped on the offensive quite quickly, didn’t seem to check it’s facts and apparently has far less understanding of how the film industry functions than I was lead to believe upon become a huge fan of this site…

    On that note, as a hub of passionate animation talk, I found it quite confusing that CB wouldn’t be 100% behind a project that was all about trying to be progressive in the area of mainstream animation, opening up the playing ground to non-family friendly fare. Mainstream (and I mean MAINSTREAM) animation no longer needs to be only for the family bracket. If anyone can pull it off, it’s Fincher.

  • http://www.geektarded.blogspot.com Matt

    Excellent response from Mr. Miller. Just wish he hadn’t got drawn into a whole faux “controversy” to begin with.
    Good luck on the Goon project!

    • Jason

      Yeah no kidding. What controversy is there exactly? Someone screaming that it’s illegal even though Kickstarter clearly reviewed it?

    • Josh

      [Comment removed by editors. Ad hominem attacks are not allowed.]

      • Josh

        I just wanted to express my agreement that this is an undeserving controversy. The only legitimate complaint seems to be that people are pledging to support a risky endeavor… which is true of many Kickstarter projects. The backers should all be fully aware that they cannot see the story reel (without becoming a serious backer), because it’s very clearly on the project page, and it makes sense why they can’t.

  • Ian

    Amazingly the rebuttal, meant to strike a better tone with community, simply reinforces the kind of attitude that the original article denounced. Particularly the bit about making the product available to those who donate at “insanely” high levels.

    I guess a better model for these guys to follow would be Tim Schafer’s kickstarter. $15 to get a widely loved game maker to make them a game.

    • Jason

      You seem to ignore the fact that if the product was released then it’d completely destroy any chances of the film getting made. it would literally have to completely funded by kickstarter and I doubt it would get to 30 million.

      Going the route of Double Fine for a film would be a horrible idea. An indie game for a niche audience doesn’t require much funding other than a few million. Asking the same from a feature film would demand it to be made overseas for next to nothing. Hoodwinked would looking amazing in comparison.

      Your criticism reveals your ignorance,while being well intended, of how animation is actually created and funded.

    • Zappo

      Releasing the story reel would destroy the film. It’s like someone on Kickstarter wanting funding to build a prototype peice of hardware. Every invester does not get one and understands that.

  • Chuck

    A thoughtful and meaningful response to what seemed to the naked eye an unprovoked attack by Amid. His efforts at hard-hitting, investigative journalism should perhaps include the investigative portion before throwing down an attack.

  • http://www.siliconriot.com David Breaux

    I’ve worked as an animator at Blur and had nothing but the best experience. Tim is bluntly honest about everything sometimes to a hysterical degree. He cares about the work his studio produces. Show me another studio where the owner sits in the middle of all his employees at the same kind of desk and is available any time for questions or comments… I find it hard to believe Tim or Blur have anything but the best intentions.

  • Rick R.

    From the Kickstarter page:
    “The Goon” Movie… let’s KICKSTART this sucker!!!

    “Mobsters. Zombies. Killer robots. Demon priests. Sound like your typical animated film? Didn’t think so… now let’s get it made! ”

    That’s the pitch. I admit there’s plenty of fine print to emphasize story reel instead of the film, but the gist of it until you read deep is that this to make a movie, and not asking help to pitch it.

    “Help us make a NEW KIND of animated film… one that’s LOUD, VIOLENT and OFFENSIVE TO YOUR GRANDMA.”

    Again, not a story reel, but sounding like a pitch to make the film. If they can get the money, cool. I do donate to Kickstarter, but not this particular time.

    • Joe

      Seriously….wow. If you look at the Kickstarter page it says ‘STORY REEL’ at least 4 times. Plus, they even explain what it is and how it will be used:

      ‘This is where YOU come in. The next step of our plan is to begin the film making process by producing a feature length STORY REEL based on Eric Powell’s amazing script (a story reel is a rough edit of story boards combined with music and sound effects). This will give Hollywood a complete look at the at the Goon’s film potential.’

      • Joe

        Even better: ‘Your donations will directly FUND “The Goon” movie STORY REEL.’

    • Jason

      Proof of funding is proof of interest.

  • Eman

    Glad that’s out of the way.

  • http://www.3dninja.com Daniel Edwards

    Historically I’ve not been a fan of Amid on many things, but here I think Amid is SPOT ON.

    I don’t think that major studios should skirt the risk of producing new content by using Kickstarter. While I can’t tell people what to do with their money, I think Kickstarter is best used supporting independent creators who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to have their visions made. Blur doesn’t need Kickstarter for this, but obviously it makes financial sense to use it. It’s like EA coming in here saying they have an idea for a cool game, but since marketing isn’t sure it will make money they’ll have the people of Kickstarter foot the bill. It’s kind of crass in my opinion and Tim’s response actually supports Amid’s concerns. Except in the EA example you’ll get a copy of the game probably, here… not so much, more like a pat on the back.

    Thank you Amid for talking about this.

    • Jason

      You lost me right when you compared an independent company to a megacorp like EA.

      • Jink

        I agree with Edwards’ comments. while Blur may not be a “megacorp”, they are an established commercial animation house whose ultimate goal is to get studio funding. Essentially Blur is using kickstarter as a means of securing a business contract. I hate to see socially funded projects turn into “tax breaks” or an alternate revenue stream for studios. Blur should seriously think about what kind of return their kickstarter investors are going to receive.

    • outside guy

      as you know, 110 employees is only a stone throw away from 7000+. similarity, having one office in a swank place like Venice, California has a lot in common with offices all over the world.

  • http://www.standalone3d.com mathias

    If you don’t like heavy metal, do not listen to it.
    If you don’t like porn, don’t watch it.
    If you don’t like this campaign, don’t contribute.
    It is as easy as that.
    Blur kick ass and I want to see this movie!!!
    BLUR FOR PRESIDENT!!!!

    • http://www.frogchildren.com Kevin Konrad Hanna

      “If you don’t like heavy metal”

      The music or the other animated movie Blur couldn’t get studio financing for?

  • http://www.youtube.com/gooncartoons Frank Forte

    I think it’s very difficult to get an animated film funded these days, especially something like The Goon which would appeal to adults, not kids. Big studios are not likely to fund this, so what better way than to go to the PEOPLE. Rennaissance artists did pre-sales/funding all the time. Why can’t BLUR. The kickstarter is clear–you’re funding a storyreel. It;s the first part of any animated film. And no one will see it. That’s clear. So let anyone that wants to fund it do so. Get that damn film made, dammit!!

  • Jen Koontz

    It seems to me the real question is what value do the backers get out of funding an insanely expensive story reel? Which a distributor will then profit off of, if they even choose to pick it up? And that the backer will have to pay again to actually see?

    So the real value here to the backer is just funding a type of animated movie that they might like to see (but have no guarantee of actually seeing, even if the Kickstarter project is fully funded and the story reel completed successfully).

    That’s what I think Amid is speaking to that no one else here is addressing. What is the value for the backers? At least with other Kickstarter projects they get some sort of direct access to the results.

    I think he has a good point that fans are funding pre-production on this project so that distributors (not necessarily Blur, who I do believe’s intentions are pure) can profit off of it. Doesn’t seem like a great model for the industry if distributors and other studios discover that they can cut budget by relying on fans for funding pre-production. Maybe Blur should explore other routes of fundraising, or figure out a better payoff for their backers anyway.

    Ultimately if what they are proposing doesn’t make sense or doesn’t reward the backers enough, then it won’t get funded, so… the economy of this will take care of the “problem” itself, most likely…

    How does funding occur for pre-production normally anyway? Seems like that’s the real issue here?

    • How and why

      The value for the backers is knowing that they’re giving ‘The Goon’ a chance to be made. That’s all, and for many fans, that’s enough. They don’t need a “product” in exchange for their money.

      Why on Earth are thousands of people giving $1 donations to KS campaigns? What’s in it for them? How dare those campaigns take their money without giving them anything in return?

      EVERY DAY, people give money to Kickstarters simply and only because they like the idea. Is this news to some people?

      Fans have seen too many potentially great projects die on the runway, and the only reason this campaign was even considered was because the fans suggested it. Anyone giving money KNOWS there’s no guarantee of anything coming of it. They’re giving money because they are SICK AND TIRED of “the system” crushing their dreams, and if they can push the odds of ‘The Goon’ being made by even 5-10%, they’ll do it.

      I would bet that any animation fan crying foul right now would be tripping over themselves to fund a Kickstarter for Richard Williams to properly finish ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’ (which would then go on to “make distributors money”! The horror!)

      What if, back in the day, Jodorowsky could have had a Kickstarter to help pre-production for his lost ‘Dune’ movie? Again, plenty of people whining about ‘The Goon’ right now would give their left leg for a time machine to go back and do ANYTHING to help change events so that movie actually got made.

      Let’s say you’re actually a huge fan of ‘The Goon’ comic, and you watched the spec trailer back when it came out. As soon as you found out that it was only on spec, as soon as you realized that no distributor felt confident to bankroll production because it wasn’t “family friendly”, you’d be foaming at the mouth.

      If you had the chance to get in the same room with an executive who said “I love it, but it doesn’t fit with the tween demographic we’re pushing for this fiscal quarter”, you’d grab them by the shoulders and shake them as hard as you could while screaming in their face until you passed out.

      Since fans of ‘The Goon’ don’t have access to studio executives (thank God), they’re channeling their rage into what’s essentially gambling money. They’re betting on the chance that a Goon story reel would be a winning horse. They know it’s a long shot.

      Seriously, you don’t have to PROTECT ‘The Goon’ fans from some “reckless opportunism” of Blur studios. Is that seriously the goal of this backlash? Good Lord.

      Tell those fans giving money that they’re misguided. Don’t tell Blur that they should be sending out DRM free copies of the story reel as soon as it’s finished or whatever hare-brained suggestion you have for an alternative.

      • Korbin

        On the one hand, I really liked your response. On the other hand, I didn’t like the facetious tone you took with Jen. She made an intelligent argument, and her points were valid. I’m sure she is very well aware of the reasons why some people choose to donate (as am I). You made a very passionate counter argument, which I applaud you for, but your opinions would of come across much better if you had made them with less sarcasm.

  • Was My Face Red

    When they pitch this – when they show the story reel – when the execs say ” we love this but we want to change everything” and Blur do what they say ‘cos that’s Hollywood – will the funders then be given copies of the story reel they paid for so they can see the Goon movie that might have been?

  • Paul Taylor

    As a fan of both Blur and The Goon I really hope that this project gets funded. THIS is the kind of animation our industry needs right now. Personally, if I never see another animated film staring animals it will be too soon. My kids would disagree, of course.

    Oh, and for sake of full disclosure, I was fortunate enough to have worked at Blur for 5 years. So yeah, I’m biased. ;)

  • http://www.bigfootvsnerds.com IAmSamJackson

    I think it is fine for him to use Kickstarter to try to fund his project. If folks want to support him than so be it but eventually I see kickstarter is another area where real indie folks and folks who could not fund this thing otherwise will get kicked out of like everything else. You’ll have Hollywood folks going on and getting funding because of who they are and then the little guys get ignored like everything else with just a few exceptions here getting in and out. I think projects like these will become more popular and we the smaller guys will be crowded out. Heck even this website ignores us little guys. They posted about this kickstarter because it is a named established property. I ain’t seen any other kickstarters from no names here so in reality it has already started.
    I hope Fincher gets his film funded but 400,000? 400,000 I’m struggling just to get 5000 for an entire animated film. I have to say I’m jealous and projects like these will initially get more attention for the rest of us but it is a double edge sword as the more attention we get the more attention other big wigs will give kickstarter and “CROWD” us out of the game.

  • Spencer

    This sounds like a very honest and heartfelt response and I’m pulling for The Goon at all costs.

  • http://www.bigfootvsnerds.com IAmSamJackson

    PS why the heck would it take 400,000 to make a demo reel? Seriously? Big Hwood type folks. If I wanted to do it big and beautiful I could get it done for 5000. Give me 10 and you’ll have a full beautifully Pixar level colore story reel. 400,000? What the heck?

    • Billy Batz

      Exactly! A few board artists, and an editor, scratch some music and dialogue, and 3 months later an animatic! 25-30 grand maybe?

      • http://www.siliconriot.com David Breaux

        You don’t sell projects on an Animatic in this town… And as for doing it for $5000.00 you couldn’t touch the quality Blur would put into it….and if you think you can. You don’t work in the business.

  • but_why_use_kickstarter

    maybe Mr Fincher & the 3 Gents that own Blur (who would no doubt stand to do pretty well on release)
    could simply stump up $100k each

    Story Reel funding sorted !

    If I am investing in a new design for a bulb
    I at least want a frickin bulb..
    being part of a ‘fan driven movement’ on something a famous Director is associated with is not enough
    and its frankly kinda manipulative of folks?
    Howabout you offer these ‘micro-producers’ a point percentage..that’s fair right..?

    for the record, I really love Fincher, Goon and Eric Powell and Blur do amazing work !
    …but not like this guys…

    Hey Kickstarter.. you know I’d really like a new car

    • Jeremy

      [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, "It is OK to post with a nickname or alias, but your email address (which we will NEVER share publicly), must be a real, permanent email address. Comments with fake or non-permanent emails will be deleted."]

    • Chris

      Agree 100%

      I do believe Amid is actually spot on with his criticism here.

      I do hope the animatic and the film get made but not this way please.

      I’ve been in the animation and film industry long enough to know a bit about profit margins with the sort of projects blur do.

      Blur + Fincher would have not too much trouble coughing up that amount of cash from their own pocket.

      They are neither poor nor are they small players. Or even half, 200k or make it a quarter 100k. Just to show that they really believe in the project.

      What this campaign tells me is that the key people are not prepared to take a risk. They are using the goon fanbase as a safety net in case Hollywood says no again.

  • WhiskyaGOGO

    First time posting here. I’ve been working as an animator for almost 15 years. I feel pretty passionately about this one considering the numerous industry friends I’ve had attempt Kickstarter campaigns with various degrees of success.

    Flaunting the fact that “…Blur is an independent studio” feels self serving in this case.

    Although it’s subjective, to me the essence of “independent” means a handful of people attempting to do something fresh and original. It’s hard to feel overly sympathetic to Blur’s cause as they don’t fit easily into either category.

    Blur is 100+ employees and they’ve been making killer art for years. They’ve found success, unquestionably. Not to mention the “the Goon” has already found it’s own level of success. This isn’t about introducing something new to the world, it’s about repackaging an existing IP for a new media and making money for a huge studio. All so Blur can break into major motion pictures.

    People will no doubt point out tons of exceptions to the above examples. But they are exceptions to the rule – not the norm. When Kickstarter is at it’s best – what it represents is not making money for massive studios. Rather it’s an opportunity for first timers to get started. Hence the name “Kickstarter.”

    Innocent or not, it’s hard to see how a non biased individual couldn’t see this as an attempt to take advantage of the system – whether or not the end goal is to create a piece of cool art. I find it odd that there are a suddenly a swarm of anti Amid posters on a site people read because, well, people like what Amid has to offer.

    One of these people commented on how this Goon campaign was approved by Kickstarter and, evidently, that should just make everything OK. Anyone who has been following recent events with Reddit knows this is nonsense. Just because a trendy tech company allows something, doesn’t necessarily make it just. In the absolute BEST case this is sketchy business. Blur should know better, as should Kickstarter.

  • Rawls

    This is a great discussion and I believe a good thing that Amid has brought to light. Tim’s response is straight forward, and its great that the Brew posted it. But as much as I personally would love to see a Goon movie, I still think that Tim is being a bit deceptive. And understandably so, as he has to defend his studio and the movie they are trying to make. The issue that remains is still this:
    “We’re making a StoryReel” is what they say. Fair enough. If that was ALL they were making. But I highly doubt that the STORYREEL is the end goal.
    The end goal is a movie, is it not?
    If that is the case, this project IS an open-ended project, and the STORYREEL is NOT the end product.
    What this Kickstarter project should be created for, is the creation of a movie. Given, that would take a lot of backers and a lot of money… probably not possible, but it would be more honest. But that’s what this is really all about, isn’t it? I mean, come on, nobody wants to go to the theater to watch a 2 hour Storyreel. …Well, maybe some of us would.

  • Hugo

    Hmmm… Perhaps Mr. Fincher should finance the story reel himself. Blur’s method of finance is not the issue, it’s the individual whose passion for the film does not exceed his desire to preserve his personal net-worth.

  • David Vallone

    As someone who has worked for blur studio and have known tim miller personally for more than 30 hrs. I can say I have the upmost respect for tim miller and Blur. I reiterate what an earlier poster and former blur employee regarding Tims honesty and straight forwardness. He has never been one to try and deceive and pull a fast one on anyone he has ever done business with. I tip my hat to he and his partners for being able to keep it going as a true independent
    studio for 17 yrs in this ever challenging business of animation. Before slicing and dicing with criticism of Miller and blur one needs to know how they started and how far they have come from humble beginnings with many challenges and sacrifices to where they are now.. Still sacrificing and doing there’s very best to Beate the odds and do things their way making the best film they can make. Tim and crew have never been about profiting off the backs of others hard work. He and his partners are right in there on the ground floor work ling right along side of every other artist there. If kick starter vetted and approved this endeavor than so be it. All my best to blur and others who are trying to circumvent the big machine.

  • Wouter

    Because paying Hollywood to see embarrassingly shitty comic book movies isn’t enough fun anymore, we can now start rewarding the ineffective and culturally handicapped way of creating them with even a chance of never having to see the damn thing. I’m all for it.

  • tony blinco

    Firstly, i really hope this film gets made (and loses none of it’s tongue in cheek charm).
    Secondly, couldn’t this issue all be solved by offering backers free tickets to the movie should it eventually be made?

  • Sotiris

    I do think that Tim and Blur Studios have the best intentions and that they didn’t violate any Kickstarter regulations. The incentive may be small (just the satisfaction of giving the project a chance to be made) but that’s up to the backers to decide if that’s enough for them.

    However, I do have two questions:

    1. Why is this story reel so expensive to produce? As another commentator has noted, $400,000 for a story reel seems absurd. I think for transparency reasons, Blur Studios should provide a breakdown of the production cost.

    2. If David Fincher loves this project and wants to see it made as much he claims, why is he funding the story reel from his own pocket? He’s rich; $400,000 must be small change to him.

  • SteveG

    It seems what some of you are missing is the BIG picture. Sure Fincher could probably pay for the storyreel himself (I assume), but since this is an unusual film (aimed at adults and not children) the chances of a studio greenlighting it (even with a completed storyreel) is very unlikely.
    The Kickstarter campaign to me accomplishes three things.
    1. It gives Fincher and Blur a chance to make the storyreel they want to make without outside interference.
    2. A finished story reel should make it easier for a studio to actually ‘get’ what the film is all about and feel less uneasy with buying a pig in a poke.
    3. And, most importantly, it shows studios that there is interest in this type of film immediately by showing how many fans were willing to put their money where their mouths are. Something studios like to know is that fans are willing to part with cash for a film. The more fans contributing to make this storyreel will make Fincher and Blur’s argument that their is an audience for this type of animation that much easier.

    Fincher has already tried to use his considerable Hollywood clout to get this film made (even after they created a proof of concept video on their own dime) and still couldn’t convince a studio to fund this film.
    My guess is that they don’t think they’d be any support for a non-family animated film. Trust me. It’s not easy to convince a studio to take this type of chance.
    This seems like a great way to convince them otherwise.

  • http://www.akaosaru.com Miquel

    I am backer for “The Goon” and I believe it is honest and Blur deserve our help. And of course I love the project, and I would like to see it on cinemas.
    Also Blur share his tools with the 3d animation community as an opensource project. http://code.google.com/p/blur-dev/downloads/list
    At less for me I received my rewards long ago ;)
    Go Goon go go go!

  • MissConception

    What I find unsettling is that the general tone of this “controversy” furthers the idea that big time success achieved by independent artists is shameful and (to a certain degree) should be punished. It’s as though people are saying, “You’re allowed to be successful, but only to a certain point. Once you’re in cahoots with a big studio, you’ve become the enemy.” Forgive me, but this feels very backwards and bitter. Blur’s efforts and talents should not be immediately demeaned because they will eventually need the funding of a bigger, more mainstream studio. If this project is really as groundbreaking as perceived, a high profile success could change the industry and help animation break away from the boundaries placed upon it as a strictly “general audience” medium. And personally, I find any studio’s attempts to achieve such a goal a commendable cause, especially considering the many obstacles that come with it.

    And really, what use is there in independent artists and studios fighting amongst each other? With animation being as collaborative as it is, you would think we could all get along better than this.

  • Glen

    The bigger problem really is that they’re attempting to make a cartoon no one asked for or cares that much about. As an investor who expects a return on investment–the teaser didn’t do much to prove otherwise.

  • Billy Batz

    If the crowd funds the reel, does the crowd own it?, can the crowd choose the studio where it gets pitched?

  • Organik

    I too would love to see this made and wish them the very best, but the campaign wasn’t thought through very well and the intentions are muddy. They may have been better off trying to fund $2 million short film, and use that as a pitch. Then at the very least, there would be no controversy. The caveat emptor argument only holds up if the seller is completely transparent. In this case, there would need to be more rationalization as to why a studio like Blur even needs your ten dollar donation for a pitch, and why a simple story reel would cost a staggering $400,000. I just hope all of this noise will funnel traffic to Kickstarter, and help other projects get off of the ground.

  • IAmSamJackson

    This will not send more traffic to Kickstarter period.
    It will, if it gets funded and made to a full feature, would be cool but would also get all the other Hwood guys, some not so true blue as Mr. Fincher, come sniffing around using name brand properties, and then drown out the rest of the folks trying to make it. That is the only problem I see.

    Mr. Fincher, why will it cost you $400,000 to do a story reel, aka animatic, when it would only take most folks here $100 bucks to $35,000.max?

    That is how much Hollywood pays to do things. Why are you guys not doing it the indie way?
    400,000?? Leaves much to question.

  • steven

    I love the work that Blur has produced. Their credentials for producing entertaining, imaginative and inspirational work can never be doubted.

    However, this debate isn’t about that. We look to artists to carry the flag, to take risks few of us can. However, this particular Kickstarter project appears to be about asking the general public to carry the burden.

    For me, I currently earn 16k a year working 35 hours a week in an office. I have known hard times, facing the prospect of losing my home until I landed my recent job. Yet I wish to be an animator. Its a risk I choose to take. I have also done a lot to help others in similar shoes. Please see http://blog.11secondclub.com

    It is for this reason, that I am sad to see projects like the Goon on Kickstarter. I have seen other appeals, from top artists who could indeed afford to fund the projects themselves. It would be risky and make bad business sense, but isn’t that what the spirit of producing art and animation about?

    I admire the journey the studio has taken and also their future ambitions. However, in agreement with ‘Iamsamjackson’, my main fear ‘if it gets funded and made to a full feature, would be cool’. I would LOVE to see it. ‘But would also get all the other Hwood guys, some not so true blue as Mr. Fincher, come sniffing around using name brand properties, and then drown out the rest of the folks trying to make it.’

  • Jill Everett

    Good luck with The Goon! We need more entrepreneurial souls like Blur to expand the art and commerce of animation.

  • http://www.siliconriot.com David Breaux

    It’s an agreement plain and simple….read it, decide if you want to put money into it or not… It’s no more complicated than that. If you don’t like the terms walk away…if you don’t mind the term don’t bitch after giving money.

  • Luke

    I would like to commend Mr. Amidi for giving Blur an open forum for rebuttal like this. To me, that shows maturity in the face of disagreement. Both parties in fact, seemed to show mutual respect in spite of disagreeing with one another on a potentially heated topic. Amid writes without much reserve, and often comes across as brash and potentially quick to point a finger, however, it is clear he is open to discussion, and capable of taking it as easily as he “dishes” it out. I think that provides balance to his criticism. I get the feeling he is less attached to “being right”, than he is to transparency and truth. I appreciate this. Good discussion.

  • andreas Wessel-Therhorn

    pretty much all attempts to make ‘adult’ animation has failed over the years, because no one shows up to see it. kick starter is a great idea, but now i see a new project every week that wants my money…and time’s aint so rosy for traditional animators. i personally would rather give to a fellow animator trying to get his or her personal vision done than supporting a potential studio pic…however worthy it may be

  • http://www.toonocity.com fremgen

    First off, I really hope they get to make this movie, because I’d love to see it.

    That said I question validity of this Kickstarter project because I don’t see how a story reel will help get it the movie produced when the fully animated teaser scene doesn’t seem to be cutting it. Seems to me once they have the story reel in hand, the project is still as dead as it is today- sadly.

    On a side note, I’m currently involved in an independent cgi movie which is trying to hammer out the budget with the investors. Investors who saw the Goon’s Kickstarter and assumed that was for the whole movie! That, of course, skewed their understanding and caused a problem. No one reads anything- big surprise right?

    But like I said, I hope they get to make the actually movie :)

  • http://josephkingworks.blogspot.com Joseph

    $400,000 for a story reel to pick to studios who already turned down an amazing looking concept trailer seems kinda idiotic. As others have mentioned they’ve already turned you down so whats the point of trying to pick it to them again? Better to reevaluate your goals and just cut Hollywood out all together.

  • http://www.ohyeahwow.com Darcy Prendergast

    The more work Blur creates the better I say.

  • joe

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  • http://www.studiokinate.com Char Rinderknecht

    In this day of the big six (Disney/Pixar, Paramount, WB, Fox, Dreamworks, Sony) and their focus on “transmedia” projects, it is difficult for anyone to branch away from the NORM or the “formula” films, especially in animation. So, as a small company, hoping to develop an independent film, I’ve also thought about Kickstarter for some of the development cost. We’re no way near the size of Blur, but who cares. Goon isn’t my cup of tea, but I wish them luck.

  • eugene

    Who says Kickstarter has to host “indie” projects? People fund what they like. Period.

  • PC

    FUNDED!!!!!! YES!!!!!

  • http://www.pompadorable.com allycat

    Fans have been asking powell to do a kickstarter for years, he always graciously declined. Until a month ago. I know id bring it up at cons whenever i saw him..at first i figured if it didnt fund at least he could tell the fans he tried but upon the projects funding.i think it i s appartent to him just how much his fans believe in the 12 years of work hes dedicated to the goon. Also, the incentives are up there and im personally thrilled tohave donated.