Joe Murray Wants to Create Crowd-Funded Shorts

Joe Murray, creator of Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, has created a Kickstarter campaign to raise $16,800 to complete 2 three-minute episodes of his new online cartoon series Frog in a Suit. The pilot episode is already complete. This is part of a larger project called KaBoingTV that Murray wants to turn into a “home for quality, cutting edge cartoons and animation on the web, and a ‘free range’ and ethical environment for the artists who make them.”

When I wrote about crowd-funding a few months ago, I said that this funding arrangement would initially work best for filmmakers with a proven track record. Murray certainly has a track record, and more significantly, he is the first creator of a TV series to pursue this route. His reasons for doing so, as stated on his Kickstarter page, are admirable: “I’m trying produce the first episodes without outside funding that comes with strings attached. Its also my wish to have you the audience, plus fellow animators be my producers rather than funding sources that don’t love cartoons as much as you do.”

He also writes that the money raised will be used to hire outside animation talent and won’t be used for his personal labor expenses. The campaign runs 45 days. If his fundraising goal isn’t reached by then, the project will not be funded. In the first day of his campaign, he has already raised over $1600 or nearly 10% of his goal. We’ll keep an eye on this to see what happens.

(Thanks, David Essman)


  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    I hope he succeeds. I already made a pledge.

  • Andrew

    Jeez, what an unconvincing pitch. If this is what he’s like in meetings, no wonder he hasn’t gotten anything sold since Lazlo. I’ve never heard anyone sound more bored and reluctant while using the words “Fresh & Edgy.”

    Why does he need 16 grand to do 6 minutes of this? With voice acting that bad and posing that rough, he could do the whole thing in flash himself. College kids do better than this all the time, and they’re losing tuition money. You’re telling me a guy who’s executive produced two TV shows cant afford to take a few months off and make something on his own, without begging the internet for money?

    Yikes.

  • http://www.fleabeemedia.com The Flea

    Actually, Andrew… I liked his pitch quite a bit. It isn’t ridiculously flashy — it’s just open and honest. He got his point across and I’m sure everyone listened. :)

  • Caldwell

    I’m with Andrew.

    Not sure why Joe deserves my money to make his cartoon when thousands of animators slave over their independent films or personal projects for the love of it. And, I don’t want to be mean, but independent animators make better quality work than that little snippet of Frog In A Suit.

    There is a piece of me that feels guilty for not being supportive but I really don’t think something like KaboingTV will be a success when CartoonBrew TV isn’t (doesn’t seem to be). CartoonBrew gets the traffic, the hits. People are supposed to hurry over to Kaboing for Joe’s cartoons and what… other animators who won’t do it without a check?

  • http://www.JohnTravieso.blogspot.com John Tallacksen

    I sincerely hope that this website gets the funding it needs and thrives. In view of the downfall of Cartoon Network I’m sure many of us would like to see this website do well. I wish I could have pledged more.

  • Scarabim

    Rocko was quite entertaining. But Camp Lazlo was horrible. Lazy inept-looking character design, dopey scripts, repulsive characters. Frog in a Suit isn’t very appealing either. Why should I personally fund more of the kind of dreck that’s currently infesting TV toonland? Screw “fresh and edgy”. It almost always means toons even kids don’t want to watch.

  • bob

    You aren’t funding the shorts, you are funding the whole web tv concept. The shorts are just content for the site and so he could send people some stuff when they donate. Thats what I got out of the pitch.

  • startstop

    Great idea. Artists need to be able to work without the pressure of getting expensive resources, and unemployment.

    But can ya pick a better photo to welcome me off right in the morning?! Goodness.

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    First, let’s buy Joe a comb.

  • http://carolwyatt.blogspot.com Carol Wyatt

    I’m all for people getting work and being paid a decent wage. Let’s hope that that happens.

  • Jay Taylor

    The $16k is for 2 three-minute episodes of Frog In A Suit. My question is, assuming he gets it, what happens after he makes them? Will he need another $16k to make more? Will it be a never ending cycle of crowd-funding for the next project? And the next, and the next?

  • David Levy

    Isn’t crowd funding what happens already on something like Cartoon Network? There, “the crowd” are cable subscribers. They help fund the show (with advertising dollars). The big difference in Joe’s model is that he gets to pick what is produced instead of some development executive. So, the strength of this model will depend on his ability to deliver and on his ability to bring in others who deliver. This is the model of the creator as development executive. But, for this to really work, he’s got to reach the public (and their wallets) that watch cartoon network. I can’t see enough money coming from other animators. Aren’t we each already funding our own personal projects?

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

    I want him to succeed. Everything he says he wants to do, I want him to be able to do. Even if you aren’t a fan of this FIRST cartoon he’s pitching, this could be the start of something great!

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

    Also, although I agree that Lazlo wasn’t a hit, I’d gladly pick Lazlo over Total Drama Action, Ben 10 or Johnny Test.

  • Rooniman

    I hope this gets funded. I sounds like a great idea.

  • fred

    Well, if Lazlo wasn’t a hit, you ought to tell Murray to give his Emmy back, cause someone must have made a mistake.

  • http://www.milowerx.com Mike Milo

    The man doesn’t have to be exciting himself to make a good cartoon fellas, give him a break! I really don’t understand why anyone would oppose something like this. We all whine about dev execs not knowing what they want and networks meddling too much and destroying content, and then some successful dude like Joe comes along asking for help and you even have the chance to help if you want. IF-you-want. If you don’t you don’t have to. I applaud Joe’s idea and may even try it myself. Like he said, it’s also a sounding board for whether or not viewers even want this type of programming. Personally I liked his idea and thought it was pretty good.

  • Andrew

    Camp Lazlo: A monkey with no personality fills time for 3 seasons. Give this man your money!