You know, I could write a long-winded introduction about my childhood and how it ties into all of this. In fact, I actually did write one… but I cut it out. Why? BECAUSE I AM TOO DARNED EXCITED ABOUT THIS NEWS TO WAX POETIC FOR YOU, THAT’S WHY.
So let’s start where this story really began.
Last year I was writing a TFI blog series on the basics of popular (or virtually unheard-of) fandoms: what they’re about, why so many people like them, and so forth. In February, I decided to write about a book series that had taken me and many of my loved ones by storm: The Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson. I refer you to the original article if you haven’t read it already, but there’s one central part of the series history that I want to refresh in your minds:
By 2011, the first three novels for the series had been released. Eventually the final book, The Warden and the Wolf King, was funded thanks to an unbelievably-successful Kickstarter campaign that many of us fans hopped on in 2013.
And did I mention the many bonuses that piled up as the money kept pouring in? Full-scale maps, MP3s of original songs, illustrated hardbacks, audiobooks narrated by Peterson himself, even a separately published edition of Pembrick’s Creaturepedia (which is the Wingfeather version of Harry Potter’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)!
That Kickstarter campaign, as it turns out, set an unprecedented record as the largest fiction/fantasy campaign ever funded on the site at the time: in fact, it raised $100,000 more than the original goal, which led to a lot of the aforementioned goodies. And if you like stats like that, you should also know that the project won the Clive Staples* Award for fiction and was named World Magazine’s 2014 Children’s Book of the Year.
* (referring to C.S. Lewis, the renowned author of The Chronicles of Narnia)
But hold on to your hats, because here’s where things get really exciting.
THE WINGFEATHER SAGA IS COMING TO THE SCREEN.
Peterson had managed to team up with the likes of J. Chris Wall (a contributor to Veggietales), director Tom Owens (Prince of Egypt and How to Train Your Dragon 1 & 2), and animator Keith Lango (Portal 2) to create an animated short about the saga, in the hopes of gaining more momentum for the series. When I finally saw the email, I had just come home from work roughly twelve hours after the Kickstarter campaign was launched… and half the money for the minimum goal had already been raised.
Well, friends, one look at that page, and… let’s just say I was diving into the donation pool faster than old pirate Podo diving into a garden of thwaps. And I wasn’t the only one. The campaign reached its minimum goal in LESS. THAN. FORTY-EIGHT. HOURS.
Needless to say, more fundraising records were blasted into oblivion when that happened. And, just like last time… the money is still pouring in. The minimum goal was $110,000… and now over $162,000 have been pledged! That means that instead of a little animated short with just three characters, Peterson and Wall have almost enough to add entire towns of characters to the short. They’ve received funding already for towering figures like retired-pirate Podo and the noble Nia, and we get Peet the Sock Man if we reach $175,000! (WE MUST HAVE PEET THE SOCK MAN.)
Some of you may be wondering about the exact purpose of one little short film. After all, what’s the point if there’s not enough money for more than one episode? Well, my friends, the central reason for this pilot is to entice studios to pick up the project! After all, this campaign is a solid piece of proof to them that there’s an interested (scratch that, devoted) audience.
For those of you who are still on the fence, perhaps mentioning some of the donation prizes might send you over the edge: signed books and posters; t-shirts; clothing patches belonging to the super-sneaky Durgan guild (think a Hogwarts house of celtic ninjas); full soundtracks; original concept art; collectible character cards; original short stories from the Wingfeather universe written by multiple guest authors (including Douglas McKelvey, Jonathan Rogers, Jennifer Trafton, Pete Peterson, and N.D. Wilson); even tickets to the premiere!
So I urge you, for the sake of all Aerwiar, to pass on this news to your loved ones… and then maybe drop by the campaign and donate a little. I wouldn’t ask you to contribute if I hadn’t already done so myself… and even if you don’t give anything, I suggest that – if nothing else – you pick up the books and take a peek if you haven’t already.
On April 4th, the campaign will end and no more donations can be accepted (until the next campaign, I hope).
So go forth, my friends! Spread the word! Earn those prizes! Which ones are you the most excited about?
And in the immortal words of Andrew Peterson, “Beware the toothy cows! Oh, and snickbuzzards. And the horned hounds. And the quill-diggles… and cave blats…”