Animusic 3 - Pushing Our 3rd DVD to the Finish Line

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
With the help of Kickstarter, we will be able to publish ANIMUSIC 3!

Submitted: August 09, 2012

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Submitted: August 09, 2012

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You + Kickstarter = ANIMUSIC 3

How and why?

ANIMUSIC 3 is to be our 3rd "video album" DVD release. ANIMUSIC 1 and ANIMUSIC 2 have each sold well enough (over 600,000 units combined) that we have been able to continue operating as a tiny independent, self-funded production company. But each DVD took 3 years to complete. It shouldn't be that arduous. So we said: "Ah! We shall rebuild our entire production studio from the ground up -- a totally custom in-house software system!". And we did. Its awesomeness grew over a 5-year period of time.

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Fortunately, all along the way we continued to design and create interchangeable instrument components. 100's of sketches, 100's of components, countless mini tests, robots, and stage parts. And from March thru May, Wayne Lytle produced a full album of digital music that will be the soul of ANIMUSIC 3.

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So, is ANIMUSIC 3 almost done? Or just beginning???

Oddly, it feels like a bit of both. We've built a "magical music animation factory", neatly laid lots of little parts on our "magical workbench", rubbed our hands together in gleeful anticipation...then realized our "magical factory" came with some hefty utility bills, and our piggy bank was empty. Uh-oh.

Help?

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Wait a second. What exactly is Animusic?

Animation + Music. Computer-animated music on DVD. More specifically, it's music-driven computer animation.

In the grandest sense, ANIMUSIC could be considered a genre.

From a business angle, ANIMUSIC is an independent production company with an online store and some more traditional distribution.

If a little voice asks "Can we watch ANIMUSIC?", they probably want you to pop in one of our first 2 self-titled DVD's (ANIMUSIC 1 and ANIMUSIC 2).

We like to think of ANIMUSIC as a band (sometimes "brand"). We interact and operate more like a band (or video-game developer) than a "company". You could say we're fueled by an intense passion for what we do rather than a strong desire to maximize profit. Ironically, that's both big strength and a potential weakness. Read on.

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Our mission: to bring joy and inspiration to people through computer-animated instrumental music.

Wayne says: "I absolutely believe that this is my purpose here on Earth. Not a hobby. Not a career. It's my calling. There is no backup plan."

What is so different about ANIMUSIC?

Music is everywhere (has been for a long time). These days animation is everywhere too, especially computer animation. And animation (from feature films to concept demos) almost always includes music.

But, in most cases the music plays a supportive role (conveying a mood, or just because "yer supposed ta have music"). Very rarely is the animation depicting the music -- appearing to be playing the music. But over the years, various experimental animations have visualized music by reacting to the notes or sound (raindrops, lasers, or abstract shapes). Of course we've all seen real-time music visualizers pulsating to the beat of various digital music playback software. Fun, mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic... but simply reacting to changes in the audio spectrum.

Our approach is to create animation that is playing the music for you. Like a virtual concert. The animated instruments don't just undulate in response to sound; they play the exact notes you're hearing. And they work very hard at it. They can be a little showy as they riff on their virtual stages. Truly they are the "rock stars" of this genre. If someone signs autographs, it should be them. And they would if they could.

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How do we feel right now?

Confident: Having produced 2 well-received ANIMUSIC DVDs in the past, and finally (finally!) having a production studio that feels very natural and efficient, we know we can do this. And we will.

Humbled: Sure, we've sold hundreds of thousands of DVDs worldwide, and many people have gushed about our work, but...speaking personally (Wayne), I feel a bit sheepish and embarrassed about having spent all the proceeds from sales on rebuilding our complex software system from the ground up. If only I could travel back in time and think like a business guy: develop the studio to an initial level, release ANIMUSIC 3, upgrade it further and do ANIMUSIC 4, etc... Hindsight.

Hopeful: There has been such strong ongoing support for ANIMUSIC for years, with lots of encouragement to keep us going.

Excited: Not in the bubbly sense, but in clear growing sense that this is becoming real! We can actually feel it.

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How will the funding be utilized?

To significantly expedite the ANIMUSIC 3 production process, namely:

People: Firstly, Dave Crognale (who's been with ANIMUSIC over a decade) will be able to remain full-time. Few things will affect us as much as having a whole Dave. Of course, Wayne Lytle who is the driving force behind everything ANIMUSIC, as well as Greg Flores who is helping manage the business. Last but certainly not least; hiring more passionate people to work with us at ANIMUSIC will also be extremely valuable.

64bit workstations: Technology has finally caught up to the ANIMUSIC vision. Having these powerful computers at our fingertips will be invaluable in bringing that vision to life much faster. In a sense, these are the instruments that give us the ability to “play” ANIMUSIC.

Fast render farm: A new "Render farm". Our previous render farm is a "Render Dinosaur". We need to fill racks with beefy multi-core computers running 24/7. Our render times need to be measured in hours, not weeks like they are now.

Studio expenses: As you might assume, we need to be under a roof and keep the electricity running while we work.

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And if you raise even more?

It's really time to accelerate our throughput. We've got half of that taken care of (the production system). But it's time to move beyond our 2-man core team. We've both got some grey. There are countless talented younger production people eagerly desiring to join in on the fun. We need to start spreading the joy...more feet peddling faster...releasing animations much sooner, and ...

... yes, we've heard you, and we're dreaming the same dream ...

...making ANIMUSIC interactive! Even the components we've built for ANIMUSIC 3 could be part of an interactive instrument building toolkit. And as you know, at least one of us just can't stay away from writing cool software.

Ok, stop distracting us. We're getting ahead of ourselves. The initial level of funding is to complete ANIMUSIC 3. It is vital. Without it, we'll be left holding the world's most expensive vapor. There will be tears. Grown men will cry.

Lighthearted metaphors aside, we truly need this. We're dead serious (albeit with a twist of silly): Without your help, we're not sure how or if ANIMUSIC 3 will ever see the laser-light of your DVD player.

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Why is Kickstarter so cool?

Perhaps a bunch of people in the community is more likely to fund your project than more traditional means. Could be.

It may mean avoiding some the loss of some artistic control, intellectual property ownership, or other bondage to your industry's "Evil Empire". Not small things.

Test the market appetite for a product before development. Hey, that's good too.

But here's what does it for us: Say you could raise $200,000 from one "faceless" traditional investor (say a plain old bank loan), or rather thousands of Kickstarterfolk. The bank just wants their money back...with interest (monetary).

The Kickstarterfolk give you their interest...lots of it. Enthusiastically and sometimes passionately. Having thousands of real people with real names saying, "We want what you're building. We believe in you. We know you can do it!". Powerful and Priceless.

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Still haven't found what you wanted to know? Ask us a question, and we can expand the Story with additional sections.

FAQ will be posted here.


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