Last month, a Kickstarter for Eric Powell’s “The Goon” movie launched, setting a $400,000 goal in order to get the film off the ground by allowing fans to help contribute to getting a story reel made. The animated adaptation of Powell’s Dark Horse ongoing series already has a high pedigree — David Fincher is attached to direct, Blur Studio is on board for animation and actors Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti will voice The Goon and Frankie, respectively.
As of this writing, the Kickstarter is in its last few days of funding and needs nearly $76,000 more to reach its sizable goal. CBR News spoke with creator Eric Powell about the beginnings of the drive, the large role of social media and what fans and backers can do to help get the story reel funded during these final hours.
CBR News: Eric, before we get into the current developments of “The Goon” Kickstarter, what drove you to use them as the platform to try and get the story reel off the ground?
Eric Powell: Well, actually it was the readers. [Laughs] I’d say over the past year I’d been getting constant Facebook, Twitter and email messages going, “Why don’t you just do a Kickstarter for your movie? Why don’t you just do a Kickstarter?” Realistically, there’s no way we’re going to raise $30 or $40 million over Kickstarter for a movie. It’s not going to happen. But it got to the point where so many people were constantly hounding me every day about it that I went to blur and Fincher and said, “Would it look bad? What if we threw it up there and let people have at it and see what happens, if for no other reason than to let these people who are really getting on me about trying to crowd fund this thing, give them a chance to get their voices heard and show Hollywood that they want the movie?” Blur came up with the great idea of doing a Kickstarter for something that actually has a chance of being funded, like the story reel. I thought that was a great idea and that’s how the whole thing started.
You’re in the last days of the drive, now. What are the plans for that final push to get the story reel funded?
I think Blur has some stuff planned, just keeping the thing updated. We’re also releasing production art daily. If you go to the Kickstarter page, the last days of the campaign, they’ll be putting up a new piece of unseen production art every day. I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing and try to get the word out over Twitter and Facebook and social media. It seems like we’re getting a good surge going here at the end, so I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re going to make it.
Social media has been such a big part of how this Kickstarter has worked. You even did an AMA on reddit. What kind of role do you feel social media has played in getting this thing off the ground?
I think it’s been the main driving force. The Blur guys have gotten on to Carson Daley and did a couple of other things, but social media, I think, has been driving it. That comes back to the fans and the readers. They’re the ones who — I’m sending out one tweet. They’re the ones who are retweeting it and doing stuff on their own. One reader was even doing sketches for any of her followers on Twitter that would donate $10 to the Kickstarter. That’s the level of passion for something that I don’t think is typical. They’re willing to take the extra steps themselves to try and get this thing made.
Have you seen a lot of reactions like that on Twitter?
That was the first person I’d seen offering sketches, but the level of — I’m being tagged a lot on Twitter with people retweeting and making posts and stuff and people posting on their blogs. I don’t think the fan response to this has been light at all. I think they’re really going after it and I appreciate it.
Tell us a little about what a story reel actually is and what getting a story reel made means for “The Goon.”
They go through and storyboard the entire film, which is basically a comic of the entire movie — just a scene-by-scene look at what the movie will look like. They take those storyboards and basically do some really crude animation with it, just to give the thing some movement and show the flow of what the thing would actually be. It’s given a temp soundtrack and voiceover and all that stuff. Basically, you can sit down with a studio, pop in a DVD and go, “Here’s what the movie’s going to be.” Even though it’s really crude, you can still get the story and the feel of the thing more than you can just by sitting down and reading a script. We really think it’s going to help give these guys a sense of what it’s about and take it more seriously.
One of the things you’ve talked about throughout the campaign is that this is a very different type of animated film. Could you tell us a bit about the story and what makes it retain the aura of “The Goon” comics?
Well, it’s not a wholly original story, it definitely takes from the comics. What we’ve basically done is we sat down and we boiled down one cohesive story from several arcs of the comic. I wrote the script, so the characters are themselves. Nobody’s going to have to worry about something being changed or some character not reacting to something the way they would in the comic. I wrote it very much like I would if I was just sitting down and writing an issue of the comic. The tone is definitely in tact. Some of the more impactful moments of the comic are definitely, definitely in the screenplay.
You’ve got some great voice actors on board with Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown. What about the supporting cast? Do you have first choices for who you’d like to get involved?
I have some people in mind that I personally would like to see used, but we haven’t really gotten to that point yet. We can’t really bring on the whole cast without having the thing set in stone. Blur and Fincher and Dark Horse really focused on nailing down who we want for Goon and Frankie. I don’t think we could have gotten any better. When the name Paul Giamatti was brought up for Frankie, I was like, “That’s it. That’s perfect. I can’t think of anybody better.” Clancy Brown was originally one of my dream guys to voice the Goon anyway, so the fact that we got him was pretty amazing.
In terms of “The Goon” ongoing series over at Dark Horse, what’s coming down the line for 2013?
Since we’ve taken it monthly, I’ve been working on laying some pretty epic storyline that I guess the subtitle will be “An Occasion of Revenge.” The people who have read “The Return of Labrazio” storyline will remember that it was kind of revealed that the zombie priest was not the only person of his race walking the planet. So we’re going to be introducing some of his clan, I guess. But they’ll be coming to town and causing lots and lots of problems. It’s going to be rough times. People have made comments about how I go in and out of humor and more serious stories. This story arc is going to be pretty serious. Somber and serious times for the Goon in 2013.
In addition to “The Goon,” you’ve got the second issue of “Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness” coming on November 17. This is the third mini you’ve done in this world — can readers expect a fourth after this one has ended?
Well, we’ve been trying to get that series to gain some momentum. It’s funny, it seems like everyone who reads it likes it, but we’re having some trouble getting people to read it. I was hoping that by the time we got to the third series, it would be picking up some steam, but hopefully this will get people interested — having three collections out there so that we can get people on board and do a fourth one.
Wrapping back around to the Kickstarter, should the goal not get reached, is there a backup plan? Will there be another way for fans to show their support for the project?
I think this is the rallying cry for the fans. If they want to get things made, the Kickstarter is their thing. They asked for it, we gave it to them, they need to get behind this thing and see that it happens. We’re not going to give up, though. Should we happen to fall short, we’re going to keep pushing it. We’re going to keep going. Fincher and Blur have a bunch of projects on their plate and they could have walked away from this at any time over the course of the last five years or so that we were trying to get it made. So, the dedication level is not waning at all. It will be more difficult to get this thing done if we don’t reach the goal, there’s no getting around that. It will be. But I’m confident when it comes down to the wire, the fans are going to step up and show Hollywood that they’re tired of senseless remakes and all the crap that’s getting shoved down their throat and they’d like to see something that’s a little bit different coming down the road.
Before we wrap up, what about fans who have already donated? What can they do to continue showing support?
Get everyone you know to donate! Mom, dad, cousins, brother, sister, whatever! That’s the other thing, we don’t just need people to donate a bunch of money, we need a lot of backers. If you can get everyone you know to donate a dollar, even if they’ve never read “The Goon,” but they’re just like, “You know what? I’m tired of the crap that Hollywood churns out, I’d like to see something different and original, so sure, I’ll back that for a dollar.” That’s the thing — if we can get a bunch of people on there just to show that there is interest in this thing, that helps. I would tell anyone who donated to get everyone you know to donate, even if it’s just a tiny amount. Every backer on there counts just as much as a dollar.