Charlie Kaufman and his producing partners — former Community showrunner Dan Harmon and Dino Stamatopoulos — do not want to deal with Hollywood, and now at least for one project they don’t have to. A stop-motion animation adaptation of the Kaufman-written play Anomalisa raised $406,237 for the film’s production in 60 days via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. “We want to make Anomalisa without the interference of the typical big-studio process,” according to a pitch video that Harmon and Stamatopoulos’ Starburns Industries put up on the project page. The film raised more than double the money the producers were asking from 5,770 Kickstarter backers.
Kickstarter was launched in 2009 with the aim of letting creative people connect with audiences who want to finance their dream projects. The New York Times reports to date nearly 3 million people have helped 30,000 projects meet their fund-raising goals to the tune of $300 million in pledges. But while Whoopi Goldberg and a few other high-profile names have sought to use the site, the financing platform has not been embraced widely in Hollywood. “Right now there’s a little bit of hesitancy from people in the industry of using crowdfunding, because I know some people don’t like being seen asking for money in public,” Anomalisa director Duke Johnson says. “But as it gains momentum, and people see what it’s worth, and that they can do it on their own, that hesitancy is going to disappear.”
Production on the approximately 50-minute Anomalisa, based on Kaufman’s 2005 play about a man plagued by the banality of his life, is expected to start in November. Pledge levels for the film started at $5 which got donors a mention on the film’s Facebook page and a short clip to $50, which offered people a DVD of the film, to $10,000, for which five donors earned an executive producer credit and other rewards. Launched on July 10, Anomalisa’s request beat the second-most funded Kickstarter movie project, the sequel The Gamers: Hands Of Fate.
Starburns produces Mary Shelly’s Frankenhole for Adult Swim and was behind 2010’s Emmy-winning stop-motion Community holiday special.