The concept of independent film productions and/or books trying to aggregate the necessary funds amongst a world-wide fan base in exchange for certain on-screen ‘perks’ has been around in the States for some time. With a Kickstarter campaign, fans can pledge money towards a project they want to see made in exchange for stated ‘perks’ such as getting your name in the credits or in the book. Late last month, the website was launched to UK creators and, in less than a month, has now birthed the first British situation comedy to be fully-funded.
While the concept of a comedy series getting it’s start on radio is massively foreign to American audiences past the 1950’s, this is still commonplace today in the UK. The cool thing about adding the Kickstarter concept to the mix, however, is that projects can now get off the ground more quickly as opposed to getting lost in ‘will it get commissioned’ hell.
According to producers, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL is an audio series in the classic Radio 4-style tradition, which draws its influence from classic British science fiction/sci-fi comedies such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. The series follows the adventures of Eric Street, a time-displaced accountant; Miles Wanderlust, a mad inventor; and Special Agent Nina Seventeen, as they blunder their way through a variety of historical settings in a broken time machine, trying not to cause too much damage and hoping that they’ll eventually make it back to the future – assuming there’s still a future left when they get there..
Created by James Hunt and Seb Patrick, the series will be comprised of six 30-minute episodes that will now go into production having passed its initial target goal of £3,000. So far, as of Monday afternoon, 120 people have pledged a total of £4547. Those who donate will receive various perks ranging from an MP3 download of episode one (£1 donation) to the opportunity to be named series producer (£500 contribution). While this doesn’t include any level of creative control, it does allow you, in true producer-speak, “…to get to prove to everyone that you made a difference with your name on the credits“.
There’s still time to contribute before the 30 November cutoff date should you find yourself with a spare £500 coupled with the desire to be a ‘producer’ by going to the series’ Kickstarter page. Lending his support to the series is Robert Llewellyn (Red Dwarf, Scrapheap Challenge), who will narrate the show.
According to our friends over at the British Comedy Guide, a number of British comedy projects are now being added to Kickstarter. Others current seeking funding on the site include The Fitzroy, an ambitious live action, black comedy feature-film set in an alternative post-apocalyptic 1950s on a submarine hotel; and The Barstewards, a late-night animated sitcom based around a family who have taken over a bar at a seaside town.