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"Welcome To My Daydream" Documentary About Stop Motion Filmmaker Will Vinton Now on Kickstarter

With four days left to go on Kickstarter, the documentary about the Oscar-winning filmmaker and Claymation filmmaker, Will Vinton, Welcome To My Daydream, climbs steadily towards its goal of $35,000 with 10k left to raise.

Will Vinton, one of the stop motion industry’s most undervalued pioneers – who, in 1978, coined and trademarked the term “Claymation” – was the founder of Will Vinton studios, under which he contributed to creating iconic Claymation characters such as the California Raisins, ‘80s Domino’s mascot Noid, the non-Claymation Red and Yellow M&M’s, as well as having spearheaded Claymation films such as The Adventures of Mark Twain and A Claymation Christmas Celebration, as well as dozens of other feature-length and short films.

Welcome To My Daydream tells the little-known saga of Will Vinton’s career and the and rise and fall of Will Vinton Studios, a stop motion production company founded with high hopes only to eventually fizzle out in the early 2000s, bereft of funding, ending with Vinton losing his own company to son of Nike CEO Travis Knight, who currently runs the stop motion studio, in 2005 rebranded under a different name – Laika.

On the Kickstarter page for the project, Evans explains that it was as he was near completing his award-winning documentary, The Glamour & The Squalor, that he came across this article – the first to break the details of the story of how Vinton lost his studio to – at which point “Nostalgia immediately took hold and great memories of Vinton's characters and shows from my childhood came rushing back. Will created some of the most memorable characters of my youth, and I knew right away I had to make this film [Welcome To My Daydream].”

Concerning his relationship to Vinton’s work, Evans told Animation Magazine, “At first it was the characters that really attracted me to Will’s story. I grew up with the Raisins and the Noid and The Claymation Christmas Special. Once I started researching Will’s story, I was so inspired about his journey…starting a company in his basement and creating all these amazing characters, working with so many talented collaborators and eventually turning his dream into a $35 million/year company. It’s really an inspiring story for any creative, and any creative entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it has a cautionary tale that we explore in the film as well, and the dramatic arcs of his story are really interesting and I think will have people on the edge of their seat when they’re watching this film!”

Will Vinton and Marq Evans

So far, many dozens of those close to Vinton or who were related to the story in some way (many of whom are stop motion devotees) have been interviewed for the documentary, starting with Vinton himself, Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett, Aardman co-founder Peter Lord, animation historian Jerry Beck, Bent Image Lab director and co-founder David Daniels, and some twenty plus more.

Besides featuring “include in-depth conversations with Will and other subjects, exclusive behind the scenes and archive footage, creative reenactments,” parts of the documentary will also feature “original Claymation scenes with new characters (representing Will’s left and right brain) weaved throughout the film!” These characters, dubbed Lodge (the left side of Vinton’s brain) and Randy (the right side of his brain), will characterize the internal struggles of Vinton between his creative drive and the financial and administrate challenges of running a company that Vinton faced while he was in the peak and decline of his filmmaking career.

Welcome To My Daydream's original Claymation characters, Lodge (lower) and Randy (above)

To finish Welcome To My Daydream, Evans says that the documentary’s team is now turning to Kickstarter as they “still have a ton of filming left to go” along with several other financial hurdles they face. Their $35,000 all-or-nothing Kickstater goal currently stands with 305 backers and $25,100 having already been raised for the project with four days left to go at the time of writing this, the Kickstater ending on November 9th at 7pm, Pacific Time.

You can support the project by going to their Kickstarter page, where you can donate any amount, all of which will help to go towards making the documentary a reality. In thanks for your support, there are several incentives that the Welcome To My Daydream crew feature, such as the film itself, posters signed by Vinton and the Daydream crew, original sketches by Vinton of characters such as the Michael Jackson California Raisin, and a private dinner at Vinton’s house in Portland with Vinton himself and Marq Evans.

To learn more about the project, you can visit their Facebook and website.

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