Today is the day. After months of meetings, prayers, conversations, emails, and phone calls we’re officially launching the Kickstarter campaign to bring the Wingfeather Saga to the screen. Let me repeat myself: we’re going to make a serious run at animating—literally, “bringing to life”—all four books, the entirety of Janner, Kal, and Leeli’s story.
I’ll explain more, but if you’re like me and sometimes you don’t have time to read a tome of an email, then click here. You can watch the video, read all about our plan, and sign up at one of the reward levels to 1) support the project and 2) get some cool stuff.
Here’s the quick rundown of how I ended up at this juncture, in case you’re worried that I’ve lost my mind.
–I had no idea how much encouraging, overwhelming fun it would be to raise the support on Kickstarter for The Warden and the Wolf King. We raised 840% more than our goal, which of course made me ugly cry. Truly, I’ve never been a part of anything like it. (Thank you.)
–When that book was finally finished I had the feeling that the Wingfeather Saga wasn’t finished with me.
–I’ve gotten loads of sweet emails from readers asking when/if I’m going to make a movie of the saga. I never really got excited about that, even though a few different opportunities were presented, mainly because, well, I don’t have $100 million and J.J. Abrams’s cell number. I’d love to see a great film of this story, but I’d hate to see a bad one.
–All of a sudden, another idea came to mind. Rather, two came to mind in quick succession. What if we made an animated film? Better yet, what if we made an animated series? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished there was a show like this on Netflix or Amazon, something that the whole family could watch, something epic, something that could really stretch out and go deep–and be as good for the parents as for the kids.
–If I could be a part of the production team, I could make sure the animated version was true to the heart of the books. I know the ending, and I want to make sure every step of the way leads to that moment. That’s not something I can trust some random producer with.
–Enter Chris Wall. Chris is a film producer–more specifically he’s a producer of animated films. You Hutchmooters will remember him from a few great sessions over the years. Chris produced several VeggieTales films as well as 20 of the 3-2-1 Penguins shows for NBC, so he totally knows what he’s doing. I kept pestering him and pestering him and it turns out that persistent widow thing sort of works.
–Chris and I formed Shining Isle Productions, and now it’s time to get busy. Like, for real. We want to subcreate something beautiful and good and true. But we need your help. Hence, Kickstarter.
I can’t stop thinking about Tolkien’s subcreation idea, that our imaginations are bearing God’s image when we’re building worlds and stories. Writing the books was one thing–and one of the most gratifying parts of my whole life–but seeing the concept art that Joe Sutphin and Justin Gerard and Aedan Peterson did for the books was another thing altogether. It was another step toward realizing the world of Aerwiar and I felt a tingle in my spine when the story in my mind was augmented by the artistic gifting of other people. Most of you probably don’t know this, but when I was in high school I had every intention of either going into animation or penciling Batman comics. I’ve always loved illustration, but am a total hack when it comes to drawing (which, thankfully, led to a music career). Even so, I’ve always leaned into the visual part of subcreation, whether with album covers or book covers or illustrations in the books. Not only does it excite me to think about executive producing an animated film, I would really love to see the Wingfeather Saga play itself out in a different format that might just get Janner’s story into many more kids’ imaginations.
I don’t know how else to say it: this feels like something God has called us to. Now, that doesn’t mean this thing won’t fail miserably; if it does, it just means that God has called us closer to him by way of a massive failure, and that’s fine. (Painful, but fine.) But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t hope that you guys would, in your great generosity and kindness and goodwill and awesomeness, join us in bringing this thing into the world.
Whatever help you can give would be great, but if you can back us sooner than later that would be great. The first 72 hours, they say, makes a huge difference in the success of the campaign. And if you don’t mind sharing the Kickstarter page with basically everyone you’ve ever met, ever-ever, that would be a big deal.
Thank you guys for all the ways you’ve blessed me and my family. We’re on pins and needles over here at the Warren.
(The stories are true.)