Freddie Wong, Brandon Laatsch and Matt Arnold raised $808,341 from more than 10,000 backers to fund their second season of Video Game High School. This amount is a record for a film project on Kickstarter.
The record amount is nearly double the amount raised by the two most successful campaigns for a film or video project: Blur Studio’s The Goon and Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa. The goal for the project was $636,010, which they estimated as the cost for season one.
“Kickstarter has shifted from funding creative projects to funding products and video games; the biggest funded are consumer electronics and video game projects," said Wong. “So we're very happy it can support us in this way. Not only do we have direct access to an audience in terms of being able to get feedback, but direct access in terms of being able to have projects funded so we can try and take some of the risk out of film production.”
The first season of Video Game High School attracted 50 million viewers last summer between YouTube and RocketJump.com. Most of the money the campaign raised will be used on production, with filming already underway for Season Two both on location and using YouTube's new studio space in Los Angeles; sponsors like Dodge will also help offset some of the costs.
Wong indicates that this second season will pull back a little bit and show more of the dynamics of the school and its competition with other schools. While the first season was one primary story arch spread out over 10 episodes that are10-to-20 minutes apiece, this season will consist of six TV-length episodes ranging from 22 to 25 minutes.
“In the time we had been shooting season one, people’s tolerance of longer-form narrative online went up significantly,” Wong said. “Everyone loved the last episode of season one, which was 22 minutes long. We wanted to open it up, explore B plot and side characters.”
As with any Kickstarter, a decent amount of the funding will go to rewarding the contributors. For instance, anyone that gave $2,500 will have Wong showing up on their doorstep to deliver them donuts.
"The first priority is to go to reward people," Wong said. "Whatever the pledge, we have to make sure people get that."