Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

MOBILE ART: Cartoonist Nick Kienzle's new graphic novel is presented as though each scene were captured on a smart phone.
MOBILE ART: Cartoonist Nick Kienzle's new graphic novel is presented as though each scene were captured on a smart phone. Image from Kienzle's campaign page

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Skull Behind the Sky graphic novel

Local cartoonist Nick Kienzle says drawing has been a part of his life from the start. “From [creating] postage-sized monsters as a kid to storyboards for animation and illustration commissions, I’ve always had a desire to create mysterious worlds through visual stories,” he writes online. More recently, a multistate trek with his wife inspired the artists to complete an entire graphic novel over the course of one summer. Kienzle describes the resulting work, titled Skull Behind the Sky, as “a 153-page, wordless graphic novel told entirely through found footage on a lost girl’s phone. It’s a mysterious story with secret government experiments, special abilities and lots of rain. The whole comic is formatted like it’s being filmed on a smartphone, creating an interesting creative limitation, as I could only do shots or scenes that would make sense … on a phone. There are a lot of graphic novels out there, and I wanted to experiment with something a little different.” Kienzle aims to raise $5,000 by Thursday, Oct. 12, to pay for the printing of his self-published book.

Give and Take parenting film

Andrew Shearer describes parenting as “basically molding your child in your own self image and totally screwing them up. It can be downright exhausting. And that’s why I want to make you laugh about it.” His forthcoming film Give and Take follows a well-meaning dad who kidnaps his daughter to prevent her from making a mistake that could beget juvenile detention. Meanwhile, their small town is feasting on the family’s drama. Within that “hilarious and heartfelt” plot, Shearer hopes to touch on the extreme measures to which parents are willing to go for their children’s sake. The film, which is presented as a documentary, though it incorporates fictional elements and comedy, will be written and directed by Shearer, produced by Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co. co-owner Leigh Oder, and executive produced by Shearer’s sister Julie Harris. He aims to raise $20,000 to cover its production costs and film festival fees, “so that our movie actually gets seen.”

The Synthesis Experiment’s musical debut

Punk-rock music, philosophy, puppetry, glitter and “face melting harmonies” come together in a new immersive theater production by The Synthesis Experiment. Spearheaded by Jonathan Lewis and Anna Lyles, the organization is “dedicated to the creation of innovative and provocative works of theater [and] believes that vital and engaging theater cannot be created without an inherent sense of risk or failure,” according to its crowdfunding page. “Synthesis is determined to deliver dynamic, engrossing, and unceasingly daring new productions to the Asheville community, each in their own unusual and unexpected location.” Toy Boat Community Arts Space will host Synthesis’ debut musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which is based on John Cameron Mitchell’s book about a queer, East German singer, on Tuesday-Saturday, Oct. 17-21, at 8 p.m. The Synthesis Experiment aims to raise $2,000, by Friday, Oct. 20, to pay for costumes, makeup, equipment, marketing and licensing fees for the musical.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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