Author: Kevin Leathers
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Time of EVE Kickstarter interview
Ever since game developer Double Fine managed to secure over a million dollars in money from the crowd-funding site Kickstarter, it has become the go-to place to try and raise the funds from indie projects to full scale productions.
The indie production and animation studios DIRECTIONS and Studio Rikka have now thrown their hat into the ring to crowd-fund an international release of Time of EVE: The Movie on Blu-Ray after the huge amount of praise and feedback from fans. So far they have smashed their goal of $18,000 and as of writing have reached over $100,000 in funding. We managed to have a chat with the people behind the Time of EVE Kickstarter campaign to get their reactions to the overwhelming response.
Having already sold the original Time of Eve OVA directly outside of Japan via the Internet without making use of Kickstarter, what made you decide to go with a crowd-funded scheme for the Blu-Ray release of the movie?
The Blu-Ray of original Time of EVE OVA was produced by DIRECTIONS and Studio Rikka in Japan. It was produced with an international audience in mind, with English subtitles and packaging, but it was created primarily for release in Japan. So, the risk for the Blu-Ray production was effectively shouldered by the Japanese market.
But, the Blu-Ray of the movie was a whole different ball of wax. The Japanese Blu-Ray release was exclusively for Japan, without any English subtitling or packaging. To release an international version of the Blu-Ray, the production costs would need to be entirely recouped from outside of Japan. There are a lot of upfront costs to putting a Blu-Ray release together - especially dubbing costs, and also authoring, package design etc.
To test the waters, we released the movie in English-speaking territories via the iTunes store in December 2011. We got a solid response, and really wonderful reviews from fans. But, it wasn't an overwhelming response. In fact, going by the industry rule-of-thumb, the iTunes Store sales should be above a certain number before trying to do a Blu-Ray release. We were nowhere near that number. So, we pretty much shelved the Blu-Ray idea.
But then, in December 2012, for the first time we started selling the Time of EVE OVA Blu-Ray directly to fans in the US and EU (previously, fans had to import the Blu-Ray directly from Japan). In May 2013, Rightstuf began offering the OVA Blu-Ray, and we were surprised by the strong interest from fans! Plus, we started getting requests for the movie on Blu-Ray.
Still, it was too much risk to just take the plunge and produce the Blu-Ray. But, we wanted to see if we could make it happen, and saw really inspiring projects like "Kick-Heart" on Kickstarter. We put together our project on Kickstarter, and clicked the launch button, thinking that we'd be lucky to meet our target goal by the end of our campaign. Boy, were we ever in for a surprise!!!!
This Blu-Ray release absolutely would not happen if not for the support of our backers on Kickstarter.
Where did the idea of releasing Time of Eve directly to international fans come from?
The idea of releasing Time of EVE directly to international fans was part of the original concept of the OVA. DIRECTIONS isn't a mainstream anime production company, and Time of EVE was produced outside the traditional production system. It was an indie production from the start, and the series found its audience through web streaming, indie screenings and events, and direct DVD sales to fans. Having a direct connection with fans is at the core of this project, and it only made sense to keep the same stance vis-a-vis international fans as well.
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