- Written by Jude Terror on Monday, July 30 2012 and posted in Features
It is your DUTY to help Two Headed Cop, an awesome 30 minute animated short, on Kickstarter!
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Welcome to Kickstart My Heart, a feature here on The Outhouse where we try to help shine a spotlight on some awesome crowdfunded and self-published comic books. This time, we're breaking that format a little bit, because the project we're featuring is not a comic - it's an animated film. However, the tone and subject matter are something that this reporter believes our audience will really appreciate, and if this project doesn't get made, the human race as a whole will suffer.
The project is Two Headed Cop. It's a 30 minute animated short. The concept is described like this: "He’s the toughest cop in Fat City. He’s also got two heads. One Asian, one Caucasian. They share a gift for justice and a middle leg," but it's summed up perfectly by Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara via The Hollywood Reporter: "Idea I wish I'd thought of: Two-Headed Cop. Good Cop Bad Cop on the same body. How did I miss that?"
Indeed, Two Headed Cop is a concept that any creator would be jealous of - an instant classic. We spoke with Derek Friesenborg, a veteran of Disney and Sony Animation who has worked on a lot of movies, including Spider-Man 2 (you know, the good one). Derek has been developing Two Headed Cop, in "one form or another," for almost twenty years. You can help this project become a reality. And you'd better, if you know what's good for you.
Listen to Derek's pitch in the video below, which features an in-progress clip from the film. Then read below for more information and an interview with Derek. Finally, head over to Kickstarter and get to pledging!
He’s the toughest cop in Fat City.
He’s also got two heads. One head’s Asian, one’s Caucasian, both answer to Ray. They share a talent for hard-boiled justice and a middle leg. Other than that, they’ve got zip in common.
Framed for an assault on the town’s most beloved entertainer, Two-Headed Cop becomes a fugitive from the law and a pariah to the very citizens he’s meant to protect. He must navigate the dark labyrinth of Fat City to find the key to clearing his name, and to find the man behind it all, a mysterious figure from out of the past.
My name is Derek Friesenborg. I’m the co-creator and director of the animated short 'Two-Headed Cop'. I live and work in Santa Monica, Ca.
I grew up in suburban Maryland and briefly lived in Waterloo, Belgium, where I graduated high school. I was definitely an artsy type growing up so when it came time for college I angled hard for art school, and was lucky to find myself attending the Rhode Island School of Design where I majored in illustration, with a focus in animation.
After college I came to Los Angeles to find work as an animator, and after a few crappy jobs I worked at Activision, Disney, Digital Domain, Nickelodeon, a few smaller freelance jobs, then Sony Imageworks. I was at Imageworks for almost nine years, starting on the first Harry Potter movie and leaving after Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, with about fifteen projects in between.
Since then I’ve been directing 'Two-Headed Cop'.
Tell us about Two Headed Cop.
Two Headed Cop is an animated film noir, inspired by hard-boiled classics like “Touch of Evil” and “Out of the Past”, as well as the golden era of Warner Brothers animation and the Fleischer Brother’s “Superman” films. It also takes cues from the crime fiction of Hammett, Chandler, and Jim Thompson.
How did you come up with this mindblowingly awesome idea?
Hey, thanks! It was a long road to where we are now. 2HC was originally created by my friend Brian Ormiston and I as an entry to a Hanna-Barbera shorts competition, back when we were still at RISD in ’93. It didn’t get into the competition, but Hanna-Barbera maintained interest in it for a few months, asking us to develop it into a series. That didn’t happen either. Since then, as we’ve both had separate careers in the animation industry, we’ve continued developing it as a series, fleshing out the characters and story a lot more, infusing it with the Film Noir gene, creating a pilot script and show bible, etc. That’s basically what got the idea to the state it’s in now, almost twenty years of marinating.
If you had to compare Two Headed Cop to some other works that our readers might be familiar with, what would they be?
Aside from the references I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to be specific. There’s not much like this out there, which is kind of a surprise to me. One of the reasons I’m still excited to make this after all these years is that I still haven’t really seen it anywhere else. Yes there are film noirs out there with similar storylines, but not with two-headed protagonists, and not where that two-headed character is the most normal character in the film. It’s very surreal, but it has an internal logic, which any good cartoon should. If you like film noirs and surreal cartoons, you’ll like it, I promise.
What have you worked on in the past, and where can our readers check them out?
This is my first film as a director, but I’ve worked as an animator on many films, including Stuart Little 2, Spiderman 2, Surf’s Up, and I was one of the animation supervisors on Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. Early on in my career I worked on a short called Los Gringos that people still seem to really be fond of, which is cool.
What made you decide to crowdfund this project?
Currently, the only financing for this project is my savings account. Two years ago when I quit Sony to do this I decided I’d rather make this film than buy a house, and that’s what’s gotten me this far (plus the unbelievably generous folks who’ve contribute their time and efforts for free as favors to me.) But I can’t do it all this way, it’s not enough.
The greatest thing about Kickstarter is it’s a way to hopefully find your audience before the project is finished, or even before it has really started in some cases. I want to find the people like me who are enthusiastic to see this film, who will get a kick out of it, and who would actually like to contribute to making it a reality.
Where does the money go?
Every cent of the money (minus the cost of the rewards and Kickstarter/Amazon percentages) will go to paying the animators. The more money there is, the more I can pay them. Everything else: layout, lighting, voice actors, music, sound, etc. will be out of my pocket.
Besides getting this project made, which is, IMO, a service to humanity, what will people get for contributing?
Awesome rewards! They can get postcards and stickers, t-shirts, original artwork made just for them by our fantastic character designer, an unbelievably badass maquette of Two-Headed Cop in action! If they’re animators they can get access to one of our characters with props and a set to animate them with! They can even be an extra in the film! They send a photo and we turn them into a ‘40’s era character who’ll appear in the background of one (or more) of the shots in the movie! Plus way more!
On your kickstarter page, you mention being inspired by some of the classic works of crime fiction. What's your favorite Chandler novel, and why? Mine is easily The Long Goodbye.
I haven’t re-read his novels in a while, but I have to agree with you there. The Long Goodbye is definitely the most satisfying. (And a fantastic Altman movie to boot!) But I’ll add a wrinkle: if you haven’t already, check out Spanish Blood, which is a collection of shorts by Chandler. There’s a story called “Pearls are a Nuisance” which is hilarious in a way Chandler usually isn’t. And all the stories are great. That’s the book I tend to reach for the most when I have an itch for Chandler.
What's your five year plan as an animated film maker? What would you ultimately like to do as an animated film maker?
In five years I will have finished Two-Headed Cop and hopefully created a future for him in one way or another, be it another short, television, comics, or a feature. Ultimately, if I can keep making my own films, or collaborating with other artists to help make their pet projects, I’ll be incredibly happy.
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