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Utah producer aims to crowd-fund animated 'sizzle reel'

Published June 19, 2013 1:50 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Utah businessman has a big dream, which began with a little golf ball.

"I've never given up on it, and it's finally bearing fruit," said Steve Brown, who is pitching an animated project called "Henny Bogan" to major media outlets — and has started a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter to get it off the ground.

The project began, Brown said, a decade ago with a business venture in a golf-related game. The game wasn't a success, but people asked about licensing the artwork associated with it.

Brown used the characters from the artwork to populate a children's book, "The Magic Dozen at Emerald Pond," which Brown co-wrote. Then, Brown said, he got a call from Tim Nelson, a Utah filmmaker known for wholesome family films such as "No More Baths!" and "The Penny Promise." Nelson wanted to write a movie script based on "The Magic Dozen," and Brown agreed.

Brown decided to expand the world of "The Magic Dozen," to create a setting, The City of Bounce, "where all balls reside," he said. Brown envisions a series of stories built around sports themes, which could appeal to young audiences all over.

The script — which is believed to be the last one Nelson wrote before dying of cancer in 2011 — is now being developed into an animated feature. Brown is working with a group of animators in Provo, all graduates of Brigham Young University's acclaimed animation program.

But animation is an expensive medium, and Brown is trying to find a major media company to sign on. To do so, he needs a "sizzle reel" — a trailer, a 60-second animated video to show prospective investors what the finished film will look like.

The Kickstarter campaign aims to raise $25,000 to fund the "sizzle reel." So far, with less than two weeks to go, it has raised $3,300 in pledges.