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Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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| courtesy photo Artwork from the book "The Magic Dozen at Emerald Pond," which Utah businessman/producer Steve Brown is working to develop into an animated film project.
Utah producer aims to crowd-fund animated ‘sizzle reel’

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.

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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.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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