In this update:
- A new path for Matt Vancil
- JourneyQuest RPG Update
- A JourneyQuest discussion
- The Future of ZOE
A new path for Matt Vancil
In his own words, here’s Matt:
For me, it started in two places: a coffee shop at the end of the Burke Gilman Trail, and on a train ride back from ComicCon in 2009. A production company funded entirely by fans, where the creators retained control over their work and worlds. I thought it was crazy, and I told Ben as much. It could never happen, not in this industry. And then it did, in our little corner of the Pacific Northwest, with JourneyQuest: ZOE, the fan funded network, where no one but the fans could cancel us.
Thank you for five amazing years with Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. The time has come for me to move on and pursue new projects. I remain a steadfast fan, and I’ll be involved as much as I’m able, but my path’s down a different trail. Thank you fans, thank you friends, thank you cast and crew family. It’s been a blast. I love you all.
Everyone at ZOE wishes Matt the very best in his job as a writer for an upcoming video game! We’ll be sure to let you know when the title is announced.
We and Matt have also compiled a short FAQ about his departure, which immediately follows this sentence.
What does this mean for JourneyQuest?
– The script for JourneyQuest: Season 3 has been completed and Matt is still attached to direct. We’re currently assessing options for bringing the new season to life. (see below)
What does this mean for Gamers 4?
– Gamers 4 is not currently in development, but should it become an active project or receive a green light, Matt will certainly be involved.
What does this mean for the larger Hopjockey story?
– Matt’s plan has always been to tell the Hopjockey meta story across a number of platforms and in different forms of media. His departure from ZOE won’t complicate the rollout or development of future installments in the story.
Where can people view the projects that Matt is working on currently?
– The best way to track Matt’s projects would be to follow him on Twitter (@mattvancil) or on Facebook. He has a website (www.invancible.com) that by his own admission he never updates, so that’s a roll of the dice. Best to go with Twitter, wethinks.
JourneyQuest RPG Update
As many of you know, Kevin Mickelson (who wrote the Mask of Death module for us) has been co-writing the JQ RPG and adventure path with Matt. Kevin will now be taking on full writing duties for the campaign. He plans to keep Matt in the loop on progress, as well as making sure that the story and information remain canon. With many months of story already sketched out, this should be a seamless transition.
As the adventure path increases in complexity, we’re giving Kevin additional time to complete each chapter. We think that you will be pleased with the continued depth and breadth that this time will allow Kevin to achieve. He’s hard at work on the next update right now!
We’re also planning on converting each chapter into a fully formatted, downloadable PDF, which will make it much easier for you to print or access digitally during a campaign. For those of who who don’t access the website very often, receiving these PDFs in your email should help keep you up to date on the story!
A JourneyQuest Discussion
Here’s where we need your input, as core fans and Phase II backers.
In its current form, to film the script for JourneyQuest Season Three would require a budget of $340,000. This would mean a Kickstarter campaign goal of around $500,000.
Please visit the blog version of this newsletter and let us know what you think about the following options:
- Continue as written, mount a campaign for $500,000, and shoot the complete season if the campaign succeeds.
- Attempt to reduce the scope of the script until it can be shot for a lower total goal.
- Maintain full production quality and shoot part of the script, supplementing the rest with a companion graphic novel.
- Postpone production of JQ3 indefinitely while we work on smaller projects with fast turnarounds that can help build the fan base to a size large enough to fund JQ3 fully.
We all want to do justice to the epic story that Matt has created and will direct for JQ3. We also firmly stand behind our No Studio, No Network, No Cancellation policy. And right now part of living up to that standard means having a candid discussion with you, involving you in making the best possible decision for the show, and making sure that we continue to produce incredible content. Let us know what you think in the comments!
The Future of ZOE
Many of you are probably wondering what Matt’s departure means for the company. In terms of current projects and releases, very little will change. We’re finishing up the Gamers 3 campaign fulfillment, working on Humans & Households, Natural One, Dark Dungeons, JourneyQuest Season Three, and the secret project we shot last December. And of course, we will invite Matt to attend conventions, screenings, and development meetings as his schedule permits.
The big question for the company right now is whether we should continue with large tentpole productions, like JourneyQuest and The Gamers, that can take a year or two to complete, or if we should change focus for a while to smaller, more contained shows with much faster turnarounds. Part of the challenge with these large productions has been keeping up with their scope and general epic-ness. Completing Gamers 3, for example, has been exhausting. Worthwhile, but exhausting.
We’re seriously considering mounting a series of smaller crowdfunding campaigns, like in the $30k-$60k range, that could fully fund ongoing production and new releases every month or two, rather than every year or two. At that size, we could afford to hire a full post-production team as well, which would take enormous pressure off of Ben, who has been our primary post worker since Andy went into major crunch at Amazon. Removing the post-production bottleneck would speed up the entire release process by a considerable margin!
What do you think? We have more stories to tell than there is time in the span of our lives—would you be interested in more smaller shows, more frequently, or are the massive tentpole projects what keep you coming back? Or would you like to see a hybrid, where we create regular self-contained campaigns and releases while we patiently develop the big stuff?
Share your thoughts below!
As always, thank you for your support and encouragement! We’re looking forward to a major website and technology revamp later this year, including shifting away from the problematic PayPal recurring payments system, streamlining our code, and upgrading our site to modern specs. We’re also moving into a new office space next week with the crazy geniuses at LeftJet Studios. With a full shop, two soundstages, super-fast internet, and an awesome community of filmmakers, we can’t wait to get started!