The team at SteampunkGoggles aren’t the only ones with Kickstarter fever. Not that long ago Matt Yang King, the producer of World of Steam, launched a Kickstarter of his own to bring his vision of a Steampunk web series to life.
World of Steam is an anthology series of unconnected short films (much like The Twilight Zone) that take place in a Steampunk universe.
King had been a fan of Steampunk since reading his first H.G Wells at the age of eleven, and after a long career as a concert violinist and an actor got the first glimmer of an idea to create a Steampunk genre web series in 2009. “We’ve loved Steampunk for years: Jules Verne, HG Wells, HP Lovecraft, Neal Stephenson, China Mieville, GD Falksen, but we weren’t seeing the worlds they described in their writing portrayed on screen. So we decided to create The World of Steam.” With that King stepped into the role of producer and had a hand in the project every step of the way, sometimes wearing multiple hats at a time, “I had to hire an assistant to keep my head from spinning off my shoulders.”
No stranger to film production he reached out to a network of top notch industry professionals. “The production team collectively has well over 200 years of experience in the entertainment industry. We have an oscar winner, 2 emmy winners, published authors and Hollywood Foreign Press award winners all pushing the bus, which makes for a place where you can find a strong answer for any question about the industry that you may care to ask.”
The jaw-dropping production values of World of Steam’s inaugural episode, “The Clockwork Heart,” certainly reflect those years of experience and speaks volumes about the team’s passion, “I have a lot of amazing friends who have been largely successful in a business that prides itself on only the few surviving. It took a tremendous amount of effort on the parts of many people who were already working jobs that worked them 60+ hours a week to try and bring the best possible stories to life.”
Pre-production began in 2009 and the concept went through several changes, “Bringing something that has a guaranteed level of talent, design aesthetic, world building and complex storytelling to life is far more expensive than my original estimates.” King admits.
As with many independent projects Matt needed to help fund the project by turning to fans and supporters via Kickstarter. The campaign was ultimately a success due in no small part to great planning from Matt and the creative team, “The kickstarter campaign went beautifully; Overwhelming help from powerful and connected people in the steampunk community, and generally a beautifully supportive community of people who were willing to share us around widely and loudly. All in all we became the highest funded pilot for a web series ever on Kickstarter. We started with the idea of building a fan base before even walking into kickstarter. I had wanted to get 6000 likes on facebook and various social media before we even took a step towards asking for money. We ended up with 20,000.”
The success of the Kickstarter and the rave reviews for The Clockwork Heart bode well for King’s plans for the rest of the series, “We are planning to shoot as many episodes as we can afford with our remaining funds. It is a much harder budget, but we’re going to figure out how to make it as beautiful as the first one, but extend the length of the episodes to a full half hour TV length at 24 minutes. This allows us to do more complex storytelling and take the finished product to the web or to the small screen. Fingers crossed!”