1. What/Who is Little Billy?
Little Billy is the world's first and only animated series about life with Special Needs! Created by lead Simpsons animator, Chance Raspberry (that’s me), Little Billy stars a golden-hearted, 4-year-old boy named Billy Harper who possesses his very own, special brand of neurological condition. This fictitious condition known as UHS, or Ultra Hyper Sensitivity, gives Billy inhuman amounts of energy…all the time! The series revolves around Billy’s suburban (mis)adventures through life as “that weird kid” and spotlights how his family and friends are affected and blessed by his quirky way of thinking and living. Set in the 1980s, inspired by family sitcoms from that era, and animated in the hand-drawn tradition of the industry’s first Golden Age, Little Billy is an outrageous, heartfelt gem for all ages that reflects my own childhood growing up with Tourette Syndrome. Not only does the Little Billy series mark a return to the heart, depth, and morale of classic TV, but its star, Billy Harper, is the first official poster-child, mascot, and brand for all Special Needs!
2. How can I watch, learn, and share more about Little Billy?
In addition to the Little Billy series pilot (Share Link: youtube.com/watch?v=xfsyqgqNAa4) Little Billy has his own official website – LittleBilly.com - you're on it right now! He also has a Facebook page – Facebook.com/HesLittleBilly and a Twitter feed - Twitter.com/HesLittleBilly. All these sites provide the latest news on the Little Billy project. To be notified when any project news is released to the public, please SIGN UP HERE for Little Billy's official eNewsletter (sporadic and Spam-free!)
3. Will Little Billy look, feel, and be like other cartoons on TV?
No. Little Billy is 2D (hand-drawn), not 3D or CG like Penguins of Madagascar or Robot and Monster. Most 2D cartoons today, such as Adventure Time, Teen Titans, The Amazing World of Gumball, and Johnny Test are animated using a software called Flash (or some similar medium.) While many of these shows look great, Flash does the in-between drawings for the animators, resulting in the limited, "puppet-cutout" movement style you see almost everywhere now. Little Billy will be traditionally animated like the classic Looney Tunes of the '40s and '50s (where every drawing is done by hand.) It's the only way to get that special feeling of all the cartoons we grew up loving. By taking this approach, my goal is to raise the bar of animation quality across the board. No mean Family Guy or South Park style jokes either!
4. Why didn't you give Little Billy an existing condition like you, yourself, have (Tourette Syndrome)?
If you created or discovered a universal cure for cancer, would you only give it to those with Leukemia, or breast cancer, or any other single, isolated form of the disease? By making Billy's condition fictitious, I'm increasing the scope and appeal of his character, as well as the reach of the series. People with any condition or special need will be able to watch the show and feel included, without feeling singled out or put on the spot. Furthermore, the ultimate goal of Little Billy is to blur the line between "weird" and "normal" like never before, so people with NO condition will be just as entertained as those who have them. It will be an outlet and reason for families and friends from all walks of life to come together and celebrate what makes them unique. The icing on the cake is that many of the other primary and secondary characters will possess actual, existing neurological conditions. Literally everyone will be represented!
5. Why the "nostalgia factor" and why the 1980s?
A show about Special Needs immediately limits your target audience...but everyone is nostalgic for something at some point. For me, it's the '80s because that's where my childhood magic all began. It's also a great way to involve older generations because so much of the '80s is a throwback to the '50s and '60s (when our parents and grandparents were kids and young adults.) By playing up this angle in a major new way, I'm keeping the subject matter of the show universally appealing (Special Needs or not.) For years, I’ve predicted that the '80s would make a monumental comeback and we've been seeing the reality of that prediction for at least a few years now. My hope/goal is that Little Billy will "hit" during the climax of this '80s comeback era (and that it will keep the era going for years to come.)
6. How far has Little Billy come and what stage is the series in right now?
Little Billy made his world debut on September 20th, 2012 via the now mainstream crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.com. Over $31,400 were raised in 30 days to fund the animation production of Little Billy’s series pilot. Nearly $6,500 more came in to fund postproduction of the Little Billy theme song (and the album it's on) during its second successful IndieGoGo.com campaign. The pilot, now on Little Billy's homepage, was completed and released on October 21, 2015 ("Back To The Future" Day - watch the uncut version with a special, thematic intro at youtube.com/watch?v=o1EDp2MHzlk.) The last batch of Backer Rewards for both campaigns is currently being prepped for completion or shipping. The story and script for Little Billy's first adventure is now being polished and the board drawing has already begun! All 13 episodes of Season 1 have been outlined and some have even been started for Season 2. This is the transition from Phase 1 (The Pilot) to Phase 2 (The Episode.) Lord and fans willing, the full funds and crew required to produce a complete episode of Little Billy will be wrangled and acquired by this pilot and presence online!
7. Can I still contribute to the Little Billy project?
Yes! Just head on over to www.LittleBilly.com and click either the "Donate" button just below the pilot video, or the “Store” button on the right side of the homepage. There, you can purchase or pre-order all current and future Little Billy merchandise. It’s all-ages-friendly and it’s only available on this site! 100% of all sales go immediately and directly toward funding the first complete episode of Little Billy.
8. When the Little Billy pilot is finished, where and how will it be released?
The worldwide release of the pilot is now LIVE on YouTube and Vimeo. Should the video appear on any other platform, a direct link will be announced in Little Billy's official eNewsletter (SIGN UP HERE: http://eepurl.com/uyUUr.) The pilot can also be viewed on Little Billy's Facebook and Twitter (links above in Question #2.) Digital Downloads may become available in the future.
9. When will Little Billy be finished and available to view/purchase?
The series pilot is now online for all to view and share. However, there is no official release date planned for Little Billy's first complete episode at this time. The release of the pilot completes both of Little Billy's initial crowdfunding campaigns. I created www.LittleBilly.com to further the impact and awareness of Little Billy and this project! Let's spread the word and see if we can't obtain a full crew and budget for the first episode!! Please check back often, sign up for the newsletter, and stay tooned. We've only just begun...there's so much to look forward to!!! =)
10. What does the future hold for Little Billy?
My endgame with Little Billy is to deliver a groundbreaking animated series that heals and helps as much as it entertains. To accomplish this, I believe the best approach will be to keep production and ownership out of major studio and network hands. Now that Little Billy is an actual pilot product, I would like to explore franchise fairs and the possibility of globally licensing the Little Billy character(s) for private, Hollywood-free funding of Season 1 (13 full episodes.) For this same reason, I am also exploring the possibility of founding and launching a 501c3 Non-Profit organization (or affiliate) for Little Billy. From there, the series could literally "air" anywhere! It's a whole new world out there with NetFlix, YouTube, and Apple TV!! The sky’s the limit!!!
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