This week, fantasy quadrilogy “The Wingfeather Saga” became an overnight success following 15 years of world-building by the author and a decade of engagement from its devoted fans.
On Wednesday, in the final minutes of a three-hour livestream, Andrew Peterson — series producer and author of the four-book series — and former DreamWorks filmmaker Chris Wall watched as online investment hit $5 million to fully fund season one of their animated action-adventure television series. “We are going to work hard to make this as awesome as we can,” Peterson proclaimed to supporters, as family members cheered in the background.
Hitting its ambitious goal in only 20 days, “The Wingfeather Saga” becomes the biggest-ever crowdfunded children’s entertainment project — a title held only months ago by “The Tuttle Twins,” another Angel Studios series. The Utah-based, family-values-focused studio recently pioneered innovative marketing and distribution strategies that upend Hollywood business models. Angel has had early success with “Dry Bar Comedy” and the gospel-inspired series “The Chosen.”
“The cool thing about Angel Studios is that, when our thousands of readers invest, they become part owners of this thing,” said Peterson in a phone interview from his Nashville home. “People aren’t just giving us money and getting some little gift in return like Kickstarter. As partners with us now, these families get to participate in success when this builds.”
For producer Wall, who worked on more than 15 “VeggieTales” short films, infusing entertainment with truths comes naturally. He laments, however, that most values-based series can’t hold the interest of younger viewers.
“Like every producer in the world, our job is to entertain,” said Wall in a phone interview. “If we create engaging stories, robust characters, eye-catching visuals, and memorable songs where appropriate, we can earn kids saying: ‘I want to watch this.’ Then we’ve really won.”
He lists “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” as examples of the sort of serialized action-adventure series they want to create. It’s not empty talk. With 20-plus years in the animation industry, Wall is assembling a team of animators who’ve been at Disney, DreamWorks, and
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