They gave it all they could. It was tiring and risky, but with a script in one hand and a camera in the other, they faced the odds.
Now, Honey Toad Studio will get a chance to do it again.
“Wrecked,” the product of Bainbridge Island’s Honey Toad Studio, has garnered enough charitable online donations — $32,012 — to fund its second season of web-based show.
The studio came to the island on the back of Liz Ellis, a returning islander and college graduate who brought along with her a cabal of other graduates eager to make their project — an independent film studio — a success. Joining her on the venture was fellow producer Charley Pope and editor Nathaniel Buechler, among others
The flagship venture for the studio, “Wrecked,” was a six-episode web-based series about a twentysomething writer, Spencer, who hasn’t yet found her footing in life. With the help of a friend, Thomas, she navigates getting a job, keeping a job, and maybe even finding a love interest.
The show was lewd, very crude, and very well-received by Internet-viewing audiences.
“Some of the content has scared off a few people,” Ellis said. “A lot of the folks in our lives who care about us have said, ‘Well, we appreciate how hard you worked, but I just don’t think I’m your audience.’”
“And we understand that,” she added. “It’s pretty crude, at times.”
The show didn’t scare off enough people, however, and amassed considerable online support.
The final episode of “Wrecked” aired online Nov. 19. The burgeoning studio was enthusiastic about taking on a new season, however, it ran into a considerable speed bump; funding. But the Internet is a giving place.
The studio ran a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $30,000 to film a second season of “Wrecked.” Kickstarter is an online platform to raise money for projects and causes. When the video promoting the fundraising campaign went live on the Internet, it made Kickstarter’s list of weekly favorites.
As the days drew closer in on the campaign’s deadline, it was looking as if Season 2 might not happen.
“We thought as the show took off, so would the campaign,” Ellis said. “Instead, we moved fairly steadily to the halfway mark and then just sat there for a while.”
Honey Toad hit Facebook and Twitter with pleas for support. Their fans followed suit and spread the word. On Facebook, the studio’s followers shared word of the Kickstarter campaign to 105,921 people. And the show’s sixth and final episode included a short message from the studio asking for Kickstarter help.
“After that personal message got out there and people saw how close we were to the deadline, everyone really threw their weight behind it,” Ellis said.
In an 11th-hour save, online fans came through and put the studio over the top of the fundraising goal. At 10:20 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26, just hours before the deadline, the Kickstarter campaign went over $30,000 in donations.
“We really didn’t think we would make it a couple days (before the deadline,)” Ellis said. “We were discussing the possibility of running another, more modest campaign and just saying mea culpa!”
Another campaign proved unnecessary. Internet audience members lined up to donate.
In return for donations, Honey Toad Studio offered a variety of promotions, ranging from a DVD set of the first season of “Wrecked” to being listed as an associate producer in the show’s credits, to even being treated to a date with Ellis, Pope or Sean Mulroy, one of the show’s stars. The date promotion, going for $1,000, got one backer.
The most popular promotion was the DVD set for $40. Two backers came through for a $2,000 pledge, and one for a $3,000 pledge.
The studio hasn’t yet begun pulling together the pieces for its second season, but it does know where “Wrecked” is headed.
“In the first season Spencer is basically letting Thomas drive, too tired and disappointed in her life to really work for anything,” Ellis said.
“In the second, she will definitely start to come out of that period and take on more agency, which will also allow us to see Thomas working for himself, a little.”