Critical Role, a show with a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors playing Dungeons & Dragons celebrated the end of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign last month for their animated series The Legend of Vox Machina. The initial goal was funded in well under an hour and continued to grow as fans of the show smashed every possible stretch goal. A wild month and over 88-thousand backers later, Critical Role walked away with over 11 million dollars and a full animated series.
We talked with Executive Producers of the animation, also voice actors on Critical Role, Sam Riegel and Travis Willingham at the start of the campaign. Given the wild, record-breaking success they had, we caught back up with Sam Riegel to do a quick post-Kickstarter interview to reflect back and look forward.
First things first, how on earth are you feeling?
Sam Riegel: It’s a weird mix of constantly giddy at what we’ve accomplished, and butterflies in our stomachs at the work ahead. We are SO happy with the success of the Kickstarter, the love from the community, and the opportunity to make an honest-to-goodness animated series. But at the same time, we know we need to deliver a top notch show that will be exciting for fans and non-fans alike.
Can you talk a little bit about what it is like to have blown your Kickstarter goal out of the water, with over 11 million dollars raised by 88,887 people?
We’re actually really bummed because if only ONE MORE person had contributed that number would’ve been 88,888… Just kidding! We’re completely flabbergasted by the outpouring of love and support.
The Critter community has shocked us every step of the way on our journey from playing our silly home game to this magical Kickstarter success. From having our stretch goals shattered in one day, to watching as the Critters broke all sorts of Kickstarter records, we were playing catch-up the entire campaign.
It was a thrilling 45 days, and I think the entire team is still recovering from the shock of it all.
Matt recently shared the group’s humble beginnings on Twitter. All of this started around a home game table. What do you think contributed to the success of Critical Role, to bring it to where it is today? What is at the heart of making it so popular?
It’s hard to point to one single thing that’s behind the success of Critical Role. Matt’s genius world-building skills certainly contribute to the magic — he so easily and cleverly creates characters, factions, stories and situations that engross our audience week after week.
Also, I think the audience can see that we are truly 8 best friends cracking each other up and having fun together. That sense of camaraderie has been central to our show and our characters.
And finally, there’s something about real human beings sitting around a table telling stories that resonates in today’s disconnected, digital world. It’s a primal, ancient thing — and our love of group storytelling is something I think is shared by more folks in the audience than any of us ever expected.
Throughout the process, the whole Critical Role team has kept Critters in the loop, down to an after-game, post-Kickstarter party. In the haze of a post-Kickstarter life, is there anything in particular you’d like to impart on the Critters today? What’s the message you hope they take away from all of this madness?
The big takeaway from all this is how powerful YOU as a community really are. Sure, it’s cool that the Critters broke some crowd-sourcing records and have funded an entire cartoon series. But what’s truly amazing is that your passion is actually affecting the mainstream entertainment industry.
Big-time Hollywood movers and shakers are finally waking up to the massive influence and reach of this community, and are actually adjusting their business models to better serve you. It will take some time to feel the effects, but I believe the kinds of projects you see come out of Hollywood in the next few years will actually shift in wonderful ways.
You’ve proven that you are a force to be reckoned with… a force for good storytelling… a force for pure, nerdy fun.
Finally, how long do you think it will take before Critters rule the world?
Oh, it’s already started. It’s already started…
We’re excited for Critter world domination and can’t wait to see the animated series spring to life. If you’re wondering what the heck Critical Role is and why you should be interested, be sure to check out their website at critrole.com.
You can also subscribe to their Twitch channel to watch Critical Role live on Thursdays, and catch up on all the other wonderful content the team shares with the world.