Mission StatementWe’re a spirited team of filmmakers crafting imaginative, rip-roaring capers to appeal to mystery enthusiasts of all ages. Through making Fogtown, we are raising the voices of people who want to bring joy and good humor into the world at a time when we need it most.
About The Project
Fogtown is the first-ever TV show to be made with finger puppets! It's a fun and thrilling investigative comedy series focused on the brilliant (but easily distracted) Sherblock and his faithfully devoted companion Blockson. Squaring off against a rogue’s gallery of fearsome and off-kilter criminals, our heroes crack bizarre cases and get off track in equal measure.
Fogtown is a show unlike any other, combining the powers of cutting-edge virtual production techniques and the timeless charm of handmade puppets. We aim to bring this traditional form of storytelling into the modern world through filming our puppet stars against realtime 3D backgrounds (using the same technology as The Mandalorian)!
We're raising funds to produce a half-hour pilot episode of Fogtown – a madcap mystery focusing on the crimes of the dreaded Moth Napper (voiced by Thief and Skyrim's Stephen Russell) – and to continue writing season one of the show, anticipated to be at least 8 half-hour episodes. With this pilot and a stack of scripts under our belts, we can confidently move forward to pitch a full series to major networks: one we've spent the last decade developing.
Watch our thrilling proof-of-concept scene by clicking here!
As an added bonus, we’re also producing an additional interactive videogame in the Fogtown universe (for PC & Mac) that lets you join in Sherblock and Blockson’s shenanigans first-hand, directing the story in creative and thoroughly absurd ways as you see fit.
We're certain you'll love Fogtown if you have a special place in your heart for Wallace & Gromit, The Muppets, Monty Python, The Nightmare Before Christmas and, of course, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
We are so excited to announce that Fogtown is an official fiscally sponsored project of the Portland Art Museum's Center for an Untold Tomorrow (PAM CUT). Donations to fiscally sponsored projects are tax deductible to the donor as they go through a public charity exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, for which PAM CUT is.
Works selected to be fiscally sponsored by PAM CUT have met requirements showing the project to be creatively unique and engaging while adhering to their mission of changing for whom, by whom, and how cinematic stories are told.
The city of Fogtown is stuffed to the brim with crimes of all shapes and sizes. Art heists, missing persons, systemic corruption, kidnapped pets, and even the occasional murder plague its many districts. With all this intrigue, it's difficult for our heroic detective Sherblock to always stay fixated on the matter at hand.
Fogtown is a mystery show, but also a boisterous and sweet-hearted adventure on both personal and external levels. Our themes center around attaining purpose, aiding the vulnerable, exposing government abuses and crimes of law enforcement, toppling fascism, and the importance of finding love in what you do, even if you are not the very best at it. Our puppets may look silly, but there’s nuance and layers within each character’s noggin.
We've chosen to call the show Fogtown instead of a more recognizably Sherlockian title for several reasons. Firstly, we aim to be more an homage to Sherlock than outright parody. Despite being greatly inspired by the stories of literature's greatest detective, the overall world, nature of the characters, central themes, and the mysteries themselves are uniquely original. Additionally, it's an ensemble show, with plenty of richly written supporting characters populating the city. Lastly, we intend for the setting of Fogtown and its cardboard-style streets to be a primary draw: a blend of Victorian history meets steampunk flair, all through the aesthetic of an elaborate yet charming diorama art project.
Pilot Summary: "The Mystery of the Moth Napper"
In our first episode, Sherblock struggles to solve an age-old mystery about the disappearance of renowned master thief Izadora Adler, all while avoiding the obligations of less-interesting cases that keep piling up. Soon enough, Sherblock and Blockson find themselves neck-deep in a complex conspiracy that threatens their very lives, while secretive landlady Mrs. Hud and police inspector LeFraude get ensnared in the chaos surrounding the bombastically villainous Moth Napper.
Sherblock: Intelligent beyond compare and not shy about showing it off. He craves the thrill of the chase, and the fame that comes with it... but his brilliant mind is easily distracted, making him prone to follow clues that prove to be more exciting than valuable to the mystery at hand. He's a man of extremes, rocketing between pits of despair, manic crime-solving episodes, dangerous scientific experiments, and moody contemplation. Deep down, he cares for his friends with a fierce loyalty, even if they do sometimes slow him down.
Blockson: Despite his world-weary demeanor, Blockson has the heart of a golden retriever. What he lacks in physical strength and striking intellect, he makes up for in perseverance, loyalty, and emotional support for his companions. His worrywartedness is ever present but easily overcome by his love for adventuring with his bestest friend Sherblock. However, in his unending quest to assist his crimefighting partner, he risks neglecting his own needs.
Mrs. Hud: Weathered from decades of globe-trotting adventures, she has since settled for a quieter life working as a landlady and owner of a cozy pub. Having escaped unresolved run-ins with the law in years past, she now finds safety in the harmless, matronly exterior of what people expect from an aging spinster, and she uses that facade to lay low. But as much as she tells herself she's left the daring world of crime behind, she can't help being drawn into the danger that surrounds Sherblock and Blockson... not to mention that certain figures from her past are still on the hunt.
Inspector LeFraude: The celebrated hero cop of the city. Barrel chested and deep voiced, LeFraude has a penchant for playing the beloved champion role that an adoring public has bestowed upon him. After all, who doesn't love the perks of being praised and respected wherever one goes? Yet underneath his hard, no-nonsense exterior hides a soft, nurturing heart that melts at the sight of any living creature and can't resist lavishing it with treats, cuddles and affection. Since this runs counter to his gruff and manly reputation, it's a closely guarded secret that he will do anything to take to the grave.
We've assembled a lovely team of actors and artisans to make Fogtown happen. You can read all about us in the "Team" tab above!
Acclaimed voice actor Stephen Russell – who played Garrett from Thief, Corvo from Dishonored 2 and countless characters in Bethesda's Skyrim and Fallout series (including Mercer Frey, Nick Valentine and Codsworth) – has enthusiastically signed on to play our antagonist the Moth Napper, a shady fellow with a penchant for breaking and entering and taking things that don't belong to him (new ground for Stephen, clearly).
Inspector LeFraude is played by none other than film and television star Rizwan Manji, known for roles such as Ray Butani in Schitt's Creek, Jamil the janitor in Peacemaker, and Tick Pickwick in The Magicians.
We also have esteemed voice artist Tricia Brioux (voice of the titular Witch from Robert Eggers' The Witch) as Mrs. Hud, and... UPDATE! We have now cast the lead role, and Sherblock is played by soon-to-be-star Chris Yamez! Chris makes some hilarious and highly inventive content on Tik Tok and Instagram (find him under @thechrisyamez) and he adds so much of his own creative energy to the character. The amount of simply spot-on improv he gives us in his recording sessions almost makes him a co-writer, for that alone. We are so very glad to have found our lead and couldn't be more thrilled that he's with us.
We want the Fogtown pilot to be ready before 2023's "pilot season" (typically by spring).
We've already begun recording the voice acting for the episode, and aim to complete that before the end of our August crowdfunder – all while putting the finishing touches on our puppets. (The puppets you've seen here are prototypes, which will be further refined once we're funded.)
In September, we'll be finishing up more of our digital environments, and actual production is expected to start in October, giving us plenty of wiggle room to get all the filming done before winter while balancing work and personal lives (Sean just became a dad!). We expect to head into post before December, which will mainly encompass music, sound mixing, and VFX. Since all the backgrounds are done in pre-production and greenscreening is kept to a minimum, our editing time will speed right by!
We’ll also work simultaneously on an uproarious bite-sized Fogtown videogame featuring bonkers choice-based investigative gameplay (with an expected playtime of about 30 minutes to an hour for a single playthrough, and plenty of replay value to find all the branching paths, entirely new characters, and a special secret ending). It's being made with actual video clips linked in a complex web of choices, so you can expect the same aesthetic of the show itself.
Our budget is primarily divvied up between material costs for creating our remaining puppets and props, equipment rentals, and paying our cast and crew.
Along with the videogame and access to the pilot episode, we have a lot of fun rewards to express our deep thanks to everyone who believes in our vision and helps make Fogtown happen. (You can see the full list on the sidebar.)
In addition to the finished episode, all backers at $25 and above will receive a custom-made digital "Rap Sheet" of themselves as a suspect in the Fogtown PD database (featuring their provided image), including made-up statistics and criminal charges whipped up by our writers. Think "D&D character sheet" and "silly government papers" put in a blender. We encourage backers to share their Rap Sheets on social media as a fun way to spread the word and take over the 'net with Fogtown madness! Anyone who shares on Facebook or Instagram with the #fogtownseries hashtag will be entered in a giveaway to win some lovely (and exclusive) handmade prizes, like painted 3D fridge magnet versions of our characters.
For supporters who really want to put their mark on the show, we have higher tiers for fancy producer credits, getting turned into a puppet and put into the episode, and an option to have T-shirts made of your face or other photo (and a quote of your choice) that members of the crew will wear during production, which will show up in lots of our planned behind-the-scenes video documentaries!
Who's the audience?
We're making Fogtown to be both appealing and appropriate to a wide age range. It's something that entire families can wholeheartedly enjoy together (or even without a child in sight). Sure, there's creepy characters and occasional dark themes, but we have a "no guns" creative mantra and it's all in good, wholesome fun.
We've also taken advantage of the fictional setting to make Fogtown a far more inclusive story than your average Victorian-inspired mystery show. We've got the first-ever Black depiction of Sherlock in a TV series, with a diverse assortment of people of color and female characters planned for many key and supporting roles in the full show — all implemented in a subtle, completely natural way that simply reflects our familiar real-world diversity.
As long as you love mystery, have a healthy sense of humor and are in touch with your inner child, we're sure this show will have boatloads of entertainment to offer.
What's the tech behind this?
We do most of our 3D background design in Blender, but we've also started using the Unreal Engine for more complicated sequences. Unreal is an incredibly powerful tool that's essential for any shots that require realtime camera tracking. For those who are interested in learning more about the behind-the-scenes process of virtual production, we'll be making a ton of videos demonstrating our trials and tribulations — and our virtual production supervisor, Dylan Wainwright, plans to release some great free tutorials using our Fogtown scenes!
All our backgrounds play on 4K HDR LED screens with our camera sporting polarizing filters for optimal image quality. The future is now!
When can I see the whole series?
Fogtown is envisioned as the next big chapter of our lives, with major story arcs mapped out for the first three seasons already. In order to get there, we'll need to pitch the show to studios — which is why it's so key that we have a fantastic pilot under our belts first! We expect to pitch to big streaming networks in early 2023 and hope to bring the whole show to your homes as soon as we humanly can.
Why finger puppets?
Because they're unique, fun, and allow us to do things that would be much more difficult with live actors and giant costume pieces. Aside from our other project Finger Feuds, we simply haven't seen anyone else make a show in this medium. As a compelling bonus, working on a finger puppet scale allows us to make Fogtown with a small on-set crew, keeping things much more COVID-safe than a typical studio production.
Tell us more about this Fogtown videogame!
As a fun extra project, we're making a choice-based mystery game (in classic FMV adventure game style) with our puppet characters. Don't expect an experience that provides hours of deep investigation or head-scratching puzzles, but it'll be a fun and zany romp with enough branching choices to justify a few playthroughs. We've done similar experiments before with software like Ren'Py and Adventure Game Studio, so it won't be our first rodeo, but definitely our wackiest. We're currently designing the game in the Unreal Engine, and it'll work on Windows and Mac (with DRM-free and Steam versions available to backers). Oh, and we have some very fun additional voice talent on board for the game, particularly for point-and-click adventure fans... lead actors from hit games The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery, Disco Elysium, Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh and Contradiction are joining us!
You can check out the Steam page for the game right here!
How else can I support this wonderful project?
Follow our campaign here on Seed&Spark. Even if you don’t pick a pledge level, following us helps to grow our audience (and also lets you stay up-to-date with the great content coming out during our campaign).
Follow us elsewhere! Follow our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@fogtownseries) for exciting announcements throughout the campaign!
Subscribe to Fogtown on YouTube! Not only will we eventually release the pilot there, we have a whole slew of other fun content coming out, from Fogtown shorts to hilarious behind-the-scenes videos.
Wishlist the game! Have a Steam account? Adding the Fogtown game to your wishlist is a free way to help our visibility!
Share with a friend! A direct message is the best way to get a pledge! Do you have a friend who would love Fogtown? Send them an email, text, or DM about it and see if they want to join too!
Unsure what to say? We’ve got you covered!
Feel free to copy-paste and alter any of text below for social media sharing.
So excited for FOGTOWN (@fogtownseries), a puppet detective series! Support the show on @seedandspark: www.fundfogtown.com
Support Hapstance Films by making a contribution towards their mystery/comedy series FOGTOWN (@fogtownseries), an innovative update of Sherlock Holmes through the medium of finger puppets! Pledge here: www.fundfogtown.com
Mystery fans! Puppet fans! This endearing Portland-made series is taking the world by storm (@fogtownseries). FOGTOWN is currently seeking crowdfunding! Support their @seedandspark page and get great rewards HERE: www.fundfogtown.com
Don't forget to FOLLOW us here on SEED & SPARK, and check back for news!
Thank you so very much for stopping by and listening to our pitch. Please do visit again, as this page (and our YouTube channel) will be frequently updated with announcements and fun new shorts featuring Sherblock and Blockson. Until then, all the best – and sleuth on!
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About This Team
We've assembled a team of our favorite collaborators to make Fogtown. A majority of our crew previously worked together on the 2019 Hapstance Films short Word on the Street (including directors Sean Parker and Austin Hillebrecht, co-writer Devon Rawlings, composer Bryan Christopher Saylor, and sound mixer & engineer Peter Russell).
Sean Parker and Austin Hillebrecht have worked together for over 20 years after meeting at their arts-based middle school Da Vinci in Portland, OR. Since then, they've made three feature length films (including 2011's Coup de Cinema) and over 50 offbeat shorts on their decade-in-the-running YouTube channel Hapstance, including 2021's finger puppet epic "I Need His Blood For My Poisons" -- an adapatation of a real internet argument.
Katie Daly is an indie film producer, photographer, and kick-butt business coach/entrepreneur who joined Team Fogtown in 2020, and has been keeping pre-production moving at a steady clip ever since.
Devon Rawlings is an actress and fashion artisan with a deep love of eras past (and may be a time traveler). She enthusiastically joined the writing team to add all sorts of Victorian flair and authenticity to the script, and has also handled all the painting and costume sewing for our current cast of puppets.
Faolan Teinowitz heads the 3D printing division to make our puppet heads! He's battle-tested at solving all the wild and weird technical problems that accompany that process through innovative designs (and his culinary skills are unmatched).
Nevin Stoltz is an actor, graphic designer, producer, host of the podcast The Iki Guys, and all-around renaissance man bringing a wealth of skills to the team. You can hear him as the villainous Gilligan in our proof of concept video.
Bryan Christopher Saylor is a Portland-based musician and film composer with dozens of film credits and a slew of awards. He joined Fogtown to give it the madcap musical vibe of "big top circus" meets "rousing klezmer adventure" — and boy is he the man for the job!
Stephanie Salvey is our consulting producer, and has helped us navigate through a huge heap of legal and organizational obstacles.
Dylan Wainwright is our virtual production supervisor, and heading up the Unreal Engine division of Fogtown.
Colleen Wainwright helps us as a production assistant and behind-the-scenes documentarian. She also works with her husband Dylan on developing virtual production workflows.
Tommy Thompson is a technical design manager, stop-motion animator, and fabricator with credits on animated features like Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, and the upcoming Netflix feature Wendell and Wild from director Henry Sellick. Tommy is a longtime friend of Sean and Austin, and is consulting on our puppet builds. He's built full-size animatronic dinosaurs for Jurassic World exhibits, so we're pretty sure he's overqualified.
Peter Russell is a sound designer and mixer living in New York and currently working at Gigantic Studios. We've met many a lovely talented sound engineer in our time, but Peter may well be the loveliest of them all. (Shhh, don't tell the others.)
Dane Casperson is our camera & gimbal operator. He makes his living filming weddings in the greater Portland area and has been roped into helping us on Fogtown so we can mooch off all his amazing gear. I mean, benefit from his unmatched talent!
Maiya Parker is a 3D artist currently pursuing a BS in Digital Cinematography at Full Sail University. She's joined Fogtown to help us build out our library of 3D assets.
Olivia Abboud is the founder of MediaHer, a digital marketing agency based out of the beautiful PNW. She joined Fogtown as the social media manager and runs our Instagram account, and could not be more excited about the project!
Harmony Sage Lawrence is an artist, crafter, and DIY maestro! She joined the team to keep the wheels moving as the producer on our videogame, Fogtown: Mystery of the Missing Crime, for PC & Mac.
Reis Mahnic is a videogame and software developer, and founder of Side Group Games. Reis has developed indie adventure games like Waiting for the Loop and Throw Me in the River. He's bringing his passion for interactive media to help on the Fogtown game as a project manager and co-writer.
Jack Allin is a writer and former editor-in-chief of Adventure Gamers, a website dedicated to reviews and features of our favorite videogame genre. He's bringing 18 years of experience running the site to the table (as well as his legendary red pen) to get Fogtown publicized and co-write the game.
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