The Karate Tortoise Series

New York City, New York | Series

Comedy, Sci-Fi

The Spooked Horse

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $31,070 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

346 supporters | followers

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Karate Tortoise is a comedic series about an unimpressive tortoise and his Damsel friend who battle a medley of unlikely supervillains for pizza. Starring Sarah Wharton, Stephanie Hsu, and Gilbert Gottfried, this absurdist piece parodies many franchises and characters from the 80s and 90s.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

The Story

Karate Tortoise was born out of this simple question: Why, oh why, of all the eligible creatures on this planet, would you choose a turtle to be a mutant ninja? 


Karate Tortoise is our way of revisiting childhood. This began as a way to satirize the shows we loved while growing up-- the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario Brothers, Looney Toons, Batman, Spiderman, and others. But in the process, we've created something wholly original and unlike anything out there today-- a live action cartoon! 


Bringing our crazy cast of human-animal hybrids, aliens, and anthropomorphic reptiles to life is going to necessitate hiring puppeteers, animators, sculptors, and builders.


We're going to need your help to make our dream a reality!



When extraterrestrial spaceships bring famine to the Big City, famed Italian restaurateur, Fatty Bonati, becomes the only guy with food in town. A young Damsel desperate to feed her lizards, embarks on a quest to feed them Fatty's delicious pizza before it's too late. Little does she know that a laundry list of deranged supervillains have been employed to stop her in her tracks. Just when the going gets tough, the freakish chimera known as the Karate Tortoise swoops in to save her life... and take the Italian cuisine for himself!


Before long, the Damsel realizes that Fatty's not the jolly pizza chef she knows from TV. He's got his dark heart set on capturing the Karate Tortoise for god knows what, and it's up to the Damsel to keep her new, dimwitted superhero friend from harm... 






Our target audience falls between the ages of 13 and 30, encompassing both Millennials who came of age in the 80s and 90s, as well as today's middle and high schoolers. The story, aesthetic, and characters of each 8 minute episode will make older viewers nostalgic for their childhood, while also capitalizing on the Snapchat addled attention spans of younger audiences. We see Karate Tortoise eventually having a life on Adult Swim, IFC, or Comedy Central. 



It may seem like a lot, but $30,000 is the minimum number we need to complete the Karate Tortoise Series. It will be spent paying all the actors, artists, animators, visual effects supervisors, and production personnel who will make this project a reality. If you'd like to see where your money's going, we've laid it out for you below: 



Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Props and Costumes

Costs $7,800

This will go towards designing all the props, and costumes we'll need to build the Karate Tortoise's world.


Costs $2,700

We need amazing actors to bring these absurd characters to life!

Studio and Sets

Costs $7,200

We'll need to rent soundstage space and locations, and build intricate sets in order to bring the Karate Tortoise's world to life.


Costs $3,900

We need to hire skilled crew (DP, sound mixer, AD, etc.) to make this show happen!

Post Production

Costs $2,100

We need some cash to hire compositors, colorists, and a sound designer.

Production Insurance

Costs $1,200

This will buy us a $1 million general liability insurance plan, including workers comp and equipment coverage.

Equipment Rental

Costs $5,100

We need state of the art camera and lighting gear to shoot this thing!

About This Team


Mike Diaz is a writer/director who's worked all over the world, from Iceland to Australia, Nigeria to Alaska, and everywhere in between. For the last couple of years, he's produced dramatic docuseries for juggernauts like National Geographic Studios. Recently, though, he's returned to his narrative roots, writing and directing scripted content that's at once absurd and darkly comedic and aims to bastardize popular culture from the last thirty years. 

Ryan Pomeranz is an award winning director and editor living in New York City. His most recent feature, Pennsylvania Holy Ghosts, is currently streaming on and other fine websites. He has literally no bad qualities to speak of.  

Billy Hiller works in New York City as an Engineer and Project Manager in the construction industry. He is also an artist working with multiple mediums such as spray paint, pencil, stop motion, clay and recycled materials, with much inspiration from street artists such as Banksy, Shepard Fairy and Space Invader.  His imaginative work was shown in FRESH! at the JanKossen Contemporary and has also been up for auction for charitable causes.


Kristina Mueller is an actress/producer who is originally from Munich, Germany and now based in Brooklyn, NY. Producing credits: BE The Series(, Winner of the Audience Award at SF Web Fest 2015. Acting credits: Grasses Of A Thousand Colors by Wallace Shawn (The Public Theatre); Shotspeare: Romeo & Juliet (The Slipper Room, NY & Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas); Hand Grenades (Fringe NYC); BE The Series. NYU/Tisch, Stella Adler, RADA.


Shani Rajesh Patel is a filmmaker and photographer based out of New York City. After graduating high school Shani spent time at the public access television station, PATV 18, in Iowa City, Iowa. At PATV Shani trained local citizens to use video and editing tools, enabling them to create their own content for the station. While in Iowa City, Shani was a principle organizer of the inaugural Mission Creek Midwest Music & Arts Festival for which he was a coordinator and videographer. In 2006, Shani began working as a Photojournalist for KGAN CBS 2 News in Iowa. During that time he covered the 2008 Presidential Election and severe weather events. Since his move to NYC he has directed and produced short films and is a producer for the sketch comedy series The Shorts Show. When not working on a film, Shani has been cultivating  an old hobby into a new profession, still photography.

Current Team