Jason Ponggasam writes for Bleeding Cool:
This is a story of how the “little guys” and a fat rabbit became a Kickstarter project, Fat Rabbit Farm: Mutated Bill’s Sweet Revenge. About 7 years ago, I had given my finance, Patty Variboa a gift. A gift that we never thought would change our lives forever. That gift was a bunny. Yes, a bunny. A very cute one at that. It was weird because that day, there was like a million little fur balls to choose to from, this one bunny had caught my eye. There was something about her. I don’t know if it were those bright, purple colored eyes, or the way she came up to me when I tried to pet her . Whatever it was, this bunny, Babee Bunny -was going going to make our lives very happy (and leave a lot of poop pebbles everywhere).
We named our bunny Babee because at the time she was so small! She could easily fit onto our hands and into her food bowl perfectly. It was so awesome. Babee showed us so much love with her spunky and happy-go-lucky personality. We didn’t know much about rabbits before and how much personality they have! She became our center of attention . Almost like our child. We played with her, groomed her, nurtured her, and watched her grow up. In fact, she grew to be A LOT bigger than we thought. We started calling her a “fat rabbit” because I swear she was like 100 pounds! Just kidding… but, she was really fluffy.
Both Patty and I are artists and we have always been since we were kids. During that time we were into graphic and character design and we thought it would be fun to create an animated character of our Babee Bunny. She made us very happy and we wanted to share this happiness to our friends and family. We began putting her character on t-shirts and gave them to friends and family. They all thought were rabbit-obsessed freaks, with a very adorable bunny. We were almost rabbit obsessed but certainly not freaks (or I’d like to not think so). Other characters were created to be “friends” with Babee along with a whole world for them to go off on crazy adventures. We started a brand called Fat Rabbit Farm.
At the time, we had no mission, no goal, and no money really. We both worked full time and went to school full time to support ourselves. Our family thought we were nuts for starting Fat Rabbit Farm. All we had was each other, our Babee, and our drive to succeed. Yep, we were the “little guys.” But with our secret weapon – the FAT RABBIT!
A few years into it, our fan base grew. We were able to expand our merch line a bit with the budget that wouldn’t make us become homeless. It was tough because as all creators know any and all funds that you have, you want to put it into the things you create. Nothing else. Soon we had people asking if we had books. We did not realize it before until our fans told us that our creations and designs that we put onto our apparel, told stories within themselves and that’s why they love what we create. We knew the next step for Fat Rabbit Farm was share our stories on a printed book. We were very nervous about this. We weren’t sure where to begin.
One day at one of our shows we were promoting Fat Rabbit Farm, we happen to meet a very special someone. That someone was Gwen Dreyer (hi Gwen!). She stopped by our booth, being drawn to our rabbit- themed comic appearance. She happened to mention that her husband, Nicholas Doan were proud caretakers of rabbits themselves. So of course we talked “rabbit” for a while and she mentioned that Nick is a writer and that he had just finished a project for DC Comics. I thought AWESOME! I WANT TO MEET THIS GUY! Not to my surprise, Gwen asked us if we ever thought of coming up with a comic/ story book for our brand. “HELL YES,” I thought to myself. We told her we could meet at one of our next upcoming shows, WonderCon in San Francisco, which both Gwen and Nick had plans on going to. We made it a date.
It was like we were destined to meet Nick and Gwen. It’s certainly one of those moments were things happen for a reason. It gives me chills and raises the hair on my back (I really don’t have hair on my back) thinking about times like these. And it was definitely brownie points that Nick and Gwen are bunny people too. Imminently, book 1- Fat Rabbit Farm: Babee and the Valley of Hungry Ninjas made its debut in 2010 at San Diego Comic.-Con. It was a magnificent piece. A full color, 32 pg, hardcover book, full of fun! We planned it appropriately so that we could (hopefully) make back our investment much as possible just at SDCC. It was a hit! We sold more than what we were hoping for along with our preorder sales. It was the best feeling in the world to see the adventures we created will soon be enjoyed by many kids and adults.
We were on a roll and book 2 had to come out. Our fans were asking about it and we wanted to give them what they wanted. So we asked Nick to hop aboard once again for another adventure! I remember that day clearly at 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. We were all standing there, eating Circus Animal Cookies (those are officially now THE snack for SDCC) and talking about a possible book 2. We thought it would be cool to focus and give the spotlight on our other character Big T, a quiet little turtle who always stands up for Babee. Gwen said, “It has to be named….Big T’s Big Adventure.” Patty and I looked at each other and just giggled. Book 2 titled, “Big T’s Big Adventure,” was launched in 2012.
Fat Rabbit Farm, being creator owned and operated has its ups and downs. The pros is more fulfilling to our lives than anything else. We get to create and do what we love to do. We get meet so many different fans from around the world. And we have had the blessing to having many fans become friends. We have the opportunity to inspire and be inspired by others. Even with these pros, there always lurks the cons. With all of our energy focused into growing Fat Rabbit Farm, we have made countless sacrifices within our personal lives, emotionally and financially.
Which now brings us to our Kickstarter project, book 3- Fat Rabbit Farm: Mutated Bill’s Sweet Revenge. It really was a spur of the moment kind of thing at this year’s WonderCon in Anaheim. We were chatting with Nick and he asked us when book 3 was coming out. We did not have any plans on releasing a book 3 anytime soon because our budget just simply would not allow us to. At WonderCon, it was just fun and inspiring enough to stand there chatting with Nick about the possible story line for book 3. I tell you, Nick is just the most fun to work with! We are always on the same page with the FRF stories and the humor. It’s really great. So later that night, I stayed up thinking how could we make another adventure happen? We knew of Kickstarter but the whole crowd funding idea made us really scared. But we thought it was a small risk we had to take! We set plans on launching our first ever Kickstarter Project around Fat Rabbit Farm’s 7 year anniversary (maybe it’s good luck right?)
I truly believe in Kickstarter. I believe this is a place for the “little guys” to prevail, share our inspiring creations, and for the backers to see not only a funded project but to see how the project can evolve into something bigger.
I really hope all the Bleeding Cool readers out there believe in what we have started 7 years ago with just a FAT RABBIT. Here’s something fun for you guys. I vow to the Bleeding Cool Community if we surpass 50% of our goal by the end of this Monday, October 28, I will share my take on an audio of Stitch getting attacked by vicious zombies (it will be cute and a bit creepy). What do you say? ;)
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