Four Elements, Four Nations will be launched through Kickstarter on Tuesday, March 21st. Sign up for email updates on this page, and/or join the countdown on Facebook. In the meantime, enjoy your preview of the campaign!
Four Elements, Four Nations will be a book about the social and political themes within the Avatar: The Last Airbender television series, which aired from February 2005 to July 2008. Throughout its run and nearly ten years later, the show has accumulated and maintained a loyal and enthusiastic fanbase. Not only is watching A:TLA enjoyable - whether it is your first or tenth time watching it - but for a children’s show, contains a number of mature themes. A:TLA has both been politically shaped by the times and shaped a generation. Despite currently having a 9.2 rating on IMDB, one of the highest for both films and television shows, I believe that it is vastly underrated, as in not enough people have watched it, and those in the art and film industries do not give it the appreciation it deserves.
This would be the first book in the planned Film, Television, and Theatre Interpretation (FTTI) series.
Sections will include:
-The Costs of War
A woman's place
Struggles with gender expectation
-Relationship with Animals
The (Near-)Extinction of Dragons
By writing this book, I seek to:
Provide existing fans with another means of immersing themselves into this world, and studying it;
Convince those who have not watched it yet to do so; and
Establish A:TLA's significance within the academic and professional worlds.
Books versus Articles
Why not write a series of articles? I have written about this show and others, including The Legend of Korra, in the past, so this is something I seriously considered. I have many reasons for why I believe a book format will be better:
1. Speaking on a personal level, I will be able to get more information out in a timely manner by writing a book. If this becomes a (temporary) full-time job, it will help even more-so.
2. I plan to go the self-publishing route, which will provide me with more creative leeway than submitting to established websites. (However, I will not compromise the editing process.)
3. While I could publish on Medium or my personal blog so I could maintain my writing style, the reach would not be good.
4. There are very few websites with good reach that would publish these articles. As the research and writing aspects would take up large amounts of time, writing for free or for low amounts would not be feasible for me.
5. Good websites would want the articles to be short, sweet, and to-the-point. Books are not supposed to be like that - organized, but not formatted like articles. I want what I write to be fleshed out.
6. A physical book would help to legitimize the content, as related to the third objective.
Articles I have written about films and televisions shows:
About Katrina Haffner
Other than attempting to write this book, I spend my time freelancing, transitioning from being a full-time student to a full-time working adult. In the past I have written for the Students For Liberty blog and Odyssey. Otherwise, I submit things here and there from time-to-time, and I write on my personal blogs. This past December, I graduated from Western Washington University with BAs in anthropology and theatre. In my free time, I like to go dancing and play Heroes of Might and Magic III.
I am incredibly grateful for my supporters, and because of that, I hope that these rewards will mean something to you. Each level includes the rewards of the previous levels (e.g. $20 pledges will receive the rewards for the $1 and $10 levels).
$1 Prisoner of War - Even if you can't contribute much, you can get more than a "virtual high-five" (actually those go for $5) - you can still access updates that will only be available for backers. These updates will consist of excerpts from what I am writing, and what's going down.
$10 Refugee - I will publicly thank you or your A:TLA fan page on FTTI's Facebook page multiple times - per individual and as a group throughout the project.
$20 Peasant - You or your A:TLA fan page will be mentioned in the Acknowledgements section of the book.
$25 Warrior - You will get access to individual and group chats with me throughout the project.
$30 Team Avatar - If you live in or can pick up a book ranging from Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC, you will receive a signed copy*.
$30 Aang Gang - You will receive an original A:TLA-related sketch or line drawing in the style of the header image**. +$5 for shipping
$50 Colonist - I will mail you a signed copy* if you live in the United States. +$5 for shipping
$75 Scholar - After the completion of the project, you will receive a PDF of my journal entries throughout the writing and publishing process.
$100 Prince - You will receive one physical work of original A:TLA-related art in the style of the header image**. Paints (acrylic, watercolor, gouche), markers, drawings ink, etc. - ask if you are looking for a medium not listed. Shipping only in the United States. +10 for shipping
$100 Princess - You will receive one work of original A:TLA-related digital art in the style of the header image**. This is for both US and international backers.
$150 Earth King - You will receive two physical works of original A:TLA-related art in the style of the header image**. Paints (acrylic, watercolor, gouche), markers, drawings ink, etc. - ask if you are looking for a medium not listed. Shipping only in the United States. +$10 for shipping
$150 Fire Lord - You will receive two works of original A:TLA-related digital art in the style of the header image**. This is for both US and international backers.
*Once the book is published, I will be happy to sign copies if you come across me in person. However, signing onto the Team Avatar or Colonist tiers will help make this project a reality, and I will be able to devote my time to making a sincere handwritten dedication, which I can't guarantee in the future.
You may be wondering, "What's that $4,500 going towards?" Quite simply, it's going towards many aspects of completing Four Elements, Four Nations, and I have calculated this to be the minimal amount I'd need to complete this project:
$1,600 Living costs for two months, including rent, bills, and food.
$2,000 Editing, artist fees, publishing, and marketing.
$100 Research. Thanks to the internet, access to information is a lot cheaper. However, I will still need to buy some books.
$450 Kickstarter and payment processing fees.
$350 Reward shipping and buffer funds.
$3,800 - If the goal of $4,500 is reached, the stretch goal of $3,800 ($8,300 in total) will be applied. If that is met, that means I can start writing a book about The Legend of Korra soon after. (The breakdown to this is like that above, an extra month of living costs, since TLOK is more dense, as well as being able to spend the funds more wisely for publishing costs.)
If you have any questions or comments about this project, please message me. I am striving to make this campaign as transparent as possible, and am also open to suggestions for the project.
Neither Four Elements, Four Nations nor this campaign are associated with Viacom, Nickelodeon, or Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Risks and Challenges
It is very possible that this project will not be entirely funded, which means that none of the funds raised on this campaign would go towards the book. However, since I am determined to get it out there, it would mean I would go back to the drawing board. If this campaign is successful, at the most, I would hope to publish it in April of 2018. Otherwise, it may take more years.
If I cannot finish the writing in two months due to writer's block, illness, it taking longer than I realized, etc., then the setback would be that the process will be delayed by a few months. If I have at least three-fourths written by the end of June, there will be a delay, which should take no longer than two months to get back on track. Luckily, I rarely ever encounter writer's block, and I have support in the form of friends and family who are willing to lend me any help if I need it.
Many projects on Kickstarter have had the problem where the creators had underestimated the costs of developing their product. I believe that some of this is due to how much advice out there for crowdfunders goes along the lines of, "Pick a goal that indicates the lowest amount you need to raise." Some interpret that as, "Pick an amount where you can complete most of the project with." The goal I chose kept many things in mind, but mostly how I need a comfortable two months of living to focus on writing full-time, as well as the costs of publishing.
Life happens, and sometimes things are more expensive than we realize. If I run out of funds before distribution, as long as I have the books written, I will find a way to make the necessary amount to get them out there.