What I’m Backing: MisSpelled by Lindsey McDowell (et all)

Okay, so there were only supposed to be two of these this week, and then a project in its last legs was brought to my attention and oh my gosh, this needs to happen. Yesterday.

MisSpelled: A Fantastical Witchy Web Series already has four episodes (plus a prologue) and a lot of bonus content from the creators and actors on their channel. But, now they need funding for the rest of season one. It’s a webseries about five new witches who just got their powers, who don’t know what to do, and who are just trying to figure life out, much less this whole magic thing. All of them are women, of varying shapes, sizes and temperments, and ALL of these women are women of color.

Let me tell you why that’s important to me: because I want to imagine my world more complexly.

So often, especially in fantasy, we see a white-washed world in our entertainment. We see a pseudo-medieval white dude world that isn’t actually an historically accurate reflection of anything (and what’s with historical accuracy in fantasy/fiction in general anyway), and that has bled into modern fantasy. It’s pervasive and poisonous. Women have always been there, at home and in combat, and so have peoples of many colors.

And I’m tired of my media making these people invisible.

So, I’ve made a conscious decision to seek out the media that popular media ISN’T showing me. And MisSpelled is a start. I love web-series, I love the platform, I love how the narrative is differently shaped. I’ve supported them in the past and will do so again. This is what I want to be watching, not just because it’s a world that reflects the true complexity of the world I live in, but also because it’s the kind of media I like. (I’m also SUPER hoping there are characters that aren’t straight in this narrative because THAT WOULD BE AMAZING. And because I bet they could do it.)

The prologue and the first four episodes show several different types, personalities, and shapes of women. I love that. I love seeing more than the sassy best friend or the love-lorn girl or the ditz or the book worm as the ONLY. FEMALE. CHARACTER. Heck, I love it because, while some of the characters have SHADES of those tropes, they aren’t trope-tastic. These women are reluctant and eager, funny and boring, shy and assertive. They are MORE than their femaleness or their coloredness or their magicness. And so help me, THIS is the standard I want ALL my entertainment to achieve: to imagine a world wherein people are people and the window dressing that makes the person up CONTRIBUTES but does not DEFINE so utterly that the person gets lost.

This project is awesome.

But there’s a problem: It’s nowhere near funding. Here’s where we get to the stats*, and it’s a bit depressing:

  • Goal: $75,000
  • Funding Status: partially funded; ~12%
  • Total Backers: 360+
  • Interesting Stretch Goals: None announced.
  • When Did I Jump In: About six days before closing.

As many of you know, I am VERY proud of the fact that I have never backed a project that has failed to fund. It’s not because I’m risk averse. I’m just very lucky. I mentioned in one of my write-ups last week, that streak may come to an end. This project ends sooner and, let me tell you, I would be honored if this project is the one that broke my perfect streak. I hope it does not, but this project is SO WORTH the effort to me, even if the effort ends up being in vain.

MisSpelled is an awesome step in the right direction. It helps me imagine my world more complexly**, which is vital to creating more complex art of my own, as well as treating people better in my day to day life. It’s entertainment that breaks down damaging assumptions and stereotypes. It is fantasy that actively promotes a better reality.

I dearly hope it comes to life – if not now, soon. Because the world needs stories like this. Now.

*As of posting, 9/23 at 12:00 Mountain Time

**Thank you to the Vlogbrothers for this phrase. It’s become a short-hand reminder for myself to do better at a LOT of things.

[><] & [::]

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