B.C. animator raises over US$2 million for future creative endeavours

 

KELOWNA — A digital animator and storyteller who hails from Summerland hopes to use her popularity on YouTube to make the transition to TV.

Jenna Woldenga, who has 718,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, set a goal of US$10,000 in pledges on a recent Kickstarter campaign to create a book based on her characters. The campaign exceeded that goal in two hours. It concluded with pledges of US$2.5 million.

“It was overwhelming, a feeling of happiness and anxiety at the same time,” Woldenga said via email Monday on her reaction to the success of the campaign. “It was hard to process it all. The numbers kept getting bigger and bigger, so my brain had a hard time picturing how much money it really was.”

Woldenga, a 2015 graduate of the Kelowna-based Centre for Arts and Technology, is the creator of the animated ‘Dingo Doodles’ series. She launched ‘Dingo Doodles’ in April 2018 on YouTube and some of the videos have been viewed more than four million times.

Those who made pledges on Kickstarter were supporting Woldenga’s effort to produce a book, “Fool’s Gold — Into the Bellowing Winds,” a game, and other digital and real-world products based on her creations.

“I’ve always been obsessed with telling stories and letting people into my head when it comes to characters and humour and everything, so the medium of creating my own animations and storytelling is kind of what I wanted to go for and kind of fell into naturally,” Woldenga said last year.

On Monday, Woldenga said the best advice she could give other artists who want to establish themselves on YouTube is to demonstrate perseverance.

“Keep at it,” she said. “People fail simply because they give up. It’s a hard road and it takes work, but it’s worth it in the end. Passion, persistence and patience are tools you use.

“My other advice would be to always be open to learning and adapting. YouTube constantly changes and you will have to as well.”

While she’s focusing for now on delivering the products people have pledged to buy on Kickstarter, Woldenga has broader creative ambitions.

“My overall goal is to create a professionally animated TV show one day,” she said.

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