Ter­rence Masson has launched a Kick­starter cam­paign in sup­port of his ani­mated short film The Café, which tells the story of a hope­lessly romantic Parisian artist who tries to woo the woman of his dreams. Standing in the protagonist’s way, said Masson, an exec­u­tive pro­fessor of ani­ma­tion in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design, is a “viciously pro­tec­tive, annoy­ingly cun­ning, adorably fluffy white dog.”

Standing in the protagonist’s way is a “viciously protective, annoyingly cunning, adorably fluffy white dog.”

Here’s a sketch of the “viciously pro­tec­tive, annoy­ingly cun­ning, adorably fluffy white dog.”

The goal of the cam­paign is to raise $40,000 by Aug. 8. The money will be used to hire pro­fes­sional musi­cians and lighting experts, most of whom will be North­eastern grad­u­ates, and to pro­mote the film when it is fin­ished next year.

Masson plans on sub­mit­ting the short to ani­mated film fes­ti­vals in the U.S., Canada, and France, but the endgame is the Academy Awards. “Plenty of inde­pen­dent films with modest pro­duc­tion bud­gets end up going all the way,” he said. “Why not shoot high?”

The film crew com­prises Masson; pro­fes­sional ani­ma­tors including his wife, Dana, and her col­leagues from Walt Disney Stu­dios and Nel­vana, a Cana­dian enter­tain­ment com­pany; and an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary cast of under­grad­uate stu­dents in music, busi­ness, ani­ma­tion, and graphic design.

Stu­dents in the last four iter­a­tions of Masson’s senior cap­stone or short ani­mated film pro­duc­tion and devel­op­ment courses have con­tributed to every aspect of The Café, from sound effects to char­acter modeling.

Terrence Masson, executive professor of animation in the College of Arts, Media and Design.

Ter­rence Masson, exec­u­tive pro­fessor of ani­ma­tion in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design.

Jake Farber scored the film in Masson’s pro­duc­tion and devel­op­ment course last spring, using syn­the­sizers to evoke the sounds of a Parisian café. If the Kick­starter funding comes through, Masson would hire pro­fes­sional musi­cians to record his score using real instruments.

It was incred­ibly exciting to have this oppor­tu­nity,” said Farber, a third-​​year music major whose pro­fes­sional goal is to com­pose film scores, “but it was also ter­ri­fying because a bad score could ruin an oth­er­wise fan­tastic film.”

Both he and Masson praised the course’s col­lab­o­ra­tive working envi­ron­ment. “Most grad­u­ates will go to work on another person’s project as part of a team,” Masson said. “This course gives them a chance to expe­ri­ence what that would be like, as well as take on lead­er­ship roles and cri­tique other people’s work.”