Kelowna-Trained YouTube Artist Attracts $2.5M Kickstarter Pledges | News

A Kelowna-trained digital animator and storyteller hopes to use her popularity on YouTube to make the transition to television.

Jenna Woldenga, who has 718,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, set a goal of US$10,000 in pledges during 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 of his reaction to the campaign’s success.

“To be honest, it was hard to process it all. The numbers kept getting bigger, so my brain was struggling to imagine how much money it really was.

Woldenga, a Summerland native and 2015 graduate of the Kelowna Center for Arts and Technology, is the creator of the “Goofy Doodles” animated series. She launched “Goofy Doodles” in April 2018 on YouTube and some of the videos have had over four million views.

Those who made pledges on Kickstarter were supporting Woldenga’s efforts to produce a book, “Fool’s Gold – Into the Bellowing Winds”, a game, and other digital and real-life products based on his designs.

“I’ve always been obsessed with telling stories and letting people in my head in terms of characters and humor and everything, so the way to create my own animations and narratives is kind of this I wanted to do and fell into it naturally,” Woldenga said in a Facebook post last year.

On Monday, Woldenga said the best advice she can give to other artists looking to establish themselves on YouTube is to be persistent.

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

“My other piece of advice would be to always be open to learning and adapting. YouTube is always changing and you’ll have to too,” she said.

While her focus for now is on delivering the products people have pledged to buy on Kickstarter, Woldenga has broader creative ambitions. “My overall goal is to one day create a professionally hosted television show,” she said.

Raymond T. Helms