We're asking for your support to help us make a very special episode of Ruffus The Dog.
Ruffus The Dog is an award-winning series of videos for young viewers, adapting classic fairy tales and literature with wonderfully silly puppets and absolutely brilliant songs to entertain and incite a love of reading. All of the original shows (created for broadcast television) are being posted online - under a Creative Commons license - and now we want to start producing new episodes for release online.
We will be starting with just one episode - our very own version of the classic Charles Dickens tale: "A Christmas Carol".
It will feature our usual suspects of puppet characters, including Ruffus himself as Scrooge. Our composer, JP Houston, is busy crafting new songs and our Emmy winning designer, Karen Valleau, has been tasked with recreating Victorian London - in miniature.
Songs, puppets, classic literature, thrills, chills & larfs aplenty will all be found in our online version of "A Christmas Carol".
You can find our original episodes at: www.ruffusthedog.net
Children's television is, in many ways, a wasteland of merchandising and marketing targeted at young impressionable viewers. To be honest, we'd love to have a massive lucrative toy deal - but that's not why we're making these shows. We've worked in educational television on such productions as Sesame Street, The Big Comfy Couch and more for many years - as writers, performers, designers, producers and directors. Our passion, first and foremost, is for creating quality characters and stories for young minds. In the process we're enjoying the creative freedom of the web - not having to beg to broadcasters for a chance to be aired or having to dumb down our shows when we know in our hearts both young and older viewers will enjoy, appreciate and be enriched by our tales.
Asking YOU for money is different from going hat-in-hand to a corporate gatekeeper - and speaking directly to our audience is a grand reward.
We'll be looking to the future with this project too - adding to the existing library of Ruffus shows, adapting the scripts to illustrated storybooks & mobile apps and building an online community. This is our opportunity to produce the best shows we can outside of the restrictive status quo of the broadcast television industry.
What We Need & What You Get
We're asking for $8,500 for this first online production - a mere fraction of what our television episodes usually cost. We've called in a bunch of favors for this one and already have a lot of practical support from dedicated colleagues who are willing to supply their skills and talent to make this project possible. There will always be hard costs that need to be covered and that's where the money comes in handy. Studio space, some post facilities, some legal and accounting costs - but mostly props, costumes, equipment and, yes, some catering. An army travels on its stomach.
The budget is ridiculously low for what we're attempting but we're determined to go ahead and make it work. If all the money we need isn't raised - we'll just have to sell our children. It's THAT important to us. We're going to make this show and get it online before the holidays - and you can help us do that.
So what do you get out of it? A great show and a warm fuzzy feeling? Want more? Check out our list of "perks" for our funders:
Every contributor gets a "Special Thanks" credit in the show.
If you contribute $25 or more you get a signed poster for the show.
Support of $75 or more gets you a limited edition Ruffus / Christmas Carol t-shirt!
Contribute $200 or more and you'll get all of the above and receive our gift of the finished show on DVD with a boatload of extra features and signed photos of the characters.
Want to give more? Great!
For $500 or more you'll also get a personalized video thank you from Ruffus and the rest of the cast.
If you're in Toronto while we're shooting and want to pay us a visit on the set - kick in $1500 and we'll even let you play a character in a scene. There's only 2 roles open for this so act now! We can't provide travel or accommodation - sorry - but we'll gladly spring for lunch!
And everyone gets to share in that warm fuzzy feeling.
This production is important to us for a lot of personal and professional reasons. We also think it's important for young viewers to have access to truly original and creative entertainment. We hope you do too.
Other Ways You Can Help
We'll be posting regular video, photo and text updates here and on our Ruffus The Dog web pages. You can also follow us on Twitter @ruffusthedog and on Facebook. Even if you can't give any financial support we can also use your vocal support - tell your family and friends about the show and our project - let people know how to find us - help us make this happen.
Producer / Writer / Ruffus