Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 11, 2012.

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Donkey Otie was there the night Jesus was born, and he loves to tell the story.

Going into all the world, takes a community!

I need your help.  Before publishing the FIRST EDITION of my new book, Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story, I must sell enough copies to pay for the printing. After scrolling through the information below, click on the green BACK THIS PROJECT button at the top right. Have your Amazon.com account info ready for check out.  No account, no problem, you'll have an opportunity to set up a new one.  

Sneak peak at the illustrations ...

I'm hoping you'll join me spread the news about Donkey Otie by sending this page link to your friends or by posting it on Facebook or other social media sites and Webpages. Also, watch the slideshow at the top of the page for a sneak peek at the book's illustrations set to a favorite piece of music.  

For more details about the project, scroll through this section and past the graphics as you read all about Donkey Otie, or go directly to the Pledge list of products and special gift sets.  They have been created specifically for this unique Kickstarter introductory campaign, or simply order the book. You decide.

Q&A at the bottom of this page may answer questions you have, or email me directly at the link beneath my picture. I'll help you complete the form ... especially for the CREATE YOUR OWN REWARD.  That seems to be a little confusing, but hopefully my notes at the bottom will explain it for you.

Pledge categories on the right are opportunities for you to reserve your First Edition copy of Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story on or before October 10th.  Only when we reach my goal will Kickstarter, through Amazon.com, process your payment so the printing can begin.  

Then, sometime around Thanksgiving, just in time for Christmas, the books and custom products you selected will be personally mailed by me to you or specified destinations.  Included will be my personal thank you. Please note the expected date of arrival on each Pledge as some of the limited editions will require more time to produce.

Check your gift giving list now and purchase multiple copies of the First Edition to pass along to your friends, children, grandchildren, even strangers.  Let's celebrate a very special forever birthday together this December.  

(Keep scrolling after graphics and read about how the idea developed, industry reviews, and expected expenses for future growth.)

Story Synopsis

Donkey Otie knew the moment his life changed forever!  Never had he felt such love, acceptance, and peace .. or was it simply joy?

Remember when you were little how fun it was to play without grownups around?  Animals in Bethlehem felt the same way!
Remember when you were little how fun it was to play without grownups around? Animals in Bethlehem felt the same way!

Donkey Otie carried Mary, guided by Joseph, into Bethlehem to be counted for a census. Upon arrival, Donkey Otie witnessed the birth of a child. They named him Jesus.

Being present during the birth of a baby creates a bond like no other.
Being present during the birth of a baby creates a bond like no other.

Since that night, Donkey Otie has been telling all who would listen about the miracle he experienced so very long ago. He never tires of telling strangers and friends about that special night, a Holy Night, when Jesus Christ was born.

It happened over 2,000 years ago, but Donkey Otie, the wise old storyteller, wants you to see that night through his eyes so together you can share the forever birthday story.

In the beginning

When baby-boomers were young, everybody went to church. It was expected, and in some cases required. Once out on our own, we went our own way. Some of us found the way back to a faith in Jesus Christ; others maybe not.  Thus the case with one of my high school classmates.

His wife asked me to talk to him after learning he was dying of esophageal cancer. She thought I was an ordained minister because I love to talk about Jesus. Turns out, he had not been inside a church since we were 17 years old.

I asked my friend what he wanted to do in the time he had left; did he have any regrets that we could address?  “I wish I had taught my children to know Jesus,” was the only thought he expressed that day.

Thinking and praying about his remorse, I was inspired to write a poem telling the Nativity story in a new way. At Christmas a copy was framed and given to the family hoping in the future it would remind them of their father’s last wishes. He died the following summer.

Then I realized many in our age group might have similar regrets. Plus, a part of the new generation of young mothers and fathers have no background or understanding of Jesus to pass along to their children or grandchildren. Thus, Donkey Otie’s Forever Birthday Story has become a memorial to my friend Mike Hanson.  It is also dedicated to children of all ages in hopes they, too, might know the love Jesus has for them.

More than just a children's book

The poem grew into a storybook which later inspired an animated screenplay. This led to meeting Darren Cranford, a talented illustrator of children’s books, who happened to own an animation studio! 

Darren Cranford and his friend "Peggy" from the Little Harbour.
Darren Cranford and his friend "Peggy" from the Little Harbour.

Donkey Otie’s Forever Birthday Story has now been refined, illustrated to include little details from the screenplay, translated into French by a dear friend Laure Kinoo Warner, and is ready for publication. The Kickstarter printing will be the First Edition! At the heart is still the same poem written long ago.

Chicken or the egg?

Donkey Otie’s Forever Birthday Story is my first children’s book and feature length screenplay, but already through researching the Scriptures, I’m inspired to create others. First things first, will the public like my inspired story, too? 

Both the storybook and screenplay have already received the Dove "Family-Approved" Seal from The Dove Foundation, and the screenplay has received a 4+ content rating from Movieguide® prior to its production.

Click on the Seal and read The Dove Foundation review.
Click on the Seal and read The Dove Foundation review.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, friend, relative of a child – or simply a dear fan of mine – you’ll want to own a First Edition and give copies away, too. We’re pricing more than one printing style to fit every budget. You’ll be sowing seeds into the harvest and the next stage of development. It’s an exciting time and success begins with you.

Check out the Pledge levels, and let’s send Donkey Otie’s Forever Birthday Story to print. You'll be on the ground floor of an exciting adventure from vision to reality and oh, so much more! Be sure to tell others so they, too, can celebrate with us!

Project Description

Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story is a 24-page illustrated poem storybook with original artwork beautifully capturing the Nativity story. Character expressions reflect the emotions and experiences of both humans and animals on the night Jesus was born.   

In the back of the book is a Forever Birthday Certificate for recording a special day shared with Jesus and his friends. Scripture references explaining the poem border the certificate.  Regardless of your knowledge of The Bible or the translation you choose, the age-old story can be understood from Genesis to Revelation with a fresh inspired perspective.  

Why Kickstarter?

Everybody has to start somewhere. Finding investors willing to risk millions of dollars on my dream of producing an independent animated film is nearly impossible. Venture capitalists tell entrepreneurs, "Start with your family and friends." 

So, I'm starting with family and friends. Many of you already know my talents and accomplishments.  Early in my career I used my gifts to help other creative people achieve their goals. Now, through Kickstarter, I am garnering support for my own projects.  With your help and introductions to your circle of influence, the Donkey Otie brand I envision can become reality, and with its success, we'll be creating jobs!

How will the money be spent?

Until the full funding goal is reached, neither the creative nor administration teams will receive any payment.  It is funded 100% or not at all; no half measures will bring success.    

If you want to see DONKEY OTIE'S FOREVER BIRTHDAY STORY published, it is important for you to pledge NOW and pass the opportunity onto your family, friends, and associates.  

Printing and distribution of the First Edition softcover and First Edition hardcover illustrated storybook is the primary goal of this campaign.  Specifically, funds will pay for the following:

  • Printing / publishing expenses
  • Manufacturing rewards merchandise
  • Packaging and shipping costs
  • Marketing materials, direct mail, publicity, and targeted advertising for regional promotions through Christmas 2012
  • Labor (as needed for additional sales and distribution)
  • Kickstarter and partnership processing fees
  • Management expenses including professional accounting services
  • Creative royalties

We're hoping the outpouring of support will help us meet our goal early and continue to bring in a surplus that will be directed to the following:

  • Interactive Website
  • New layout for an expanded hardbound edition
  • Logo design and trademark expenses
  • Youth novel and e-book telling the expanded story portrayed in the screenplay which includes the poem as narration
  • Additional translations to include Spanish, Italian, German, a Universal African, Hebrew, and any other languages as the appropriate translator is found who will convert not only the meaning in the poem, but capture the passion through rhyme and poetic meter just as Laure Warner has for the French version
  • App and/or e-book editions
  • Ancillary products and animated feature film development
  • Creative royalties and professional services

In Summary

Seeing the forest and beyond has always been easy for me, however, finding the acorn that will grow into a fruit bearing tree has not been easy.  Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story is more than a book.  In part, it is my story. Like Donkey Otie, I've learned the joy, power, and peace in worshipping Almighty God.  I've learned through the wisdom of Holy Spirit. I know the power of praying in the name of Jesus.  

Because I've come to know Jesus loves me and I love him, sharing this fullness of life gives me the greatest joy. I hope you will purchase the book, so I can continue pursuing my creative dreams and, more importantly tell others they, too, can have a forever birthday. It is the day you ask Jesus into your heart and receive the gift of eternal life.

The song used with the illustration slideshow is See Him Exalted: © 1993 Sylvia Peterson and Nathan Burbanks; See & Say Songs, is "Used by Permission - Kingdom Praise" and was recorded in Nashville during my years in worship and Christian education at Belmont Church.

FAQ

  • KICKSTARTER is the ONLY PLACE you can currently purchase the book, however, the financial "transaction" is processed by a partnership with http://Amazon.com. Therefore, you will use the same information as you use for your Amazon account. If you don't have one, you will have to establish an account for processing. Here are the instructions from the support folks:

    1. Go to the project page (this page).

    2. Hit the green 'Back this project' button at the top right of the page.

    3. On the next screen for Pledging, enter in a dollar amount (either as stated on the Pledge levels, or one you have calculated for your unique Create Your Own Package).

    4. Select the reward you'd like that corresponds with your $ amount.

    5. Scroll down to the green 'Continue to next step' button and click it.

    6. Click the green 'Continue to Amazon' button.

    7. You'll now be at the Amazon sign-in page. Enter your email address that you use for your Amazon account as well as your password and click the yellow sign in button. (Or, if you don't have an account, you'll need to create one by clicking "No, I am a new user.")

    8. Make sure the credit card you'd like to use is selected and click the yellow Continue button. Additionally, make sure everything is good with your card details (i.e., expiration date is entered correctly) or trying a different payment method entirely if nothing else seems to work).

    9. Verify the info on the next page and then hit the yellow 'Confirm' button.

    10. If you have CREATED YOUR OWN PACKAGE, please send me an email from the main page "Contact" next to my picture, and describe your quantities and selections. This will be confirmed again once the funding goal is reached and the project is activated for payments.

    Your card will not be processed for payment UNTIL we attain the desired funding goal. That's why it is so important that you help me spread the word so we can all get what we want for Christmas, Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story First Editions!!!

    Apologies for any hassle!

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  • As a picture book, I'm hoping it is timeless. But to answer the question, conception up to 8-10ish. I say conception because although I've not had children, I've known them and their parents. It seems those whose mothers read to them in the womb and throughout their young years seem to be more interested in reading and learning. Thus are usually more disciplined later in life. I'm no expert, but it makes sense. Start teaching them about Jesus, after all, the God of the Universe created them, they'll relate to the stories.

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  • Great question! The maximum number of any item is 10 copies according to Kickstarter's guidelines. Sorry if this seems complicated, to make it a little easier, I have added two Pledge Levels for 5 books each of the soft or hardcover books. From conversations with backers, this seems to be a popular number, but you can calculate any quantity and combination as long as any one item does not exceed 10.

    To order multiple copies, click on the GREEN BUTTON ABOVE. At the top of the Pledge is a place to put an $Amount of your pledge (do your own multiplication based on the number of books etc. you want to order). After you have put the TOTAL $ of all your items in this place, scroll down to the CREATE YOUR OWN PACKAGE and click this option. Proceed to confirmation. It will reference your level as "$15 or more", but will show the $Amount pledged.

    Let me say it another way, calculate the #book(s) etc X $Pledge Level = $Amount of Pledge for the CREATE YOUR OWN PACKAGE. After processing (or before) click on the CONTACT link next to my picture and tell me what you are ordering. That way, neither of us have a question. I can confirm your order immediately when I am notified of the pledge.

    ONCE WE REACH THE GOAL, I will contact each backer once again to confirm what they ordered, the version (English or French), where they will be shipped to, if they want a dedication signature, gift wrap, etc. Then, we're off and running.

    Each of the packages has S&H included in the rate. After we have reached the goal and the books are ready to ship, if there is an overage in postage paid, expect a bonus in your package.

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  • Not a problem, we'll do that, too. After the funding goal is reached, and deadline met, we will contact all who have pledged to confirm the order, where it is to be shipped, if gift wrapping is requested and if you are ordering English or French versions, and other details. We aim to please.

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  • YES. ONCE WE REACH THE GOAL, I will contact each backer to confirm what they ordered, the version (English or French), where they will be shipped to, etc. IF YOU WANT A DEDICATION SIGNATURE, you can give me the name at that time.

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  • Both the softcover and hardcover will be 8.5 x 8.5, 24-pages, full color illustrations.

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  • Transactions are processed following your selection of Pledge Reward Level. As you click through, they will ask you for your ID and Password. This is where you will put your Amazon.com account information or set up an account by using a current credit card. So, have your information handy before proceeding.

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  • You can definitely add something to your order. Rather than "Back This Project" you will be able to "Manage Your Pledge" or "Adjust" your pledge. Put the new pledge amount at the top of the pledge page, and mark the item which best matches. If you are combining item for "Create Your Own Package", please send me an email with your intentions. Otherwise, when I send a confirmation after funding, you will be able to confirm the items.

    You cannot enter a new Backer's information with a separate account for Amazon.com. The Kickstarter system keeps track of the originating computer and only allows one transaction per computer/ email. However, if you want to place an order for a family member, friend, or person without a computer, simply add your order and their order for the total pledge. Continue with selection of Reward level and process as before.

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95
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  • Pledge $3 or more
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    1 backer

    Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Poem suitable for framing. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA.

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    13 backers

    SOFTCOVER FIRST EDITION of Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA. (*Delivery of the French edition may be delayed depending on the number of requests.)

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    8 backers

    CREATE YOUR OWN PACKAGE by choosing more than one Pledge item or up to 10 copies of each. Add up the total based on the Pledge level and indicate that amount when processing payment. I will confirm your order after reaching the funding goal. NO AMOUNT IS TOO LARGE, let's talk.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    42 backers

    HARDCOVER FIRST EDITION book of Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA. (*Delivery of the French edition may be delayed depending on the number of requests.)

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    GREETING CARD SET -- Three sets to choose from, 4 illustrations per set of 20 cards with matching unprinted envelops. Sets distinguished as Christmas, All Occasion, and Donkey Otie Story. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA.

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    2013 CALENDAR -- Each month features a different illustration(s) from Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA.

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    FIRST EDITION 3-inch PORCELAIN ORNAMENT from Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA.

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    1 backer

    5 copies - SOFTCOVER FIRST EDITION of Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA. (*Delivery of the French edition may be delayed depending on the number of requests.)

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    8 backers

    SIGNED ARCHIVAL PRINT and Hardcover First Edition of Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. After you have received the book, I'll contact you so you can select your favorite illustration. An Archival Print will be signed by the Creative Team before mailing the print to you. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA.

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    11 backers

    5 copies - HARDCOVER FIRST EDITION book of Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA. (*Delivery of the French edition may be delayed depending on the number of requests.)

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    DONKEY OTIE'S FOREVER BIRTHDAY PARTY KIT includes postcard invitations for 40 guests, 3 theme party favors, and thank you notes with matching envelops. Optional author reading included within 50 miles of Lafayette, LA or with paid expenses for travel (based on availability, not limited to 2012). Available only in English, S&H included within the USA.

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    ILLUSTRATED FLEECE BLANKET featuring all 18 Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story illustrations. S&H included within the USA.

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    2 backers

    10 Copies - SOFTCOVER FIRST EDITION of Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA. (*Delivery of the French edition may be delayed depending on the number of requests.)

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  • Pledge $200 or more
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    CHRISTMAS GREETING CARD SERVICE - Choose from 3 Pledge levels for customized Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story postcards, 2-panel or 3-panel cards for Christmas greetings. We'll print, address, stamp for First Class US postage and mail the cards to the list of recipients you provide. Then, you'll be set up with a personal Send Out Cards account for sending Donkey Otie Greeting Cards plus thousands of other all occasion cards whenever you like. You can even create your own cards with family pictures. Your contacts will remain programmed in your personal account so you can send one or all of your contacts cards and more throughout the year. Birthday and anniversary reminders help you stay in touch. Mailing size determines your pledge amount: up to 50 Postcards = $200; 150 Two-Panel cards = $500; 250 Three-Panel cards = $1,000.

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    COMFORT & JOY -- Snuggle up to read your hardcover First Edition book with your own Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story fleece blanket featuring all 18 illustrated story panels. Also included are two hot chocolate (tea or coffee) mugs with Donkey Otie's picture. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    2 backers

    10 Copies - HARDCOVER FIRST EDITION book of Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. Available in English or French*, S&H included within the USA. (*Delivery of the French edition may be delayed depending on the number of requests.)

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    ELEMENTARY & SUNDAY SCHOOL BUNDLE -- This is the reward that keeps on giving. Educators and parents will like the Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story: Genesis to Revelation Bible Study Guide and a laminated set of 18 story cards to use in group settings or story time. One hardcover and one softcover First Edition books are included along with special handouts for your class to take home. The study guide is only available in English at this time, but the books can be English or French* or one of each. S&H included within the USA.

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    AUTHOR READING & BOOK SIGNING based on availability beginning in December and throughout 2013. Pledge estimates are based on travel expenses outside a 75 mile radius of Lafayette, LA. When reserving the date and after travel arrangements are confirmed, a credit in products and books, or additional charges, will apply depending on location expenses. Reward includes 10 hardcover and/or 10 softcover books. Pledge amount for bookings within the Gulf Coast region = $400; Continental USA = $1,500; International = $5,000. We are particularly interested in scheduling events in French speaking countries.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    PROGRESSIVE ILLUSTRATED STORYBOOK -- For the artistic aficionado we're creating a limited edition narrative book on the development of Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story. Beginning with the original poem, into storyboards, pen & ink sketches and ultimately the published color illustrations, you will be able to see the progressive steps in creating the First Edition. With growing success, we hope to offer a supplement or Volume 2 explaining how the poem became a screenplay and animated film. Only available in English at this time. S&H included within the USA.

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  • Pledge $750 or more
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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    MY FOREVER BIRTHDAY STORY -- Capture for posterity your very own Forever Birthday Story written by Donkey Otie's Forever Birthday Story author, Vicky Branton. She will personally interview you to hear your story and submit a draft for your approval. After you give the okay, it will be sent to the illustration team headed by Darren Cranford along with pictures you provide. Darren will create one original cartoon character befitting the story. Depending on the length of the finished product, you will receive an appropriate keepsake of your amazing story and unique character. Vicky Branton Entertainment LLC will retain the copyright to the illustration for possible use in a future book. English text only at this time or, for an additional charge of $1,000, it will be translated into French.

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Funding period

- (30 days)