Iliad House: An Audio Drama
"Adventures in Odyssey" co-creator Phil Lollar presents a new show about a boy, a strange mansion, and a train traveling through time.
This campaign has ended, but a NEW Iliad House campaign will begin very soon! Feel free to read the update about Iliad House's next step, and then follow the link above to the next campaign when it launches early September 2013!
To support Iliad House, just click the GREEN button to the right of the screen. All you need is an Amazon account, and you will only be charged if we meet our goal by August 31!
Iliad House will be an ongoing, independent audio drama, clocking in at about half an hour per episode. For you folk unfamiliar with the term “audio drama,” it’s like a talking book but better because instead of one narrator it’s an entire world come alive with characters, sounds, and music. There is no visual stimulation, so it fully engages a listener’s imagination. Our target demographic is 8–14-year-olds and anyone who enjoys great stories well told. Wonder, excitement, adventure—it’s all here in Iliad House. With this campaign, we're going to fund the show's pilot mini-series followed by the first full season of 12 episodes!
Why call it Iliad House? Well, we’ll just leave with you with this: The Iliad by Homer is an ancient, epic poem about a war among gods and kings. Iliad House is also about a war, but instead of flesh and blood it is against the principalities of this present darkness. We’re going to explore some rather intense subject matter and stories, but in a fun, funny, and engaging way that offers real answers and hope.
Fourteen-year-old orphan Jesse Davidson lives with his emotionally-distant and peculiar uncle Christopher Portalis in the Iliad House, a mysterious old mansion on an island off the east coast of the United States.
Just when Jesse is finally getting used to living on the island, he discovers that the old abandoned train he and his friends have been using as a clubhouse for the past year can actually move—through time!
They get caught up in a series of adventures fraught with temporal distortions, political intrigue, secret societies, and supernatural battles, all as they try to cope with the daily pressures and craziness of adolescence.
While traveling through the future and the past, they learn hard truths and secrets about themselves, and that there is forgiveness and redemption available to all who desire it. And, as Jesse and his uncle come to understand each other, Jesse begins to see that there is much more to Iliad House, and to why he and his uncle are there, than anyone realizes.
Orphaned, redheaded, lanky, a bit clumsy, he is always going where people tell him not to go, and doing what people warn him against, and attempting things he has no business attempting. He does these things for fun, and adventure, and to escape boredom, and to prove his mettle and worth. But mostly he does them to, as he puts it, “find an answer.” An answer to what, he is not certain. He only knows that all of his life, he has felt as though something was missing, something important, and he needs to find out what it is.
Jesse’s genius uncle. If not exactly a recluse, he’s the closest thing to it. Tall, lean, a good looker, Portalis holds PhDs in philosophy, history, and theoretical physics, and taught those subjects along with natural and revealed religions at the Patriot Heritage University. But then came a higher calling—a life’s mission, if you will—that brought him to Iliad House.
Jesse’s good friend. He’s a brain-trust physics wiz who wins all the science awards and rides around on his own self-built, electronic-computerized scooter. But Jesse soon realizes that there’s more to Stu than just gadgets and tech.
Another of Jesse’s friends. Pretty, wild-eyed, disheveled, she claims to see the future. Jesse finds her equally annoying and amusing. (And she kinda scares Stu, but that’s nothing new.) Her attitude is mostly a cover, though, because, like Jesse, she’s looking for something important, but she doesn’t know where to start.
Mrs. McKenzie Emily Delanie aka "Mrs. McEd"—mid-50s
The housekeeper for Iliad House. Widowed, Scottish, stout, she is a cross between Mrs. Doubtfire and Marilla Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables, which is to say, she is stern, strong, kindhearted, or loving as the occasion warrants, and sometimes all four at the same time. She’s the closest thing to a mother Jesse has ever known.
A robot created by Professor Portalis. It helps him with quick answers and analysis, as well as providing him with his cloak, his pipe, and a nice strong cup of Earl Grey. The Butler is a combination of Iron Man/Tony Stark’s Jarvis, and Marvin the manic-depressive paranoid android from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He is Spock to Mrs. McEd’s McCoy, which is to say, most of the time they don’t get along. (His name has yet to be determined, but one fantastic person will get to name it by choosing the Name the Butler reward level!).
If you’re familiar with Phil’s work in previous shows (*cough*Adventures in Odyssey*cough*Jungle Jam and Friends*cough*), you’ll recognize a lot of the cast of Iliad House.
For example, the famous and wonderful Katie Leigh, who plays Connie in Adventures in Odyssey!
And, well, Phil Lollar!
We'll be announcing more cast members throughout the campaign!
The adventure takes place on a small island off the eastern coast of the US not terribly far from the landing place of John Smith and his colonial adventurers.
Originally inhabited by Native Americans, Verity Island is now a sleepy place of wooded trails generally looked down on by the inhabitants of Verity City just across the Prudence River Bridge. The city folk think that the people of Verity Village are too strange and "the wrong sort."
Some say that the oddness of those who live on the island dates back to the building of the train depot in the woods while others say it goes back even further to the glory days of Fort Verity whose ruins still guard the island's north shore. The funny thing is, the strange folks in Verity Village are normal compared to the even more unusual Professor who has taken up residence down past the rock formation on the southern tip of the island in a mysterious place called Iliad House.
Quick version: This all started in late 2012 at a conference where many of us, including Phil, were teaching audio drama production to middle and high schoolers. After a few days, we found that we really respected each other and decided to create a new audio drama together. Thus, Iliad House and our partnership, Guess What LLC, were born.
We’ll share more about the rest of the Guess What team as the campaign progresses, but we'll start with Phil Lollar, the creative director, showrunner, head writer, and overall audio drama maestro. He has co-created, written, and worked on a ton of stuff. Adventures in Odyssey, Jungle Jam and Friends, Little Dogs on the Prairie—read his bio for more!
Did we say that we are excited about some of the awesome talent that we have?
First, our concept artist is Cliff Cramp (check out his sweet website). One of our favorite ways to tell our friends about Cliff is to grab a Star Wars Blu-ray set and hand it to them. "Cliff did all that cover art, and he is doing the art for Iliad House." We love having him involved.
Our musician is a cool guy too. Justin R. Durban (also has a sweet website) is best known for his work scoring music for film trailers for movies like James Cameron's Avatar, Pixar's Brave, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He did the Iliad House theme music, and we can't stop playing it in our heads.
So, what exactly does this project fund? The answer is a pilot mini-series and then the first season (12 glorious half-hour episodes) of Iliad House, to be distributed by CD and online!
To do that, we need to pay for at least five key things:
1. Excellent actors who will play Jesse, Cassandra, Stu, and, of course, Professor Christopher Portalis.
2. Custom music to help build the tension, mystery, and whimsy.
3. Vibrant sound design to bring the story to life.
4. A website so you can download the newest episodes.
5. Replicating CDs for distribution. (They make great stocking stuffers, hint hint.)
We want to deliver an incredible experience to all of you who support us, and we plan to be the best stewards we can be of that support.
We decided to use Kickstarter because we want a direct connection with you, our audience. We want to give audio drama fans a chance to decide if they would like to hear a story about a boy with a crazy mysterious uncle. Of course you do, but Kickstarter lets us (and you) be sure. Iliad House is an independent project by Phil Lollar and a small team—there is no sea of middlemen—it’s just us telling great stories and giving them directly to you. Without you, what's the point?
When we say, 'independent project,' we mean REALLY independent. Iliad House is a completely new, original show, unaffiliated with Focus on the Family or Adventures in Odyssey, or anybody else except me (Phil) and my team at Guess What, LLC.
As you may have noticed, we have put some serious thought into the rewards that come with the different backing tiers for this Kickstarter. You can get get downloads, CDs, digital art, music, autographed stuff, limited edition numbering, the ability to name characters, and even a chance to party with Phil at Disneyland. (Most of us have been to a Disney park with Phil, and it is a blast, except Phil is constantly hearing a voice in a ride and saying, "I know that voice actor. I think he owes me a lunch . . .")
Regardless, we put a lot of thought into the prizes, and they are awesome, so check them out. Once we have successfully completed the campaign, we plan to have the last of the rewards delivered to you by February 2014! (Of course you will start receiving the rewards as fast as we make them and get them out, so keep your eyes peeled!)
But here is some really cool stuff. If we reach some of our stretch goals (goals past our minimum Kickstarter funding requirement) EVERYONE benefits.
This is how stretch goals work: We reach a benchmark and we throw a party! For example, let's see what happens if we raise $150,000 on Kickstarter. After we complete the pilot mini-series and the first season, we will make a special prequel of the professor's awesome back story and sell it on the Iliad House website (all the fans win!). Even better, anyone who gives $20 or more to the Kickstarter campaign will get a free digital copy of this prequel because we know that we will only achieve these stretch goals if you help spread the word. So tell your friends!
Here are our official stretch goals:
$150,000—Three-episode prequel for the Professor Portalis's backstory! Everyone who pledges at $20 or above gets a digital copy!
$200,000—The second season of Iliad House. Everyone who pledges at $20 and above will receive a digital copy!
$250,000—Everyone who pledges at $20 or above will receive a deluxe digital map of the mysterious island! $45 or above will receive a deluxe physical map of the island!
$300,000—The third season of Iliad House. Everyone who pledges at $20 or above will receive a digital copy!
$350,000—Phil Lollar and the cast will do a live recording of a very special episode! The event will be in LA at a to be determined date and will be live broadcast online around the world!
$400,000—Yes, we’ll totally do a fourth season if we reach this stretch goal. But if we get to $400,000, we’ll also unveil part of our master plan hinting at a huge development to come after the end of the third season. Get the campaign up to this level, and we’ll tell you what that is. Otherwise, we’re keeping our lips sealed on this one.
Check out the coverage Iliad House has received so far!
Risks and challenges
The good news is that that we have an awesome team! Phil clearly is the creative genius who has inspired millions of kids with his previous work. But the rest of the core team is pretty fantastic. We have two people who run large budgets, a radio producer, three members who have worked extensively on feature films, and someone who has coordinated projects of up to 2,000 volunteers/staff in 15 different states all crammed into five days.
This team is impressive because of their broad experience. Between them they are marketers, actors, bloggers, published authors, carry extensive social media experience, and distribute products all over the country.
While the audio drama business is new to some of us, and all creative projects face unforeseen challenges throughout the course of production, we have a team that excels at problem solving. We have also already begun to write the scripts and have access to a great studio, which will help minimize risks due to cost and cut down delay in the delivery of the final product—which is key to the success of a creative project. We are convinced that with your help, we can do this if you fund this project and spread the word to your friends. This kind of program would have a hard time finding a spot in the studio system, so we are breaking the mold because we truly believe there are people like you who believe in the power of great stories well told.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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