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A museum quality film that combines entertainment with learning for all ages. Our mission: Get out there and experience nature!

The video you just watched, Walk Like a Newt was created just for fun by Lance Milbrand a Wildlife Filmmaker and Eddie Freeman a Music Composer.   Dan Harder, the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History saw Lance's long version of the newt movie and asked if we could create a movie appropriate for the museum and hence, the first KickStarter release by Milbrand Cinema and Icarus Music was born.  World of the California Newt is an entertaining and educational movie (not too heavy on either side) that walks along the top of the fence and is designed for children but also appropriate for adults. The movie will run seven-minutes and have never-before-seen footage, fun music, graphics and professional narration.  Many of the scenes will be shot from eye-level, less than one-inch off the ground and cover the vast wildlife, plants and habitats the California newt sees during its twenty-year lifespan.

Lance Milbrand shooting newt eggs along a creek within the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The shot below shows the exact image captured while this photo was taken. Photo Credit: Mark Munro
Lance Milbrand shooting newt eggs along a creek within the Santa Cruz Mountains. The shot below shows the exact image captured while this photo was taken. Photo Credit: Mark Munro
California newt eggs have a distinguishing black line that sets them apart from other amphibian eggs.
California newt eggs have a distinguishing black line that sets them apart from other amphibian eggs.

Here in the Central Coast of California along the Santa Cruz Mountains, a small creature walks silently, heading towards a creek. Newts are beautiful, interesting and overlooked amphibians that can live in the forest, in the damp crawlspaces beneath our homes and during the rainy season, be found walking across our busy roads. The rainy season can last up to five-months and during this season the newt are out in the open and unlike many forest creatures, can be found in both day and night. Think of the Geico commercial with the talking green gecko lizard but in this case our creature is the orange bellied, chocolate-topped California newt, which is real, AND our Newt Love to Eat Worms!

A full-size worm is attacked right in the middle and pulled into the mouth like a wiggling string of spaghetti!  A worm requires 60-seconds to consume and we also have shots of a baby newt eating termites.
A full-size worm is attacked right in the middle and pulled into the mouth like a wiggling string of spaghetti! A worm requires 60-seconds to consume and we also have shots of a baby newt eating termites.

Newt are born in a creek, river or pond from a gelatin-like egg and they go though a huge metamorphosis from a larval stage with gills and a tail to growing lungs and feet to become a terrestrial creature. By positioning myself in the forest where they walk and lying in the creeks where they spawn I have become a newt naturalist. After seeing the video footage I have collected and being able to predict their instincts, people have asked if I am a newt whisperer. I smile and say that I am only a student in the way of the newt but I might add, I have walked like a newt.

This newt is walking behind freshly laid newt eggs underwater in a creek.  This shot and many of the sequences captured in the movie tell a great story.
This newt is walking behind freshly laid newt eggs underwater in a creek. This shot and many of the sequences captured in the movie tell a great story.

Newts have charisma and they are worthy our admiration. I have been following the newt for over one-year. I work under the canopy of the redwood forest and I travel to open areas; places where I know the newt will spawn, along our creeks and rivers. I work in the rain, I work at night, I lie in 48-degree creeks. Nothing stops me from following the life-cycle of the newt!

The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is a leading wildlife educator.
The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is a leading wildlife educator.

1.The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History has an established track record of 35,000 school children who visit their museum every year. Kids who live in three counties are bused to the venue all year long. The kids will tell their parents that they saw this great newt movie and then hopefully the parents will be inspired to walk the forests and look at watersheds for newt with their children.

2.The Museum has a non-profit membership base that spans the County and beyond. The Santa Cruz Mountains run 77-miles from Gilroy to San Francisco. Once word gets out that a great movie highlights the newt, people will come from near and far.

3.The Museum is in the process of designing a new building with state-of-the-art video monitors. The newt film will play in standard definition at their current location and be ready in Blu-Ray for their new location.

Western pond turtes share the same watershed habitats with newt.
Western pond turtes share the same watershed habitats with newt.

Although we currently have a lot of video material, our newt movie will contain the best of the best sequences that tell a compelling story. We are in the process of the final post production for this project. Lance Milbrand says "When I have kids see this film, I want them to go out and say that they want to walk in newt habitat and look for newt. When a parent sees this film, I want them to set aside time to go with their kids to walk and explore the outdoors. When a retired person or someone with free-time sees this film, I want them to be inspired to become a park docent, a steward for the land, teaching respect for the forest, its watersheds and have a special interest in the newts well-being."

A fawn and her mother walk across newt habitat in the forest.
A fawn and her mother walk across newt habitat in the forest.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Professional wildlife films are budgeted by the finished minute. Up until this point, Lance Milbrand has spent over 50-days in the field with equipment, capturing watershed video sequences and the same amount of time logging and editing footage. Eddie Freeman donated his time and expertise creating a music score for “Walk Like A Newt.” Lance and Eddie have worked together on paying movies for Southern California Edison and OC Parks the past eight-years. The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is a natural extension of this entertaining and educational video project. We have a great understanding of our subject and we have already captured it on “card” no one shoots tape anymore. This is amazing footage in the can! Our element of risk is very low, as it is close to being finished. The project will be completed by December 31, 2013.

Much of the footage has already been edited into a logical timeline. Steps that need to be completed are:
1. Reversion the long 25-minute movie into a tight seven-minute film.
2. Write the script.
3. Choose and hire the narrator.
4. Score the project with music.
5. Remix all audio tracks into one program.
6. Burn DVD and Blu-Ray discs.

We have priced the Kickstarter finished movie below market rate because it is either “raise all the money from Kickstarter and our social media connections or get nothing and not finish the movie.” We will increase the running time of the film by one-minute for each additional $15,000.00 raised above our goal.

Our professionals who will oversee the project include:
Dan Harder, Executive Director, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. Dan will act as the project's Executive Producer and Script Supervisor. Having for years served as editor and content reviewer for peer-reviewed scientific publications and popular articles, dan will work with Lance and Eddie to make this film scientifically factual, entertaining and engaging for audiences. Dan will also oversee the showing of the film within the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

Lance Milbrand, Filmmaker, Milbrand Cinema. Lance has been the cameraman, logged footage and will be the projects editor. Lance will see that the day-to-day activities are carried out in a professional and timely manner all the way to the finished project. Lance has been a filmmaker for over 25-years. A filmmaker knows how to make the most of the collected shots to create a cohesive edited story. This story will be assembled in such a way that connects the viewer to the subject. In our case, the viewer will want to go out and explore the forests and creeks where newts live.
A finished movie is normally collaboration with other artists. Our filmmaker will assemble a puzzle with the edited pictures to make them fun without saying a word. The script is then written in an entertaining and scientific manner, not leaning too hard on either side. Lance Milbrand, Dan Harder and Paul Haskins will create the movie script. Please see a trailer for OC Parks that was created with Lance Milbrand shooting and editing the video and writing the script. Eddie Freeman scored the music. It was from this unfunded demo reel that Milbrand Cinema was awarded a one-year contract to create the Muth Interpretive Center “Nature in Our Backyard, Newport Back Bay” 12.5-minute film. The web address for the trailer is:
http://vimeo.com/milbrandcinema/babethebobcat

Eddie Freeman, Composer, Icarus Music. Our music will have fun transitions and riffs that will make a child want to repeat the rhythm, learning is fun. Eddie has been in the music business composing and creating museum music for 25-years. One of Eddie’s big clients is the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California and television specials for the National Geographic Channel. Eddie and his wife Marta are in production with their first folk album.
Paul Haskins, Herpetologist and Science Expert. Paul is an educator and one of the regions leaders in amphibians. He regularly leads nature walks in search of amphibians and reptiles and brings his collection of animals to schools and special events. When Cal-WILD (formally the California Department of Fish and Game) needs to find a home for an injured or illegally captured amphibian or reptile, they call Paul Haskins.

To-Be-Determined, a Female Narrator - What makes a video narrators voice so special?

Documentary narrator voices need stamina. Our primary audience will be schoolchildren but the narrator must also entertain adult viewers.
Our narrator will benefit by having specialized knowledge of our subject matter. Our producer will be on-site to see that the style of reading remains consistent throughout the recording session. Paragraphs will be read in blocks to perfection, preventing the narrator from needing to come back and re-read a line or two. Our filmmaker will videotape our herpetologist, providing a recording that explains proper pronunciations of newt terms and technical concepts to the talent in layman's terms. Our filmmaker has worked with SAG and professional narration talent on many occasions and understands that a seven-minute video may require up to four-hours of time to record and lay-back the best takes.

Male, or Female? Often it doesn't matter but a females voice would be better suited for discussing mother earth. Conventional wisdom is that women are a little more credible, while male narrator voices are considered more authoritative. What's the difference between credible and authoritative? Our audience is both genders and we think a female voice is better suited for the subject matter.

Our narrators voice will be able to relate to our audience in a light hearted and playful way. Her voice will have a genuinely friendly sound that is nurturing. At the same time, we want our narrator to have a motivation to care about the environment. Our narrators voice will sound real and caring.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    5 backers

    Friend of the Newt Video Credit - People who want to be entertained and learn about the secret world of the newt will have their name connected in the movie credits for all time.

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    4 backers

    Friend of the Newt Greeting Cards - Two greeting cards with pictures taken directly from the movie showing intimate details of the newt's life, suitable for mailing in the US and abroad PLUS Friend of the Newt Video Credit.

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    Ships within the US only
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    9 backers

    Friend of the Newt DVD - This movie will be certain to contain footage that even an experienced newt watcher has never seen. It will include a filmmakers segment with natural sounds from behind the scenes that is not included in the original museum movie. Available in standard DVD or Blu-Ray PLUS Two Newt Greeting Cards PLUS Newt Video Credits.

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    0 backers

    Friend of the Newt Calendar - A 16-month calender highlighting the best of the best photos pulled from the video PLUS Newt DVD PLUS Two Greeting Cards PLUS Newt Video Credits.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers

    Review the movie as it is being created in the editing room and have a say in the products final message. This is a JURY TYPE OPPORTUNITY. PLUS A 16-month calender highlighting the best of the best photos pulled from the video PLUS Newt DVD PLUS Two Greeting Cards PLUS Newt Video Credits.

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Funding period

- (31 days)