Eleven-year-old Jessica Wood and six other children watch the closing ceremonies of the Olympics from a stadium suite in London. Suddenly a group of armed terrorists burst through the door, and within moments the children and their parents are traveling deep underground, away from what is set to be the most devastating terrorist attack in history.
It’s August 12, 2012, and the world is about to change. Seven Poets and the Assassin’s Secret is the story of seven children’s escape from the terrorists behind the attack, and their flight to new lives filled with mystery, danger and adventure.
A New Kind of Story
Seven Poets and The Assassin's Secret is an original, first-of-its-kind, serialized story developed for iPhone and iPad and iPod touch. It’s been conceived to span multiple mediums including traditional books and films, but it all starts here—with the application.
We need you to help us push the boundaries of digital storytelling and release Seven Poets to the world. This is an experimental storytelling structure built on long-proven principles like serialization and new forms of user engagement made possible through the technology of today.
Seven Poets is a story written and developed by Dallas-based start-up Edmund Pevensey, LLC (that's us--the one's doing the Kickstarter campaign). We developed the idea, and we're creating the content, themes, tones, etc.
But we're working with the amazing team over at inkle to develop the app-- they're designing the actual system/experience. inkle is based in Cambridge, UK. You'll notice the British influence in some of the command language within the app--we enjoy it thoroughly.
You can learn more about both teams over to the right.
The heart of the Seven Poets application is the chapters. They’re much like the chapters of a book, only they’re being released in real-time beginning August 12th--yes, THIS AUGUST 12th--the one that is just days away. And for 12 weeks you’ll follow the lives of the characters as they unfold—from the underground tunnels of London to the fields and forests outside Paris. New chapters will be released throughout each week, and a timer will always let you know when the next chapter will be made available.
The Broadside is a newspaper. Like most papers, new content will be released each morning. Unlike most papers, the Broadside lives in the fictional Seven Poets universe--inside the application. And after its senior staff is killed in the attack, the Broadside’s long-time intern begins to piece together inconsistencies in the official report that lead him deeper and deeper into the world of the chapters. You’ll find essays and articles from special real-world guest contributors from time to time as well as headlines that echo real world events. Imagine there’s an earthquake in Los Angeles and the next day that exact same earthquake shows up in the story you’re reading. Creepy, but also awesome.
Seven Poets is an epic adventure about justice, truth, overcoming grief, and helping those without a voice, and it’s been designed to extend those same ideas into the lives of readers.
So, after you’ve finished a chapter you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a challenge to unlock reward content—character journals, sketches, videos—all tied into the story. Once you’ve started the challenge you’ll have a set amount of time to complete it and unlock your reward which then becomes a part of Your Story.
The challenges are meant to bridge the fictional Seven Poets universe with your life in the real world. That’s why your responses to each challenge will be saved in the Your Story timeline as digital reminders of your Seven Poets experience.
Why You Should Be Confident This Will Be Awesome
We’ve been working as a team for the last several years, helping organizations across the country understand and help tell their stories. We’ve worked with places like the UN Foundation, World Vision, the American Heart Association, and many many others. First for an agency, and then, more than a year ago we started our own company.
And in the midst of all of that, we released a successful independent film that spent several weeks in the top 20 and then top 10 of iTunes independent. We loved it, and still do, but our passion really lies in working at the intersection of storytelling and technology—telling big stories like Seven Poets and pushing the boundaries of how stories are told. It’s our passion and it’s our expertise.
And it’s not just us. We’ve partnered with inkle Studios in Cambridge, UK, experts in storytelling and application design and development. They produced the much lauded Frankenstein app, and they’re the creators of the new inklewriter format for interactive fiction. They’re brilliant and they’ve got the app pretty much ready to go.
Why We Need Your Help Right Now
The framework for the application is complete, as is the first couple weeks of content. But since we’re going to be running this real-time, there’s a ton of ongoing content and design that needs to be created from now through the end of October. Things like chapter and newsroom illustrations, reward content, as well as simple things like hosting and ongoing app maintenance.
We’ve invested more than a year of our lives into this project already, and we need your help to push through these last few steps and create something truly great. And since the start of the story is tied to a real-world event, it has to launch on August 12th!
The rewards are all things we would want--either because they're really cool or useful, or hopefully, both.
**All estimated delivery dates reflect the estimated date of the thing that will take the longest. So for instance, you'll receive your app content code the week of August 5th even if you purchase a higher level that says delivery in October or December.
We love books. That’s why we’re releasing a very limited edition paperback that will include both the chapters AND newsroom articles at the $27 and above level--a physical artifact to go with the digital release.
What's better than reading while drinking coffee? Probably nothing. Which is why we'll be offering mugs as a reward.
Designs are forthcoming--we'll post options and let you vote on the one you want to see. T-shirts will be high quality fabric (American Apparrel-y) because we'd actually like you to want to wear them.
Writing for the Broadside, creating a Challenge, and being written into the chapters are all on the table. See the appropriate level for more details.
These will be truly one-of-a-kind handbound copies of Seven Poets and the Assassin's Secret. They're very limited, and each one will be different as they're being approached by the designer, Dustin Bailey (Seven Poets chapter illustrator), as art projects.
You should support this Kickstarter if you like…
- taking pictures
- new things
- having fun
- pushing the boundaries of storytelling through technology
- helping people
- countdown timers
- mobile apps
- the number “7”
With Any Extra Funds…
We’ll deliver a better product. More money means more things can be designed and developed and there's a lot of great content we're simply not going to be able to produce because of cost.
Please help us push the boundaries of digital storytelling and release Seven Poets and the Assassin's Secret to the world.
And thanks for checking out the project!
All of the content in the Seven Poets app is meant to be suitable for ages 10 & up, so if you're over the age of 10, you will undoubtedly love the story and the characters and want to share them with everyone you know.
We really wanted to create a story that could get kids reading using the technology they already use every day. We love books, so we hope that reading through the application will serve as a gateway to reading print.
Apple has checkbox criteria related to content, so the app will be rated 12+ in the App Store due to references to alcohol and tobacco, infrequent mild language, and fictional violence. If you have any more detailed questions, just let us know!
It's come to our attention that there are people who live outside of the United States of America. For that reason, international shipping is included in backer levels of $48 and above. If you'd like to back at the $27 level, please add $10 for international shipping. And if you purchase the Father & Son from an international locale, I'll probably just try and plan a vacation to your country of origin because no one likes shipping paintings, and I'd love a vacation (South America, Europe or Australia would be preferable--if you're asking).
No one has actually asked this, but it does tie into the international shipping question in a roundabout way. The children's parents are members of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, so the children are quite diverse, and all except "Five" are ages 9-12:
Jessica Wood, Australia
Julian Peterson, USA
Elihu "Eli" Luthuli (France/Cote d'Ivoire)
Alexi "Lexi" Romanov (Russia)
Leo Romanov (Russia)
Al-Aziz "Ali" Alsaif (Saudi Arabia)
Five's name will make sense once you've gotten through the end of the first week.
This is important. The app is a free download, and you can get it in the iTunes store on August 5th--don't wait for us on that. Paid content does not start until August 19th. If you're a backer, then once the Kickstarter is complete, we'll send you a survey through Kickstarter that will get us the information we need to get you the paid content for free. If that's still confusing, just leave a comment and we'll clarify.
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