The Red Fred Project is a star-crossed collaboration with critically ill children. These are magical, creative children who have faced significant challenges in short lifetimes, with humor, compassion and wisdom-filled stories to share. The Red Fred Project gives those children and their stories a voice. Here’s how:
Together, we create a children’s book. Each child is the creative boss; I’m just there to bring the story to life through photography, design and a likable group of birds called The Jolly Troop. That book then becomes so many magical things: A lasting voice for these children’s beautiful stories. A tangible achievement for each child (check out how we celebrated our first creative rock star). A way to help parents pay steep medical bills; all proceeds go straight to them. And the magic multiplies, lives on forever – readers are inspired by the wisdom and imagination of these children.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Why are we doing this? Most of these children will not become fire-fighters, doctors, cheerleaders, vets, baristas, teachers, Olympic hopefuls or college students that pal around eating pizza until 2:30 a.m. in their dorm rooms. Due to their illnesses and physical challenges, some of these children will not live long, cannot move as others do, and have unique ways of interacting and operating in the everyday world. But what these children DO HAVE is star-dust material—these children have creative, powerful, inventive minds and spirits. They know incredible things BECAUSE of their life challenges. I want to know how they view the world and help them create an original, one-of-a-kind book, publish it, place it in the child's hands and say, "Way to go! You've published a story; you've created a book."
After the child completes the book, his/her family can use it for personal enjoyment, gifting or as a fundraising tool. The proceeds made by the sale of each book go to medical expenses of each child.
WHY WE LOVE THIS PROJECT
• through story-telling, a critically-ill child shows what life is all about
• these children become authors NOW, creating a real "children's book"
• the book becomes the child's tangible legacy
• it creates a means for the family to offset medical costs
• these books foster hope between all who face physical challenges
OUR FUNDING GOAL(S)
Our base funding goal is to raise $75K so we can begin working with a child from every state in the U.S. This will help us to work with 20-25 children. If we raise $125K, we believe we can meet with all 50 children. It will cost about $2,500/child to create each book, from beginning to end because Dallas will need to travel, workshop, photograph, design and edit each book with each child. But we can't imagine doing this without documenting it on film! If we are able to raise $200K,we can hire independent filmmakers to be onsite with us, documenting the stories of this story-making process. Can you imagine watching a film about this? Can you imagine learning about each of these children and understanding why they wrote their story the way they did?
LET'S MAKE A BOOK!
We will studiously and gratefully select a child (a “Creative”) from each state and make him or her co-creator in the story and book-making process. The child will meet with me a number of times to complete creative tasks that will result in his or her published book.
To start off, we will send a copy of "Let's Make a Book" via email or snail mail before our first meeting. Then, in the first meeting (using Skype), we will make introductions, learn about one another and go over a packet I've created to help them with their creative tasks.
Each child will get to know The Jolly Troop by reading about them in their packet and reading about their previous adventures online. Then, he or she will decide which Troopers to use in the story (it could be just one other bird or the entire Troop).
Next, the child will decide the theme of the story.
Then, the child will decide where his or her story is going to take place (this will need to be somewhere relatively close to the child’s home because we will be photographing this special place and using the images for the book).
Near the end of the visit, we will talk with both child and parent(s) and ask them to discuss and complete these specific tasks before my next visit.
THE SECOND VISIT
The second visit gets really fun—quickly. We will meet in person for the first time (and probably eat some pizza while we're at it). Once we discuss the child’s previous creative tasks, we will hunker down and crack open my laptop and begin making their very own Jolly Trooper! We will discuss typefaces, proportion, color, personality and come up with a unique name for the bird!
We will see how the story is shaping up and introduce the concept of storyboarding. I will receive direction from him or her as to which original Troopers are involved in the story, how all the birds meet, determine the problems needing to be solved, etc. We will also storyboard the book by either a) the child sketching the ideas herself or b) her asking for my assistance to fulfill this task. This will be a very important meeting, as it helps us visually conceptualize placement of image, text and interaction of the characters.
THE THIRD VISIT
The third visit is special because we visit the special place the child has been envisioning the story will happen. With my assistance, the child will art-direct the shoot. Upon inspection of the images, He or she will then make more specific directions or approve of the visuals I have captured with my camera. This will take up the entire visit and loads me up with all the creative visuals I will need to help design their book.
THE FOURTH VISIT
This will possibly be the favorite visit. After all the hours of thinking and making and creating are done, we'll have an original, one-of-a-kind children's book ready to place in the hand of the child. We will have the child read it to his or her family and talk about all the things we learned during the process.
The parent(s) will also be given charge of the book's future. They are welcome to keep the few we give them at the completion of the project, to order several more for their family and friends, or to use it for fundraising purposes for their child's treatments. In any respect, the story conjured and created by this significant child will become an object of incredible value.
We just finished our first Red Fred Project book, "Climbing with Tigers" by our first Creative, Nathan Glad. He is from Utah, and we are very proud of him and the great story he created. We are also very impressed with the lessons he shared at the end of the book regarding what he's learned through having Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease). Below are a few sample spreads from his 8" x 8", hardbound, full-color, 58 page book.
Our next step is to take this project and this process to 49 other children across the country to create more original stories. Can you imagine the impact this collection of 50 books will have? Can you see them being used and loved in hospitals and treatment centers that house and help children in similar situations? We are sure this project can have a very positive impact on all parties involved (the Creative, family, audience and strangers like you) and we are excited to have your help in reaching these 49 other Creatives.
We had a great time imagining the rewards we were going to offer to all you great folks supporting this project! We decided to name each reward level after a member of The Jolly Troop.
SAMPLE WORK OF THE JOLLY TROOP
Whether it's organizing visits with the families or documenting each of these stories, we know it is going to take a dedicated and heart-feeling team to carry this project to full fruition. Here is our great team!
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk or challenge is realizing that some of these children may have terminal illnesses. There is a natural urgency to wanting to work with these children first and in a timely manner. Since the children will each have a different, critical illness (which is a significant factor in their day-to-day lives), we imagine that treatments, therapy sessions, check-ups or emergencies could happen at any point. Naturally, we know these check-ups and appointments with their doctors are priority. Our desire is to work out a schedule, in as far advance as possible, with the child and their family. In the case an emergency occurs or the child has to have his or her health monitored, we will work with each family on a case-by-case basis to know how long to stay or when to come back to visit.
We understand the actual book-making process, very well, so there shouldn't be any major hiccups there. We have a great relationship with the printer and we have great system set-up for producing each book.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)