Cosmo Swazzle, an interactive film app with John Tartaglia!
Cosmo Swazzle, an interactive film app with John Tartaglia!
Cosmo Swazzle & the Perfect Hat is an innovative animated kids' app! With music & puppetry, the story follows choices YOU make!
Cosmo Swazzle & the Perfect Hat is an innovative animated kids' app! With music & puppetry, the story follows choices YOU make! Read more
Check the "Updates" above for the latest news about this project!
There's no shortage of apps for kids. But with a few notable exceptions, most kids' apps are mindless time-fillers, designed simply to keep children distracted while their parents are busy. With Cosmo Swazzle and the Perfect Hat, we're creating an innovative, unique, intelligent, and FUN experience for children — and we'd appreciate your support!
The concept of nonlinear storytelling dates back at least to the early 1940s. Nonlinear fiction became hugely popular in the 1980s, with hundreds of millions of books sold. But most of these books tended to be...well, kind of silly, often showing little regard for logic or narrative structure. And a printed book is an inherently clumsy device for interactive storytelling.
Cosmo Swazzle and the Perfect Hat takes the concept and brings it into the 21st century as a tightly-scripted interactive animated film, delivered as an app, for touchscreens. But as with any new idea, it's challenging to get people to share and support your vision. So we need your help to get things rolling!
We've already completed the animation for the first scene; here it is!
Which pair of socks should Cosmo wear? It seems like a simple decision...but the pair you choose for Cosmo alters the course of his day completely!
As the story progresses, you have more opportunities to make seemingly mundane decisions for Cosmo, each of which sends him off in an entirely different direction. Will Cosmo consort with pirates...or find himself riding a bucking bronco? Will he visit an enchanted castle...or take a rocket trip to the moon? It all depends on what you choose!
No matter the adventure, Cosmo always finds the Perfect Hat — but there are eight different “perfect” hats, with eight different endings! And while Cosmo Swazzle is by and large an animated film, in each ending you'll see Cosmo's puppet Gus as an actual hand puppet, shot on video, performing one of eight different songs!
We've made sure that kids will want to keep going back through Cosmo Swazzle again and again, until they've seen all eight endings. On a "The End" screen, there's a hat rack with eight pegs that fill up as you find the different hats. Also, characters that Cosmo meets reappear throughout, so someone you see in the background of one storyline might be a major player in another.
FUN FACT: Cosmo and his puppet Gus's names are a tribute to "Captain Kangaroo" puppeteer Cosmo "Gus" Allegretti, who died last year. And a "swazzle" is a little kazoo-like device that Punch and Judy puppeteers hold inside their mouths to give Punch his distinctive buzzing voice. They say you aren't a real Punch and Judy "pro" until you've swallowed a swazzle!
John Tartaglia "is" Cosmo Swazzle!
We are thrilled that John Tartaglia is voicing Cosmo, and doing the live puppeteering of Cosmo's puppet Gus! John is an Emmy Award, Tony Award, and Drama Desk Award nominated actor, puppeteer, and producer known to millions of fans around the world as "Johnny" from Disney's hit television series Johnny and the Sprites, which he created and produced. He has been working professionally as a puppeteer since he was just 16 years old when he joined Sesame Street (the youngest puppeteer in the show’s history). In his memorable Broadway debut, John became a force in the theater world by originating the roles of "Princeton" and "Rod" in his Tony-nominated performance in Avenue Q. His other Broadway credits include originating the role of "Pinocchio" in Shrek The Musical, and playing "Lumiere" in Beauty and the Beast. John is now active as a director in New York, and has produced several projects through his company Gables Grove Productions, Inc. John created, produced, wrote, and voiced five of the lead characters in the Off-Broadway sensation John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean which went on from New York City to tour nationally and internationally, including more than 40 U.S. cities, Guatemala, and Singapore.
The Creative Team
GALEN FOTT is the writer, director, and animator of Cosmo Swazzle. An award-winning filmmaker, Galen has completed 12 animated films to date for the venerated Weston Woods Studios, now a division of Scholastic. For these films, he directed the vocal performances of Joanne Woodward, Stanley Tucci, Steve Buscemi, Sean Hayes, and Paul Giamatti. Galen’s work has screened at the Guggenheim, Sydney Opera House, National Gallery of Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Hiroshima and Anima Mundi animation festivals, and in the major film festivals of San Francisco (three-time Golden Gate nominee) and London. He has also created animation for Sesame Workshop, Marvel Comics, and country star Trace Adkins. Galen is also an accomplished actor, singer, and puppeteer, having performed these services for The Walt Disney Company and The Jim Henson Company. A former contributing editor to PCMag and Macworld reviewer, he has co-authored eight books on digital imaging. Galen lives in Nashville with his wife Laura, son Burton, and their 2 dogs, 2 goats, 6 cats, and 6 chickens.
DAVID VORDTRIEDE is the designer and illustrator of the world of Cosmo Swazzle. David’s early diet of Looney Tunes, Muppets, and Saturday morning cartoons fueled an interest in illustration, painting and sculpting that has made him one of the top illustrator/designers in the St. Louis area. His award-winning talents in print and web design have benefitted such companies as Microsoft, AT&T, BP, Redbox, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, St. Louis Public Radio, the National Pork Board, and Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. For EFG Publishing Inc., David illustrated the book Boredom Blasters. But perhaps his proudest design accomplishment to date is his Muppabet. Begun as a pet project celebrating the Muppets, the alphabet poster is now an officially licensed product of The Walt Disney Company. David lives in St. Louis with his wife Jenny and their triplets Vincent, Evelyn, and Marian.
SCOTTY HUFF is the composer for Cosmo Swazzle. A Maine native, Scotty graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelors of Music in Music Education. His college years weren't simply filled with study; he was often contracted to support acts like Natalie Cole and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. After moving to Nashville, Scotty immediately established himself as a trumpet player and began working with legends Boots Randolph and Danny Davis. Before long he was hired by The Mavericks to lead their horn section on a three-year world tour. Following that, Scotty was hired by Keith Urban to play rhythm guitar and sing backing vocals. He was an integral part of Keith's touring band through his first three solo records. He next helped jumpstart the careers of many artists in their radio promotion tours, working as vocalist, guitarist, and music director. Scotty has now given up full-time touring to focus on his film scoring and production talents, and also to be home to raise his two beautiful children alongside his loving wife.
Risks and challenges
There's no question that creating an hour of animation is going to take time. We're estimating a release for "Cosmo Swazzle and the Perfect Hat" in early 2015.
The only piece of the puzzle we don't have firmly locked into place is the programming, although we've made a few inquiries. It's clear that the programming of the "Cosmo Swazzle" app won't be overly-complicated, and we're confident we can get it done within budget.
We're initially targeting just iPad, but of course we want "Cosmo Swazzle" to be available soon for Android, and any other interactive screen imaginable! Additional funds we get beyond our target goal will go towards expanding our reach to other platforms.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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