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$1,203 pledged of $10,000 goal
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By Jens Hewerer
$1,203 pledged of $10,000 goal
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About this project

"Imagination is More Important than Knowledge!" Albert Einstein

In Germany I grew up with audio dramas for children.  I loved them!

Audio dramas are today’s radio dramas. They are simply not broadcast on radio but available as a download or on CD.

Contrary to an audiobook, with an audio drama each character has his own voice actor. There are dialogues, sound effects and music.

With Billy Brown, the big, talking, friendly bear and his best friend, little Emma, I'm trying to bring this same excitement and imagination to American children!

With your support we want to produce another episode of Billy Brown’s audio adventures. The script is in development right now. Billy and Emma have already had some adventures: Billy Brown And The Mystery Package, Billy Brown Goes Hiking and Billy Brown And The Frog Tunnel. Billy’s and Emma’s adventures are geared towards three to seven year olds and are 30 to 45 minutes long. But they have fans even older.

Kickstarter, How It Works

There is a funding goal and a deadline. If you like our project, you can pledge money to make it happen but you won’t be charged right away. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing — our project must reach its funding goal at its deadline to receive any money. If we don't, you will simply not be charged and all will be sad. If we do, we will all be happy and excited because we will have enough money to produce another Billy Brown audio adventure and send you your reward!

- Listening, Imagining, Learning -

Audio dramas are exciting for children because they jumpstart their imagination. Some of them even said that they prefer audio dramas to TV because the pictures are better. Better than TV: Can parents ask for more?

But not only that: To audio dramas children can listen while they play, paint or clean up their room. They can listen to them over and over again. They learn the lines. It makes them feel safe and confident.

Bedtime? Let them listen as long as they want. Lights out, audio drama on, child asleep! I know because that’s how my mom tricked me.

And during car rides, audio dramas can be the entertainment shared by the whole family while you are still alert to your environment. Car Ride + Audio Drama = Happy Family!

Please, listen to a sample:

Emma is about 10 years old, but what does she look like? Has she red, blond or black hair? What is the color of her skin? I don’t know, ask your little listeners! 

How Audio Dramas Help Kids Imagine and Learn

7 Reasons for Children

  • My audio adventures bring the stories to life. I love the funny voices and sound effects and I can sing along with Billy's song.
  • To audio dramas, I listen while I play, paint and look up at the evening stars. 
  • To my audio adventures, I can listen with my eyes closed and imagine the world the way I want it. 
  • When I listen to my audio dramas on my CD player, I never feel alone. My heroes are with me whenever I want!
  • With an audio drama, boring car rides fly by – sometimes too fast though.
  • To my favorite audio adventure, I listen so often that I know all the lines. And I am good at it!
  • At bedtime, I am allowed to listen in the dark as long as I want, but I seem never to be able to finish one of my audio adventures!

7 Reasons for Parents

  • Audio dramas allow children to explore the world with their imagination. They inspire creativity and fantasy as children use their imagination to picture the stories they are hearing. 
  • Audio dramas teach children valuable listening skills. They help children learn to behave respectfully. Listening means to hear and value each other's words. 
  • Audio dramas' dialogues improve vocabulary and build language skills.
  • Audio dramas boost concentration and memory as kids listen over and over again. It makes them feel safe and confident.
  • Audio dramas develop children's media competence. A CD player or iPod can be a child's first media outlet to be used freely without parental oversight.
  • During a car ride, audio dramas are entertainment that can be shared by the whole family, while still being alert and observant of the world outside.
  • Audio dramas are a perfect introduction to the other great world of imagination: Reading – without being a replacement of books.

Bonus Tip: Audio dramas are perfect for relaxing bedtime routines – Lights out, audio drama on, child asleep!

The Buzz

"... Selfishly, I love Billy Brown because he, unlike anything else, has managed to keep Annabella in her room at bedtime. She's had trouble falling asleep since we transitioned to a bed almost three years ago. But we put on a little Billy Brown and she's in there for good ..."  Jumping Monkeys

"Giddio has won numerous awards for these Billy Brown audio adventures, and I can see why. We have a few books on tape for the kids, and this is much better." Sagan's Universe

"... the response from both my kids (7 and almost 4) has been immediate and laser-focused: PLAY BILLY BROWN! at all hours ... my kids seem to enjoy them more (and notice more detail) with each retelling. They like to listen while drawing or playing with clay. Ideal for road trips or plane flights ..."  Parent Hacks

... for more buzz, please visit Billy Brown's home page.

International: English As A 2nd Language

We will also make the scripts of all Billy Brown's audio adventures available to read along. English learners can check for certain words, learn their spelling and look up their translation. The dialogues inherent in audio dramas are perfect to learn English.

Our Team

Billy Brown is produced by an experienced team. 

Billy Brown: Phillip Levi Kayalo

Emma: Mary Murphy

Mary is an actress/voice-over artist living in Brooklyn, NY. Currently she can be heard voicing the role of Dashi on Disney's "Octonauts," voicing multiple roles on PBS Kid's "Past/Present" and narrating the audio book "Love & Smoke." A few of her other voice acting credits include "My Little Pony," "Pokemon," "Pirates of the Flying Fortress," and the award-winning animated short "Together." Recently she played a supporting role in the film "Man With A Gun," (Outbreak Productions), a supporting role in the web series "Moving Up The Mountain," (FenceSitter Films) a supporting role in the feature "On Vacation," and a supporting role in the web series "Going Gold."

Narrator: Marlene O’Haire

Script/Direction: Sharyn Rothstein

Illustrations: James L. Barry

James L. Barry has been involved with a variety of projects while working as an illustrator. Currently, James is staff artist for New York's Next Magazine and works in advertising drawing storyboards. He has illustrated nine books in the best selling Warriors manga series by Erin Hunter and exhibited in New York's Museum of Comic and Cartooning Art. In addition to developing his own projects, James is a frequent contributor to the Rabid Rabbit Comic Anthology, the Billy Brown audio series, and teaches cartooning/digital illustration.

Billy Brown theme song written by Sean Michael Flowers and performed by Brandon Cutrell ...

... biographies will be added and a more detailed introduction of our team members will be part of our projects updates!

Hoerspiele in Germany

In German audio dramas are called “Hoerspiele”. They have been a very successful staple of children’s since the ’70s. The first generation is called “Kassetten-KInder”. And even today’s children – despite the ubiquity of all kinds of media – are avid fans of audio dramas. But please, pledge to support Billy Brown and allow me to elaborate in one of our project updates!

Billy Brown’s History

Billy Brown’s audio adventures started a few years ago. They have won great praise, even awards and most important: Fans! Children love Billy Brown, Emma and their audio adventures. And I truly believe in audio dramas for kids. However, for a while Billy Brown went into hibernation.

But now a few years have passed, the advent of social media and crowdfunding as a great new way to move forward with the series, letting us communicate directly with our audience and their parents. This is why Billy Brown’s audio adventures is slowly but steadily being relaunched, starting with this Kickstarter campaign. 

And I am not only asking for your pledges of money. I am asking you to share this exciting entertainment option for children. I am asking for your advice and tips, any you have to make Billy Brown’s audio adventures a staple in every child's life. So that this Kickstarter campaign will push Billy Brown’s in the right direction to find his tipping point!
 

Money and Cost

The money will go towards renting the recording studio. I like to record these sessions as a team, so that they all have chance to really act with their characters. Paying for the script. Paying the director and the actors for the recording session. The illustrations for the cover, the puzzle and poster. The recording engineer. After the recording, the audio adventures needs post-production to add sound effects, etc. Finally, we have to print physical CDs. Myself, I will be taken out of this equation.

Rewards

Deciding for a reward can be fairly simple: Do you want only the new episode or all existing ones so far? Do you want them as CD or digital downloads? U.S. residents, do you want a poster or a puzzle additionally? 

Please, see a picture of our CDs so far below! The poster will be of Billy Brown himself. The puzzle will be of the new CD cover. As soon as we reach our goal, I will ask James, our illustrator, to go ahead and then share his progress in updates.

Billy's Adventures So Far!
Billy's Adventures So Far!

Posters and puzzle will be available within the U.S. only, because of third party providers and shipping.

CD are still available? Yes, we would like to learn whether – in this age of digital downloads – families are still interested in CDs for their children. 

Correction: In the $100 reward, there is a typo. This reward includes all CD plus puzzle, not the poster. Sorry, but I can't correct it in the description anymore.

Risks and challenges

Because we have done this before very professionally, I don’t really see any risks or challenges other than delays due to scheduling conflicts within the team.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Follow our progress via our updates and receive a "Thank You" audio postcard after the recording of Billy Brown's new audio adventure.

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    Pledge $8 or more About $8

    Receive a digital download of Billy Brown's new audio adventure.

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    4 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Get a CD of Billy Brown's new audio adventure in your mail.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Receive a digital download of Billy Brown's new audio adventure as well as his three existing adventures. The entire series so far, four audio dramas with Billy Brown in all!

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    3 backers
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Get a CD of Billy Brown's new audio adventure in your mail as well as his three existing adventures. The entire series so far, four audio dramas with Billy Brown in all!

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    Limited 3 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Get a poster of Billy Brown for your kids' room and receive a digital download of Billy Brown's new audio adventure as well as his three existing adventures. Poster and the entire series so far, four audio dramas with Billy Brown in all!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Get a poster of Billy Brown for your kids' room and get a CD of Billy Brown's new audio adventure in your mail as well as his three existing adventures. Poster and the entire series so far, four audio dramas with Billy Brown in all!

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    Ships to Only United States
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Get a puzzle of Billy Brown for your kids to play with while they listen. And get a CD of Billy Brown's new audio adventure in your mail as well as his three existing adventures. Poster and the entire series so far, four audio dramas with Billy Brown in all!

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Get the poster and the puzzle of Billy Brown and get a CD of Billy Brown's new audio adventure in your mail as well as his three existing adventures. Poster and the entire series so far, four audio dramas with Billy Brown in all!

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Get a personalized 30 sec audio message from Billy Brown and his best friend Emma for your kids as a download! Get the poster and the puzzle of Billy Brown and get a CD of Billy Brown's new audio adventure in your mail as well as his three existing adventures, plus all as downloads. Poster and the entire series so far, four audio dramas with Billy Brown in all!

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Funding period

- (30 days)