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AU$ 17,511 pledged of AU$ 100,000 goal
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By Travis Saunders
AU$ 17,511 pledged of AU$ 100,000 goal
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About

 

School of the Road shares the story of an epic family cycling adventure where we taught our autistic son to believe in himself and opened the door to a world of connection, community and possibility.  

By supporting this campaign you’ll become part of a movement empowering people all over the world.

This kickstarter campaign will deliver:

  • An educational short film on embracing autism FREE for schools globally.

and 

  • complete the filming and production of a feature length School of the Road documentary ready for post production (details in 'What We Will Deliver' below). 

In 2016 our family (Travis, Fiona and seven year old Patch) flew from Australia to Seattle and spent three months cycling across the United States from Washington State to Washington DC. As parents we hoped to build Patch’s bank of positive experiences and show him anything is possible.    

We could not have anticipated the incredible connections we would make on the 5600 km (3480 mile) journey, and the power of creating a support crew for Patch.  

Patch was diagnosed with autism at 21 months of age and has received what many have described as the most dedicated therapy possible. This cycling adventure allowed us to focus on showing Patch what he can do and provided him with the self belief to succeed.  

Our focus on building his community has continued back in Australia and the next cycling adventure is booked; 900 kilometres of mud, dirt and new and unexpected experiences along South Australia’s famous off road Mawson Trail. Several autistic people and their families will be sharing part of the trip with us and be part of the documentary. We have a film crew ready to join us to capture how we plan, explore and live life on the trail.  

School of the Road is driven by three goals:  

1. Helping individuals on the autism spectrum achieve success and believe in themselves  

2. Opening the door to a world of connection, community and possibility for all on the Autism Spectrum  

3. Helping society realise the importance of presuming competence

Imagine being able to empower people all over the world. Now that's exciting. 

We filmed our three month cycling trip across the US in 2016 and have a professional crew ready to join us on the Mawson trail later this year. 

By supporting us to reach our kickstarter goal you'll enable us to:

  • Complete filming on two continents
  • Produce a 10 to 15 minute educational short film on embracing autism FREE for schools globally. This will feature USA and Australian footage and is aimed at starting a positive and practical classroom discussion on the value of connection, community and supporting each other. The filming and production of the short film will be completed by November 2017 and will be ready to download for FREE from the School of the Road website all over the world by May 2018.
  • Complete the production of the School of the Road feature length documentary. The USA filming and production was completed in October 2016. The Australian filming will be completed by November 2017 and a sizzle reel will be produced by March 2018. This will be used to seek post production grants worldwide. 

Cost breakdown 

$65,000 = filming completion for the feature length documentary, sizzle reel production AND filming, post production and delivery of the education short film. Filming will be undertaken in a block of 3 weeks on the trail and several days before and after the cycling journey. 

$35,000 = production costs of REWARDS and postage and handling worldwide fees plus 8% kickstarter fees plus 20c per donation. 

$100,000 = Total costs

If we reach our stretch target of $350,000 we will complete the post production of the School of the Road feature length documentary by December 2018. The documentary is then ready to be screened around the world.  

If we exceed our stretch target any additional money will be used to increase the value and quality of editing and post production and help market the School of the Road documentary. We will strive to show this documentary around the world to change how people view autism and realise the importance of connection and community. We have an impact producer ready to join our team to help us maximise the reach of this social change movement.   

Importantly, we will be consulting with autistic people as an integral part of the production process in addition to screening content prior to release. We can’t wait to get started and with your help we can make it happen.

 

Register to be part of our global Autism Support Crew and create meaningful social change. Click here

Watch and share the School of the Road Kickstarter documentary trailer Help us achieve the greatest social impact by connecting more people around the world. Please share this page with your friends and family and urge them to get behind the School of the Road. 

Even better – why not host an event with your friends, workplace or school and show them the documentary trailer and share this campaign. This will spread the message even further and help achieve our goals. 

Make a donation Help us make the School of the Road documentary and play a role in empowering people all over the world to embrace autism.

Like us on facebook Stay up to date with our community and how the campaign is progressing. We'd love to hear how you're getting involved. Click Here

We have a team of filmmakers, producers, cinematographers and sound experts ready to go to complete filming and get editing. We couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to a passionate group of people who believe in the School of the Road goals and just want to make this project happen.

Travis is unstoppable in his determination and drive to empower people all over the world in embracing autism. In 2013, Travis established an online fundraising platform called Run4Autism that enabled people to raise more than 150 thousand dollars for 11 autism organisations in Australia. During that year he ran 12 marathons in 12 months including more than 100 miles in a 24 hour event.  

Travis has taught all over the world including in Singapore, England, Australia and New Zealand and has an established career in welfare and behaviour management in schools. He has been a finalist for Northern Territory teacher of the year. In recent years Travis has worked one on one with his son and other young autistic students. He was a finalist in the South Australian achievement awards in the carers category in 2013.  

He is a respected blogger through the School of the Road facebook site and has delivered passionate speeches about changing the narrative around autism to large audiences in Australia and the USA.  

Fiona is a born storyteller and has worked in the media across Australia and overseas for more than 20 years. Fiona has won awards for her work, behind and in front of the microphone, including the NT Media Law award for coverage of the Falconio Trial (providing close to 400 radio interviews around the world) and recognition for outstanding online coverage of the Apology to the Stolen Generations. For the past five years Fiona has coached and trained broadcasters and content makers to produce quality content for their audience.  

Patch is a super eight year old who loves music, movement, being outdoors and going on adventures. His energy and ability to connect with people is infectious. Patch is working hard to learn a number of different ways to communicate including through spelling and typing. In 2016 he cycled toured 5600 kms across America with his mum and dad and recently completed a 56 km walk in South Australia (Yurrebilla trail) in sections over 3 months. 

 

Sam Austin’s passion for documentary filmmaking spawned from meeting an array of wild and extraordinary people along his journeys. He wanted to find a way to share and explore these stories. Sam graduated with a degree in Film Production from SAE Institute, Melbourne (2015), and set up a small production company, Opal View Productions. Since 2012 he’s been based in Melbourne, developing his craft but has recently returned to Adelaide where he can dedicate himself to telling stories of substance. Having produced, directed, shot and edited a diverse range of films destined for the web, he has big ambitions for the big screen.

Jeff Hann is a young and adventurous documentary filmmaker whose drive for travel and storytelling has taken him all around the world. Jeff''s first feature-length independent documentary, The Coffee Man Film, was released in 2016 and screened in 46 countries around the world in over 200 theatres. It screened at multiple film festivals, winning awards around the world and is currently screening on Qantas and Emirates flights internationally.

Leanne is an enthusiastic and motivated location sound recordist experienced and working in the fields of animation, film and web series. Leanne is an SAE graduate who has completed a Bachelor of Audio Production in 2015; during this period she has formed a professional and ongoing association with the Victoria College of the Arts by continuing to work alongside undergraduates imparting her knowledge of sound. To put it quite simply, she loves her job!

Michael Sullivan is an emerging Adelaide based freelance producer/writer, with a strong passion for podcasting, documentary and rural stories. Michael is co-creator of Adelaide based freelance media production business ‘Vince Vision’ and has significant production experience having worked on productions with Capital Waste Pictures, The Media Resource Centre, GovHACK and the SA Sports Show. Michael will graduate this year with a Bachelor of Media Arts Majoring in Film and TV Sub Majoring in Digital Media and has completed an internship at the Media Resource Centre.

Helen Gaynor has over 25 years experience as an award winning independent documentary filmmaker. She has produced work for most of Australia's leading production companies including December Media, 360 Degree Films, Essential Media, Beyond International, Renegade Films, Roar Films, Wild Bear, Seven Factual and ABC TV. Helen commenced her directing career in drama. She has directed some of Australia’s best-known television series including Neighbours and Home and Away as well as high-end productions such as Big Sky and MDA. Her most recent feature length documentary, The First Fagin, was commissioned by Arte/ZDF and the Melbourne International Film Festival.

  • Our families and friends who support and encourage Patch to continue to grow, learn and thrive.
  • Adelaide’s autism community who have been there every step of our journey.
  • Those of you who volunteered your time to be in the crowd scene in the campaign trailer, and David and Narelle from Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary for eagerly agreeing to allow us to film on their property.
  • Matt Fitzgerald from Personal Challenge Fitness and his supporters for fundraising during the 2016 Coast to Kosciusko (240 km) trail run. Your generous fundraising enabled us to pay to make the trailer to launch this kickstarter campaign. 
  • The incredible travellers, families and individuals we met cycling across the United States who made us feel so welcome and loved.
  • The North Dakota Autism Center for believing in us and continuing to support our family even though we live on other the other side of the world. 
  • To the many supporters that believed in our goals. We couldn't have achieved success without you. Your support is acknowledged on the School of the Road website. 
  • Sam Austin and Jeff Hann for joining our autism support crew and creating a wonderful kickstarter trailer to build a movement that embraces autism, creates a positive social impact and empowers people all over the world. We can't thank you enough.  

Kickstarter is a funding platform making creative projects possible with direct support. When you back our project, you’re saying that you want this short School of the Road film, and feature length documentary to be made.  

Here’s how it works: We set a funding goal and supporters make pledges. If we reach our goal, your pledge will be processed by Kickstarter, and we can complete filming and start editing. If we don’t reach our goal, supporters will not be charged for their pledge. 

It’s all or nothing. For example our target is $100,000, if we reach $80,000 we get nothing. We must reach the $100,000 target to make the School of the Road dream a reality. We are extremely grateful for all contributions, large or small. 

 

Risks and challenges

We’ve done a huge amount of planning, research and preparation ahead of launching this campaign because we are so passionate about completing the School of the Road documentary.

We have been realistic about timelines in delivering rewards and the finished products as we would rather be ahead of schedule than behind.

The production team assembled to complete filming and produce the short educational film is skilled, experienced and committed to this project. They all believe in the School of the Road goals and achieving change.

We are also ready to employ qualified, experienced and passionate consultants to advise us and assist in completing the feature length documentary if our stretch goal is successful to ensure it reaches as wide an audience as possible. They are aware of our project and excited about the possibility of coming on board.

Three months of filming has already been undertaken to contribute towards the School of the Road education short film and documentary. The pre-production for both films has already been completed. If you fund our kickstarter campaign we are ready to commence production on the Mawson Trail.

The budget and schedule we have outlined is achievable and realistic and this mitigates a lot of risk often associated with film projects at this early stage.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

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    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $8

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    Autism Support Crew Wristband

    "AUTISM SUPPORT CREW" wristband – a fun and vibrant way to show your commitment to amazing individuals and families around the world

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    Digital Download

    Receive a digital download of behind the scenes footage, memorable moments on the road and interviews with the film cast and crew. See how we produce an adventure
    documentary about autism.

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    Pledge AU$ 35 or more About $28

    School of the Road Headwear

    A multi-purpose School of the Road headband (use it as a bandana, scarf, hat, sun protector, sweat band) to make sure you look great when you say yes to an adventure in the great outdoors.

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    Postcard from the "Outback"

    A personalised postcard created while filming the School of the Road documentary in the middle of nowhere (the Australian Outback) sent direct to your letterbox. We’ll make sure there’s a bit of red dirt on the card so you feel like you were there with us.

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    T- Shirt

    A quality School of the Road T-shirt that will inspire you to travel the world. Everyone will ask you where they can get their own.

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    Pledge AU$ 100 or more About $79

    Digital download: early release

    Become one of the first schools in the world to premiere our educational short film on embracing autism. We'll send you the link before it's accessible to the public worldwide. You and your school will be leaders in creating global change.

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    Pledge AU$ 200 or more About $159

    Be part of history

    Have your name appear in the credits of the educational short film on embracing autism. This film will be available in schools worldwide and you'll be seen as a leader in creating global change. You will also receive a digital download of the educational short film.

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    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $397

    Website Supporter page

    Stamp your mark on the School of the Road film website. Get your name or company name/ logo on the website supporters page. We are limiting the number of pledges so your name will stand out as part of our autism support crew.

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    Pledge AU$ 1,000 or more About $793

    Skype with School of the Road

    Let’s chat on Skype. You and up to ten mates can book in a half hour call with Travis and Fiona to talk about whatever you want to, whether it’s getting motivated, goal setting, autism, cycling, adventure travel or changing the narrative around disability. If you want to talk filmmaking we'll get our Director Sam Austin on the call. We’d love to help you.

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    Pledge AU$ 8,000 or more About $6,344

    Motivational Speakers

    Book Travis and Fiona for a motivational event. Your audience will see behind the scenes footage of the making of the School of the Road documentary and hear gripping and emotional stories about their trip across the USA and Australian Outback by bicycle with their incredible autistic son. They both love to talk and have accomplished careers motivating and talking to groups of people around the world. They are lots of fun and will inspire your audience to achieve their goals and challenge their thinking of what's possible. (Flights + Accommodation additional cost)

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    Pledge AU$ 10,000 or more About $7,930

    Philanthropist

    You love what we are doing and trying to achieve and you want the world to embrace autism.

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Funding period

- (35 days)