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Reality TV, celebrity worship... and a six-foot tall talking rabbit. He's here, he's a hare - get used to him!

Did you ever have a story you had to tell? Something that got into your head and refused to let go?

The Incredible Hare is mine. The story of Harold Hopper and his furry alter-ego Harry popped into my head, fully formed a few years ago when a poster on a subway station wall caught my eye:

The poster that inspired it all (© AVCO Embassy Pictures Corp.)
The poster that inspired it all (© AVCO Embassy Pictures Corp.)

The Incredible Hulk has always been one of my favorite Marvel characters; when I looked at the poster my first thought was “why not The Incredible Hare?”... My second thought was “why not? Why not The Incredible Hare?”

Harry and friends were born that instant: a shy teen-aged lab assistant… a puzzling pet rabbit... an experiment gone wrong… a long-eared secret identity…a clueless authority figure and a kid sister ready for anything; it was if they had existed all along.

I originally imagined The Incredible Hare as an old-school, Saturday morning-style kids TV show. I had an artist create storyboards of the show’s opening and brought them life as an animatic:

I’ve worked in kids’ TV on shows like Pee-wee’s Playhouse and The Great Space Coaster, scripted the Nickelodeon series Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, written about dozens of animated films and interviewed their creators. My background helped me get my foot in the door and pitch The Incredible Hare to TV executives – who greeted Harry with an overwhelming display of indifference.

Time for Plan B: an origin story, a kids’ novel explaining why Harold put on that helmet to begin with: a series of events that began with the nighttime arrival of a mysterious rabbit at his front door – and led to his unfortunate experiment:

Harold’s first, unexpected transformation into Harry brings him to the attention of an unscrupulous TV personality - the host of the reality series America's Most Dangerous Amateur Stunts, who’s determined to exploit Harry for all he’s worth – but the Incredible Hare has a few ideas of his own:

An interesting thing happened as I began writing the book: Harold, Harry, Cindy… all my characters took on lives of their own, became actual people instead of caricatures. They suddenly sported genuine personalities, detailed backstories and interior lives – none of which I’d originally intended:

Even though its primary audience is 10-14 year-olds, I’ve written The Incredible Hare for all of us – people who enjoy a funny, fast-paced read, and are ready for a satire of our media-saturated society where other peoples’ private lives have become public entertainment. Harry’s here to remind us the best show of all is the one you star in, the one you share with friends and family – your own life.

Part One of The Incredible Hare  is already online at ihare.com Every few days, until my Kickstarter campaign reaches its end, I’ll post another chapter or two. Give it a read and see what you think.

With your help I’ll be able to self-publish The Incredible Hare as both an eBook and print-on-demand paperback. Your friends – with or without kids – might enjoy meeting Harry; feel free to let them know about my Kickstarter campaign so they can say hi to the Hare first-hand...

***

About Those “Your Name Here” Rewards…
Would you like to become part of Harry’s story? I’m offering naming rights to an assortment of Incredible Hare characters, from a single walk-on to the novel’s villain, a venal TV reality show host. Folks who claim these rewards will receive a special ‘thank you’ acknowledgment in the book’s contributor list. (If you’re claiming a “Your Name Here” reward for someone other than yourself, you'll need to provide a signed authorization from that person allowing me to use their name.) As promised, here’s more information about who you can become among 'The Incredible Hare’s cast of characters:

Reward #1 = $30 each (Background characters, first name only):
• Reality TV show cameraman (male, currently ‘Fred’), 7 mentions in two chapters;
• School bully’s pal (male, currently ‘Phil’), 5 mentions in one chapter.

Reward #2 = $45 (Background character, first name only):
TV news cameraman (male, currently ‘Pete’), 13 mentions in two chapters.

Reward #3 = $60 (Background character, first and last names):
TV news reporter (female but can be either gender, currently ‘Jenna Chen’), 2 mentions in two chapters; the first to call the Incredible Hare ‘Harry.’

Reward #4 = $75 (Background character, first name only):
Deceased wife (currently ‘Ellie’) of the reality TV show’s producer. She’s mentioned 6 times in three chapters. She is someone the producer misses very much and her absence weighs heavily on his mind.

Reward #5 = $150 (Background character, first name only):
Veterinarian (male, currently ‘Stanley’), mentioned 9 times in one chapter. He has a great deal of dialog, a strong personality and interacts directly with Harold and his rabbit ‘Fluffernutter.’ (This reward includes the KEEP CALM t-shirt.)

Reward #6 = $250 (Supporting character, first and last names):
The school bully (male, currently “Ronnie Foster”) appears in five chapters throughout the book and is mentioned by name 41 times. He has a fair amount of dialog and interacts directly with Harry and his kid sister Cindy. (This reward includes the KEEP CALM t-shirt.)

Reward #7 = $250 (Supporting character, first and last names):
The Mayor (male, currently “William ‘Big Bill’ McChesney”) appears in three chapters and named 23 times. He has a vivid personality, a good amount of dialog and interacts directly with Professor Burnside. (This reward includes the KEEP CALM t-shirt.)

Reward #9 = $500 (Supporting character, first name only):
The school bus driver (female, currently “Flora”) appears throughout the book and is mentioned by name 36 times. She is a  middle-aged woman and interacts repeatedly with Harry and his sister Cindy. (This reward includes the KEEP CALM t-shirt.)

Reward #10 = $1,200 (Featured character, first and last names):
Cindy’s best friend (male, currently “Chaz Willets”), a featured character, mentioned by name 116 times and appears throughout the book. (This and the following two rewards include the "Super Combo Pack" of all the previous awards!)

Reward #11 = $1,500 (Central character, first and last names):
The reality TV show producer (middle-aged male, currently “Charles ‘Chris’ Christopher); a central character mentioned by name 203 times and appears throughout the book. Dominated by the show’s amoral host, Harry helps him change his life for the better. (Again, this reward includes the "Super Combo Pack.")

Reward #12 = $2,000 (Central character, first and last names):
The villain (male, currently “Nicky Nesbitt”); host of the reality TV show America’s Most Dangerous Amateur Stunts, intent on exploiting – or destroying Harry’s reputation; mentioned by name 416 times and as the villain should, appears throughout the book. (Again, this reward includes the "Super Combo Pack.")

If you’re considering claiming one of these rewards and would like to read portions of the manuscript featuring the character you’re interested in please contact me and I’ll be glad to share them with you.

Stretch Goals

If I’m lucky enough to pass my goal, anything extra will be put to good use promoting and/or advertising Hare to teachers and librarians via trade publications and websites targeted to them, advertising in the program books of all major sci-fi and animation conventions, and travelling to and speaking at select conventions.

Afterword: Why I’m on Kickstarter and not Indiegogo

Indiegogo lets you keep every dollar you raise, no matter how far you fall below your goal. On Kickstarter your donation is on hold until and unless I reach my funding goal; if not, your donation is cancelled and I don’t get a dime. I don’t want to seek initial funding on Indiegogo, wind up short and disappoint people who trusted me and receive nothing in return. If I’m asking you to risk your money, it’s only fair that I risk not receiving it.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

"What could possibly go worng?"

- I don't meet my fundrasing goal:
That's it, game over... but I've spent a lot of time estimating a budget, coming up with an amount I think is achievable *and* sufficient to get the job done.

- I reach my Kickstarter goal - but my project runs over budget:
I don't see that taking place, but if it does I'll cover the difference personally or seek family support.

- Production delays:
Stuff happens. I'll do my best to seek out reliable vendors and collaborators, but if there are screw-ups I'll keep my donors fully up to date and ask for your patience and understanding.

- Commercial failure.
Like I said, stuff happens - but there's no guarantee ANY creative project will achieve commercial success or popular acceptance. (Just ask the creators of "John Carter," "Green Lantern" or any number of other Hollywood flops.) Besides, I'm only asking you to help fund self-publication of "The Incredible Hare;" after that it's up to me to make sure as many people as possible learn about Harry. (But I'll certainly appreciate it if you let your friends know about this cool book you helped bring to life!)

FAQ

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    “Thanks!” souvenir E-card signed by Harry, the Incredible Hare.

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    Front-of-the-line receipt of "The Incredible Hare" eBook in the format of your choice, plus souvenir E-card.

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    Six-page color storyboard of "The Incredible Hare" TV series title sequence plus cover page on heavyweight stock, signed by Harry and Joe, plus souvenir postcard.

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    COMBO PACK #1: "The Incredible Hare" eBook and the TV series title sequence storyboards, plus souvenir postcard.

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    The official Incredible Hare KEEP CALM AND CARROT ON t-shirt plus souvenir postcard.(T-shirt available in M-L-XL-2XL)

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    Softcover print copy of "The Incredible Hare" novel signed by Harry and Joe, plus souvenir postcard.

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    COMBO PACK #2: The Incredible Hare eBook, KEEP CALM t-shirt AND the TV series title sequence storyboard, plus souvenir postcard.

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #1: One of the novel's minor male characters renamed for you, a friend or relative (first name only) with a special ‘thank you’ in the end-of-the-book contributor list, plus souvenir E-card. More details about this and the following "Your Name Here" rewards can be found in the project description to the left.

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    COMBO PACK #3: An original sketch of you and Harry on heavy card stock signed by Harry and Joe AND the TV series title sequence storyboards, plus souvenir postcard.

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    NYC Indian buffet lunch hosted by Joe, your own copy of "The Incredible Hare" eBook, plus souvenir postcard. (Transportation not included.)

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    Custom graphic design project, plus souvenir E-card. I’ll design and create a single logo, illustration, photograph revision or other Photoshop-based project to your specifications, either from scratch or using your supplied materials. (No adult projects.) Examples of my Photoshop work can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/bq8mqp9

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #4: Female supporting character (first name only) named for you, a friend or relative, with a special ‘thank you’ in the contributor list, plus souvenir E-card. Details in the project description to the left.

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    Original writing project, plus souvenir E-card. I’ll write a non-fiction article, short story, advertising or promotional copy etc. (maximum 1500 words) using information or a plot outline supplied by you. (No school-assigned projects.) Samples of my editorial work can be viewed at http://joestrike.com/words.html

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    A copy of "The Incredible Hare" TV series ‘bible’ signed by Harry and me, plus souvenir postcard. The 'bible' is a complete description of the series that might have been (and may still someday come to be). The extensively illustrated, full color bible includes the program opening storyboards, profiles of the key characters, Harry concept art, casting suggestions, three episode outlines and 20+ ‘log line’ episode mini-descriptions. The bible went through several revisions as my concept of the show evolved from live action to computer animation, all of which are included in this version.

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #5/Combo Pack #5: Male supporting character (first name only) named for you, a friend or relative with a special ‘thank you’ in the contributor list, "The Incredible Hare" eBook and t-shirt plus souvenir postcard. Details in the project description to the left.

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #6/Combo Pack #6: Male supporting character renamed for you, a friend or a relative (first and last names) with a special ‘thank you’ in the contributor list, "The Incredible Hare" eBook and t-shirt plus souvenir postcard. Details in the project description to the left.

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #7/Combo Pack #7: Male supporting character renamed for you, a friend or a relative (first and last names) with a special ‘thank you’ in the contributor list, "The Incredible Hare" eBook and t-shirt plus souvenir postcard. Details in the project description to the left.

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #8/Combo Pack #8: Female supporting character renamed for you, a friend or a relative (first and last names) with a special ‘thank you’ in the contributor list, "The Incredible Hare" eBook and t-shirt plus souvenir postcard. Details in the project description to the left.

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #9/Combo Pack #9: Female character renamed for you, a friend or a relative (first name only) with a special ‘thank you’ in the contributor list,"The Incredible Hare" eBook and t-shirt, plus souvenir postcard. Details in the project description to the left.

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #10 plus the SUPER COMBO PACK: Male featured character renamed for you, a friend or relative (first and last names) with a special 'thank you' in the contributor list. The Super Combo Pack includes the works: - "The Incredible Hare"eBook; - The KEEP CALM t-shirt; - "The Incredible Hare" softcover book; - The TV series bible; - plus souvenir postcard. Details regarding the character you can rename are in the project description to the left.

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #11 plus the SUPER COMBO PACK: Male central character renamed for you, a friend or relative (first and last names) with a special 'thank you' in the contributor list - plus the works! - "The Incredible Hare"eBook; - The KEEP CALM t-shirt; - "The Incredible Hare" softcover book; - The TV series bible; - plus souvenir postcard. Details regarding the character you can rename are in the project description to the left.

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    YOUR NAME HERE Reward #12 plus the SUPER COMBO PACK:: A central character, the book's villain (male) renamed for you,a friend or relative (first and last names) with a special 'thank you' in the contributor list - plus the works! - "The Incredible Hare" eBook; - The KEEP CALM t-shirt; - "The Incredible Hare" softcover book; - The TV series bible; - plus souvenir postcard. Details regarding the character you can rename are in the project description to the left.

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Funding period

- (30 days)