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A documentary video on the making of handmade traditional wooden folk kazoos from tree in the woods to kazoo on stage.

THE PROJECT

Greetings from the old kazoo maker and welcome to The Great Aswego Kazoo Factory Workshop/Studio.  I am one of the few remaining old fashioned wooden folk kazoo makers found in America today.  Wood kazoos are by nature very labor intensive and when made as I do this is even more so. I use no special woodshop or wood working equipment.  My studio workshop is set up much the same way as you will find on most farms, ranches, and homesteads.  Many of the tools I use are antique or vintage.  I still use my dads carving knife and wood raspe from the old homestead workshop where I grew up.

I want to preserve the art and history of wooden folk kazoo with a full length documentary on kazoo making the "old timey way".  I would love to have an apprentice to pass along a half century of kazoo making experience but apprentice kazoo makers are a thing of the past.  With this documentary the viewer will become the apprentice.  They will be shown step by step how to make their own traditional Carolina style pine folk kazoo.  They will learn the history and folklore of our humble American folk instrument and meet kazooist from around the world that share a passion for America's original folk instrument.  

My hope is that with this documentary I might pass on the basics of wooden folk kazoo making and inspire a young folk artist to join the next generation of American folk kazoo makers. Perhaps inspire a father to make a kazoo with his son or daughter in the garage who in turn will one day make a kazoo with their kids. What this documentary will definitely accomplish is to preserve and share "an old fashioned" style of wooden folk kazoo making for generations to come. 

I have been making video of my work to update customers for over a year now and the feedback has been 100% positive.  When I decided to introduce my work online I wanted to be more than a website and a shopping cart.  I wanted people to feel as if they are part of the kazoo making process.  My kazoo catalog is quite large and I cannot keep my full line of kazoos in stock. So I sell quite a few custom and special order kazoos that have to be made for shipping. With each of these I provide a series of 2-4 videos of their kazoo being made from start to finish.  These videos are usually under five minutes in length.  So I make a lot of kazoo videos I share on my YouTube Channel.  I also believe that if someone trust me enough prepay for their kazoo they deserve to see their money being put to good use.  I never charge for these videos, they are a big part of my passion as a kazoo maker.

One goal of my studio workshop is certainly to sell my kazoos and pay the overhead.  I don't care to grow larger or sell more kazoos than that.  It is much more rewarding for me to share with the world my creations as a folk artist and kazoo maker. I strive to introduce the humble kazoo as much more than a mere toy. I wish to present it as the original American folk instrument that it truly is. I view each kazoo that I make as a legacy that will survive long after my life. I hope that a hundred years from now one of my kazoos will be taken to an Antique Show by a family member with an Aswego Kazoo that has been passed from generation to generation filled with special family memories.  Sometimes profit is not always best measured in dollars and cents. 

I am very proud to have my kazoos in all fifty states, eleven countries and one territory.  They are with families, performing musicians, recording studios, museums and folk instrument collectors around the world. This is truly an old kazoo maker's dream come true and is humbling indeed.

Funding received for my KickStarter Project will be used to upgrade my old cameras and laptop computer that I presently use to make my videos.  The old still camera and camcorder have seen better days and were medium quality when new years ago. The studio laptop computer is an old Dell Windows XP that barely meets the system requirements for my video editing software, Sony Vegas and assorted image editing software.  As result it takes a couple hours to produce a five or six  minute video.  The computer just doesn't have sufficient system resoures produce a video the length and quality of this documentary.  Being able to get some new or newer used cameras and computer is essential.  It will significantly improve the quality of the video, and enhance production capabilities necessary to record and produce this project. These funds will also be used for miscellaneous production costs that I am sure will appear.

 This documentary will be copyright protected, however it will be released with Creative Common License for personal, non commercial, non profit, individual use by everyone.  Creative Common License will make this video available virtually forever or at least as long as the internet exist.  This is more valuable to me than monetary profit.  I truly am passionate about this video.  There is very documented about our national instrument in it's traditional wooden form.  I believe I am capable of changing that with the production of this documentary.

I hope the following four short video's will give some insight into my desire for "Journey From Tree To Kazoo - An American Folk Treasure".

I invite you to join me in my endeavor to document and preserve the history of kazoos and folk kazoo making for generations to come.

PROJECT VIDEO EXAMPLES

These first two videos will will demonstrate how I plan on approaching the beginning and end of the documentary.   These are just short preproduction "planning" videos.  They represent the general content that will be used in the actual documentary and not the length or details.

What remains to be added are the steps in between these two videos with details of how the kazoo is made.  The next two videos are a series of update videos for a previous custom order kazoo.  They are also being used for preproduction planning purposes only.  These will give you a general idea of how the middle portion of the full length documentary will appear but with much more detailed video content and narrative explanation of each step I take in making a kazoo.  This documentary will also contain historic information and public domain related video clips and still images..

(Click here to read Spotlight Interview)

I was recently selected for the Artist Spotlight at ArtFire and invite you to read my interview for more information about me and the kazoo factory.

SOME CLOSING PICS, LINKS AND THOUGHTS

Well as you can see an old kazoo maker will talk forever about their passion.  So I will shut up now. LOL  May you have a beautiful 2012!  And don't forget National Kazoo Day 2012!! 

CAPTAIN KAZOO AND HIS ASWEGO KAZOO

Captain Kazoo out in California is a remarkable gentleman and kazooist.  Last year I designed a Captain Kazoo Tribute kazoo and presented him with the first one.  The Captain has been the Ambassador of Kazoos to the world for many years and I felt he needed a kazoo named after him. From his kazoo museum and kazoomobile to his monthly Webzine "Hum Don't Blow" the Captain is passionate about our humble kazoo.  I contribute articles and video to this webzine from time to time. Here is Captain Kazoo's review of his Captain Kazoo Aswego Kazoo!

KAZOOBIE KAZOO AND DOC KAZOO MAKE HISTORY

At The 109th Annual George Washington Festival 2011 Eustis, Florida
"A First !!! Two American Kazoo Factory Owner's Perform Together!"  It was a great pleasure to meet and perform with Rick Hubbard, Owner of the Kazoobie Kazoo Company and fantastic performing kazooist.  Last years Aswego National Kazoo Day Special Edition Kazoo is in the Kazoo Museum at the Kazoobie Factory.

VISITORS ALWAYS  WELCOME AT THE WORKSHOP

I really enjoy visits to the real life workshop.  I've had Aswego Kazooist visit from as far away as Glasglow Scotland and as close as down the road.  Here is a short video of a Performing Musician from Gainesville, Fl that rides down once in a while with his guitar.  Visits by appointment only. Just email me when you want to stop by.

ZEN AND THE ART OF KAZOO MAKING

EMAIL THE OLD KAZOO MAKER

If I can be of any help or answer any questions just send me an email to: dockazoo@asweohomestead.com

"Doc Kazoo The Sailor"

"Doc Kazoo The Old Kazoo Maker"

FAQ

  • I am hoping to have it completely finished late fall. Right now I am not sure if this documentary will be a single video or a series of videos. There is so much information to cover and I want this to kazoo documentary to be complete. If it looks like this is going to be a series I will have Part One finished by late fall and continue editing the next part(s). I am presently working on a production plan and it seems like my list of things to do and include keeps growing.

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  • When finished I will upload the file or files online to the Public Domain for viewing and/or downloading. I will send each backer an email with a link to the uploaded files. I will also post a link on my website homepage at: http://aswegohomestead.com/

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  • That's on my "To Do List". Eventually yes. My first priority is to get it in the Public Domain for non-profit, non-commercial use. This way it will be available free immediately to kazooist and future kazooist around the world. I do want to get this on DVD and distributed at some point but right now I am not sure how the production budget will look in the fall. I have distributed a music cd via Amazon, Itunes and Emusic where they make the copies to fill orders and ship. I will look into this avenue of DVD distribution. I am not sure if my music cd distributor handles video DVD's. I will find something out and post it here in the FAQ area soon.

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  • By having to gather eggs from the hen house about daylight each morning. LOL My dad showed me how to make my first kazoo by making one for me to carry in my pocket after running in to a really upset raccoon one morning. You never knew what kind of critter would be in the hen house stealing eggs and a boxed in raccoon is a fierce critter LOL. One loud blow on that old pine kazoo would always send critters running the opposite direction. Worked real good playing out in the woods when I would run up on a black bear or bobcat too. You can find out more about me at my website "About Doc Kazoo" page. http://aswegohomestead.com/ABOUTME.html

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    A personal thank you email from Doc Kazoo and a printed, signed and serialized Backers Thank You Certificate in the mail. You will also be recognized for your support of this project in the closing credits of the documentary. A copy of the documentary on DVD when released. All Backers will receive the rewards.

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    Personal thank you email. One beautiful signed and serialized 4" handmade Aswego Traditional Carolina Style Pine Folk Kazoo. I generally ship early but never ship late.

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    A personal thank you email from Doc Kazoo and a printed, signed and serialized Backers Thank You Certificate in the mail. You will also be recognized for your support of this project in the closing credits of the documentary. A copy of the documentary on DVD when released. One beautiful signed and serialized 6" handmade Special Edition Kickstarter Backer's Folk Kazoo. I generally ship early but never ship late.

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- (30 days)