Keep up with Animal R&R on Facebook and at www.animalrehabtv.com!
Meet Patient #1974.
He's a six-month old black bear cub rescued by the roadside in Kern County, Calif. He was clinging to his deceased mother, who was likely an automobile strike...
Black bear #1974 is one of the incredible wildlife rehabilitation stories we're working on for "Animal R&R."
Watch #1974 take a climb around his temporary enclosure!
What Does "R&R" Mean?
"Animal R&R" is a TV show that follows the stories of wildlife "patients" who come into animal rehabilitation centers in San Diego. Our cameras are right there as rescued animals go through different stages of recovery, sometimes in people's homes (they're licensed), and then, hopefully, are released healthy back into to the wild. "Animal R&R" also introduces you to the inspirational folks—the wildlife "rehabbers" themselves—who do this challenging work of saving lives.
For us, "R&R" doesn't mean "Rest and Relaxation," it means "Rehabilitation and Release"!
"Animal R&R" reveals an invisible side of our world where animals struggle daily to survive, right under our noses. The series embraces a goal of compassionate coexistence with the animals that share our world. Their stories deserve to be told!
With your support, we can keep producing "Animal R&R" in San Diego, and even bring it to where you live!
Here's our TV promo:
"Animal R&R" started with a small grant and a single two-hour time slot on San Diego's local PBS station. Once we began shooting, we knew we could fill more than two hours with great animal stories! Many were left out of the final cut of our first two-hour installment. The station has already agreed to pick up more "Animal R&R" if we can produce it ourselves. We already have our contract in hand!
We're doing this Kickstarter campaign to bring you stories like these:
These two coyote pups, brother and sister, suffered burned paws as they escaped from the summer's early wildfires. With your donation, we can share their touching story, and help raise awareness about how wildfires affect all of us, both people and animals, in the era of global warming. Watch rehabilitation vet Dr. Meier and tech Gina at work on the delicate task of changing their bandages:
"Gilbert" is an adolescent osprey who fell 60 feet from his nest. With your help, we can tell Gilbert's story and share a vital chapter in our shared conservation history that we should never forget. People have worked hard to keep osprey populations vibrant since the DDT pesticide threatened the whole species with decline in the 1950's and 1960's. Ospreys like Gilbert tend to struggle in captivity. As rehabilitator Aireo can tell you, they prefer hunting to being fed:
We also have met a pair of baby yuma bats, discovered half-starved and clinging to their dead mom. Your donation will allow us to tell this poignant story and show how essential bats are to having a healthy ecosystem we can all share. Though much-maligned in both science and myth, bats are far more helpful than harmful to people. Here's rehabilitator Kristy doing basic bat care and feeding:
Thinking Globally, Acting Locally
"Animal R&R" is about learning to coexist with the animals that live right beside us. That's a challenge everyone faces, no matter where you live.
Your donation, whether $5 or $500, will help us inspire wonder and compassion for the natural world in audiences everywhere!
This hazardous border zone between the human and animal worlds is sometimes called the "urban edge." It can be a tripwire for the animals that stumble over it. In fact, that's how many of the patients on "Animal R&R" wind up needing help.
By giving to "Animal R&R" today, you're helping us make people aware of how intimately connected our world is to the animal world.
"Animal R&R" In Your Backyard?
Our highest hope is that we might find a national sponsor who would underwrite us to produce editions of "Animal R&R" in cities all over the country. How about an edition of "Animal R&R" where you live? No matter where that is, you can bet you're close to an urban edge like the one I knew.
Your Kickstarter pledge could help us tell the stories of nature going on right in your neighborhood!
The Funding $tory So Far
"Animal R&R" was initially grant-funded, under the KPBS "Explore San Diego" grant. The guarantee of broadcast by the station really attracted us. We wanted to break out from working for others and have our own series on TV.
Help us keep our breakout dream of creating independently produced natural history television going strong...Make a donation now!
The grant covered about 15% of our estimated production cost. We closed the gap by matching the grant in contributions from family and friends, and with the help of supporters in San Diego who put us up in their home for our shoots. KPBS also helped us with in-kind support and all kinds of good advice!
So why Kickstarter now? Because after our grant period ended -- and it was, unfortunately, a one-time deal -- and we have too many cool stories "in the can" (already filmed) that were going untold!
We'll use the funds from this campaign to carry out the final filming and post-production on another hour of "Animal R&R." Our expenses are travel, lodging, equipment rental, and paying hired hands on set and in post-production. With your support and a successful Kickstarter campaign, we'll be on track to deliver by January 1 for broadcast later in 2015.
A Filmmaker's Journey Home
"Animal R&R" is an amazing opportunity for me, as a natural history filmmaker, to tell people about the animals in one of the most important places on earth: my home. It may surprise you to learn that San Diego is the most biologically diverse county in the entire U.S.! Since San Diego is such a hotspot of diversity, the nature-related issues that "Animal R&R" touches on, such as urban growth, disaster management, and global warming, will have resonance where you live, too.
It was also an incredible thrill to learn that Joan Embery, whom I held in awe growing up, was willing to give "Animal R&R" a voice as our narrator. Joan was the longtime spokesperson of the Zoo and is a fellow native of San Diego. If you don't know who she is, you can watch some of her awesome "Tonight Show" appearances on YouTube:
Please join me, Joan Embery, and the courageous wildlife rehabilitators who work at The Fund for Animals and Project Wildlife by throwing your support behind "Animal R&R."
We have many more amazing stories to tell, animals to save, and audiences to reach with our message of compassionate coexistence with the animal world!
You can watch both one-hour episodes of "Animal R&R" on the KPBS website: http://video.kpbs.org/program/animal-rr/
(Video Music Credits: "Sneaky Snitch," "Hidden Agenda," "Cherry Blossom," and "Accralate" by Kevin MacLeod)
Supported by our friends at http://kickingitforward.org !
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge in this kind of filmmaking is keeping up with the stories of nature, which don't always unfold in a predictable way. We're not shooting to a script here, we're following a real-world story—the story of nature!—with a rhythm all its own. We can miss things because, well, nature doesn't care about our production timeline!
Even if we can keep up, not all stories in nature end happily. Rehabilitation patients are sometimes lost without warning. I always bear in mind that we're making a documentary, not an animal "show." That's why I decided early to include the stories of animals that don't survive rehabilitation in our episodes. (I've heard estimates of 60/40 percent in favor of survival for animals that come into rehab.) Whatever the outcome, it's always inspirational to see how tirelessly the people who do this work strive to save our wildlife. They kept me inspired every day of the filming.
I'm pleased to say we have the cooperation of the two rehabilitation centers, Project Wildlife and The Fund for Animals, who have been keeping us well-informed of what's going on with the patients that we're following. We have permission to film the animals and their handlers for our stories.
Production is always risky. Equipment failure, delays, accidents and mistakes all happen. Luckily in this case, since we've already gone a round on the series, there isn't a major unknown to worry about. Fingers crossed!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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