About this project
As Seen In
Stretch Goal: 2x as Big — $20,000!
Wow!! Thanks to everyone who helped us meet our goal! We are so excited to finish making the book and get it into your hands. Making a photo-illustrated children's book is an expensive process. It's a lot like making a movie. We need to pay for actors and locations and camera equipment. We're absolutely thrilled to have met our original goal! Now we're pushing for $20,000 so we can make the book even better.
The more money we raise, the more incredible and magical the book will be. We want to inspire a generation of kids to be brave and learn to face their fears, so let's give it all we've got. Additional money raised will go toward the production of the images and allow for better printing, so everyone that backs the book benefits. Let's do this!
Update 7/4: New Pictures!
We've been hard at work making new images and finishing up the storyline for the book. Here's a little scene that didn't make the cut, with some adorable lettering and doodles by Valerie Navarro.
Who We Are
Hi! We're Mitch (human) and Vivian (dog), and together we're making "Vivian the Dog Moves to Brooklyn," a children's book about a big dog moving to the "big city." Mitch is the writer and photo-illustrator, and Vivian plays the part of the adorable giant dog.
In our five years together, we've moved around a lot—four states, five cities, and 10 different apartments or houses. We've been in Brooklyn for two years, and love it, so we're settling down ;). No matter how many times you move, it's always difficult, especially when you're young.
Every year, over 5.5 million kids between the ages 1 to 9 move to a new home, in the United States alone.* It's scary to leave behind the home and people you love when you relocate. So we're making a photo-illustrated children's book about a dog who moves to a new city to help kids who are going through a similar experience.
About the Book
"Vivian the Dog Moves to Brooklyn," is a book about a big dog moving from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Brooklyn, New York. It's 32 pages long and will be full of beautiful photo-illustrations created by Mitch and starring Vivian, with some pretty fantastic letterings and drawings by the talented, Valerie Navarro (http://thisisval.com).
In the book, Vivian is a giant dog—over 6 feet tall! She loves the wide open spaces and delicious foods of New Mexico, but most of all, she loves playing with her best friend, "the human." When Vivian learns she and the human are moving to New York City, aka the "Big City," she gets very excited. She believes everything will be as big as she is in the "Big City," and she can't wait to move!
As you might guess, she's pretty disappointed upon arriving in New York City and discovering that she is still the only giant wiener dog around. Things get worse, as she quickly learns their neighborhood in Brooklyn can be a pretty cramped place, especially for a big dog like her. She barely fits in their new living room! She decides to leave the human behind and return to Albuquerque on her own. Does she make it back, or does she get lost along the way? You'll have to get the book to find out!
How the Photo-Illustrations are Made
Vivian is not actually 6 feet tall in real life, so there's a bit of behind-the-scenes magic that goes into each image. Making photo-illustrations is kind of like making a small movie with some big visual effects. We use some of the same techniques that VFX artists use to make people different sizes in movies like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings—a little bit of camera trickery, and a dash of computer effects. Mitch learned many of these tricks in his past life as a VFX Artist, working on movies and commercials for TCHYA! and Spotwelders.
First, we start with a sketch or storyboard of the scene. This is the initial step in getting the image out of Mitch's head and onto the page. The first sketch is usually very basic, sometimes just a few scribbles. Planning the image out on paper makes the actual shoot go much smoother.
Next, Mitch makes a list of props and equipment needed to make the picture work and plans the photo shoot. Some pictures are very simple and don't need much more than Vivian and a pretty background, but some are much more complex and require other actors, props and special camera equipment and lights.
Now it's time to shoot! Most of the pictures are actually a mixture of several images, called a composite. It's important to get all of the shots on the same day, with the same lighting. Otherwise, they might look and feel "off" to the viewer, pulling them out of the story's narrative.
Last of all, we pull the images from the photo shoot together on the computer. It's always fun to watch the final image start to come together. Each picture takes a lot of time and energy to make, but it's always worth it when you see the final result.
Why We are Raising Money on Kickstarter
Making a photo-illustrated children's book can be very expensive. We're raising money on Kickstarter for three main reasons: to help print the first batch of books, to pay for a trip to Albuquerque to shoot the scenes set there, and to help find and pay for Vivian's K9 co-star in the book, Lulu.
1. Printing costs
Printing is much cheaper when done in bulk, so we've set a goal that will help us print a modest, first run of books. Each book is 32 pages long and is hardcover with a beautiful dust-jacket. If we raise even more money, we can upgrade to a premium printer like Hemlock Press, the company that prints books and magazines for The Great Discontent and Kinfolk!
2. Trip to Albuquerque to shoot on location
Unlike a traditionally illustrated book, each item in a photo-illustrated book needs to be photographed. If you want to set your book in Albuquerque, for example, you either need to build a set that looks like Albuquerque or travel there. We ran the numbers, and it's much cheaper to fly to Albuquerque and shoot with a local crew than it is to rent a space and build a set in New York, where we live.
3. Finding and paying for Vivian's Co-Star, Lulu!
Who is Lulu? She's only Vivian's new K9 BFF/spiritual guide! Vivian runs into Lulu, a "normal-sized dog" shortly after deciding to return to Albuquerque. Lulu helps Vivian find her way... or does she? Again, you'll have to get the book to find out!
If you know a pup that you think would be the perfect Lulu, tag them on Instagram with the hashtag: #VivianNeedsLulu or emailing us: email@example.com. We'll be checking! Bonus points if they live in New York and they share our project!
We've finished the story and initial manuscript, done some test shoots, and begun meeting with children's book editors, but there is still a lot to do before printing the book. Here's our project timeline:
June 2016: Kickstarter campaign
July 2016: Finalize story and shooting manuscript with the editor
August - September 2016: Shoot New York/Brooklyn scenes
October 2016: Shoot Albuquerque scenes
November - December 2016: Post-production on the images, begin layout, Valerie Navarro's letterings and drawings are added
January 2017: Final reviews with the editor, and reshoots if needed
February 2017: Layout is finalized, files sent to the printer
March 2017: Review and finalize proofs from the printer, assemble rewards packages and prepare for shipment
April 2017: Ship books and other rewards!
This book is a passion project, and Mitch works full-time as a photographer and director (He also doodles a bit! You may have seen some of his images on Broad City's Instagram, or Radiolab's new podcast). This timeline provides enough breathing room to work our day jobs, finish the book, and deliver the rewards to you on time.
We have a bunch of cool rewards for our backers. Every little bit helps, and we can't say thank you enough for backing our project, but we'll try! Here are a few of our favorite rewards:
Check out all of the rewards in the rewards panel, and thank you again for backing the project!!
Mitch and Vivian have been together since birth—Vivian's birth, that is. Mitch's sister's dog had puppies and Vivian was one of them. They've been having adventures together ever since. You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
Mitch Boyer is the author and photo-illustrator behind "Vivian the Dog Moves to Brooklyn." He came up with the idea after making a series of photos showcasing Vivian's "true size," like many dachshunds she thinks she's much bigger than she actually is. In addition to being a writer and photographer, Mitch works as director and illustrator. His career highlight was when Charlize Theron looked him in the eye and said, "You're in my light." He's done work for Saturday Night Live, Lady Gaga, New York Public Radio, and more. You can see his work at mitchboyer.com.
Valerie Navarro can make pretty much anything and works as a creative producer, visual artist, and assistant food stylist. She and Mitch worked together as creative partners at their last job and have continued collaborating ever since. Val's creating the lettering and doodle illustrations for the book. She loves puppies and food videos, and her acai bowls are to die for. You can see some of her work at thisisval.com.
Vivian is the greatest dachshund that ever lived (by her own estimation). She has two great loves in life: food and food. She's much smaller than she appears in the book—but her personality is giant. She loves long walks and even longer naps. If you want more Vivian in your life, you can follow her on Instagram: @iamvivianthedog. This is not the first time Mitch and Val have made Vivian the subject of a side-project.
More Vivian Pictures!
Risks and challenges
Like any project involving giant dogs, there are a few risks and challenges associated with this book, but we've done everything we can to minimize them.
We have gathered an incredible support network of experienced creators including children's book authors and editors who are helping to guide us as we make our first book together. We've checked and double-checked our budget, and padded our timeline to make sure that we can deliver what we promise to our backers. We couldn't do it without you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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