“We Are the World: from Australia to Zambia” is a fun, informative, and interactive web series of 3-5 minute episodes for 7-12 year-olds that combines live action, animation, interviews and Skype conversations between children from diverse countries across the planet.
Why does this project matter?
Do you know any grade-school kids? Their curiosity expands from a small world close to home to a much larger world. Imagine a project that effortlessly expands the circle of knowledge beyond geographic boundaries and limits of time and space. Kids, age 7 – 12, explore and experience a place in the world that seamlessly connects with other kids. Exposure to other cultures adds to a self-awareness that delights in sameness and differences of others. It builds critical thinking to challenge racism and ethnic separation – so important in today's world. Imagine that instead of a world of division, they see a world of connection. This is our project. This is your opportunity!
This series will highlight the amazing diversity of our world and the many different cultures that co-exist. We want to surprise our audience, debunk some common myths and connect with real-life kids. The complete series will be viewable on our site vivakids.tv with full length interviews and more in-depth info information. Furthermore we are reaching out to potential partners and sponsors in hopes of distributing the episodes on other platforms (TV, youtube, Netflix,...).
In a video conference call, kids will talk to other kids about life in another country. The focus might be on a recipe, game, rhyme, song, dance, instrument, or on how to say, "Hello, how are you doing?“ in Portuguese. Through these conversations, we learn about nomads in Mongolia, birds in Australia, capoeira moves in Brazil, how to make spring rolls in Vietnam, etc.
I've already learned a lot about Mongolia. Do you think that all kids are great horseback riders there? Well, Amina in Ulaanbataar is not riding horses… but she is a great snowboarder. Snowboarding in Mongolia... never heard about that before!
What is the goal of the Kickstarter?
The goal of our Kickstarter campaign is to fund at least three initial pilot episodes. Our broader goal is to use the three pilots to secure interest from larger donors and organizations who want to “adopt” a country of their choice, or fund the series. Each episode will contain essential facts and unique insights about one nation.
We are currently working on Australia, Ethiopia and Mongolia. Who would like to help us with the completion of these three films?
Even better... who wants to "adopt" a country that they are interested in? Perhaps the country of your origin or of your ancestors? We will create a film about your chosen country and will connect with children abroad to get a real-life, contemporary view of their nation, as supposed to just dry research. What you read on wikipedia can sometimes be in sharp contrast to real life!
Our creative team at Viva Design has worked on award-winning TV branding for international clients and Sundance TV, Nickelodeon, Sprout, Discovery, Disney and E! Entertainment TV. Now we are ready to create our own short format content and want to fund our first three pilots with the help of Kickstarter: Australia, Ethiopia and Mongolia!
What is the format of the show?
It's a mix of live action interviews, screen captures of Skype calls and animation!
Cosima, a sassy 9-year-old girl, her curious 7-year-old brother Nikolas and their friends make contact with children in all parts of the world and ask them the important questions: “Do you go to school?" "Do you like nail polish?” "Do you play soccer?” "What is your idea to make this world a better place?" Usually they find out that their counterparts around the globe are not so different and that they have much in common!
Amina in Mongolia, for example, loves Minecraft as much as Nikolas. People live in very different environments, cultures and climates. There is much to learn about! I believe in teaching children about cultural diversity, history, geography and travel. When we learn about other people’s lives, we gain respect and compassion, which are the building blocks of peace. Knowing about cultural diversity is a valuable tool for every human being. It is knowledge that improves our lives and a topic I feel should be talked about in our schools and homes - and this series makes it fun and accessible!
How much have we already done?
We have researched Mongolia, Australia and Ethiopia and interviewed kids in Mongolia, Australia and Cambodia. Mongolia is almost finished! We will integrate more graphics and the interview.
"Mongolia" interview with Amina in Ulaanbataar (full length):
What are the pilots about?
Mongolia's focus is on nomads and modern lifestyle. "Australia" will be about interesting endemic animals. "Ethiopia" will be special for my family! My daughter, Cosi, was born in Ethiopia. We adopted her when she was 4 months old. Today, she is a 9-year-old, thriving girl with too many talents! She is hosting this show and will "meet" another 9 year old girl in Ethiopia to interview her about her life. It will be a day in the life of... or a walk in the shoes of someone like Cosi in Ethiopia.
Why are we making this series?
In the United States, not many kids get a chance to learn about other countries and cultures. With “We Are the World: from Australia to Zambia", we will expose kids (and adults!) to different cultures. This series is a call for greater tolerance and compassion.
What will the donations do?
Donations will help to fund writer/researchers, animators, videographers, editors, voiceover talent and a theme composer, as well as cover our other production costs (microphone, lights, etc.).
Who Are We?
We also created a preschool iPad app Viva Kids'ABC with a lot of stop-motion animations, that has received many positive reviews. We teach creative workshops in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, and run summer camps and teens-at-Risk programs. We simply love stop-motion animations; for a sample, please watch our stop-motion demo reel!
How did you get the idea to make this show?
The idea for this project developed out of my passion for traveling, my curiosity about other countries, and the discrepancy that there is so much to learn from others, but so few lessons on cultural diversity are taught in school. In order to gain a better understanding and compassion for each other we need to learn about each other and connect! My kids are lucky to have been able to travel with us to many places, but not everyone has this opportunity.
Who is on your team?
I am proud that Grant Moran, 2015 Emmy winner for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Series, will be advising us and overseeing the writing of the shows!
I have worked in the television industry for over 20 years and have good connections to animators, that will help to bring this series to life!
I am also happy about all the support we receive from: Bryan Snyder (outdoor/travel writer), Rachel Sarah Thurston (travel writer), Gaby Goldberg (animator), Pia Dorer (director at Orange Identity in Australia/USA), Chelsea Lawler (photographer), Nik Blaskovicj (videographer) and the many friends that connect me to interesting people all over the planet! Thank you!!!
Why Australia, Ethiopia and Mongolia as our first shows?
Each country is located in a different continent with a completely different background, climate, history and population. The pilots will provide us with a chance to explore a wide range of production and execution tactics which will in-turn influence the entire series.
How will the show look like?
Super-creative, no less! I will use my experience from Viva design and connections to creatives that I have worked with over the years. We will apply diverse techniques: stop-motion and cel- animation, live-action and green-screen and AfterEffects animation. Ideally I would like animators from that country to animate the facts or animators who care about that country. Live interviews will be either shot in homes or at the Viva design studios, skype calls will be screen-captured.
We created working title graphics:
What is the production timeline and delivery of rewards?
Each country needs 1. research, 2. scheduling of the interview, 3. writing of the episode, 4. editing the interview, 5. shooting live action with kids locally, 6. animating the facts, 7. editing footage, animation and interviews. All together, one episode takes about 4-6 weeks, depending on the country. With the current team capacity, we can work on 3-4 countries at the same time. We will complete the first three shows in March 2016. All sponsors will receive updates on the process and sneak peaks. When our pilots are done, we will work on the other countries in the order received. If you are the first to "adopt" a country, you will receive your show April 2016. Allow 4-6 weeks for the completed episode.
Here is our choice of countries for the first 26 episodes:
Australia, Brazil or Bhutan, Cambodia, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Haiti, India, Japan, Kenya, Laos, Mongolia, Namibia, Oman Portugal, Quatar, Romania, Scotland, Tibet or Thailand, Ukraine, Vietnam Wales, Yemen, Zambia.
If your favorite country is not on the list, do not worry, this is just our wish list and we will collaborate with you to get your country alive! Obviously, there are many more than one country per letter, and those we will add at a later point.
What is the BIG PICTURE goal?
The goal of our Kickstarter is to fund the initial three pilots, and hopefully beyond this. The BIG PICTURE is to use these pilot series to secure interest and funding from larger sponsors and potentially garner network interest. With the first full series produced "We Are The World", we will have a video library for kids to look up their countries or topics of interest (animals, songs, games, sports etc). This library will be available in full length at Vivakids.tv as well as on youtubekids. After completing the countries, we will create other video-libraries about the states of the USA, cities, animals, etc. This web video-catalog will be a great resource for parents, schools and organizations all over the world.
Risks and challenges
Risk One: Increases in direct expenses
At this stage we have already raised approximately $4,500 in finances to kick off this project, specifically the Mongolia animation and some initial set up costs. However, the actual estimated "bare-bones" production cost per single episode is $6,500 for all our direct expenses. These include; externally sourced additional animators from each country, stock footage, music licensing, voice over artists, travel writer, videographer and some hardware and software. Because Viva Design believes so strongly in this project, and its ability to connect and educate kids globally, our principals and internal artists are on on a deferred payment plan with external funding. If any direct expenses did increase, we would need to invest our time to either look for an alternative solution/animator or use internal staff to fulfill that role on a deferred payment plan. However, we are a very experienced team and finding creative solutions when obstacle arise is part of what we do everyday.
Risk Two: Potential location changes
As we are working with both first and third world countries, civil or political unrest and accessibility in some regions could be a potential threat. For this reason any supporter at the higher levels who choose a specific country to back would also need to select a secondary country in case we needed to change location.
Risk Three: Sickness, Injury or Unforeseen Circumstances
A potential risk would be if a key creative member from Viva Design was injured or unable to work for a period of time, or if the studio had a very large project in-house that needed to take priority for a certain time-frame. The risk here is not be that the animation would not be completed, as we are committed to completing it, but rather that their may be a timeline delay in producing the content.
Risk four: Initial pilot countries may change
If backers at the $6,500 level "adopt" a country of their choice, and we do not have enough lower level backers for our listed "pilot" countries, then we would prioritize completing the "adopted" countries first for our Kickstarter supporters. In this case we would need to continue external fundraising to complete the initial three "pilot" countries listed in the Kickstarter campaign and then complete them at a later date. If this happens Kickstarter backers would be sent the three first "adopted" country animations in lieu of the initial "pilot" countries mentioned in the project description.
Risk Five: Possible title change
Our current title "We Are The World" is a working title. We are in the middle of global survey with five proposed titles to ensure that we select a title that resonates well across multiple continents and languages. Once we have 200 surveys returned, we will make a decision on the final title for the series.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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