Update : Fully Funded in 4 hours!
Update: First Stretch goal cleared in under 24 hours! Top tiers sold out!
Update: 7/30: New Tiers Added!
Update: 7/31 - Both stretch goals met!
Update: 8/5 New Stretch Goals added!
Cloudburst will be a community-driven experience, unfolding in real time and featuring new forms of storytelling across different media, with unique ways for the audience to influence the outcome such as Paranormal Activity-style found-footage, liveblogging escape-the-room style vignettes, audio logs, and various social media platform integration. Viewers can watch passively, or become an integral part of the story as they befriend our characters and help Riley confront the ghosts of her past and the literal ghosts of Eden Park.
Cloudburst and its predecessor Escape From Eden Park are inspired by past webseries and alternate reality games such as lonelygirl15, Maddison Atkins, Kate Modern, Harper's Globe, and The Optimist.
Exploring themes of homecoming, identity, friendship, and family, Riley learns the hard way that she can't go home again. Her new friends - you, the players - help her navigate her new life. A life that’s becoming more complicated and dangerous by the minute.
Cloudburst exists within the universe of the alternate reality game Escape From Eden Park, but acts as a separate, standalone event, so new players or audience members will be able to jump in with the community.
The event will take place over 24 hours and be split into four acts: Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night. Each act has a new set of challenges for Riley and her friends. The outcomes are dependent on character-player interactions,and players can alter the plot of the story and find multiple ways of solving a problem based on their own choices, actions, and discoveries.
As a player, you will be able to join in at any point during the game because the acts will be documented,and some characters will function as community liaisons to bridge the gap between our worlds and keep everyone up-to-date.
Escape From Eden Park is an experimental proof of interactive fiction concept that grew legs. At the start of the series, Riley returned to Eden Park following the alleged death of her brother: alone and with no plans for the future. Over the next few months, players befriended and guided Riley through an ever-growing mystery. Each chapter had a new set of characters, as well as new methods of playing.
In Escape From Eden Park players have befriended characters, hunted ghosts, solved puzzles, broken codes, unscrambled audio, hacked websites, left voicemails, written short stories, and even found clues left behind in the real world. The execution of these events has taught us so much about making interactive experiences and community storytelling, and this will be the cornerstone on which we build Cloudburst.
Eventually, Riley came out of Escape From Eden Park with some broken bridges mended, new friends, new hope, and her brother returned to her - though a dark cloud still hangs over her and the rest of the town... literally. Riley's story isn't over.
Our community has championed the story every step of the way. We’ve been able to build a story that caters to the friendships they’ve forged with the characters and include ways to get new players caught up every chapter.
"It's awesome stuff and totally different to any ARG's I've played before." -Scarab
" ...a wonderful story, this is now in my top 5 story/ARG experiences"
"...an immersive, imaginative ARG. From the first day I loved how I could easily connect with the world and all of its characters. The creators always encouraged a wide audience participation, making you feel that your contributions (no matter how small) mattered. I absolutely adore how the smallest detail would crop up in later chapters for an interconnected and layered story.."
"I would sell my firstborn for another series of this"
"This is really cool and impressive..."
-Jim Gunshanan, Transmedia Writing Professor at Full Sail.
Produced by Clutch Light Studio, the homegrown production team of PJ Scott-Blankenship (yours truly, you may know me as PJCalamity on Youtube). As a creator, I've been on the production end of transmedia since its inception, doing graphic design work for lonelygirl15 in my teenage years. As a vlogger, I was a founding member of BigFrame's vertical LGBT network Outlandish. As a producer of community-based experiences, I went on to work for Fahlo (now Bkstg), an app designed to bring fan communities together with artists and brands such as Tori Kelly, Carly Rae Jepsen, Funny or Die and many others. Currently I'm working with New Form Digital to help create COLD the Webseries, exclusively for Verizon's new streaming platform, go90.
Independently, my small team has undertaken various community-driven creative projects. Such as Operation Always, a Pottermore community that ushered over 400 users into JK Rowling's Pottermore Closed Beta, and Anwhistle Aquatics, a fan-run alternate reality game built around Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Anwhistle gained over 1000 players in its less-than-a-week run. My production team also consists of Rory Nicks, co-creator of Operation Always and Anwhistle Aquatics. Rory's code-creation and community management skills are essential to the flow of production and Jordan Bush, who's contributed a great deal musically.
The main characters of the story are returning characters from Escape From Eden Park, and each represents different styles of gameplay and player personality:
- Riley, the hero, played by newcomer Bailey Hartlage, is an honor student who’s quick on her feet and totally logical. Riley is good at compartmentalizing issues, and working out how to get from point A to B. Sometimes her stubbornness can make her hard to talk to, though. She is analytical, practical, and brave.
- Ben, Riley's brother played by PJ Scott-Blankenship, is empathy-driven and fights for the greater good at extraordinary lengths. Ben's got a lot of friends on his side from his past cases, but tends to shut people out when overwhelmed and take all the pressure on himself. He is empathetic, virtuous, and guarded.
- Scarlet, Riley’s former next-door-neighbor played by Rory Nicks, is the voice of reason and has experience with witchcraft. Scarlet wants to resolve conflicts immediately but is indecisive, so sometimes she cuts corners in the process and the end result is less than glamorous. She is responsible, honest, and restless
- Haman, called Manny by his friends, the love of Ben’s life - played by Zachary Tumblin, is willing to be ruthless in order to protect his loved ones. His area of expertise is cryptozoology, the study of paranormal creatures. Haman's love can be hidden by his incredible amount of sass, but after years of being imprisoned by the villainous Collinwood, his moral code is questionably chipped. He is committed, passionate, and contrary.
- Lexie, Ben’s best friend, played by Jazmine Reed, is the guardian angel of the group, watching over everyone from a distance and providing help when she can. Lexie's very wise, but after 200 years she's got a few biases that can cloud her judgment. She is romantic, intuitive, and headstrong
- And Ollie, played by Ellen Claire Adams, is Riley’s best friend - though away at college, Ollie’s technical expertise and freewheeling ways offer a breath of fresh air to the rules of magic. Though, this also means that Ollie is easily distracted and is prone to bouts of flightiness. They are calm, inventive, and irreverent.
Our cast has featured creators and influencers of digital storytelling and media from all over the world, such as composer Jordan Bush, who is also our featured composer (LG15:Outbreak), Linda Barsi (Buzzfeed, OpenEllby), Rob Carballo (geekbeatradio), Michael J. Andersen (Owner and Senior Editor of ARGnet), Mari Devincenzi (lonelygirl15, OpAphid), Faye Austin (Maddison Atkins, Dallas Children's Theatre), Keili Hamilton-Maureira (WFMU), Amanda McLoughlin (shessomickey, Spirits: A Drunken Dive into Myths and Legends), Emily Diana Ruth (The Water's Fine, COLD), MegaRan, Nick Tierce (Grief Splattered Campus) and Tom R. Pike (Echo Chamber, Personal Space). Many will return for Cloudburst.
Kickstarter is an ideal platform for us because it champions different kinds of creators and is a world of encouragement and support for ideas that haven’t quite made it to the mainstream.
We’d love to be able to give the series a fitting end with a bit more polish, and with your help we can make the end of the series even more special than it would have been.
If you can’t donate or if you want to know more about the series you can check out and share our official website:
Thus far, everything we’ve done for the series was done with no prior funding. We’ve run on good faith, favors from friends, and the kindness of strangers and our community. Our low goal will go towards new equipment and securing locations for filming.
Who's a good boy?! Or Girl. Or both, or neither. Access to our updates, a special Pixel Badge* of Ben’s dog Shadow on the forums, and special thanks in the series credits!
You are our hero! Everything from the $1 tier, plus digital downloads of exclusive desktop and mobile backgrounds. You will also be able to write a fake obituary to be used in the finale at some point. You will also unlock a Riley Pixel Badge on the forums.
Okay, I see you, digi-pal. The previous two tiers, plus digital copies of the Art Book: Deluxe Cloudburst Edition with foreword by Michael J. Andersen of ARGnet and the Official Soundtrack - Cloudburst Edition. And, an Ollie Pixel Badge.
Are you a good witch or a bad witch? The previous tiers, as well as digital downloads of concept art of a (very, very early) project we're developing called "Us and Them" a team-based, deco-punk take on Shakespeare, and you'll be invited to beta test "Us and Them" if/when we build a prototype. You will also get a special Scarlet Pixel Badge.
Limited 5! A commission for PJ! PJ will make an art piece to your demands (within reason), he never takes commissions so this is a big deal. Well, not that big of a deal but it is true- and if you're a forum user you'll also get a Maggie badge.
Plus shipping! The story becomes a part of your world *mermaid splash* The previous tiers, plus a postcard from one of the characters and a key from the second case. You'll also get a Ben Badge.
(Plus shipping! US and Canada only, limited! Only 4! )
By Popular Demand, you'll get a copy of the Sidhe Haven Tome with a special sketch from PJ and an autograph from Axel the dog who plays Shadow. As well as a key from case 2. We'll also give you a Boneyfiddle Badge on the forums.
SOLD OUT Plus shipping (US and Canada only, LIMITED TO TWO) Become an honorary member of the FFC: One of the Sidhe Haven Tomes, pages from Maggie's Journal, Riley or Ben's Bag, a thunderstone and an autographed mini poster from the cast, as well as the Haman Badge.
(SOLD OUT -LIMITED TO FOUR) You've become a fundamental part of bringing Cloudburst to life. You get to help us write one of the four acts Cloudburst, and you're featured as an executive producer in the credits. Don’t worry about spoiling it, you’ll only know about the act you’re helping write and we’ll keep you in the dark about a few big details. You'll also get some physical swag, and you'll get a Lexie badge as well as all the others.
Limited, 1! One of our Guardian Angels has agreed to give up one aspect of their reward, you'll be given the fourth act to co-write and a writing credit! As well as a Gabrielle Pixel Badge and all the others
*These pixel badges (shown at the heading) are similar to the ones you can unlock in the Eden Park forum's shop, something like virtual action figures, they are special variants of the first series and Kickstarter exclusives. These pixels stack, so if you buy tier 2, you get both the pixels from 1 and 2, and so on.
There are a few things we can add on to the main series that cost a little bit extra, but would be well-worth the effort.
CLEARED - $600 - Jeff Ball The incredibly talented Jeff Ball, composer and classically trained violinist whose credits include Tiny Barbarian DX, Steven Universe, Mass Effect 3, Gears of War 3, and Star Wars - The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire toname a few, will compose some new songs for us!
CLEARED -$700 - Jessica Severn The talented genius and beautiful artist Jessica Severn, lead designer at Scooter Braun Projects (Carly Rae Jepsen, Tori Kelly, etc) will design a special poster JUST FOR US!
CLEARED $1200 - Original Song Donated by the Mustn'ts
If we get to $1200, Jeromy Barber and Vicki Tippit's musical duo the Musn'ts will donate a track just for us. Jeromy's the creator of Maddison Atkins, the alternate reality game that inspired Escape From Eden Park. Jeromy's been really supportive of the project, and will be helping with the finale as he's one of our guardian angel backers. Anyway! Here's my favorite song from them so you know what they're about, Long, Long Walk.
50 Backers Stretch Goal - The Bigfoot Short Story
This one's kind of different. Michael Andersen suggested a stretch goal tied more to the amount of people donating as opposed to the amount of money we're taking in, and I really liked that. This way, it doesn't really matter how much people are donating, we just want as many people to find out and be involved and play as possible, even at the dollar level.
The reward for crossing this ambitious 50 backer goal is that I'll finally write the story of Escape From Eden Park's most mysterious secret: What happened between Ben and Bigfoot?
Risks and challenges
We are a small team, with hefty ambitions. However, the scope isn’t as daunting once everything has been scaled correctly. The majority of filming for a project like this, for example, would take a few days and we’ve already proven our ability with keeping its predecessor ongoing.
A 24-hour project is kind of asking for a snag, but since the narrative changes with user input anyway, we’re already thinking in adaptable terms. This is highly experimental, and could blow up in our face if the internet drops BUT that’s what libraries, 24-hour diners, and other people’s wifi is for. But seriously, we can handle it.
However, things go wrong and unforeseen circumstances can lead to big problems. Thankfully, as our community will tell you, we’ve always been honest and quick in admitting when snags happen. We are approachable and dedicated. There is the possibility that concepts will have to be changed or abandoned in development, parts may need to be recast, things may need to be restructured, but we've always valued transparency. We'll keep you updated. We’re quick on our feet. We don’t stay down long.
We want to do something impossible, and we want to do it with you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)