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‘SHADOWLAND’ FUNDRAISER and FAQ!!!

June 2, 2014

Brooke Burgess

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(by Brooke Burgess)

Q: What’s this all ABOUT?

Like the video says – I’m seeking support for my 5-book middle grade (8-12yrs) contemporary children’s fantasy series: The Shadowland Saga.

Q: What’s the quick and dirty way to donate?

PAYPAL or INTERAC e-PAYMENT (for Canucks) to my mail:

bb@brookeburgess.com

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paypal donation button

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Q: Why not a formal KICKSTARTER/Indiegogo?

Scope. The stats show that the formal crowd-funding campaigns that tend to be the most successful are related to tech, games, film/TV, and content with established brands (I’m looking at you, Reading Rainbow).  This is just a bunch of books – and the funding goal ain’t that high – so I wanted to keep the focus on close friends, industry peers, and hardcore fans of my previous work with this more personal approach.

Now…if the series takes off, and there’s a rabid audience eager to fund the launch of a full blown transmedia experience of the narrative world?  Then you’ll see Shadowland on Kickstarter in a big way. Count on it.

Q: Why NOW? The first book isn’t even published yet!

Heard of Wattpad? It’s Facebook for readers. Over 25 million of ‘em.

I posted the first six (unedited) chapters of the book there this spring to a great response. A month ago, an editor for the service got in touch and asked if the whole story was complete. It was. Then he asked if I’d be interested in FEATURING it on their front page for a month, and at the top of their Featured List for five more, starting this July.

So…it’s a chance to reach thousands (and potentially millions) of new readers who could evangelize the story’s ‘brand’ before it officially launches…but, I’d be giving away the first book for free. Which is a beautiful idea in theory — especially considering the themes of the story — and has the potential to drive more success later thanks to a loyal audience.

Hey, it’s worked before.

Q: What’s the STORY, morning glory? 

Thrills. Chills. Mystery. Drama. Magic. Adventure. Pirates! And CATS!!!

The Shadowland Saga is a story loosely based on actual events – and, more importantly, a series of life-altering dreams – from my childhood in rural Nova Scotia. Curious yet?  Here’s the bittersweet genesis of it all, which inspired one close friend to remark, ‘Jeez, Brooke…that sounds like the origin story of a pre-teen superhero?’  And there was an eerie kinda truth in her words.

The synopsis of the first book in the series, The Cat’s Maw:

In the sleepy town of Appleton, 10yr-old loner Billy Brahm follows a cat onto the road and is struck by a car. His leg is shattered, his summer ruined, and his brief life is changed forever. He returns home from the hospital, and the mysterious cat is waiting for him. That night, dark and prophetic dreams haunt the boy — visions that seem born of an impossible place. Is this strange realm the key to healing his broken body? Is the cat with the golden eyes there to help the boy, or to unleash the nightmares into the waking world?

Too frightened to share the truth with his strict adoptive parents, Billy realizes that the only ones he can turn to are the country vet’s tomboy daughter, the town’s ‘crazy cat lady’, and a robed, tea-drinking mystic from the other side…

The tiger named Tao.

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Q: Why do you NEED money? You’re living it up in Asia!

Interesting story, that…

Last spring, I was called back to Canada to do some narrative design consulting for a big multinational media company that shall remain nameless.  The collaboration was disappointing, to say the least – I was lucky to have my relocation and living costs covered when all was said and done.

Flash forward to last September. I was flown out to Paris for a meeting with another nameless media powerhouse to discuss a major collaboration. Dream gig with dream pay. They made an offer, and I was to receive my relocation and work visa paperwork the following March.  To save money, I had them fly me back to Asia so I could start writing the first book in earnest. At least I could finish that one before my funds and credit dried up, and I embarked on a new life in France…

I didn’t learn until the end of THIS February that someone was hired internally to save money.  Which left me dans la merde. 

Q: What’s your FUNDING GOAL, and what happens if you surpass it?

I’m trying to raise approx 30K for the entire series. As I outline in the video, this will cover:

  • Professional editing
  • Industry-standard layout
  • Original illustrations (cover and interior panels)
  • Audiobooks (talent and engineering)
  • P & P (publishing and promotion)
  • BASIC living expenses

If a miracle happens, and I somehow surpass this goal?  Then every cent would go into top-notch TRANSLATIONS: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and multiple Asian languages. Anywhere that cats and quality children’s literature are loved and appreciated!

Q: Okay…then how much are those LIVING EXPENSES, anyway?

Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and the like have been a godsend.  ‘Oh my Buddha!’ as the locals like to say.  Rents are cheap, food’s even cheaper (especially in the north), and wifi is free and abundant.  And that’s all I really need:

  • I can survive on $500/month.  (single room + 2 meals/day)
  • I can get by on $700/month.  (single room + A/C + meals)
  • I can thrive on $900/month. (room + meals + scooter + beer!)

So, yeah…I’m happy to plunk away on a laptop with a cracked screen and scribble outlines on a 50 cent notepad whilst snacking on local fruit, veg’, and a spicy curry or stir fry per day.

This campaign ain’t about lifestyle, friends – it’s about making a creative dream come true.

Q: What about BROKEN SAINTS? Didn’t you rake in the dough?

Okay — time to set the record straight on this issue once and for all:

  • During the creation of the web series (2000-2003), we self-funded the entire thing.  Fan donations and benefit concerts helped a little, adding approx 15K to our coffers.
  • In late 2004, we were awarded a 250K recoupable grant from Telefilm Canada – meaning that we had to pay it back.  The team swelled from 4 to 40, most working for ‘sweat equity’.  Sales of the original indie DVD barely dented that, PLUS we lost 60K on 2000 copies that fell into a black hole with a bankrupt distributor.
  • A year later, 20th Century Fox Home Video (yes, that FOX) agreed to worldwide distribution for the DVD set. Huzzah!  They gave us a low-mid 6-figure royalty advance, which we used for salaries, legal and licensing, and to pay back the lion’s share of the Telefilm grant.  By 2007, that bank account was a pleasant memory.
  • The DVD set has since sold 90K copies worldwide (not bad for no marketing spend!), but needed to sell – thanks to defective glue on the first run of cases and the classic rules of studio creative accounting (just ask Peter Jackson and friends) – 200K copies to ‘break even’ before they paid out a cent.

Q: Why not get a PUBLISHER ADVANCE like real writers do?

Publishers just aren’t forking out the dough like they used to.

The industry is in shambles, traditional powerhouse pubs in NY and London are tightening their belts and raising the gates, and debut authors (particularly in challenging genres like children’s fiction) are being offered tiny advances with draconian contracts that surrender all control of an original IP to their legal and marketing departments.  The days of Rowling-like success for new writers are over.

The more research I did, particularly surrounding fantasy and mystery/horror stories for young readers, the more I realized that self-publishing was simply the way to go.

Q: What if we’re LIKE YOU — too broke to help?  

That’s okay!  Here are some other great ways you can chip in:

  • Can you pimp the above video with a bit o’ glowing praise? 
  • Can you Tweet, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Reddit, re-blog, and bathroom-wall this post? 
  • Can you Like/Star and comment on the Wattpad chapters? 
  • Can you promise to say something nice on Amazon and Goodreads when the book comes out?  

Seriously, gang…every little bit helps!

Q: Who the hell are you? I ended up here by fluke. What have you DONE?

I hear ya’…we’ve all searched and clicked on questionable stuff before. No judgment here ;)

Scope out the PROJECTS folder if you’re the curious/due-diligence type. Oh, and here are links to two of my projects on Amazon, with a third due later this summer.

Q: How do we know you even like CATS, and aren’t just cashing in on the whole ‘I Can Has Cheezburger/Henri/Grumpy Cat’ thing?

I could explain, but I’ll just let my true love tell you with her eyes:

“He loves them almost TOO much…”

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FIRST DRAFT, HUZZAH!

January 2, 2014

Brooke Burgess

9657128-paw-print

‘Save’ has been pressed.
76,161 words.
345 manuscript pages.
I just wrote a goddamn book.
And now, to sleep.

catman

Of Endings and Enlightenment (RIP)

September 10, 2013

Brooke Burgess

Of Endings and Englightenment
(I’m breaking with formalities and the usual distractions to feature not only a ‘mindful’ side of the creative process – meditation practice – but also to honour one of my most treasured personal influences.   Joanne Telfer passed away in Sept 2008, and I haven’t spoken of it publicly since.  I hope you’ll do me the kindness of enduring this lengthy and somewhat maudlin post for the sincere revelations within.   Many thanks, BB)

 

This hurts.  

So much so that I don’t want to be here anymore. 
 
All I can think is that I’d rather be with you.  Wherever that is.
You’d probably just mock me, and call it a ‘cop-out’.
 
I haven’t suffered anything compared to you.
 
But you only need to see it once, remember?

You only need to know that it’s real…

 

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It seemed like a grand idea at the time.  Self-discovery!  Personal improvement!  Spiritual progression!  Ten days at a remote Buddhist retreat in southeast Thailand.  Eighteen hours each day to focus on ‘mindfulness’, in whatever task was assigned.

The wake-up bell at 4AM.  Using candlelight to wash and dress oneself.   Bare feet on cold, wet grass.  Orion’s jewelled belt pointing the way through the jungle from a sky made of black velvet.

The sexes sit on opposite sides of the sand-floored sala.  This divide persists for the duration.  Separate dorms.  Dining areas. Walking paths.  Eye contact is discouraged.  A deeper, deafening silence.

And then the day truly begins…

CATS and BACON: A Lesson in ‘Virality’

July 10, 2013

Brooke Burgess

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(** The lesson here?  Must find organic way to leverage bacon for the book series!**)

‘BECOMING’ to Premiere at SDCC this week!!!

July 9, 2012

Brooke Burgess

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If you’re one of the lucky ‘few’ (ie: 180,000 genre fans and professionals) making the pilgrimage to San Diego this week for Comic Con, be sure to drop by Booth # 2415 and scope out the advance release of my new graphic novel:  BECOMING.

96 Pages.  Two years in the making.  And only 50 copies available!!!

After the big show, Arcana will be releasing the book digitally (for tablets and mobiles) in three acts between August and November, with print versions hitting Amazon and major retailers before Thanksgiving.  So be sure to watch this space for the latest scoops, interviews, and reviews from around the WWW, and spread the good word :)

Getting ‘Personal’…

June 23, 2012

Brooke Burgess

BBSite-Logo

These days, those ‘in the know’ say that it’s all about establishing your personal brand.  That potential partners and collaborators and clients need to know who you are, what you do, and where you stand professionally.   And this ‘you-ness’ needs to be infused in everything you touch:  your website, logos and imagery, promo materials, and especially your work.

And, as you can see from the shot above (and my url), I’m down with that*.  There’s nothing wrong with a little self-pimping, as long as it’s aligned with the spirit of one’s services and skills.  At the same time, I also believe that it’s okay to blur the lines between business and personality – hence ‘personal brand’.  By exposing different facets of yourself, you improve the chance of connecting on more (and perhaps deeper) levels with potential partners.  Which can only lead to a more satisfying relationship long-term, with fewer creative clashes and unpleasant surprises in the cards.

That’s why I’m not exactly shy with the social media presence.  Do I compartmentalize?  Absolutely.  But it’s not like the Facebook timeline is hidden (even if I do go on regular extended ‘hiatuses’).  And Twitter‘s out there for everyone to see, where I showcase my love of weird film/TV, mixed martial arts, and naughty comedians with wild abandon.  Which ties into a not-so-secret Tumblr feed, chock full of candid pics, short stories, and the occasional NSFW animated GIF.  And that page has been known to feature late-night ‘confessionals’ and small video experiments from my YouTube channel.

We all have so many sides to ourselves.  Combined, these tell our story.  And just like the transmedia principles I work with, I believe that the more we’re willing to share of ourselves – the more facets we cut, polish, and shed light upon – the more we’re able to shine.

* Logo/imagery created by (the Great) Dane Cypel.  MacBook/iPhone skins by Gelaskins.  Bizzy cards by MOO.

GREY SEAL: An Indie Graphic Novel Project that Deserves Your Attention!

May 8, 2012

Brooke Burgess

Calling all (fellow) geeks!

Above you’ll find the Indiegogo video pitch for my friend Nastasha Baron’s graphic novel GREY SEAL.  This talented local producer is finally pulling back the curtain and letting everyone in on what’s been brewing for many months now.  I’ve been following developments since the early days, and offered some narrative and branding advice where appropriate; now, they’re more than half finished the 5-issue epic, but really need our help to complete the saga and share it with the world.

Click here for all the juicy info, and please SHARE the fundraising campaign with your friends and networks.  This is a true passion project for Nastasha, and the story’s themes touch on exciting territory that fans of FRINGE, PROMETHEUS, and GRAHAM HANCOCK (Fingerprints of the Gods) can really sink their teeth into.

Thanks in advance for your help, and stay tuned to this space for regular updates concerning Grey Seal and its transmedia evolution!

Warrior…Cripple…Alien?

GREEN LANTERN (TCS)

May 3, 2012

Brooke Burgess

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Welcome to the latest instalment in my new Transmedia Case Study series, where we examine the triumphs and epic fails in executing a Big Media property across multiple platforms.   In the inaugural feature, we were treated to an example of transmedia done right – so now it only makes sense to balance the scales and give perspective on how an intellectual property (IP) rich with potential can both fall flat, and miss out on some major TM opportunities…

For me, this was a heartbreaker.  I’ve made no secret for my love of all things GREEN LANTERN. I was raised on the character, weaned on the socially conscious Lantern/Arrow era of the 70s, and the goofy Challenge of the Superfriends show in the early 80s:

I’d never be a tortured billionaire playboy.  The odds of being bitten by a radioactive insect in the Big Apple were astronomically against.   And, though adopted, I’m pretty sure my cultural roots don’t reach across the stars to the House of El.

But I had willpower…and the potential to overcome great fear…and dreams of being a part something greater than myself.

It appears I wasn’t alone.

Read more

I AM LEGEND

WORK
iamlegend

TIMELINE:  2007

PLATFORM(S):  Web, Mobile

GENRE:  Animation / Motion Comic

CLIENT:  Warner Premiere (WB)

Contracted to helm 4 animated short films for Warner Bros and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment to promote the $200M sci-fi feature online, and support the mobile and home video campaigns.

  • Overall creative direction/consulting
  • Sound Design and Soundtrack direction
  • Casting and ADR Direction
  • Worked within tight schedules, budgets, and production parameters set out by partners at The Sequence Group.

SAMPLE 1

 

ILLUMINATED

WORK
01-Illuminated

TIMELINE:  2007-2008

PLATFORM(S):  Web, TV/Film Treatment

GENRE:  Animation (sci-fi fantasy)

CLIENT:  Illuminated LLC

Narrative and character consultation for an original animated IP being designed for transmedia implementation on web, mobile, TV, and feature film platforms.  Targeted as an international co-production, with a core demographic similar to that of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Collaborating with heavy-hitter creatives from the Pod Collective, ConceptArt.org, and GNN, I was tasked with crafting the original character and multi-season outlines, episodic structure, and streamlined animated film narrative arc.

CLICK HERE FOR TRAILER and more info.

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