Fellow Kickstarters

The very first people I thanked in the acknowledgements page of A Horse With Wings were fellow Kickstarter project creators Cory Silverberg, Jordan Stratford, Ross Williams, and Peter Friedrich. Not only do these guys know how much hard work campaigning can be, but they helped me out so much, even spreading the word about KinderBard among their own backers.

Also, you may know that our KinderBard campaign signed up for Kicking It Forward, where successful project creators pledge to put 5% of their finished product profits back into other projects. And although it’s a long way until I’m likely to see any profits from this venture, I haven’t stopped pledging funds to other worthy projects I’ve discovered.

So I just wanted to quickly tell you about the two most recent projects I backed, both of whose project creators I have since been in personal touch with.

Romeo & Juliet: A Puppet Music Video not only has one of the most entertaining introductory videos you’ll ever see, but its creator, Dan Ring (Harvard grad, composer and musician) aims to create original music and videos featuring puppets to introduce kids to Shakespeare’s work, and he’s going to make these works available for free! I haven’t told Dan this yet, but I’m secretly hoping that we might be able to team up with him and his puppeting talent for some of KinderBard volume 2!

To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure is a chooseable-path adventure version of Hamlet, with truly amazing art and artists (I’m wondering if Sohyun may be asked to contribute?) where you can choose your character and decide your own fate! It’s all so self-empowering, and personally, I can’t wait to receive my Kickstarter-exclusive prequel mini-adventure called Poor Yorick!

We have the proof!

We’re so sorry about the delay!  We know the estimated delivery for your rewards was October, but we’ve had a few small hiccups (superstorm Sandy caused our publisher to be without power for several days…!) and we just wanted to tell you that our book (and music) will go on sale in just a couple more weeks now!

We just received the proof copy, and a few minor changes will be implemented after the weekend, after which it’s off to the printer!

I’ll be sending most of our backers a Kickstarter mail very shortly, requesting information (which ebook format you prefer, for example, or your physical address if applicable) so please watch out for that and send your replies back to us so that you can all receive your well-deserved rewards as soon as they are ready!

Oh, and one last thing. After much discussion with others and amongst ourselves, we have decided to delay the release of the app until next year. There’s already been a lot of buzz surrounding the release of our book and music, and we have promotional events and marketing opportunities scheduled, and we wanted to build up awareness of our product and brand before unleashing the power of our flagship app. We assure you though that it’s coming, it will be so full of features and really fun to play with, and those of you who are in line to receive it will be the first to get it…!

More news to come in the lead up to our products’ release… Thank you all so much again!

Los Angeles

We’re back.

Yes, it was a sudden decision, but one to which we gave a lot of careful thought, and one we made with a heavy heart.  We have moved back to LA.

Our KinderBard products will begin to be released very soon, and with such events comes the responsibility to market – we plan to attend the annual convention of theNational Council of Teachers of English in Las Vegas in November, the American Library Association conference in Seattle in January, and more, and for that we have had to give up our Parisian dream.

We arrived last Friday, 3 days ago, and my iMac arrived just now via DHL, so here I am, writing this in the late autumn heat.  Can’t wait to catch up with all our family and friends here.  Meanwhile, here’s to continuing exciting developments on the business front, and thanks again for all your love and support.

Watch this space for more news!

Robert Young

Hello everyone, I’d like to introduce you to Robert Young. Not only is he a fellow backer of our KinderBard Project, but as Director of Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library he oversaw and made invaluable contributions in the final stages of the making of our book. Finally, he honoured us with a very special foreword and we are so thrilled to make this announcement to you. We really feel that our small family project has gone legit!

Thank you to Robert, and thank you to all our backers for your feedback about our cover and the title of our book. Here’s what it’s going to look like – we have now sent everything to our publisher and you’ll all receive your copies as soon as it’s printed!

We’re back!

We’re back in Paris, after two months of hibernation in England, during which we reached the final stages of our KinderBard project, and even found time for a pilgrimage to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace…

(By the way, how cool is it that Bob Dylan is releasing his new album next month to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his debut, and he’s calling this one: Tempest?)

I mention Bob Dylan because for me, he’s my other Bard, and you’ll see his influence in our song sung by Caliban (yes, coincidentally from The Tempest), which I wrote in an angry protest folk song style. We’ve already recorded the guitar (performed by the wonderful Olivier Villaudy) but we really wanted to add a harmonica, and a wonderful harmonica player returns to Paris from touring in early September, and we’ve booked him to come into the studio as soon as he returns.

Thereafter, we’re all set for our mastering session on September 3, after which all that’s left is to consolidate all our materials and send them off to the publisher.  Six to eight weeks later, you’ll see the fruits of our labour and your support, at the end of October as scheduled…

Just wanted to keep you in the loop!

Our English Summer

Our family has been spending the summer in my wonderfully generous uncle and aunt’s house in the English countryside, working hard on our project, and we’re very much on schedule…

My wife has been extremely productive, creating illustrations for each of the sixteen songs that will comprise KinderBard Volume 1, and I just have a few final touches to go on the music production side back in Paris at the end of the month.

So I’ve been able to take a good break after the craziness that was the Kickstarter campaign, spending lots of time with the children, trying to leave their mother in peace to work in her little study with a lovely view of the back garden – very inspiring, as you can see from the photo!

I have also been contributing to the Englishness of our project in a unique culinary way, by taking on most of the cooking duties, and feeding my wife lots of roast, bangers and mash, baked beans, shepherd’s pie, Yorkshire pudding, apple pie, rhubarb crumble and custard, scones, and even kedgeree.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know how it’s going – we’re just quietly plugging away, and we promise to update you if anything really exciting happens!

  • Last Day in Studio
  • Last Day in Studio

Happy Summer Holiday!

Congratulations to Sherman who today recorded the last of her songs for our as yet untitled KinderBard volume 1 album. Now she can have a great summer break in England – she deserves it!

Marketing Shakespeare on Social Media

As some of you may know, I did not even have a Facebook account until two months ago. And now I have a fully functioning fanpage, a decent number of followers both on that page and on Twitter, and I’ve been known to dabble in a bit of Tumbling, Klouting, and even Pinteresting…

I have learned so much in such a short time about the power of social media – so much so, in fact, that I’m thinking of making posts about social media a part of my repertoire here on my own blog! It’s also partly because I’ve noticed that, for example, people on Twitter like to be linked to articles about how to Tweet (!). Just like movies about making movies, or sonnets about sonnets, then… (“So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, / So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”)

Most pertinently, I’ve learned about the power of blogging networks, and how a collective (of mommy bloggers, for example – many of whom have been so kind about our KinderBard project and have written and tweeted about it, and even put their money where their mouth is) can create an unbelievable momentum which can be crucial in marketing. And although I’ve known about Twitter parties and even taken part in some (great ones hosted by the wonderful Kat Meyer at O’Reilly Media), I had never before really considered co-hosting one, which would be an amazing way to reach out to people about how this project started, how my daughter became my creative partner, and how Shakespeare enriched our lives even before enriching others’.

So I’ve taken one very small step. I’ve decided to also put my money where my mouth is, and to put aside part of my budget (whether the Kickstarter campaign succeeds or fails – although if it fails, it will just take longer to save up from our personal income to afford the services of a great host) for some of the amazing women out there who do great work in harnessing groups with similar interests and similar life goals and creating a symbiotic relationship between business and consumer, between dreamer and parent.

Song List

We had a a rehearsal yesterday with our principal singers (they were both 4-year-olds, but yesterday Sherman turned five – the rehearsal took place after her birthday party…!) and we are so very excited for our upcoming studio session on Saturday, when we will be recording two of the most challenging songs, emotionally. They are “Alas, Poor Yorick” sung of course by Hamlet (Sohyun’s and Sherman’s favourite of all my songs so far), and “Butterflies” sung by Achilles from Troilus and Cressida, my personal favourite mostly because I think the structure and the lyrics are very elegant.

We have a feeling Julian’s going to be amazing!

So while we’re talking about songs, I thought I’d just note here the shortlist of all the songs we think will be in the album, Volume 1 of KinderBard: songs for children etc. etc. Many of you will have seen this list on our Kickstarter page, but I wanted to have it here too for posterity.

I Don’t Know What to Say sung by Cordelia from King Lear

It’s Not My Fault sung by Caliban from The Tempest

One Thing I Can’t Catch sung by Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Dirty Laundry sung by Falstaff from The Merry Wives of Windsor

I’m Going to Make You Love Me sung by Petruchio & Katherina from The Taming of the Shrew

You Treat Me Like a Football sung by Dromio of Ephesus from Comedy of Errors

A Horse with Wings sung by Imogen from Cymbeline

Alas, Poor Yorick sung by Hamlet from Hamlet

Crocodile Tears sung by Queen Margaret from Henry VI, part 2

What Is This Thing I Found? sung by the Old Shepherd & Perdita from The Winter’s Tale

Butterflies sung by Achilles from Troilus and Cressida

It’s Just a Name sung by Juliet from Romeo and Juliet

Smelly Dog sung by Launce from Two Gentlemen of Verona

I Don’t Like You, Really sung by Benedick & Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing

Let’s Pretend (to Be Happy) sung by Rosalind from As You Like It

And here’s the video that originally accompanied this list – a little presentation about our creative process (including a sneak preview of our new song One Thing I Can’t Catch performed by Sherman)

My Least Favourite Tweets

A very sad thing happened to me. With only 5 days left of my precious campaign to bring my children’s songs into the world, I reached out to Amy Lupold Bair, an amazing woman, a former English teacher and mother who runs The Global Influence Network which connects bloggers, and has nearly 40,000 Twitter followers. I wrote her a letter, asking her to consider promoting my campaign a little among her network. Later in the day, I saw this tweet:

So I thought if she just took a moment to see my beautiful daughter singing a song, she might have a change of heart.


But then I was dismayed to discover a retweet by Cindy Dyer, a homeschooling mother, a Christian, and a blogger:

And so I couldn’t help myself (and this part is totally my fault, I admit)…


Which is true. You can check my LinkedIn profile. I really did study Shakespeare. If either of these influential women had done a little research, this might not have had to become ugly, and public. Ugly and public is the last thing I wanted, so I just left it at that. But finally I received this:

BREAKING NEWS. As I was writing this post, I saw this:

MORE BREAKING NEWS. Soon after this, my Twitter account was suspended, just when I need it most, to continue my sorry campaign…