For awhile now, this "Mrs. Duck Updates" has lived in our online Poetry Journal here at KotaPress. But this Nov/Dec 03 issue is the last for Poetry Journal -- SOOO the "Mrs. Duck Updates" will be finding a new how in their own "Mrs. Duck" section when we launch a new, revised KotaPress site for January 2004. Check us out there...
So much has happened this month! The Adobe Premiere and another animation software arrived. Plus Hawk has versions of other animation pipeline tools that he's been using in the past for this new endeavor. So on the technical side, he's got plenty on his plate and some steep learning curves for the new packages.
We finally sent the (rather lame) first version of the screenplay on to Ms. Heather Scarlett Arnet :) and had a phone conference with her to get started. I (Kara) fleshed out some of the back story for Heather and Hawk so they had some more information about Mrs. Duck and Mrs. Woman to work into their visions of the story and animation. And I'm sure there will be more phone conferences as we hammer out vision, screenplay format, dialogue, etc.
We came across an online diary from another 3D animator who posted over the course of several years about his own process. Some helpful technical hints have come from him. And he has given us some great insights into film festivals and other "asking for help" ideas! As Hawk has been saying, "This online diary is a gold mine!" :)
I (Kara) have finally revisited the original book. While I did only did new layout formats on the story itself, I have been steadily adding "resource" articles to the second half of the book to make it a more valuable educational tool for bereaved parents and caregivers alike. It is over 100 pages now!!! Yikes! And there are still a few more articles I'd like to add. While I thought I would do that section of the book in parts, like "for parents" and "for caregivers", or some other categories, I was shocked to discover a different path for this section. As I dug through my past writings, I realized that they work most powerfully in chronological order. My writing about "The Death of a Child is Devastating" is in a very different voice than the pieces I'm writing today about going through the 5th holiday season without my son. And I think there is something to be said for the voice of grief as it unfolds over time. Anyway, I still have copies of the original duck book here in stock, so this new version probably won't go to print for awhile. The new edition release will depend on $s available, too. We'll just have to see how it goes.
And lastly, we've been looking around us on our little island of Vashon and been amazed at the true sense of community here. We've been looking at all the ways we've jumped into other people's projects and helped out. And we've been thinking about how we might open up the Duck to let some of the amazing talent on this island be a part of this journey. The first idea Hawk had was to open the voice talent need to a contest. Hold a local contest to find the right voices for Mrs. Duck and Mrs. Woman. Maybe host a live reading with the "winners" after they picked and before we hit studio -- as a fundraiser for being able to afford the studio time! Hmmm?? I don't know. Again, we'll see how it all unfolds.
So, that's this month. Check back in November for more...Miracles to you!!
-Kara & Hawk Jones
We're still working on gathering an overwhelming amount of information about this project we've undertaken! Adrienne Wehr has so gracefully and openly shared of her time and expertise in the film world. We wish we had a million dollars with which to repay her for her generosity. She gave us many resources of information to work with in terms of creating ways to present our film project and get it going.
We have to thank Oma for being our first major sponsor! Because of her, we have been able to invest in the first major software tools we need to bring our animation ideas to life. We have a steep learning curve in front of us immediately now, but we are grateful for the challenge.
We got our first research book this month: The Ultimate Guide to Film Festivals. :) WOW! There are a *lot* of festivals out there. As we're looking at the book, I'm also reading online about the Toronto and Venice Film Fests. Who knows -- maybe we'll see you there in a few years??
Heather Scarlett Arnet had previously agreed to do the screenplay of the animation with me (Kara), and I'm thrilled to say she has also agreed to help me pull out the writings of the animation that we might use in the documentary footage. These will be the ideas we'll base the education and trainings on as well. I am so grateful for her perspective and eyes :) She has enough distance from the material, but a tremendous sensitivity, that I think her wisdoms can only enhance this project!
And this month, I want to thank Adrienne Edmonson for just connecting with me on an artistic level and helping me look some of my fears in the face straight on as we move through this 2 to 5 year project!! Her help in terms of artistry, but also in terms of the business of our art, is just proving to be tremendous. Maybe, too, it's the deadline of having things ready to show her every Tuesday! :) Whatever the trick is, it is working -- for this, I thank you, A!!
We'll have more news next month, so check back then. And as always, if you have expertise, software, money, connection, or anything you'd like to lend to the project, please be in touch!!! We will be needing many hands to bring this all to fruition!!!
-Kara & Hawk Jones
Just wanted to give everyone an update about the Mrs. Duck Project. When this started four years ago, after the death of our son, I had simply written a little story and wanted to share it with other bereaved parents. Many things have evolved for us since then.
Over 1,000 copies of the book have been given away free to bereaved families. Several more hundred have been sold to various readers who wished to support our work by purchasing the book. We've had millions of hit on our website where we offer the book in free ebook and Flash animation versions. We've heard from parents, grandparents, RNs, OBs, midwives, grief therapists and many more about the impact this little book has had on them. We are grateful for every single word of feedback!
Now, in 2003, we have updates about the Mrs. Duck Project:
-We've sadly learned that more than 29,000 families per year in the U.S. alone suffer the death of a child to stillbirth. Over 120,000 children die every year in the U.S. -- and 70% of those children are under a year old (as noted from the MISS Foundation). And the worldwide count in addition to the number of miscarriages (not included in the numbers above), well, the numbers of deaths just rise exponentially. We've decided that we like to progress the Mrs. Duck Project to offer outreach to any and all of these families. While the story will remain the same, we will be expanding the book to include a support article or two, along with resources for finding online and off-line support after the death of a child, regardless of circumstances. We hope to make this edition of the book available by 2004.
-We are honored to have had the generosity of time and expertise from Carla Hoffman, Nicole Maxwell, and Magdalena Arze Maxwell as they traslated the story for us into the Spanish!! Again we hope to have the Spanish edition available by 2004.
-We are thrilled to announce that we are partnering with the MISS Foundation to create a film version of the story along with a documentary. The book will be expanded to be used as a healing tool with the film. We've got some homework to do to layout the plan for the project, to get the grant writer fully on board, but we're off and running. We're also excited to announce that Heather Scarlett Arnet has agreed to do the screenplay of the story with us as well. Lots of exciting things happening.
-As always if you are able to support the project through the donation of money or time or expertise, we'd be thrilled to talk with you. For all of you who are so generously offering these things already, we are most grateful!
Kara L.C. Jones