Voice recording our apps

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Yesterday we voice recorded two of our storybook apps – “A Shark Knocked on the Door” and “Maggie Is Afraid of Monsters”. We were super lucky to find two fantastic voice actors – a boy named Donovan for Shark, and Jessica Rau (@JessicaRauVoice) who narrated Maggie and a few more voices and “efforts” (vocal sound effects) for Shark and “Jacob the Gibberish Machine.” They were both total pros — I don’t know what I expected from this voice-casting adventure, but between our excellent unnamed voice talent producer and these actors, we couldn’t be happier. They totally brought the characters and stories to life, and were so friendly and good at what they do. It’s such a pleasure to work with professionals.

Tonight we’re planning to record “Mr. Cupcake Has The Sprinkles” and “Jacob the Gibberish Machine” with two more fantastic talents, and we have a plan to make Mr. Cupcake extra funny with some silly, goofy voices.

The other news is that the spanish translations are in, so Josh is finalizing the Read To Me en espanol option on the apps. One problem: there’s no spanish word for “sprinkles”, so “Mr. Cupcake Has The Sprinkles” is now “Mr. Cupcake Tiene Luces de Azucar Brilliante.” Language is fun.

We’re not far off — we can see the app store finish line!

Mighty Yeti Stuffed Felt Toy

Mighty Yeti stuffed felt toy

We’re gearing up to do a Kickstarter at the end of January for our interactive storybook apps, and around here we’ve been talking a lot about what to reward people with at certain price levels.  A lot of our ideas are the same as other artists offer:  books, posters, t-shirts.  And our books, posters and t-shirts are really cool!  But we wanted to do something fun that pretty much nobody else would have.  So I bring you:

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stuff-Mighty-Yeti-felt-toy-01-midThe Mighty Yeti stuffed felt toy

We think he’s pretty cute, and he’s charmingly handmade, and we think both adults and kids alike will really dig him.  Look for him in the rewards section of our Kickstarter when it’s live!  We’ll be telling you much more about it soon.

Storybook apps, explained.

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Sometimes when you’re doing creative things, whether it’s writing a book or a play or designing a product you think will solve people’s problems, what might be very clear to you about what you’re doing is often not so clear to others.  

Just so that doesn’t happen with our storybook apps, I thought I’d explain what storybook apps are and how they work.  Just because we’re making them and we’re immersed in the world of them doesn’t mean all of you will necessarily know how they look and operate if you haven’t used one yourself.

The best way to describe a storybook app is to compare it to a regular children’s picture book, the kind you’d buy at Barnes & Noble or Amazon or Costco.  A storybook app has cover art, and pages, and compelling characters, and a great story, and a beginning, middle, and end, just like the children’s book you’d buy in a store.  The big differences are:

#1 It is digital instead of being made of paper, meaning it is on a screen, in full color, with the same kinds of illustrations you’d see in a physical book.

#2 You buy it online from a digital store like Apple’s App Store, or the Kindle store, or in the Android store.

#3 You read it on your tablet, something like an iPad or an iPhone or a Kindle or Nook.

#4 When you touch certain drawings on the screen, they will move and be “interactive” – make noises, talk, or move.

#5 You’ll turn the pages by hitting an arrow key, or swiping your finger on the screen from right to left.

#6 Our storybook app will have a narrated option, and read to you in English and Spanish if you choose for it to do so.

#7 A hardback children’s book costs between $15 and $20, and ours will cost between $3 and $4.

In a nutshell, a storybook app is just an interactive digital children’s book.  And we’re going to bring you some really good ones.