Creative Adventures in Japan

EDIT: Right before we launched this campaign, our house was broken into. Our computers stolen. As writers, this is our livelihood. We were preparing to launch this as a way to raise money for our Youtube channel once we move to Japan. But I'm putting it forward right now, in case any of you want to help us get back on track. Either way, we're going. We have plans in place, all the necessary investments to make it happen. But this is the difference between going with our normal work computers, or going empty handed.

So, if you want to help us out, here it is. You can still sign up for the rewards we're offering. We're not going to let a robbery stop us from our dreams and goals.

And now for the regularly scheduled GoFundMe text:

Since high school, I've wanted to teach in Japan. I missed the opportunity right out of college, and that dream fell by the wayside as my wife and I built our family and careers. I've just received an excellent chance to teach, in a wonderful area that fits in with our budget, and our children are just the perfect ages to learn a second language.

We're going to use this opportunity to create a Youtube channel. Huh?

Creative Adventures
What do we mean by "creative adventures?" If you don't know us, my wife Filamena Young and I are both professional writers and game designers. I'll talk about our specific credits below. We also do other things, though, just not as professionally as we'd like.
The thing about creative careers is, you have to keep building them, so you tend to get pushed into one avenue, to the exclusion of all others. In our cases, we'd really like the freedom to do other things.
For example, Filamena's very much into short form horror films. Creepypastas, urban legends, and Japanese "osoroshii" style stories are a huge thing for her. She'd like to do some of her own. It's hardly a viable market, though. This ties in with her hobby skill of special effects makeup.
Another example, I'm a huge plastic model geek. I build and customize Gundam plastic model kits (gunpla). I've been batting around the idea of doing tutorial videos and other exploratory short films about that. Where I'm moving, I'll be a short train ride to a sixty foot tall Gundam.
Filamena's preparing to do a couple of geek makeup tutorial videos, for things like all-day convention makeup.
So really, what we're trying to do here is branch out, and try different things without worrying too much about neglecting our best known creative work.

It turns out, moving across the international date line isn't cheap. Filamena and I have been getting things in order for a bit now, trying to make that happen. We've lined up a wonderful house that fits our whole family (and a studio!), and is right within our budget (that's HARD near Tokyo, I must say). I've been working three jobs in order to get money where it needs to be for travel. I've lined up a great job for when I arrive, to support our visas.
But there's way more to it than just the travel expenses and initial setup that we're working to cover. The thing is, my job there can't be our only source of income. It'll cover the base necessities, but we'll be tight. We'll have to do other work, from freelance English lessons, to more writing and game design work on the side, to whatever we find.
This will open up our budget, and provide the necessary funds to experiment. For example, we need a good camera. Right now, we could do videos on my smartphone. But in order to make this a thing, we need to make it look professional. I have to get rid of my airbrush and workshop tools for the move, so I'll need to get new ones. Editing software isn't cheap. I'll be building a green screen in our studio. I'd like to procure web space for this project. We'll also need to set aside some time for research. But with multiple jobs and children, we're running into the point where we risk neglecting our children. That's a huge concern since they're going to be in a place where they don't natively speak the language.
If we make more than we're asking for, we can invest in high quality, professional tools. We can promote our work and get it in front of as many eyes as possible. We can turn this from a series of part-time gigs into a career.

The Trip
We're planning on moving early March. Sure, I'm going to be teaching there. Sure, we're going to be giving our children a great opportunity. But we want to integrate this travel into our lifestyle.
First off, on the way out, we're going to take a trip across the country so we can fly out of Los Angeles. We'll likely do a video blog of that trip, for those of you that haven't seen the open roads of the United States.
Second off, once we're there, we plan on documenting our experiences. If we go to a castle, you'll see video and photos. If we hit Akihabara, Shinjuku, or Harajuku, we'll vlog it. During school breaks, we intend on going to Kyoto. We're big Disney fans, so expect some treatment of Tokyo Disneyland.
Third off, we'll be learning and integrating these lessons into our skills. We'll be digging into urban legends, seeking out makeup and film professionals, attending model competitions, and all sorts of other stuff. The idea is, our commitment to creative professionalism means always learning, always improving, and integrating divergent ways others have developed.

The Kids
Life as creative professionals has been exciting and challenging. The funny thing is, as our children watch us work, they want to create projects. So we want to use this opportunity to foster that. Our oldest (six year old) daughter has asked time and again if she can create her own creepypasta videos, and Minecraft actual plays to post online. We've been apprehensive about the idea, but we're warming up to it. Internet media skills could give her some great opportunities down the line. If she gets started now, maybe she'll end up doing something big. So expect some kid-generated content while we're at it. Of course, not everyone wants to hear the mad ramblings of a six year old, so like everything else, this would get its own sub-channel.

We have a lot of plans for the channel. How successful it is determines how many of those plans get to materialize. Here are just a few:
Urban Legends
Japanese RPGs
Language Skills
Teaching Techniques
Raising Children in a Foreign Country
Cultural Misconceptions

Reward Levels
We have reward levels if you want specific input into our process. You don't have to sign up for a reward if you don't want, but still want to help us achieve our dream.
Note that each of these reward levels features a video. If you'd prefer, we could do text and photo based blogging. For example, if you ask for a tutorial, and prefer to look at detailed photos, we can do that.

$25 - Guide Us
At this level, you get to determine a specific episode topic. This has to be something we're already doing. So for example, you might ask Filamena to do a specific makeup or effects tutorial, or you might ask me to do a specific model kit customization lesson based on your favorite 1980s cartoon series. But so long as we're already committed to cover the general topic, you can provide us a specific show idea. We'll cover it, and if you want, we'll name you as the source of said idea.

$100 - By Request Only
With this level, you can ask us to do whatever you'd like, within reason. If we can make it happen, we will. It doesn't have to align with our current channel paths, it can be one-off, weird, or just informational. Do you want advice on visas? Do you want us to talk about teaching a second language? Do you want to see a recipe we've learned since our move? If we can do it, we'll do it. If it's not feasible, we'll tell you. If you want, we'll credit you as the source of the idea in the video.

$250 - Corporate Sponsor
With this level, you get an ad space in every episode we do. We'll call your name out in every episode of the first six months during the credits as being responsible for our channel. This could feature a banner that displays during the episode. As well, we can link to your page in the information section of our videos. Lastly, we will do at least two videos that call out your business or crowdfunding campaign during the beginning of the video, and we'll link to it. This can happen during any month you choose. If you can find a way to get us a product, we'll try to do a clever product placement. But getting it to us is on you. Additional pledges will scale, adding six months and additional call outs.

$500 - Channel Exec
At this level, you get to commission a series from us. If it's feasible, we'll do it. If there's something you've wanted explored in Japan, we'll try to make it happen. Ever want to see Mount Fuji? We can do that. Want to participate in hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in person? We can't do that! But we'll give you videos and panoramic photography. We'll film at least six episodes on the topic.
Note that we'll be in the Chiba/Tokyo area, so extensive travel will likely not be feasible. But we will probably get to make two trips in the first year, one in the summer, and one in the winter. This could influence those trips. If you'd like, we'll credit you in every episode.
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David Hill 
Columbus, OH
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