When Jim French Productions, Inc. closed its doors in 2017 the majority of the people who worked with the company over the years set out in different directions. Every now and then we've created a few new "Imagination Theatre" shows but we have never really been "back."
And, of course, with the passing of Jim in December of 2017 most of us thought, "That's it. Except for the contractual things that need to be done, it's the end of an era."
But, the call of home is strong and the calls from people wanting more Harry Nile and Sherlock Holmes in addition to other offerings by Imagination Theatre have convinced us that – despite the loss of our founder and patron, Jim French – it's not the end of an era.
It's actually the beginning of a new start with an incredibly sound foundation and the need to create new shows. But in order to do it we need your help.
Thus the GoFundMe campaign titled From Jim French Productions to Aural Vision LLC.
The Story so far:
Holmes and Watson are back and adding a new layer to their involvement with Jim French Productions, Inc. They will now be producers operating under the name of "Aural Visions, LLC" while still offering Jim French Productions, Inc. shows.
New shows will be produced under Aural Visions, LLC providing all the high quality Jim French Productions aesthetics appreciated by Jim's fans; from the acting to the production values to the writing, albeit without Jim's contributions. In addition, all the old Jim French Productions products will be administered by Aural Vision but under the Jim French Productions brand and there will be plenty of referencing JFP.
Jim left a legacy that shouldn't – and can't – be forgotten.
The People involved are:
Heads of production and owners:
Lawrence "Larry" Albert (the voice of Harry Nile and Dr. John H. Watson). In addition to his acting duties Larry was production manager, producer, director and sound mixer at Jim French Productions for 20 years before the company closed. Even before working for Jim he was active in audio drama and has been a lifelong promoter of it.
John Patrick Lowrie (The Voice of Sherlock Holmes and dozens of others). In addition to acting John brought his considerable directing skills to many productions, especially the Sherlock Holmes series. John is also known in the gaming world as "The Sniper" in the game Team Fortress 2, as well as many characters in over two dozen other video games.
Matthew Elliott returns as our Head Writer. Through the years at Jim French Productions Matthew lent his pen to Harry Nile, Hilary Caine (his own creation) and both the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doyle's classic Sherlock stories. He single-handedly adapted the full canon of Sherlock Holmes stories and books, allowing JRF to be one of only two companies that have produced the complete canon adapted for Audio Drama. The other company was the BBC.
Sable Jak has been asked to reprise her role as Staff Writer. Sable penned many Harry Niles over the twelve years she was with Jim French Productions and wrote the first Harry Nile Serial "You Shouldn't Detour off Route 66." In addition, her serial "The Amber Room Hunters" was produced by us and several shorts and stand alone stories. We're looking to produce her award winning 5-part serial: A Dear Dudley Mystery: Cottage for Rent: Body Optional." And, we're hoping to turn it into a new series.
And, of course, we are open to submittals by other audio drama writers.
You can look forward to hearing the wonderful work of Dennis Bateman, Jay Green, Andee Albert, Mary Kay Irwin, Ellen McLain, David Natale and all the incredible actors that brought characters and stories to life. Of course we're looking for new talent to present to you, too.
The above are the people involved, but in order to produce new shows consistently we need more than people, we need studios and equipment and the one thing that brings that all together is money.
Funding to Date:
From 2017 to the present generous individuals have funded two Harry Nile shows and an episode of another show. The Jim French Productions contract with Kirkland Performance Center was in place before Jim passed away and as a result we were able to produce several Harry Nile Shows and the Holmes mini-series "The Autumn of Terror."
But getting money here and there and recording only occasionally will not allow us to produce a weekly show, and that’s what we need to do if we’re to stay viable in today’s market.
The New Funding:
Ideally we would like to be able to sit down, look at our bankbook and schedule shows for recording. We need money for studio fees, talent (actors, writers, engineers, sound design, music etc) and incidentals such as script copies, postage and supplies. Not to mention the odd cup of coffee.
Aural Visions will create new shows and curate the old Jim French Productions shows. All new shows will be set up for purchase by download from a new website. Whether or not there will be CDs will depend on customer demand and feedback.
In short, we need money in the bank in order to get the business up and running.
We’re hoping to raise $15,000.00 in this campaign. With that amount we can plan for 10-12 new shows over the next year. With the eight shows already slotted for production at our live performances at Kirkland Performance Center, we will have a respectable season of twenty shows for broadcast.
Harry Nile stories, Sherlock stories, a few Movies for Your Mind and a new series or two. The more funding we get the more we can do so, yes, we do have tentative plans for a stretch fund if it looks like it might be possible.
A Little History of Jim French Productions and the man behind it:
For decades after the demise of the Golden Age of audio drama Jim French still produced commercial audio drama for radio stations in Seattle. When he retired from radio he created Jim French Productions, Inc. and continued producing Harry Nile (his flagship private detective series) adding other stories and eventually Sherlock Holmes episodes to his repertoire. As an AFTRA union signatory (now SAG-AFTRA) he was able to draw on some of the finest professional acting talent around.
Through the years he continued producing and eventually began to see a resurgence in audio drama on podcasts and internet radio, however he remained one of the few commercial audio drama companies still playing in syndication across the nation. Unfortunately this doesn't necessarily provide the funds needed to run smoothly. In order to maintain his artistic standards Jim actually funded a percentage of the company himself.
Jim's health began to fail after the passing of his wife Pat (his partner in audio drama and the original "Murphy" in the Harry Nile series) and the decision was made to close the company in early 2017. In December of 2017 Jim passed away. Contracts needed to be fulfilled and continued on but the business was shuttered. Family members all had their own lives and keeping the company going was not in any of their plans.
But the fans never gave up and even though very few new shows were being made, new fans kept showing up.
Our shows will still play on the radio and the youtube channel and will be available for purchase through the website via download. In addition we hope that the sale of the shows will help fund more shows so that we don't have to rely on GofundMe campaigns in the future.
We'll present updates as we go along.
We do plan on offering little "perks" to those of you who contribute to the campaign and Larry and John are hard at work coming up with some ideas. You'll see more in upcoming weeks.
Ideally we would like to close our funding on August 1, 2019.
Please share our GoFundMe Campaign with friends, family, fans and anyone you think might like to lend a hand.