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From Jim French Productions to Aural Vision LLC

$16,190 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 167 people in 1 month
We're Baaaaaaackckckckckck

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.

Writing Staff:

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.

Actors:

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.
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Last week we recorded episode #5 of our limited police procedural series “Phoenix Rising” starring Caitlin Frances as Dena Rising. When Jim French closed we though that we’d never see this character again but because of your folks she’s back. Created and written by Curtis Takahashi, he of the many bowling shirts, this series has a different slant than our others in that the police are take the lead in the investigations as in real life . The setting is the modern day Maricopa County Sheriff’s department and modern day life almost derailed the session for the episode. Sadly recording studios can keep out any sound except for the heavy vibrations of road paving equipment. Felt like we were in a mix master at several points. We made it through and the new show will broadcast in October of this year.
I’m in the process now of setting up a session to lay down tracks for a new Sherlock Holmes tale and last week we received a new Harry Nile script from M. J. Elliott and all this is possible because of the generosity of all you. Thanks
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Hi, everyone –

Well, we were hoping to make our goal in three months and we’ve surpassed it in six weeks. To say that we are overwhelmed with gratitude is not nearly enough. Your support, both verbal and financial, has enabled Jim French’s Imagination Theater to outlive its storied founder and return to the airwaves with more great drama, mystery, comedy and suspense. Larry and I know that we have the actors, writers and engineers to maintain Jim’s high standards and we are determined to do just that. The fact that we are able to continue Jim’s great work at all is completely due to you.

We have decided to leave the campaign up for the full duration of its original run time, that is, for another six weeks, just so everyone who wants to contribute and hasn’t had a chance to yet will have that opportunity. At this point we are fully financed for the 2019-2020 season, so any further funds we raise will help us build a nest egg to start production on the 2020-2021 season.

We are in the process right now of putting together a new web page where you will be able to purchase episodes just like you used to on the old web site and we’ll let you know when that is up and ready to use. We have quite a few new episodes to offer you! And we are already producing new shows to be aired in this year’s season starting in October.

Thank you so much for helping us transition from Jim French Productions to our new incarnation as Aural Vision LLC. We still have the same talented people who worked with Jim for so many years and I know, somewhere, we have Jim, himself, smiling down on us as we continue his work.

Thank you for loving audio drama as much as we do. Thank you for everything.

John & Larry
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Wow folks we’ve come a long way in a month, or to be more specific you’ve come a long way. We’re so close and it’s all be cause of your faith and desire to hear quality entertainment. Your faith that we will deliver what we’ve promised and your desire to hear the same high level of programming that you learned to expect from the people associated with these projected productions. Because of you John Patrick Lowrie, Cynthia Lauren Tewes and Andee Albert were in rehearsal today for the first episode of the new limited series “Murder and the Murdochs.” Because of your generosity Larry Albert and Caitlan Frances along with others will be recording a new episode of “Phoenix Rising” next week at the Jack Straw Cultural Center. And because of you we have been able to plan a complete 23rd season for Jim French’s Imagination Theater. Yep we’re almost there, but not quite.

“What, are you asking for even more money? Man some of us have bills to pay and families to take care of not to mention our cable bills.” Well, the answer is a short and honest yes. Everything we’ve talked about will happen however; its successful completion is based on the original amount we asked for when we started the campaign. The only monies going to John or Larry is what they earn as actors and directors, no one is taking any kind of a salary. Your donations go toward production and operating fees only. The goal is so close and there is still time to tell fans of professional full cast audio drama of what we’ve done and what we want to do. And here’s a promise, this campaign has been set up to run into August, why? Simple, we thought it would take that long to raise the money. Obviously we were wrong… we hope. But any money that comes in that may take over the original amount will be put to use preparing a hoped for 24th season of the show, and you can take that to the bank. Thanks
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One of the hope we have is to offer something new if we can reach our goal. Because we’re close we’ve decided to take a chance and go ahead and produce two trial episodes of a new limited series “Murder and the Murdoch’s” written by the apparently all endlessly imaginative Matthew Elliott, but let’s have him explain the idea:

From Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man movies, through Maddie Hayes and David Addison in Moonlighting, to, most recently, the long-running series Castle, the blending of mystery with wisecracking comedy has long been a great American tradition.
With Murder and the Murdochs, this popular style of crime drama comes to Imagination Theater, but with a unique twist: the two protagonists aren't involved in an on-off romantic relationship. Max and Piper Murdoch are mother and daughter, and their history goes beyond complicated.
I've long wanted to write something specifically for the insanely-talented Andee Albert, and I can't wait to hear her play Piper, a flaky, goofy, sharp-as-a-tack and vague-as-fog New York P.I. who has spent most of her professional life avoiding doing anything professional.
My original idea was to team Piper up with her estranged father, but Larry Albert - Imagination Theater's Harry Nile and Dr Watson - suggested that a mother/daughter relationship would be way more interesting, and boy was he right. I'm beyond excited that we have TV royalty in the form of Cynthia Lauren Tewes - Julie McCoy on The Love Boat - as Maxine Murdoch, a hard-as-nails head of her own detective agency, who's prepared to go to any lengths to make things right with the daughter she's hardly seen in two decades. When Max walks back into Piper's life, she doesn't exactly receive a warm welcome. The big question is, can they solve crimes together without killing each other first? I really hope you enjoy discovering these fascinating, quirky new characters in Imagination Theater's latest show!
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$16,190 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 167 people in 1 month
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