The "Sean Reads Aloud" Series

$5,680 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 157 people in 38 months
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Sean Reads Aloud

Hello and Welcome to my, "Sean Reads Aloud" book series campaign!!!

I love to read. In fact, reading aloud is one of the most fun and rewarding activities ever.

We are raising money to create a formal, subscription based series of readings (Childrens literature, Science Fiction, Biographies, etc.). To begin, all of the books will be in the Public Domain. The initial money is to cover all of the technical costs associated with creating this material. A good portion of the proceeds from the subscriptions combined with the money you designate with your contribution, will be put toward the Sean and Christine Astin designated literacy charity or program.

Our goal is to begin with a base of 300 subscribers and we are well on our way.

My undergraduate degrees in History and English have been gathering dust. I’ve longed to find an audience that would wander with me through a series of books. I want you to enjoy these stories with your children or your parents or your friends or in the quiet of your own ears and spirit or all of the above. I expect us to go on adventures and to learn and laugh as we go. Sometimes we should be a little scared (not too much), allow ourselves to be moved and perhaps even dare to be inspired.

The minimum amount allowed is $5, which is a perfect way to announce your desire to subscribe. The more money we raise, the more bells and whistles I’ll have to play with. Not just that, if we raise gobs of money, we can license the rights to recent and even popular titles (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Terry Pratchett's library...go on, if you can think it, I bet we can get it).

Regardless, when it gets right down to it, I plan to simply press record and then read until my hearts content. Hopefully, your heart will be content too.

As for the particulars of the platform and the format of the files, that’s yet to be determined. In the meantime, I’ve posted 3 “teaser” chapters and the first complete book on youtube for all to enjoy. For your convenience, I’ve posted the links to all of them here. I plan to record some more teasers as “advertising” for the campaign!!!

"My Father's Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannett — Complete Book
https://youtu.be/AaA8BgBNe34

“Peter Pan” by JM Barrie — Chapter 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=6&v=SdWQ5lWjrUw

"The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells — Chapter 1
https://www.facebook.com/SeanAstinPublic/videos/1074432995911155/?permPage=1

"Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson — Chapter 1
{Goonies & other Pirate fans unite}
https://www.facebook.com/SeanAstinPublic/videos/vb.206339316053865/1075030749184713/?type=2&theater

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Rewards
Since we haven't figured out the ultimate platform or the subscription rates, it's hard to locate the appropriate way to recognize the various rewards.

$5 (GoFundMe Minimum) - A one year Subscription will be included.

$6-$499 We will put 50% of your contribution towards our literacy effort (charity).

$500 You select an approved Public Domain title for me to read.

$501-$4,999 We will put 50% of your contribution towards our literacy effort (charity).

$5,000 You become the non-exclusive "Named Sponsor" of the reading series for the first year.

**Because this is a For Profit Campaign, the money we are calling "Charity" goes straight to me and I will consider it a line item in the budget of the Reading Series. If GoFundMe dissaproves of this approach and doesn't offer a comperable alternative, we will not accept your pledge and you can reevaluate how much you want to support the project.**
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As always, if you don't already, please "Like" my public facebook page: 
https://www.facebook.com/SeanAstinPublic

and follow me on Twitter: @seanastin

Your comments and suggestions are welcome.


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Below are some thoughts I had when starting this campaign:

When my Mom (Academy Award Winning Actress Patty Duke) read John Steinbeck's The Pearl aloud to me
and then Of Mice and Men, I was mesmerized. I can remember vividly how she pronounced the character's name, Coyotito and how she made Lenny sound, "I pinched their heads a little and then they were dead." I was awed by her passion for the stories and her genuine empathy for the characters.

Charlie and the Choclate Factory by Roald Dahl was my first favorite book. Again, read aloud to me by my Mom. I have only a fleeting recollection of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. But, what I do remember is the little boy's room and the box that was waiting for him. I don't know if I got impatient or she had to go to work, but I can't remember the end of that one. What I wouldn't have given to have an audiobook of her reading it aloud to me!

When we went to New Zealand, to film the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, I read Tolkien's books three times. The one I remember the most, was when I read it out loud. My career has taken me many places. I've narrated documentaries and television series. I've recorded audiobooks from two versions of the Bible to the lesser title of my auto-biography. Doing voice over acting in animated shows and on video games has been so much fun and quite challenging work.

One of my favorite experiences in this realm was reading the brilliant book, A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon, for the Screen Actors Guild Website. I had a ball and the response was fantastic. I often wish my own three children enjoyed listening to the books I read as much as others do, heck even as much as my wife does. She loves for me to read aloud to her. We got through so much of our college experience together reading aloud. I couldn't quite manage the Middle English of the Canterbury Tales or the arcane "prose" of Milton's Paradise Lost, but Christine loved hearing me read Voltaire's Candide, Byron, Frost and so many others. I tried to make the dense Anthologie's come to life. She could have done without me reading every single author's biography. I felt like it'd be cheating not to. I'm confident that I added the requisite flare to the description of Mary Wollestonecrafts's life's journey, for example.

It was my big brother Tom who read The Lorax to me. Dr. Seuss's anti-industrial treatise holds no less a place in my heart than J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece on the subject, I'm just better at the Lorax's voice than the Ents.

So, why this? Why now? I'm incredibly busy. But, I long to read aloud. My little brother Kevin, famously said to our Mom, "don't do the voices Mom, just read it." Some of my happiest memories in life are when my daughters let me read to them, for example, King Bidgood's in the Bathtub and He WON'T GET OUT!!!" My intensity often proves to much for them. Sure, they'll let me get the preamble to the Declaration of Independence out during homework, but when I want to dig into Thomas Pain, not so much, they have math to do.

I had the idea when we went to New Zealand and the internet was just getting going, that I would start to read books allowed and create a subscription audience for them. Over the years, I've investigated producing our own books on tape and I think we'll eventually do that.

I falied you all once before by launching a GoFundMe Campaign for my Animated Short Story about Piko, a character and story I wrote. It was pretty clear to me a few weeks in that I wasn't going to be able to promote the campaign properly and that the time horizon for seeing that dream come to fruition was too far off. It was a bummer ending that one. It’s already clear that this endeavor is completely within my control and pretty darned easy to achieve. The same night we reached our initial goal, I was able to publish the first book. So, in that sense, this campaign has already scored, now is the time to make the absolute most of it.

Which brings to mind the 25th birthday party my wife threw for me. My Father, beloved Actor and Johns Hopkins Professor, John Astin gave me a book of Rudyard Kiplings poetry. He stood in our modest little livingroom surrounded by family and friends and read aloud IF, "If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same."

I'm launching this campaign for two reasons:

First, I really want to see if there is an audience (or the start of an audience) interested in listening to regular installments of my reading books aloud? I want it to be a for profit venture, so the GoFundMe platform feels like a better test of any "grassroots" interest that this idea might generate than Facebook and Twitter. When someone reaches into their pocket at pulls out 5 bucks, it means something qualitatively more than a loving and fleeting comment or retweet. I love the FB forum and how that flows, but this is about creating a "product" however rudimentary for the moment. I've set the "Goal" low because I'm really testing the actual appetite for the notion of listening to my no frills enjoyment of reading books aloud for my own pleasure and yours!!!

Second, this money will be used to establish the best subscription delivery system. I've researched, google & youtube, vimeo and others. There are pro's and cons to each and every and all. I don't have the time or the passion to do this technical and administrative work. I intend to use the money here to pay for an expert or consultant (probably doesn't need too many hours to get it done properly, but those hours cost a little something) to get everything in order. All I want to do is read. Well, read and push a few buttons, to get it out there. The minimum amount GoFundMe allows for you to contribute is $5. To me, this is simply an indication to me that you are a little more than curious. The total amount of money raised is no more important that the total number of people who indicate their support in this way. Will my twitter followers and facebook likers migrate here? Will word of mouth spread? This for profit GoFundMe campaign is the simplest way (that I already know) to test the theory. {For those who question why an actor would NEED money from the public...the answer is that I don't. I want to know how much the public needs this!!!}

My intention would be to do (at the very least) one book per month. As the project takes shape, I envision different ways of approaching what titles and when. Perhaps a children's literature cluster or a military history trifecta (Winnie the Pooh or Ulysses S. Grant's autobiography. That kind of thing).

Once this effort is up and running, with a respectable subscribership, I will donate some portion of the proceeds to a worthy literacy project. A decade ago, Christine and I established a 2 year scholorship at Los Angeles Valley College courtesy of Verizon's Literacy Champions program. We would love to have the opportunity to direct money for that sort of thing again.

By way of a preview, I've recorded, with no prep, no effects, just me pressing record and reading, the first chapter of H.G. Wells The Time Machine. It's way more accessible than I remember. I chose it for two reasons. First, it is a title that is in the public domain. Until this effort can afford to pay for books to read (Terry Pratchett's Disc World series, The Lord of the Rings etc...) I intend to dig into dozens of books in the public domain (Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Metamorphasis by Franz Kafka, War and Peace, Peter Pan and on and on...oh, I expect to take requests!!!). Second, I chose The Time Machine because it's Science Fiction and thanks to a number of show's I've worked on, I think I gots me a wee bit'o Sci-Fi street cred. The other titles are explained above.

That is quite certainly all for now. If you've read down this far, for pete sake I'm pretty sure you want to contribute :-)))

Respectfully & Gratefully Yours,
Sean Astin
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Beloved Backers,
It doesn't get better than this!!!

--------------------------------------------------
Hi Sean and Christine,

We had our photo op today with the recipients of the Astin Family Literacy Scholarship. The winners took photos with the college president Dr. Erika Endrijonas and the Family Resource Center Director Marni Roosevelt.

Again, can’t thank you both enough for continuing to think about Valley College and our students. We have lots of things happening at the college. If either of you are in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello.

Sincerely,
Raul V. Castillo
Executive Director
Los Angeles Valley College Foundation
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CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!

Hello everyone,

This will be our final update for SeanReadsAloud on our GOFUNDME.com Platform. It worked.

$5,000 has been sent on behalf of the Sean & Christine Astin 'Literacy Scholarship Fund' to the Los Angeles Valley Community College Foundation.

Over the years, we've donated over $30,000 and now we've added your $5,000 to the effort. Raul Castillo, the Executive Director, has located Student/Parents who can really use a reward to offset expenses as they balance work, family and education. (The email is a little dry, but we'd had a great exchange. They are THRILLED with the funds). Raul will be sending a picture of the students with the "check" but I needed to notify you now, because I will be closing this GoFundMe.com Campaign immediately and you should know what you did!!!

Why?

We are moving platforms, to a place called "Patreon."
They boast a PATRON model. This is exactly what you've done here, become a Patron of the program, but the difference is that they set up a monthly donation format. At this stage, the mechanics of their site, financial connections and disbursements etc. are more suited to our cause. We thank GOFUNDME.COM for their great support.

So, cultivating Patrons is exactly what we planned all along. The evolution in my thinking is that Patrons $3 per month, will fuel the effort on a regular basis and we will post the Audio Readings on my Youtube Channel.

These performances will be available FOR FREE, to one and all.

It took me awhile to grasp the concept that supporters would contribute without having exclusivity. It was a revelation for me to "GET" that opening up the Books to the world for free is EXACTLY what we SHOULD be doing.

Armed with new Microphones and Head Sets, Fancy Logic Pro Software, relationships with Engineers and Recording Facilities if we need them, and a continuing Unbridled passion for Helping People Learn to Read and Performing Readings myself, we go boldly into the next phase.

If you visit the youtube page, you can enjoy a bunch of basic readings of the 1st chapters of classic books that I recorded to promote our stage 1 effort. There is one full children's book there to enjoy as well.

I've decided that the first complete classic that I'll read is L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."

I shall be recording it straight away. It will be up on our channel directly:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0Wnz6LCQ9luDJZBHaQ8aMJ-rAxXBlKXj

Now, I invite you to visit the new platform and become a Parton for $3 per month!!!!
https://www.patreon.com/SeanReadsAloud

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you so so so much.

Much Love Always,
Sean

Also, I may have failed to post thank you's or deliver rewards to few of you. My administrative skills with this effort have not been flawless. Please let me know and I will try and remedy the situation immediately.
Sean & Christine Astin Literacy Fund!!!
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The Count of Monte Cristo, CHAPTER 1
by Alexandre Dumas, Read by Sean Astin
https://youtu.be/-YD1j6APSTo

I'm having so much fun Promoting this Campaign by reading selected Chapters of Classic books. I'd never read this book, but holy cow is it good. In response to my request for suggested November offerings, The Count of Monte Cristo was mention quite a few times.
https://youtu.be/-YD1j6APSTo

I really hope it spurs more donations!!!
https://www.gofundme.com/seanreads

Thanks for your continues support everyone,

Much Love and Respect,

Sean

*A New Tactic*
If you want to hear the rest of this book (Or any of the books I've previewed) right away, make a $1,000 donation and indicate your preference!!!

The Recipients of the Sean & Christine Astin Scholarship Fund will be most appreciative. And I will get to read a whole book, without delay!!!!!
+ Read More
Hello November!!!!

Any suggestions for autumn readings (public domain)? I've really been enjoying promoting our literacy campaign by reading the 1st chapters of classic works. It's working, so I shall continue the effort!!!!

Note the campaign's new cover photo.

Apparently, people giving a passing glance at the post haven't all been clear about what the artistic picture of those street fair books in Buenos Aires meant. This new pic was taken in the greenroom at the Salt Lake City ComiCon a month ago. If memory serves, the book was a new work of science fiction with dragons and stuff.
https://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/seanreads

Thanks again for all of your support.

Yours,
Sean
A New, Campaign Specific Cover Picture
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Read a Previous Update
Sean Astin
37 months ago
3
3

Hey me! This is a test of ye ol' system. Man this reading thing is fun :-)

+ Read More
Judy Kempson Houser
35 months ago
1
1

Washington Irving--The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or Rip Van Winkle

+ Read More
Scott Napolitano
35 months ago
1
1

Go get 'em Sean! What a fantastic idea. I agree- my love of writing and reading came from my mother reading stories to me and my sisters when we were younger. Now, as an adult, audiobooks keep me sane on early morning and post-teaching commutes. And I'm with Janet here- Count of Monte Cristo is a must-read. Keep fighting the good fight sir!

+ Read More
Keith Fleming
31 months ago

I had made a donation to the Run 3rd campaign a while back and did not receive any info with regards to getting the picture as part of the campaign. Is there someone I can reach out to get info. Thanks,

+ Read More
Janet Brown Foster
35 months ago

Wow! Fabulous job with The Count Of Monte Cristo! (Some of those names are a bear!) I wish I had the cash to fund you reading the remainder. My boys always loved this story and you did an exceptional job in the telling of it. Well done!

+ Read More
Cara G. Chapel
35 months ago

Is there a list of your "approved" public domain titles? Is "Pride and Prejudice" on it?

+ Read More
Janet Brown Foster
35 months ago

Oooo...The Count Of Monte Cristo! :) You're doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

+ Read More
Melanie Taylor
35 months ago

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/174 I have never read, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" but I have seen some interesting shows based off of the book. I'm thinking I should read it now. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is short and pretty good. Not sure if that helps. LOL I know Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could make for some intersting reading.

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$5,680 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 157 people in 38 months
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Created September 1, 2015
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$5
Toni Lauderbaugh
29 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$5
Toni Lauderbaugh
31 months ago (Monthly Donation)
JJ
$10
Jenny Johnson
31 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$20
Anonymous
31 months ago
$5
Shani Ablicki
31 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$5
Toni Lauderbaugh
31 months ago (Monthly Donation)
MN
$10
Michael Newquist
32 months ago

Would like to have you make an appearance in our great city. Please contact me at 817 243-2250 This is tied around a hipper version of Comiccon and would like to get your availability. I currently run an event company as well as part of Fort Worth Weekly. Please let me know what ,y next step should be and hope all is well. Happy Birthday sir. Take care.

MK
$25
Matt Killinder
32 months ago

Happy Birthday bud! Here is some more support for your gofundme project.

JJ
$10
Jenny Johnson
32 months ago (Monthly Donation)
Sean Astin
37 months ago
3
3

Hey me! This is a test of ye ol' system. Man this reading thing is fun :-)

+ Read More
Judy Kempson Houser
35 months ago
1
1

Washington Irving--The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or Rip Van Winkle

+ Read More
Scott Napolitano
35 months ago
1
1

Go get 'em Sean! What a fantastic idea. I agree- my love of writing and reading came from my mother reading stories to me and my sisters when we were younger. Now, as an adult, audiobooks keep me sane on early morning and post-teaching commutes. And I'm with Janet here- Count of Monte Cristo is a must-read. Keep fighting the good fight sir!

+ Read More
Keith Fleming
31 months ago

I had made a donation to the Run 3rd campaign a while back and did not receive any info with regards to getting the picture as part of the campaign. Is there someone I can reach out to get info. Thanks,

+ Read More
Janet Brown Foster
35 months ago

Wow! Fabulous job with The Count Of Monte Cristo! (Some of those names are a bear!) I wish I had the cash to fund you reading the remainder. My boys always loved this story and you did an exceptional job in the telling of it. Well done!

+ Read More
Cara G. Chapel
35 months ago

Is there a list of your "approved" public domain titles? Is "Pride and Prejudice" on it?

+ Read More
Janet Brown Foster
35 months ago

Oooo...The Count Of Monte Cristo! :) You're doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

+ Read More
Melanie Taylor
35 months ago

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/174 I have never read, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" but I have seen some interesting shows based off of the book. I'm thinking I should read it now. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is short and pretty good. Not sure if that helps. LOL I know Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could make for some intersting reading.

+ Read More
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