Can you believe it
Can you believe it’s only a week until Christmas? It feels like just yesterday it was summertime and this project was barely off the ground. Now it’s 7 days until Christmas, and we’re in the final stretch!
If you asked me a few years ago whether I thought I’d be writing a blog post promoting my children’s book about a misfit reindeer, the answer would have been a resounding “no.”
Simply put, I didn’t think it was a realistic goal for someone in my stage of life. As you know, I seemed to have lived multiple lives, having completed two successful careers in both the Military and IT.
Despite this, about four years ago, the idea of writing a children’s book began percolating in my head, and resurrecting itself each holiday season. Finally, around Christmas of 2011, I convinced myself to put pen to paper and draft a story around a germ of an idea that I had been developing.
Yes, “Ranger” may not be published by Random House, and I don’t expect to win a Pulitzer anytime soon, but the creation of Ranger has been a big personal success. I am happy to say that (with your help) this book has raised thousands of dollars for the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer and brought countless children a happy Christmas. That is what I set out to do, and I am so proud to say I’ve accomplished this goal.
Actually, I should say I have just begun to accomplish this goal. The book became available on November 1st which is really way too late in the year to have an impact or achieve solid sales over the Christmas shopping period. But we have been accumulating a substantial set of great reviews, extremely encouraging feedback from families who are reading the story, and a lot of lessons learned about how to market it. All of which is to say that we have had a successful launch in 2013, but 2014 is the year that we can exploit the book and let it “be all it can be.” The period of February through June is the time to get bookstores, toy stores and other outlets interested in stocking it for the 2014 holiday season. Therein lies the future of Ranger and his mission of helping kids fight cancer.
You really do define your own happiness. The secret to success, happiness, gratitude… and everything else really does lie within.
As I’ve said before, our children and grandchildren will quickly become exposed to one of the most powerful influences in their lives: peer pressure. The best defense for our children being misled by misguided peers is to teach them how to be leaders and define their own standards of ethics, success, and happiness.
Individuality and finding true happiness – that is what Ranger teaches us in his story.
Wishing you all a beautiful holiday season.
Now that we’re over halfway through our IndieGoGo goal, I’d like to take some time to introduce you to the main characters of our tale.
Ranger is the hero of our tale. Like most reindeer, he dreamed of pulling Santa’s sleigh. However, even when he turned three years old, Ranger had not yet proven himself as a flier. In fact, Ranger couldn’t fly at all. It was a sore point for him. Not every reindeer could fly, of course, but his own brother, Rudolph, could. Determined to fly before Christmas, Ranger was asking everyone in Santaland for the secret to flying. However, before he was able to get his hooves off the snow, Ranger was put on an important assignment which required him to pull a sleigh all the way to the village of Krystalwite. All of Santaland was depending on Ranger to make the trip there and back in just 2 days!
Carlanna is the daughter of one of the toymaker elves. More importantly, she is Ranger’s best friend in all of Santaland. Like the other elf children, Carlanna spends most of her day in school. But when school lets out, she usually heads right for the workshop or the warehouse to find Ranger. She had made it her job to keep him well groomed.
The oldest and wisest elf in Santa’s workshop. As Ranger’s friend, he gives Ranger some important advice regarding the secret of flying: “The secret lies within.” Ranger wants to know “within what?” but no one will answer that question. So Ranger decides to search everywhere in Santaland for the secret.
An older toymaker elf, Sergland (like most of the other toymakers) has a nicely embroidered apron he wears over his clothes in the workshop. Like Norgrum, Sergland gives Ranger the same flying advice: “The secret lies within.”
You probably already know the story of Rudolph, but what you didn’t know is that Rudolph is Ranger’s older brother. As a dutiful big brother, Rudolph insists that Ranger find the secret to flying on his own.
Zarvett is the head reindeer keeper in Santaland. It’s his job to make sure that the reindeer are healthy and ready for their Christmas eve mission. Zarvett and Ranger make the urgent trip to Krystalwite together.
Arjenna is a pharmacist elf in Krystalwite, as well as a long time friend of Zarvett. It is Arjenna that holds the key to getting the reindeer well in time for Christmas.
Now that “Ranger” is ready for the bookshelves, I’d like to take this time to give away Ranger’s theme song, if you will.
“Dream and Believe” is sung by Mary Allen, and this song perfectly encapsulates the entire store. Please enjoy this song and share it with your friends.
To follow up our initial post, which explained what Opus One Studios does, it seems only fitting that our second post describes one of the “Worthy Causes” one of our “Creative Products” is supporting.
We are proud to say that our “The Legend of Ranger: The Reindeer Who Couldn’t Fly” project has just gotten off the ground (pardon the pun). This Christmas story contains a heartening and inspirational message about the power of believing in yourself no matter what challenges lie ahead.
To truly embody the spirit of love and charity during the holiday season, we have chosen The Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer as the recipient of all of the proceeds from “The Legend of Ranger.”
About Antonia J. Giallourakis
“The power of visual images has had a profound impact on me as a three-time cancer survivor, artist and teacher.”– Antonia J. Giallourakis, 1944-2004
Antonia Giallourakis was a dedicated reading language arts, and art teacher who utilized her many skills as an accomplished author and illustrator of several educational publications. As an artist, Antonia experimented with numerous media and even ventured into iconography while studying for her Master of Fine Arts. Her icons can still be found in private collections throughout Europe.
Antonia’s motivation for founding the Children’s Art For Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc., came after her own cancer diagnosis. She decided to use her passion for working with children and the visual arts to help others.
Her legacy continues in the foundation she founded and now in the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Cancer Center (MGHfC).
Art Therapy at MGHfC Cancer Center
Unlike other art therapy programs, Mass General is unique for it is has a trained art therapist who provides services to both children and their families. The art therapist offers emotional support as patients and families express themselves creatively. At times, this can lead to the unearthing of emotions related to experiences with illness.
Creative expression can help younger cancer patients better cope with their illness by reducing stress and anxiety, decreasing side effects of their treatment and disease, encouraging movement and providing an outlet to express their feelings.
Art therapy uses various forms of art-making including painting, collage and clay, as well as poetry and journaling, in a supportive setting to facilitate creative self-expression that is healing and life-enhancing.
It goes without saying that The Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund is the ideal beneficiary for the proceeds from our book and the other Ranger products as well. We could think of no charity that embodies our message more than this one.
Just like Ranger needing guidance from his elf friends, these children need The Antonia J. Giallourakis fund to allow them to understand the power of believing in yourself no matter what challenges lie ahead.
Our goal for this book is to not only enrich your holidays with an inspirational message, but to pass along the spirit of charity along the way. We ask you to please help support this worthy cause by contributing to our Ranger Project.
For more information about our Ranger project, click the link below:
For this initial post, I think it’s very appropriate to explain what Opus One Studios is all about and how it came to be.
In 1982, actor Paul Newman and a partner founded Newman’s Own (salad dressings etc.) as a for-profit business, but one of a very different kind. In his own words, “My profits will be divided between a number of tax-deductible charities and causes, some church-related, others for conservation and ecology and things like that.” Perhaps the epitome of what has become known as “the socially conscious business,” Newman’s Own set the bar as high as it can go with its 100%-of-profits-for charity policy. Looked at another way, I suspect Paul figured that philanthropy could be fun if it combined running a fun business with the ability to benefit his favorite causes, and that if he chose the right business, it could leverage the funds he might have simply given away by generating a regular stream of donations for the foreseeable future.
Opus One Studios was created to follow Newman’s model, albeit on a much smaller scale no doubt. I have had plans for some years to follow my creative instincts in music, writing and game development. At the same time, I have long had a number of favorite charities to which I have been making regular donations. Combining those two interests led to Opus One Studios which I formally incorporated a year ago, committed to the standard of all profits being donated to selected “worthy causes,” as reflected in our tag line.
We had a “soft launch” of the concept over two years ago, with the release of “World War II Songs You Never Heard,” a mini-CD (three original song tracks) with profits going to the West Point Cadet Glee Club which receives very little government support. Now we are ready for the full-scale official launch of Opus One Studios with the multi-product “Ranger” Project, to benefit the Art Therapy program at MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Cancer Center. Much more about the Ranger Project in upcoming posts.
A small portion of the gross margin on our product sales will go to offset indirect costs, with the bulk of margin going to the selected “worthy cause.” The hope, of course, is that the public will respond to the products in sufficient volume to make this model work. Marketing is the key to that formula. While we are making modest investments in marketing, ultimately the best marketing is word of mouth (or word of text….) and if you like what we’re doing, please pass the word!
I welcome your questions and comments on this, and on any and all blog posts in the future.