I couldn’t help myself: I made a trailer for The Day I Became A Pirate.
This is posted up on YouTube; please share and share, alike, matey!
I’ve been getting excited about the many adornments that are coming together for my pirate book app. It has been an exciting process and with each page comes a new set of ideas as I continue to learn about the software and build on ideas for sounds, motions, and animations.
One of the things we are adding along the way are what I am calling ‘adornments’; things we didn’t really plan on in the beginning, but that add some activity to each page and even a small side-story or two. I have placed them around the book to reveal clues, play a sound or spark an action to make an already-fun pirate book app just that much more fantastic.
Zach Clough has produced a number of them already, and we’ll likely come up with a few more as we head into the home stretch (we are more than halfway through the pages, and they are coming faster and faster as we go).
A few that we have completed include a group of clams (…that seem about to sing…), a pirate parrot that actually flies through the pages, an automated crab that scurries along the beach and a surprised turtle.
That’s right; I said ‘surprised turtle‘. I won’t tell you what the turtle is so surprised about, but I think you’ll be surprised, too. …I was.
I’ll post a few more adornments as we go along to give you a peek into the book before it becomes available later this Spring. Until then, keep an eye out for new updates and help me spread the word, Matey. -May yer life be filled with treasures! Ayyye!
I can’t say things have gone completely smooth while building The Day I Became A Pirate; but it has been exciting and I will have to admit it is hard to concentrate on much else in my spare hours.
It has been a year in the making, and a few major issues have held me up for a better part of the time. The biggest being: how to handle the text.
In a book app format, my goal has been to add as many interactions as I possibly can on each page. I also want to really showcase the wonderful illustrations that Zach Clough is creating for the book. With animations and lots of color, there is little room for a big block of text.
Compounding my problem is the fact that The Day I Became A Pirate is a fairly long children’s story. At 24 pages and with as many as 6 lines of copy on many of the pages, I just couldn’t fit it all in. This led to many months of brooding about the problem. In fact, it was such an issue that I literally left the book on the back burner for months at a time, not touching it over the frustration of having to wedge so much into such a tiny space.
Finally, a breakthrough; I decided to add an additional 22 pages to the book, each new page holding only the text, and alternating with the animated illustration pages. This worked for a while but seemed clumsy and forced a separation of the experience between the written story and the engaging interactions.
It was like having two books meshed together. I didn’t like it, but at least it got me going forward again.
A few days ago I was talking with Jason Izatt, who is a good friend and proprietor of TaleSpring Publishing, the publisher of The Day I Became A Pirate. In walking through a few questions with him he made a suggestion that I could animate the text onto each page and include them as part of the interaction. Brilliant!
It took some figuring out, but I finally came up with a series of animations that do the trick. Nicely. So, happily, the book is back down to 24 pages (or so) and now has a very unique and integrated reading solution.
Each page opens with a pirate scroll, where upon is written the story for each page. With a click, the page shrinks down into a button at the bottom of the screen. The text scroll can be called up at any time, and you can even hear me read the story while the scroll is open, or when it is tucked away. This solution really makes the book feel like a fully interactive tale and solves the problem like I have never seen before.
I can’t wait to show you!
We are making some hefty strides toward our goal to have the pirate book completed this Spring.
Zach Clough is working hard on the illustrations and turning out some of the most exciting and colorful drawings of our pirate crew.
Zach has also been busy creating wonderful adornments and special features including our Pirate Parrot Button, which will appear on each page and allow you to listen to a reading of The Day I Became A Pirate as you progress from page to page.
We are working through the recordings for the narration, and a lot of hidden sounds and voices that you will be able to discover as you click through the book on your iPad. I am getting to know the online development environment at TaleSpring a lot more and have been excited in early testing of how the sounds will play on the iPad.
I’ll be posting some examples of the audio as we get them produced, and look forward to sharing more tidbits from the book as we work to bring an amazing collection of illustrations, sounds and animations together into an adventure that I hope will become one of your favorite book apps.
My children and I have been watching and waiting for the new animated film called ‘The Pirates!, Band of Misfits‘. It is done by the same folks who did Chicken Run, so it looks to be quite clever and a good lot of fun. Aye!
We love all things piratey, mates! (And how can you go wrong with the Ramones on backup?)
Here’s a clip if you haven’t yet seen this one. Check it out:
We are still sailing strong on the book and getting excited to be in the home stretch. As things will start to pick up more and more I wanted to take some time to introduce a few of our characters and give some behind-the-scenes insight into the inspiration for the characters and their part in the story.
I originally came up with this story while walking along the beach with my two sons. I have written a story for each of my four children and each has a prominent role in their own story.
This one I later designated for my youngest boy, Kaiyan, who to that point was the only of my four who did not have his own story.
The Boy in this story is a representation of Kaiyan as drawn by Zach Clough and based on some photos I sent his way for inspiration.
The character in the story, too, is much like Kaiyan; curious, brave, and always willing to try things others are not. Kaiyan is always looking for adventure, too, and was so engaged with this story when I told it the first time that it made us all laugh.
The Boy in our story is unnamed, and although he was inspired by my own son, I hope you can find a little of yourself in his character here.
Illustration by Zach Clough