Surprised when TV executives said her fun new show for preschoolers was “too educational”, Rachel Coleman of Signing Time took it to Kickstarter, where it was immediately embraced by parents and teachers. Many families who fund the show have become an integral part of filming–including actually being in the show.
When Two Little Hands Productions pitched the pilot episode of their educational show for preschoolers to television executives, “we were told that it was too educational,” says co-founder and show host, Rachel Coleman. “We didn’t want to water down the material. Kids are smart. They deserve smart media. There’s no reason a show can’t be both educational and incredibly fun.”
So, Two Little Hands took the show, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, directly to families through Kickstarter, a crowd-funding platform that allows individuals (called “backers”) to fund the development of new projects in exchange for rewards that can include anything from products to experiences, like live events.
Five Shows in 30 Days
“When we started the campaign, we didn’t know what would happen. Then, more than 2,300 parents, grandparents and teachers – individuals dedicated to quality educational media for kids – stepped up to the plate and funded five episodes in less than 30 days,” says co-founder Emilie de Azevedo Brown. “We were stunned. And grateful.”
Many project backers chose to have their children filmed for the show. Since the project funded in August of 2013, the Two Little Hands production crew has filmed about 270 children in 13 locations across the United States for upcoming episodes.
In addition, Coleman hosted pizza parties and coffee shop meet-ups, and put on private concerts for backers. She met with more than 70 backer families via Skype, autographed almost 1300 DVDs, and mailed out more than 140 personalized postcards to backer families during her travels.
Parents as Partners
“Crowd funding changed everything. Our viewers have become our partners. They vote for what shows they want by backing them. Generally, children’s shows are sponsored by advertisers, who use the show to feature products. Our shows are brought to our viewers BY our viewers. So we get to feature their children rather than products.” says Coleman. “Instead of being accountable to advertisers, we are now directly accountable to parents. And that’s the way it should be.”
ABOUT RACHEL & THE TREESCHOOLERS
Rachel & the TreeSchoolers delivers an educationally-rich curriculum to help preschoolers enter kindergarten ready to learn. Two Little Hands has opened up funding for the next three episodes through Kickstarter. The campaign ends on Saturday, June 14th. To become a backer, visit bit.ly/treeschool.
ABOUT TWO LITTLE HANDS PRODUCTIONS
Two Little Hands Productions creates innovative educational products that enhance children’s learning and self-esteem. Shows include Signing Time, Baby Signing Time, Potty Time, and Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, featuring Emmy-nominated host, Rachel Coleman.