What do a contemporary Christian music star, a Disney animator and the voice of a talking vegetable have in common? They’ve come together to create a new faith-based, animated, family series, The Dead Sea Squirrels and they are in need of your help. (Read on…it will all make sense in the end.)
You may not recognize the name of Mike Nawrocki (who ironically sounds like a character from The Flintstones) but he’s been the voice of Larry the Cucumber since the VeggieTales series began back in 1993. He’s also the co-creator of the series. Now he’s back at the drawing board – literally – creating a new animated series called The Dead Sea Squirrels which is based on a series of early reader books of the same name (which he also wrote).
The new show will star a 10-year-old boy named – interestingly enough – Michael who goes on various adventures with his friend Justin. On one trip, they find two salt-encrusted squirrels at the Dead Sea in Israel. As any reason 10-year-old boy would do, Michael packs up the two petrified squirrels and brings them home to impress his friends. However, when the two 2,000-year old critters get rained on, they come back to life! As it turns out, the two squirrels live in Galilee and witness the events of Jesus and his disciples firsthand.
With the help of the boy’s two new furry friends, Merle and Pearl, they learn how to confront a bully using lessons found the Sermon on the Mount, they learn lessons about temptation, honesty, taking responsibility for one’s own actions, kindness and self control.
Coming alongside Nawrocki in this new venture is Tom Bancroft who worked as a Disney animator for 11 years. While there, he worked 10 animated feature films (including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin and Mulan), five animated shorts and various commercials.
And then there’s Steve Taylor, known for writing songs like “I Want to be a Clone”, “On the Fritz” and “This Disco Used to be a Cute Cathedral” before working on films like Down Under the Big Top, The Second Chance and Blue Like Jazz. He will be serving as a producer for the show.
Here is where you come in. The three have started a Kickstarter campaign for this new project.
“I’ve convinced my longtime friend Mike Nawrocki that Kickstarter is the best way to fund it.” says Taylor. “Because it’s way more fun building a community on Kickstarter than pitching the concept to soulless entertainment conglomerates who would then become Mike’s boss. And besides boatloads of money, what have they got that we don’t? So put your paws together and let’s bring The Dead to life!”
High quality animation and it is estimated that it can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $1 million per minute! Fortunately with the help of faculty and students from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee and the trio’s partners at Mukpuddy Animation Studio, they will be able to reduce those costs to make the series more affordable. Their financial goal to create the first six episodes is $1.2 million. Check out the Dead Sea Squirrels Kickstarter page to learn more about the creators and the project plus see clips from the pilot episode. While you’re at it, you might consider visiting the their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts as well.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.