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YouCaring.com Offers Free Online Fundraisers and Crowdfunding Donations Raised

29 Apr

By Robert Hoskins

YouCaring.com set a new records for visitors and money raised for its users during April 2013. In one day, the site attracted more than 87,000 unique visitors and raised $181,841.

YouCaring online Crowdfunding Website

YouCaring online Crowdfunding Website

The increased traffic continues a trend for YouCaring, which has nearly doubled its traffic since February to more than 1 million visitors in April. Site founder Brock Ketcher believes the growth is due to an important feature of the site that sets YouCaring apart from other fundraising websites.

“When people fall on hard times, other people are always looking for ways to lend a helping hand,” Ketcher said. “And YouCaring.com is the first truly free way to raise money online. Every dollar our users raise from friends and family is able to go to their medical expenses, vet bills or memorial fund.”

Unlike other crowdfunding websites, YouCaring does not take a percentage of donations to cover its costs, but instead relies on the generosity of donors to support the site along with the cause they’ve chosen to fund.

“Our users make all the difference, and we are happy to provide a place where more people can raise the money the need for any cause that they believe in,” Ketcher said.

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Albert Dabah Launches Indiegogo Film Crowdfunding Campaign to Raise Awareness for Mental Health

29 Apr

By Robert Hoskins

The Indiegogo campaign features three scenes that were filmed from the Extra Innings script and a short video where Albert Dabah speaks about why he is making this film. Beyond its Indiegogo campaign for Extra Innings, Ocean Parkway Productions will be seeking investors to back the production of the film and fund the project.

Ocean Parkway Productions Announces

Ocean Parkway Productions Announces “Extra Innings,” a 1960’s-based Film Raising Awareness for Mental Health

Growing up is hard to do, especially in the early 1960’s in a strict religious community in Brooklyn, NY. This is the backdrop for the film Extra InningsBased on a true story, it was written by Mr. Dabah, a video producer for over 30 years and owner of Simba Productions. Following the successful opening weekend of fellow baseball-themed period film 42, Albert is gearing up to direct his debut film at just the right time.

Ocean Parkway Productions announced today the release of its Indiegogo campaign to start pre-production on Extra Innings. Through Indiegogo, fans and supporters can contribute funds toward beginning principal photography on the project. For their generosity, contributors who match targeted pledge amounts will be eligible for exclusive rewards such as tickets to a 2013 Yankees home game, a visit to the film set and film premiere, VIPinvitations to join cast and crew at an exclusive suite during a Yankees home game, plus T-shirts, signed scripts and advance copies of the Blu-ray™/DVD. Producers will also be donating 5% of contributions to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation to promote “Mental Health Month” in May.

Extra Innings is a character-driven film that explores the difficulties our protagonist, David, encounters when trying to branch out from his community and religious family to pursue his dream of becoming a professional baseball player. There are moments of great loss and great triumph, as the film also revolves around a family evolving together while dealing with mental illness and tragedy.

“I read scripts all the time, that’s what I do. I never cry. This script made me cry, it was really beautiful,” says Adrienne Stern, a casting director with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience who has recently signed on to cast Extra Innings. Her films have premiered at Sundance, Toronto, Cannes, Tribeca, Berlin, South by Southwest, and other prominent film festivals, many taking home prestigious rewards.

Extra Innings is a New York story that deals with universal issues such as struggles between parents and children, pursuing your dreams, religion and adolescent love. It also touches upon mental illness, and highlights how the stigma of mental illness is extremely debilitating and prevents adequate care from reaching families and individuals who need it.

“Like many, my life has personally been affected by mental illness. I grew up with two older siblings who struggled with their mental health. My brother suffered from schizophrenia and my sister from bipolar disorder. In the 1960’s, it was not something that was spoken about, either out of fear or shame. I lost both siblings to suicide. These two great heartbreaks forever changed the person I would become,” reveals Extra Innings writer Albert Dabah.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. It is our job as a society to come together in open dialogue to help erase the stigma of mental illness and suicide. For over 60 years, Mental Health America has considered May “Mental Health Month” to drive attention to these issue and support a path to wellness.

“Along with entertaining people and telling a good story, I’m hoping this film can open a dialogue and aid in spreading awareness about the stigma of mental illness and suicide,” Albert says, “Even in the most trying circumstances, it is important to speak up and take action on behalf of those we love.”

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Zivix Launches Indiegogo Music Crowdfunding Campaign for JamStik, which Won a Popular Science 2013 Invention Awards

29 Apr

By Robert Hoskins

Zivix, LLC announced it has partnered with Indiegogo to launch a crowdfunding campaign for its  popular JamStik, a portable, easy-to-use guitar-like instrument for iOS. Recently named a winner of the Popular Science 2013 Invention Awards, the JamStik enables a new dimension for learning, experiencing music and giving both novice and experienced players access to hundreds of existing midi-based applications. Over a span of 40 days, the campaign aims to raise $100,000, which will go toward prototypes, tooling, manufacturing set-up and consumer experience enhancements.

JamStik enables a new dimension for learning, experiencing music and giving both novice and experienced players access to hundreds of existing midi-based applications

JamStik enables a new dimension for learning, experiencing music and giving both novice and experienced players access to hundreds of existing midi-based applications

Making its debut in Las Vegas at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, Zivix demonstrated for attendees how JamStik bridges music with mobile technology to provide consumers with a real-time, life-like guitar experience on the go. The easy-to-use instrument transforms your mobile device into a guitar speaker and musical interface with real strings and frets that users can pluck and play while experiencing the real “feel” of a traditional guitar. Based on the company’s multi-patented IR fingertip-sensing technology, JamStik delivers an authentic guitar experience in a mobile-friendly style and with mobile-friendly connectivity.

IR Fingertip-sensing Technology at Heart of JamStik

Zivix’s proprietary, multi-patented (more than 90 claims), optical fingertip-sensing technology, which makes guitars compatible with the digital world, is at the heart of JamStik. This technology is unique in being able to precisely locate the position of the user’s fingers even before they touch the strings. High-speed scanning of all finger positions ensures there is virtually no latency. Since JamStik is a digital instrument, users do not have to tune it, which makes it easy for beginners. When they are ready, users can transfer the skills they learn on JamStik to a guitar.

JamStik Complemented by Bundled Apps, MIDI Apps

Zivix has developed a suite of bundled apps that broaden the appeal and depth of JamStik:

  • JamTutor is a truly interactive system that teaches entry-level guitar. Users can actually see where their fingers are on JamStik’s frets, get instant feedback, and learn at their own pace.
  • Using a variety of interactive game-like activities within JamTutor lets users learn and play songs in fun, engaging and rewarding way.
  • JamMix is a hybrid experience that combines guitar and DJ elements for instant action for both beginners and advanced players. JamMix enables players to mix loops, sounds and instruments on the fly to explore and create original music.

Over the past couple of years, crowdfunding has emerged as an alternative to the traditional Venture Capital or Angel investment route for start-up companies or products looking for funding. Launched as a collective public effort to fund companies and products, individuals have the ability to invest money in a product or cause based on tiered investments. In most cases each investment tier is accompanied by a return for the investor with the reward being early product access, mention as an investor in the campaign product campaign, or the ability to show support at an early stage for a new and exciting idea. Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding site and crowdfunding partner of JamStik, is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., and has hosted over 100,000 funding campaigns in the music, charity, small business and film space.

The Zivix team, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, needs funding to get the JamStik in the hands of guitar players, both expert and novice, throughout the United States. For contributing to this Indiegogo campaign, Zivix is offering various rewards in appreciation. Everyone who donates $25 will have their name creatively displayed on the Founder’s Page at JamStik.com, which will be incorporated into the JamStik Founder’s Poster design, as well as exclusive progress updates and a JamStik-backer T-shirt.

Those who donate $50 to the campaign will additionally receive a $35 discount coupon towards their future purchase of a JamStik. Other rewards include owning the JamStik prior to in-store and online availability, an option for an exclusive numbered version of the JamStik, receiving developer credit and being personally invited to attend Zivix’s official JamStik release party as a VIP.

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