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Save Santa's Home: The Music

A couple weeks ago I posted about formatting and typesetting the upcoming children’s book Save Santa’s Home. Save Santa’s Home is a project that aims to redirect the climate change discussion from one of anger and hopelessness to one of activism and hope.

While formatting and typesetting the book, I suggested to Sean Presant and Andrew Slack, the authors, that we produce an audio/video version of the book too. They were pretty excited by the idea. I also suggested that maybe Christian Caldeira (my bandmate in The Caulden Road, and producer of my solo music) and I could write some original holiday music for the audio/video version. Everyone was excited about that.

So, Christian and I set out to score the short illustrated film with some original holiday music. We ended up with about a dozen short cues that anchored and lifted the video’s narration.

We’ve collected those short cues together (edited slightly for continuity) into A Starry Night Suite, a free download/streaming version of the Save Santa’s Home original score. You can listen to our cues now on YouTube, or download the score via Bandcamp. The download is name-your-price, meaning it is free or available at any price you choose to pay.

Christian and I didn’t have much time to put the score together (in fact, everything was written and recorded in just two 10 hour sessions, and then mixed the following week), but we’re both happy with how it all came together.

You’ll be able to hear the score in context when the illustrated Save Santa’s Home film premieres later this month.

PS. Want to get involved and help save Santa’s home? Start with this Change.org petition.

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Save Santa’s Home: The Book

Save Santa's Home

Recently I joined the team working on Save Santa’s Home, a climate change project. Through the power of an original story serving as a conversation starter, Save Santa’s Home aims to redirect the climate change discussion from one of anger and hopelessness to one of activism and hope.

In December, a crowdfunding campaign will launch promoting the Save Santa’s Home story book and related perks in conjunction with a few public demonstrations in Washington DC and elsewhere across the country.

The book was written by Sean Presant and Andrew Slack, illustrated by Ayan Saha, with typesetting and layout by yours truly! Not only will I be doing the design and layout of the book, I’m also working with Sean and Andrew on creating a video version of their story book!

The video will feature the book’s illustrations (I’ll work in some animation to bring a little life to the still pages) with a dramatic audio reading of the original story. The video will also feature original holiday music written by Christian Caldeira and myself, and performed by our band, The Caulden Road!

But we’ll dig into the video and music more in future posts, for now …

Layout and Typesetting

Sean and Andrew ran into a readability/accessibility issue with their original designs. Text was being placed directly on the illustrations and was being obscured by various elements within the illustration (such as snow or bright highlights washing out white text). So they brought me on to redesign the entire book from the ground up, rethinking text layout and font choices on each page.

Below are a few examples of the original design they brought to me vs my new designs.

Most pages, like above, required me to paint over some objects to make sure the text was as readable as possible. I also re-framed most of the illustrations to taste, and to create a bit more room for the text.

Other pages required me to paint over backgrounds, but retain important objects in the foreground (like Santa’s sack of toys in the example below), and those pages took a bit more time.

Finally, some pages I felt required larger changes to the layout, like the back cover below.

Save Santa's Home - New Design

Overall I’m very happy with the way the new designs look. The readability/accessibility of the new layout and typesetting trumps the original design, and, in addition to that making it easier for children to read, it also helps the entire production look more professional.

As mentioned above, you’ll be able to get your hands on a copy of the book via a crowdfunding campaign next month, with the video to follow in a couple weeks. I’ll post additional updates, but if you want to get involved now, sign up for the Save Santa’s Home newsletter on the website (which I also made, heh).