Thursday, August 16 , 2018, 7:47 am | A Few Clouds 64º


Producers Cooking Up Crowd Funding for Proposed Healthy-Food Children’s Show

Former Crane teachers and a PBS creator use a Kickstarter campaign to help launch their 'Betty Spaghetti's Flying Food Adventure' program

The crowd-funding Kickstarter campaign for the children’s television program Betty Spaghetti’s Flying Food Adventure Show seems to have all of the ingredients for success:

» 1. One tablespoon of animated characters by children’s TV show/multimedia artist and former Crane Country Day School art teacher Laurie Pincus.

» 2. A dash of TV know-how by Twila Liggett, the famed creator/executive producer of the Emmy-winning TV series Reading Rainbow.

» 3. A pinch of live action talents by former Crane drama teacher Eric Haessler.

Throw the ingredients into a bowl with actual food excursions; cooking on “Kitchen Island”; live and animated characters; and storylines that teach (“not preach”). Scoop it onto a tablet or TV for 30 minutes, and shazam! Kids and their parents are gobbling up fun food facts that will empower them to make lifelong healthy food choices.

USA Today’s Whitney Matheson endorsed the Betty Spaghetti’s Kickstarter campaign as a project “that may be worth the time and money” in her Sept. 12 blog about crowd-funding picks.

“We launched a $40,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund a sizzle reel that will attract corporate and foundation sponsors,” Pincus said. “A sizzle reel is essential today for launching a project.”

A sizzle reel is a short video that promotes a concept or idea to prospective sponsors and funders to give them a “taste” of what a project is going to look like.

The timer is ticking on the trio’s Kickstarter campaign. With less than a week left, they are putting their mixer on high speed. To date, they have 88 backers and have raised more than half of the needed $40,000.

“We are doing everything we can to have friends, friends of friends, and foundations hear about and support this important and entertaining project," Pincus said. "Our goal is to be like Reading Rainbow, which was all about fighting childhood illiteracy. This isn’t just some big creative idea that we have. This is about fighting childhood obesity and empowering our kids to make better food choices.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2010, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.”

Obesity often causes immediate health effects such as pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and poor self-esteem. The CDC also states that one of the key ways to fight obesity is by teaching healthy lifestyle habits.

Television and animation are nothing new to Pincus and her business partner, Liggett. Multiple Emmy-winning Liggett garnered international attention with her creation of the PBS show Reading Rainbow from 1990 to 2005. Pincus’ father, Irving, was an inaugural children’s TV show producer. He produced Mr. Imagination (1950) and created and produced The Real McCoys (1956-63).

Plans for Betty Spaghetti include 30-minute episodes that combine live action and animation. Each episode will spotlight a “Blue Plate Special,” a food ingredient as its theme. Hosts Betty and her Uncle Eddie Spaghetti will travel in their flying food truck in search of exciting food adventures. Plans for the show include a focus on diversity. The flying food truck will take viewers around the world and introduce them to other cultures through food.

Betty Spaghetti’s whimsical humor, informative content and original music entertain and inspire children and their families to practice healthy eating habits. Most of all, Betty Spaghetti and Uncle Eddie empower families by educating them on how easy it is to adopt a healthy eating lifestyle.

The Santa Barbara-based Orfalea Foundation already has shown its support of this project by donating to Betty Spaghetti’s nonprofit arm, FlickerLab’s Climate Cartoons.

Click here to make a donation to the Kickstart campaign.

Learning about food and good eating habits through Betty Spaghetti's Flying Food Adventure Show will be a cornucopia of fun for children and families.

Nancy Shobe is a Noozhawk contributing writer. She can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @shobebiz. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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