REAson d'etre dance productions

Registered Name: Reason d'être Dance Productions

Business Number: 842034654RR0001

The Creation of Vivian Chong's "Dancing After TEN " Graphic Memoir created by Vivian Chong and Georgia Webber

Campaign Ends May 1, 2020

Project Description

TENS is a graphic memoir telling the life-story of Vivian Chong, who suffered a rare reaction to over the counter pain medication, which caused severe burns both externally and internally. Near-death, she was in a coma for two months. When she was revived, she could not see or hear. Groundbreaking surgery restored her hearing but cornea surgery gave her only a month of slightly improved sight during which she was driven to complete a graphic memoir. With her head an inch from the paper she drew and drew. Vivian completed 100 pages before sight loss prevented her from drawing further. She tucked her graphic memoir away on a shelf, leaving it for twelve years. Vivian went forward with her life, adapting to her loss of sight. She cross-country skis, creates ceramic art, competes in triathlons, travels, makes music, performs standup comedy and has learned three different dance forms by feeling the steps through touch.

After much searching, Kathleen and Vivian found Georgia Webber, a comics artist, known for her critically acclaimed graphic memoir, Dumb: Living without a Voice. Georgia expressed her own health experiences related to chronic voice pain through drawing. This gives her unique insight into Vivian’s drive to complete her novel. Georgia's drawings have their own style, but there are similarities to Vivian’s work that will offer cohesiveness as well as creative opportunities; such as showing how the switch between artists represents the moment of Vivian's vision loss and the start of her new way of being in the world. 

Kathleen and Vivian will launch their dance-theatre show, Dancing with the Universe, in April 2020. The legendary Fantagraphics Books has agreed to publish TENS in tandem with the show launch, which means our deadline is coming up quick! In order for the artists to maintain a basic living wage while working on the project, funds need to be raised for the project to be a go-ahead. We are looking to raise $32,100.00 to support everyone through the creation of this book.



Vivian Chong - memoir writer and graphic memoir visual artist:

     Work overseeing graphic memoir creation and audio-description creation = $4,500.00

     Licensing of 100 original graphic memoir images = $7,000.00

Georgia Webber - comics artist:

     Six months of full-time work ($2300 a month)= $13,800.00

Art Materials: $500.00

Kathleen Rea -  Access Assistant     

Six months of part-time work ($333 a month) = $2000.00

Cost of promotion: 

Promotional video = $250.00

Campaign social media adds = $50.00

Editor: $1000.00

Cost of making an audio-described version of the book:

Audio-describer = $1500.00

Recording and sound-design = $1500.00

Total: $32,100.00

Please note, we are fundraising a portion of this $32,100.00 through an INDIEGOGO campaign. All amounts raised through INDIEGOGO minus the cost of supplying our INDIEGOGO perks (pamphlet, TENS book, tickets, original art) are listed in our CANADA HELPS campaign counter.

What if you raise less than needed? If we raise less than $32,100.00, we will need to regroup and figure out what to do. This will possibly involve not creating an audio-described version of the book.

Who is REAson d’etre dance productions (RDDP) and do they get any of the money? REAson d’etre dance productions is a charitable dance company that is creating a dance theatre production with Vivian about her life called “Dancing with the Universe”. REAson d’etre dance productions wants to create an immersive experience in which the audience has access to Vivian’s story through multiple art forms...  the audience goes to see the dance production and then goes home with the book. REAson d’etre dance productions will be using images from the TENS graphic memoir in the production. REAson d’etre dance productions is raising funds for the TENS graphic memoir project because the book is part of its vision for the “Dancing with the Universe” production. REAson d’etre dance productions is overseeing all the payouts to artists for their work on the book through the money raised.

Why the rush? Vivian and Georgia need to deliver the product by October 2019 in order for the book launch to occur at the same time as the April 2020 "Dancing with The Universe" premiere. What can we say?... it took twelve years to find the perfect comics artist to help Vivian finish her graphic memoir and to find a publisher and the timing worked out so that now we have only five months to finish the book!

What is your writing process like? How do you ensure that Vivian understands the visual aspects of the story? Vivian tells her story through emails, phone calls, voice memos and visits, and then Georgia creates a plan for the comic. Since Georgia’s process is visual, the outline she creates for Vivian is a typed Word document that includes image descriptions of every panel, every page. Vivian uses text-to-speech software to listen to the description and then gives Georgia her feedback. Kathleen receives rough draft pages of the graphic memoir and gives Vivian a detailed audio description of drawings. Together they put together written feedback for Georgia about any changes revision needed. Vivian also talks with Georgia so feedback is also provided orally. Georgia revises the pages, and the process repeats. This is how we create equity for visual choices.

Will the book be accessible for people with vision impairment? Vivian: The book will initially be released in a traditional graphic novel format. This version answers the ongoing question about how I lost my sight and what my daily life is like. It is a gift to the ever-curious sighted world. The plan is then to create a professional audio described version of Dancing After TEN, to increase access to those who cannot see. I look forward to acting as myself in the audio version of the book.

Are there royalties after the book is published? Publisher Fantagraphics Books has offered to publish the book and future royalties on sales will be split between Vivian Chong and Georgia Webber. Vivian retains the rights to tell her life story through other books and other art mediums.

Why do you need $32,100.00 raised now if there will be royalties in the future? We are raising funds to sustain the creative period of the book.

Why is Vivian getting a licensing fee for the 100 original illustrations she already created? The project desires to create pay equity between the two artists. Georgia will receive pay for her illustration work on the book over the next five months and to create pay equity, we want to "go back in time" and make sure that Vivian is compensated for the exceptional illustrations and story she has already put to paper.

What type of reach will the TENS graphic memoir have? Publisher Fantagraphics Books has a great publicity and marketing team, and worldwide distribution. They are enthusiastic about the project! REAson d'etre dance productions will, as well, publicize the book as part of its "Dancing with the Universe" productions. Currently, graphic novels and memoirs are a big thing! Check out the size of the recent Toronto Comics Arts Festival as a measure of how popular this genre is. Georgia's first book Dumb: Living without a Voice was met with critical success and will draw attention towards TENS. Finally, Vivian is an exceptional musician, potter, dancer, sculptor and standup comedian who is well known in the community and can draw attention toward the book. We feel confident that we can turn your donation into a book that will be well-read.

We think transparency is important. So if you have any further questions not answered here, we are happy to answer them. Just message or email us

$21,505 raised out of $32,100 goal

66.9937694704% Complete
4 months, 3 weeks to go