Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm Auditioning for Dragons' Den

As some you fabulous people in finance and the financial literacy movement may know, I have almost given up on my mission of trying to get parents, teachers of K - 7 students, along with ministers of education, to buy into the idea that financial literacy should start in kindergarten. Before I give up entirely, I'm going to take one last stand by auditioning for Dragons' Den.

Auditions start in Vancouver and Toronto on January 19th, so I have just a few weeks to put a pitch together. If you have a moment, could you please read through my draft and let me know what you think about my story and my ask? The pitch is centered on my novel, The Adventures of Bob Warhop.

A draft of my pitch to the Dragons

My name is Laura Thomas. I’m a mom with an 8 and 9 year old from Delta, BC. I’m a full time writer who is seriously concerned that financial education is not a required component of the K-7 curriculum.

"Six is too young to learn about stocks."
There does not seem to be any political will to change this. Even some financial experts think it’s crazy to teach little kids the language of money. I’ll show you a clip from the Lang and O’Leary Exchange in a moment as an example of the attitude I’m concerned about…David you may remember this.

As a creative person, I have tried using my writing talent to help get teachers and parents with K-7 age kids to get engaged in financial education.
  • I’ve been studying financial literacy and blogging about it since 2010.
  • I've done interviews with some of the Dragons.
  • I’ve written and performed some Sesame Street like videos that teach financial terms.
  • I’ve written, produced and hosted two seasons of a family-friendly financial TV show.
  • I've done a few talk about financial education at teacher conferences.
  • I've done a few classroom visits.
All of these approaches have failed. The audience engagement level is either flat or freaked out. Money as a subject is either too boring or too overwhelming.

Out of curiosity, I looked at the stats for my blog since inception. I wondered what Google searches were leading visitors to me:
  • 6 of the top 10 key word searches had “Kevin O’Leary” in them
  • 2 of the top 10 key word searches were people Googling Arlene
By the way Arlene, more than 100 unique visitors Googled “Arlene Dickinson hot” and found one of the two articles based on my interview with you in 2011. Money is boring and celebrities are interesting. I get it.

What I don't get is this. Why don't we want kids to start becoming fluent in the language of money from a young age? David, let's watch this clip of your response to my Inbox question on what my then 6 year old daughter should use as an investment vehicle - funds or individual stocks.

Go to this link and jump to 57:54 where Chilton says, "Six years old is a bit too young to be learning about stocks and things. If she knows what an ETF is at this age, I'd get her into child counseling."

This way of thinking is what helps keep financial literacy out of the K-7 curriculum and I don’t think that this is going to change any time soon. But I can’t let this problem go. And I have one tiny piece of the solution.

[Show manuscript.] This is The Adventures of Bob Warhop. A kids' novel. Simply put, Bob is a young ferret—a somewhat special needs and doesn’t fit in ferret—who must raise $10,000 to keep his family from being sent to the taxidermist. But like all ferrets he has no idea what money is or how to speak that language. And, he has to raise the money by Christmas Eve which is just weeks away.

This is not another story book or kids’ novel that tries to shoehorn a financial lesson into a flat story. I’ve reviewed a ton of these. The Adventures of Bob Warhop is a fast-paced, exciting novel starring a quirky protagonist whose problem just happens to be that he needs to make a lot of money fast starting from ground zero with lives at stake. But the story really is about Bob and how the adventure changes him.

I'm not a financial expert, I'm an expert writer and storyteller, who just happens to know quite a bit about money from experience. I think money is a theme that artists and writers need to engage with. We need to user our talents to help "edu-tain" future generations so that our economies flourish.

I am asking for $20,000 cash to cover my time and expenses as I polish the manuscript, shop for a publisher, and turn the novel into a script for an animated feature. I would be willing to exchange 50% of my royalties for the $20,000, until that $20,000 is recouped by you. Then then your percentage of my publishing royalty would drop to 10% in perpetuity.

Thank you.

So what do you think? Will I get past the producers and get on the show?

Copyright 2012. Laura Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
Contact Laura at moneyme at telus dot net.