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The magical resurrection of an ancient tyrant and two mystical realms bridged by a worm-hole doesn’t sound like something the average insurance worker might imagine, but Ryan Mauldin is practically a game developer by birthright.

Mauldin’s project, Resurrection: The Tyrant King, is equal parts unique and supernatural.

The storyline begins with an ongoing battle between the war-torn realms of “The Watchers,” mystical creatures with intense magical powers, and “The Crux,” a mighty and destructive land of dragons.

The Watchers dart in and out of wormholes seeking a powerful challenger for The Crux to no avail—until one day, they finally stumble across the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex on present-day Earth. After resurrecting the dinosaur and granting it intelligence and the ability to use magic, the T-Rex is charged with the task of fighting The Crux and saving all realms from destruction.

It was a fairly new idea for Mauldin, who graduated from Lee University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, but it certainly wasn’t the first time he’d experimented with programming.

“I’ve been a software developer since I was about 14, making websites starting out,” Mauldin said. “And I just got really good at it.”

Mauldin had moved several times in search of a job before finding work at an insurance company in Jacksonville with his best friend, Micah Osborne. Six years ago, the two of them toyed with the idea of making a game together, but didn’t have the money or time to put into a project.

“It got really overwhelming,” Mauldin said. “We were spending 90 to 100 hours a week working with not enough help. So we just decided to take a break.”

But Mauldin fell in love with the process again and decided to try to develop a game of his own. The idea to create a game with a dinosaur as the protagonist came to him after he realized that few titles of the genre existed.

“I’ve never played a …   More

One Spark

Michael Falk was a sailor on deployment in the desert 15 years ago when he was trying to find something edible in his meal ready-to-eat (MRE). But it would take nearly 13 years before he connected those MREs with a clever idea for an animated series.

The retired Navy veteran, who now lives in Jacksonville, has always been an artist. From early childhood, he dreamt of ways to be able to bring his talents to life.

But it was a little over two years ago that he decided to chase his childhood dreams.

“When I was a kid I really wanted to be a cartoonist,” Falk said. “I want to be an animator, a creator; I want to make shows that people can relate to and enjoy and really get a kick out of.”

And so, the animated series “MRE & a Movie” was born. The lone contributor to the project, Falk created an animated comedy about three retired navy veterans acclimating to civilian life.

Falk, a one-time intern at Nickelodeon, took advice from the individual who green lit “Ren and Stimpy,” a popular television show, and built a backstory for each character. The three main characters are based on six real-life retired military personnel.

The series will give insight into career military life and appeal to a wide variety of people — average citizens, military men and women returning home from deployment, veterans, retired personnel, family members — and give them a chance to laugh at the sometimes-humorous nature of the military and the hardships that go along with it.

The series will target the 18 to 49 demographic due to some of the content, primarily the type of often-questionable language sometimes used by military folk.

Falk hopes to be able to get the show on either FOXADHD, Adult Swim, Comedy Central or even made into a Netflix original series.

During the week of One Spark, Falk will showcase script samples, storyboards, script treatments, animatics, artwork and a splash page for those …   More

The air is crisp and cool as passers-by stroll down the sidewalk. Lights twinkle off the saxophone whose beats have the people dancing and swaying to the rhythm. It’s a live music scene. Jazz from the past has returned and everyone around is loving it.

The setting almost resembles a dream.

A dream, that is, for Erika White and her two partners, Elisha Parris and Robin Williams. The trio of corporate officers for the Jacksonville-based record company, Parriscope Entertainment Inc., is seeking to expand and promote the dying genre of historic jazz music through performance, education and preservation. As if that isn’t enough the group wants to boost awareness and pride in the contributions that African-Americans have made and will continue to make to jazz.

“We just want to put out what we have in our hearts and our passion for music out there for people to embrace,” White said.

White and her partners have taken the chance to make their dream real by signing up for the crowd-funded festival, One Spark. The group attempted to sign up the first year, but missed the deadline and has been eagerly waiting to sign up she explained.

”We have a passion for the realness of music, and love presenting it to the community,” White said. “We want to bring out the live elements.”

The team has named its project “Keeping Live Music Alive”on the One Spark roster is seeking funding of $25,000. With that money, the three said they will preserve and distribute historical jazz. The funds are intended to assist with studio growth and community awareness.

“We want the community to know we are here,” White said.

The trio has already begun establishing its musical credibility with Parriscope Entertainment, which they started in 2006 at Parris’ home. Today the business is located at its third — and hopefully final — location off San Juan Avenue, White said.

The company has signed several musicians in the Jacksonville area. Between the two …   More

In late January, Chris Markl, a former Florida State College economics professor, walked into an entrepreneurial event at the University of North Florida where all interested professionals were welcome to pitch business ideas and hear feedback from their peers.

He pitched his plan, the people voted, and his business idea placed in the top three out of over 40 original pitches.

He got what he came for—confirmation that his idea, ReStartUp, really did have the potential he imagined it to have.

Now Markl’s idea will be making its global debut at One Spark 2014, where he is registered as a creator seeking $50,000 toward building awareness and demand for his startup business.

AnyInc, the new name of ReStartUp, is an online platform for failing startups that have enough potential to be taken over by a new owner.

“I wanted to create a marketplace for what was originally called failed businesses, but now we’re not going to call it that,” Markl said. “We want to redefine what success is to the entrepreneur.”

The failure rate in startups is 80 to 95 percent. Markl and his team aim to corner that market and provide interested entrepreneurs with a jump in the competition.

In essence, AnyInc will be a digital space for entrepreneurs to hand off their struggling business to someone who has the resources and passion to continue it. The entrepreneur will post the failing startup on the website for a flat fee, and then searching entrepreneurs can bid on it.

Think of it as a matchmaking or dating site, but for struggling businesses.

When a bidder gets chosen, stakes are discussed and a deal is set. Ultimately, the goal is to make it in the entrepreneur’s best interest to mentor the bidder through the process of taking on the business.

If the new owner succeeds, then the old owner will benefit, too. If all goes as planned, the value created by the original entrepreneur will be enhanced, not lost.

“We’re really focused on creating …   More

American pride and spirit could not be more important to Rip Maclay of Milwaukee. His One Spark project “Keep the Dream Alive” highlights the importance of patriotism and its connection to art.

To accomplish that goal, Maclay and his co-creator, Patty Best, are seeking $40,000 in crowd-funding at One Spark to produce a replica of the American flag created from special tiles decorated by both veterans and children.

“We must do more to ensure that our citizens, especially the younger generation,” Maclay said, “appreciate the many sacrifices made by older generations to protect and defend our way of living and the privileges we enjoy as American citizens.”

If they receive funding, Maclay and Best hope to create their flag replica by the 200th anniversary of the national anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner,” on Sept. 14.

“We will be sending tiles to artists labeling them as red, white or blue to fit the schematic,” Maclay said. The tiles will then be re-assembled into the flag replica.

With a total of 312 tiles representing all the states, the team hopes the cost of the finished product can be offset with One Spark funding. The creators are also asking for funding for a vehicle and other materials then needed for a national tour of their artwork.

Maclay and Best will be bringing some of their smaller pieces to One Spark with them to show crowds their artistic technique. However, they envision the flag replica as much larger.

The prototypical piece that they will bring to One Spark consists of 4-inch tiles, while the next piece that will be created after One Spark will consist of 5-inch tiles.

A managing partner at a Milwaukee investment firm, Maclay has always had a knack for art. He launched a nonprofit organization, I Pledge USA, in 2011 as an initiative with school children to enable them to both create and appreciate patriotic art.

One Spark won’t be the first event he’s entered.

Maclay also entered Art Prize, an …   More

ONE SPARK

A new venture designed to encourage more innovative ideas in education will make its debut at One Spark this year.

Created by Deborah Gianoulis, the president of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership, #EDSPARK is the first themed venue to participate in One Spark. #EDSPARK, which will be located on the second floor of the Wells Fargo building, will house 46 education-related creators, making it one of the largest venues at One Spark. Creators will pitch their ideas in an attempt to receive money raised through local investors and crowdfunding.

“We have got creators all over the map. We have people who have written books. We have people who have developed games,” Gianoulis said. “We have people who have community collaborative projects.”

Since #EDSPARK is new to the One Spark scene, Gianoulis and her colleagues decided to keep an open mind and select education-related creators from all five categories of One Spark. #EDSPARK organizers wanted to capture every aspect of education in order to bring educators and students together in a collaborative environment to create entirely unique projects.

“There’s just a range of activities, a range of ideas,” Gianoulis said. “We are very excited by the variety that we found in education-related themes, both from students and also from adults.”

Carri Rehberg, a high school teacher at Bridge to Success Academy in Duval County, said she was excited to have her idea – The Road Trip Project – chosen for #EDSPARK. “It made me feel like my project was good enough and interesting enough to be accepted,” she said.

The Road Trip Project was created when Rehberg was driving to a state park shortly after her grandfather – a coast-to-coast traveler — passed away. She wanted a way to engage her students and teach them real-world applications, so she decided to have students plan an entire road trip from selecting a destination to deciding where they would eat and sleep.

Rehberg …   More

One Spark

When Andrew Goebel first heard his friend talk about the potential cancer stopping powers of marijuana, his mind started to churn.

Then he conducted his own research. He said he found that marijuana can be a powerful tool for healing and is currently used to treat over 100 illnesses in California, a state that legalized medical marijuana in 1996. He knew he had to get the word out to change the law in Florida.

“I thought of this message that we could put on a shirt and make it marketable and make it really easy to take in and at the same time have a lot of depth and substance behind it,” said Goebel, a junior at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

So Goebel teamed up with Shane McLean to create a pro-medical marijuana organization with the slogan “Dabs Cure Cancer.” The goal of Goebel and McLean is to educate people about the potential positive effects of medical marijuana.

So what exactly are Dabs?

“Dabs means extracted concentrated cannabinoids, which are the active chemicals in the cannabis plant,” Goebel said. Dabs is slang term for the extract.

Goebel and McLean’s movement started on the social media site Instagram in August of 2013 with a simple photo of a t-shirt.

“It kinda hit me that if you were to put that [Dabs Cure Cancer] out there and people would see that, it really slaps you in the face and draws you in,” Goebel said.

Now the phrase is splashed across t-shirts and tanks tops and sold online. Goebel says all the money generated from the sale of each $20 t-shirt on DabsCureCancer.com goes toward educating and spreading the word on medical marijuana and its use in modern medicne.

McLean says Goebel had the idea, vision and drive, but he something else to offer.

“I instantly saw endless possibilities,” McLean said. “Andrew had the spark, I came in with the business mind.”

Now the group has a trademark pending and is well on its way …   More

Curt Bender said he has taken the best of Groupon, Living Social and Trippit to arrive at the idea for his One Spark project, “The App.” His prototype allows a person to enter a budget, choose several “Activities” and share the planned “Adventure” on social media sites for friends and family to view and attend.

For example, if people want to plan adventures with friends, this app will allow them to create budgets and choose activities, such as dinner or movies, which conform to their budgets. The app users can then share the event on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media outlets, inviting friends and family electronically. It even allows out-of-town friends to see the itinerary and wish the event creator a fun night out.

Bender also plans to incorporate an integrated GPS function into the app so it can map out each activity so events run smoothly.

“The point is you can wake up one day and plan your entire date out the same night while still in bed,” said Bender, who graduated from the University of North Florida with a political science degree a year ago.

Although the app has yet to be created, Bender said he hopes to have a prototype developed for visitors to try at One Spark. Because he is not a trained developer, Bender said that he will surround himself with a trusted crew to build the app if he is able to raise the $50,000 he needs at the crowdfunding festival.

The vision behind The App, which he also hopes festival attendees will help him name, is to make it user friendly and very social. He even envisions a “Popular Adventures” page on the app where users could explore different adventures created by others to find suggestions that fit their budgets.

Bender has always been an entrepreneur. He began his first business, a lawn-care service, when he was in ninth grade. Upon graduation from UNF, he began another business while working from home, Pinnacle Cards, a company designed to increase the revenue of local …   More

For children, when the lights go off a fear of all things that go bump in the night arises. Night-lights are turned on, heads are tucked under the blanket, and ears are on a super-sonic sound wavelength listening for the sound that could alert them to a monster’s presence.

However, a One Spark creator has in mind a new bedtime tradition to make sure that every child’s bedtime is a safe adventure. Pajama Monsters – and the accompanying book — comforts children and parents alike by reassuring that the bogey man isn’t so scary, especially when your best friend is a monster.

Pajama Monsters will be appearing at One Spark 2014. They hope to grow beyond just books and dolls and develop into a full children’s brand that revolves primarily around bedtime. Jacksonville’s Hank and Megan Champion are looking to raise $31,000 to produce a new Pajama Monster’s gift set and grow the company’s fan base.

If their project succeeds, what started as a smiley monster doodle by Hank will begin reaching homes all over the nation.

“Hank wasn’t too sure where he was going with his study on the idea of baby monsters in pajamas, but he felt sure he was onto something,” Megan said.

Hank played around with several different concepts and personalities based on his drawings. The monsters began to come alive with poems to describe the unique characteristics of each one. According to Megan, there were originally 30 different Pajama Monsters, but after Hank spent time with each one he narrowed the group down to his favorite five:

Stinky: the big ball of fluff hidden under his pajamas, who is always carrying cheese in his pockets for a late-night snack.

Daisy: the giant slug named after Daisy’s favorite flower, who is a princess with her own personal trail of green slim.

Vincent: the cool monster who mostly keeps to himself. Although he is missing an ear that doesn’t stop him from coloring the greatest pictures in all of monster town, much like …   More

One Spark

Crochet tree trunk cozies and yarn leg warmers made for brass elephants are some of the graffiti art projects with which Palmer and other yarn bombers have decorated the city of Jacksonville.

“Hey, there’s beauty in this world and sometimes we forget,” Palmer said, regarding her work with Yarn Bomb Jax. “So we put the unexpected into these public spaces that make you go ‘Oh! Oh my gosh!’ and then, all of a sudden, you see what’s there again.”

Last year, at the 2013 One Spark festival in downtown Jacksonville, Palmer saw a two-dimensional yarn bomb exhibit on a fence on Laura Street submitted by another creator. Shortly after, The Jax Yarn Bomb group came together and Palmer is now the successor to the founder of the group.

Now Palmer wants to incorporate an educational component as well. Her goal is to be able to offer free classes at a location for any artists who work in the fiber arts: knitters, weaver and other fiber artists. She hopes that it can be place where people can come and hang out and experience each other’s art.

Palmer also wants to offer beginner’s lessons for people looking to learn the basics of the craft of knitting, in hopes of teaching them a lifelong skill.

“I’ve been knitting since I was 8 years old … once you learn how to knit you’re pretty much good for life,” Palmer said.

Palmer first heard about yarn bombing several years ago from a group that did the artwork in Houston. She said that it immediately sparked her interest; however she didn’t get the chance to fully take part in the art form until recently.

The theme for “Rabbit Holes” is Alice in Wonderland and Palmer, along with several other volunteers, will decorate the city with colorful knitted and crocheted yarn art. Palmer and her team chose Alice in Wonderland as inspiration because of its whimsical nature.

“We’re trying to use the whimsy of Alice in Wonderland to really push the boundaries of what people would expect …   More

 
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