California Educator

June/July 2021

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U N T I L H E R E T I R E D in 2017, Chip Fraser was a California educator for almost 30 years and president of the Ventura Uni- fied Education Association for the last five of them. He is also a writer, and 23 years ago he began to work on a script with his friend Jeffrey Butscher, a writer and producer. "e idea came to me in Duck, North Carolina, where I was liv- ing on the ocean," Fraser recalls. "It was a cold win- ter's night sitting there. I could imagine pirate ships coming and planting trea- sure on the beach — which they actually did." After they finished the s c r i p t a n d pit c h e d it t o n u m e r o u s p e o p l e o v e r t h e y e a r s , i n c l u d i n g a few big-name producers, F r a s e r a n d B u t s c h e r 's m o v i e f in al ly go t m a d e. Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirate's Cove premiered late last year. The plot has time-traveling pirates searching for lost treasure. Th ey end up in the modern day battling unlikely foes — a group of kids with the latest tech gadgetry. Th o u g h s e t i n th e O u t e r B a n k s i n North Carolina, the film was shot mostly in Mendocino in 2019 and stars Denise Richards and Malcolm McDowell, along with some talented young performers. "It's a kids' movie, but adults will not be bored out of their minds," Fraser says. "It has a nice cast. All the kids have Disney show s. O n e has 2.5 mi l- lion followers." Teacher Fraser worked several educational com- ponents into the script. "At the end, Josh, the lead kid, talks about what treasure means. He comes to value f a m i ly a n d f r i e n d s , n o t money, gold and jewels." e movie children are also required to work as a team and think critically about history and how to interpret and search for ancient items. They must consider how time can be manipulated and how people can time-travel. While the kids in Timecrafters are sixth graders (one was modeled after Fraser's young son at the time), Fraser taught mostly at the high school level, at contin- uation schools and with special education students. "We took kids nobody wanted, and shining stars came out of that school. ey did and are doing wonderful things," he says, recalling his 20-year stint with Ventura Unified. T h e C TA / N E A - R e t i re d m e m b e r i s happy when he runs into former students in the community, many working locally with families of their own. Fraser is currently finishing a book called Emerald City ("about being happy and getting the most out of life") and lives what he writes with Pamela, his wife of 40 years. ey enjoy their grown children and grandchildren. Of the journey Timecrafters took from a long-ago idea to fruition, he's philosophi- cal. "We never gave up on it." Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirate's Cove is now available on cable and streaming services including Amazon Prime. McKinley Blehm, Lucas Jaye and Casey Simpson in a scene from Timecrafters. Much of the movie was shot in Mendocino. Time-Traveling Pirates! Retired member brings a swashbuckling adventure to the big screen 47 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 21 Chip Fraser C

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