About Us


What is The Help Machine?

The Help Machine is dedicated to the education and emotional wellbeing of children and adults, and being funny! We focus on empathy – the tools that people use to know what another person is feeling and how we respond as human beings together. We produce smart, ethical, socially aware, family friendly comedy and educational media for social and emotional learning (SEL).

How do we learn empathy? The start of it is the first time a parent plays peekaboo with their child. It’s the facial expressions, the emotions, the tone of voice, the loving touch. After those touchstone experiences, we start to build on those skills ourselves. But what if you can’t see, or can’t hear, or are a person who can feel overstimulated by facial expressions? That’s where behavioural psychology and creativity come in.

The Help Machine uses the art of puppetry to assist children in learning empathy. With the help of the Thigments, we explore emotions and strengthen skills.

Who are the Thigments?


I’m glad you asked! The Thigments are a figment of your imagination made real. They’re little beings from somewhere else that now live in Brooklyn.

Want to know more? Let’s watch and learn together!

How does The Help Machine work?

We are a “profit for purpose” business – the money we earn from our intellectual and creative property goes back into further developing our bold idea.

The difference comes from imagination, bold action, and heart

Imagine all of that Intellectual Property feeding a variety of useful community programs. App sales going to educating kids about healthy school lunches. Advertising dollars from a successful YouTube channel flowing into a program to teach programming to at-risk youth. Merchandising rights from characters funding literacy programs. Building a library of valuable Intellectual Property builds a long-term, self-sustaining stream of income for a non-profit company that could supplement other fundraising efforts. Growing that library will require the skills, expertise, sweat and heart of many artists.

The Help Machine imagines a future where employed artists, both emerging and seasoned talent, create meaningful work that sustains themselves and The Help Machine for generations. Artists should share in our success, and know that they can rely on us to share in that success, fairly, without exploitation. The ultimate vision of The Help Machine is a multi-generational, self-sustaining media engine of positive change.

Right now, The Help Machine is a tiny little start-up with big dreams. But together, we can grow.

Start small, grow organically, fail early, iterate until we find success

A for-profit company can start as one person with a dream and the willingness to work. The Help Machine operates with a sense of urgency, not haste. The mission now is to find successful concepts that translate into a sustainable vision, earn revenue, and build up an income pile. Our first threshold is “$10,000 in revenue.” Once that’s been hit, $1,000 needs to be set aside into an account. The purpose of that account is to serve as the basis for future service to people. Specifically, it’s the seed for the future vision. The Help Machine will fund programs to help provide services for people with autism, and create scholarships. The Help Machine will be a media company run as a public benefit corporation. We create media with long value, and use that value to create and perpetually fund programs to help people in need.

We’re at the beginning now, following some key principles. Build slowly but surely. Bring people on as you grow. Try to fail as early and quickly as possible.

How can we help you?

We have all kinds of products and services centered around The Thigments!


  • Free videos to entertain you on YouTube
  • Silly pictures to help you smile on Instagram
  • Inspiring stories about art to read on Facebook
  • Live Performances in New York City


  • Testimonial Videos for ethical, family friendly products and services
  • Personalized Videos for special occasions
    • Happy Birthday!
    • Happy Anniversary!
    • Happy Arbor Day!
    • Happy Brushed Your Teeth 10 Days in a Row Without Asking Day!
  • Custom Videos catered to your needs!

Contact us to see how we can help you!

Fred Chong Rutherford

effdotI’ve been working on the internet since the late 20th century in a variety of digital product and project management roles. I’ve been very lucky, and gotten to work with a lot of smart, incredibly talented people over the years to make cool digital stuff. I spend my time thinking about technology, people, and the how to look sideways at problems to find the best solution. I’ve been lucky enough to work with clients like Amazon.com, Nintendo of America, EA, Tetris Online, NBC Universal and Xbox over the years. I’ve worked in product and project roles for a few companies, including IDT, The Topps Company, Viacom, Time, Inc and some start-ups.

Short films I’ve written, produced and or directed have appeared at film festivals around the world, including The Kino Short Film Festival, San Diego Comic Con, Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Satellites Independent Film Festival, StockStock and more. I also love puppets, and sometimes wear hats. I live in Brooklyn, NY, because it’s awesome. Twitter | Facebook | G+ | Instagram | IMDB | Effdot.com