Monday, November 10, 2008

Funny, innovative and educational

Drama, puppetry and animation....
From babies to teens, fantasy and reality....
Kids on camera to dragons in the park.....
A showreel of my children's concepts.

Meet Boo Babbit

Actually contrary to a previous blog I do have a new concept that I have worked up.....

I was inspired after the workshop I participated in earlier this year (Gracie Lou) to create a series for toddlers. I wanted to use puppets and I wanted to really hone in on what it is to be a toddler. The way they explore and suck in new concepts and language. Also how toddlers love to be surprised, and of course they love colour, movement and music. This series is designed to be played to toddlers in conjunction with their playtime (as opposed to quiet time) to inspire, extend and validate their naturally developmental habits of investigating and playing with everything they discover.

So here is Boo Babbit who has long ears that appear to have personalities of their own and behind which he can hide. He has a long nose for sticking in, around and on everything and I mean EVERYTHING. He has big eyes to take it all in and to express how funny he finds exploring. Boo plays with Mop who likes to hide and be chased. Boo also plays with the rhythmical dotty bugs who like to arrange themselves in patterns.

This Boo Babbit design has been done by Alan Murphy who is a puppet and animatronic wiz who has worked on lots of feature films such as Charlie and the Chocolate factory. I am hoping to make the pilot because I really want to see what we can get those ears to do!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why Are the Rocks All Different

I have had an intensive period of developing up some TV concepts. Nothing particularly new and nothing I can blog about yet. I have gone back over some old ones and revitalised them and got excited about them all over again.
However all these concepts will take many people and a long time to realise. I decided I wanted to create something that I could do all by myself!
I have used some of my own photos and created an early science and maths book for young children (3-8 years) through This was a lot of fun. These are my favourite photos from those moments when I noticed an interesting pattern or play of light and now I have been able to use them to develop children's 'looking closely and thinking' a useful pre-reading skill to say nothing of the concepts introduced through the questions. The pictures are all from nature.
The book is for sharing and discussing with children and encouraging their observation, figuring out and pattern recognition. Here is an example image and text.
Can you see the spiral, the zigzags and the stripes?

You can see a book preview here;

or make my day and buy a copy...
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rainbow Dragons and Key Frame at the FTI

I was able to develop the Rainbow Dragons through the FTI's Key Frame program. Although I find it hard to watch (because of listening to myself) the FTI made this little piece on me and Rainbow Dragons in which I explain the concept and the Key Frame program;
The Key Frame project has just opened up to applications for projects for 2008.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Sounds of the Rainbow Dragons

The Rainbow Dragons (about whom I have often written) do not appear to have voices in the promo. But they do have them! The voices, although recorded, did not fit into the promo for one reason or other. They do not speak a known language but are expressive enough to be understood. The stories and games always have a helpful narrator who is a sensitive translator and commentator who talks to the dragons and the audience without taking the initiative away from the Dragons themselves as they seek to solve problems both practical and social in their activities. So here are the voices of excitable Tina, ponderous Rhomby and bossy Goo. There is more from the numeric Oobly Dooblies and shapely Fijity Wiks and there is also the sound of the Scatterbats - the whirling force of interruption whose arrival is often heralded by their distinctive sound and so can be acted on, if they are heard and there is some quick thinking.

David Pye put his percussive talents to the Oobly Dooblies and Fijity Wiks. The sounds of the Oobly Dooblies and Fijity Wiks provide the basis for a computer game where children can create rhythms and music by arranging Oobly Dooblies and or Fijity Wiks as David has here, albeit with a few extra instruments.

The voice of Tina and the Narrator are supplied by the multi-talented opera soprano Penny Shaw (who can also be heard in the theme tune of Jelly Jym which she and Richard Seale improvised one evening at the FTI. ) Check out her real work at the Daisy Productions website (and try to spot my work there!?) Rhomby was voiced by the guy who modelled and animated him - Dave Ronnert. The energetic voice of Goo was supplied by Eileen Glynn who has lots of voices!
To find out more about The Rainbow Dragons project see previous posts on this blog or watch the promo on the Jelly Jym on BlipTV channel linked to from this blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

WAM BAM speed animation competition

I recently organised a speed animation competition for WAnimate. Teams of animators had to create an animation from scratch drawing on three words for inspiration. The final animators blew all of us onlookers away. The films had everything, character, location, story, humour, soundscape.... It reminded us just what animation talent there is in WA. Check the vids out on the FTIs site or through WAnimate website. Here's a pic to wet your appetite.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What are your Oobly Dooblies called?

The Oobly Dooblies are part of Rainbow Dragons. They are jumping, bumping, squeaking, sneaking, grooving 'things' of different colours and textures. They are a device for representing number. Without ever mentioning one, two or three young children will literally 'see' (and 'feel' if they have the toys) numbers in action solving everyday problems during Rainbow Dragons stories. The kids can manipulate these creatures with their hands or in a virtual space to get a better understanding of them and put their very own dressed up set into action for them in many different puzzles and games . The kids may even incorporate the Oobly Dooblies into their mental mathematics (ie what is worked out in their heads.) Here is my Oobly Dooblies T-shirt. (And no I don't know what an iron is. My passion for the idea gets the creases out when I wear it!) For the record MY Oobly Dooblies are called:
Long Tall Sally Yellow

To name yours watch the Rainbow Dragons promo (scroll down the posts or go to Jelly Jym at BlipTV .)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Gracie Lou

Last week I contributed to a workshop for the development of a pre preschool series - Gracie Lou. Gracie Lou is originally the creation of Graphic Designers Helen and Darren Simpson. They made it for their daughters. When they teamed up with Two Camels Music in London they ended up with animated nursery rhymes which are being distributed by the ABC. Darren has now teamed up with kids TV producer Susie Campbell to develop it into a series.
The show is aimed at kids aged 0-3 years old. This is a potential new growth area, as baby TV channels spring up all over the world. Whatever you may think of children this age watching television, they are watching this young, so it would be better if what they were viewing was aimed at them. There are a number of preschool shows that arguably children grow out of, or get bored of, by the time they are three anyhow. Zero to six is a big age range for children that are going through such massive development so it is actually great to be able to focus in on the delightfulness of three year olds or two year olds or even one years olds (and having one of those myself at the moment I am particularly focused on that.) The workshop was a great excuse to explore these age groups. I am quite inspired to explore aiming younger with some series concepts myself. I was particularly impressed by our visit to Nedlands School of Early Learning and the woman behind that Sarah Lovegrove.
Gracie Lou has a very simple graphic look and animation style, check it out, I have linked to it. I will keep you updated as to it's progress but it is not up to me to tell you the great ideas we came up for for it except to say it celebrates everyday achievement moments of three year olds!