Monday, November 16, 2009

What do they say? - "Don't Ever Work with Kids or Animals.."

In the nick of time before jetting off once again, this time to SPAA I have quickly put together a rough and ready pilot (viewable on the blipTV jelly jym channel) of the series "Out and About with Alfie" that has been in my thoughts for quite awhile now. It is with my heart in my mouth that I put this one 'out there.' I have been filming the everyday investigations and unstructured play of my own three year old son with the plan of making a documentary series for toddlers! Now of course I think that my, Alfie is eminently watchable but what will the world think? I think young children like seeing other children in their media. I believe this is more than just somebody's home movies because I have understanding of programme making and of preschoolers. I think the relationship between myself and the subject should add to the programmes in fact. (And I hope my camera skills will be up to it.)
I was very heartened to hear that Five in the UK were making preschool documentaries, although of course it would have been great to be ground breaking too, I think that it will be easier for me to pitch my idea with the precedent of existing series.
The pilot features not only my young son but our ball and stick obsessed family dog. They were a delight to work with!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Get Set and Go! Tridragonals

Rhomby, Tina and Goo are back and marching, spinning and raring to go! Now called Tridragonal Set Go! the dragons have been motion captured - faster and more lifelike this is the way to go!

So the dragons are set, next - put them together for independent play, which leads to an inevitable problem - add noisy and acrobatic Oobly Dooblies and Fijity Wiks and the Tridragonals are set to go Go GO!

An old boot, an irrepressible kid, a supersonic baby and dragons made from boxes head to Cannes

In the nick of time, Rhomby, Tina and Goo made the showreel going to my very first Mipcom.You can see how they worked out being motion capture animated on the Jelly Jym channel.

Also on the Jelly Jym channel is Kit and Ker-Boot with the new look Ker-Boot getting bubbled all over and finding it all yucky.

What you won't find on the Jelly Jym channel is My Extraordinary Little Sister - which is a shame because it is looking and sounding FANTASTIC but you will be able to see Spikey Dee's hair energising and her going supersonic and Matty Pat's desperate attempts to rescue her on Nickelodeon Australia soon....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This is a busy time. Not only is Ker-Boot getting a make over but so are the Rainbow Dragons! Only now they are more aptly named, Tridragonals Set Go!
Buddhi from Beyond Motion is working with me in making the dragons a little bit less primary coloured, and more suitable for motion capture!
Last week I got to put on a motion capture suit and interpret my own characters for a test. It was pretty physical work pretending to be dragons that are kids!
I am looking forward to seeing Bossy Goo, excitable Tina and cautious Rhomby strut their stuff.
Here I am all suited up opposite Buddhi Munasinghe and in the middle is Nick Lowe who came in to have a look at Buddhi's mocap set up.

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Look Ker-Boot by Alan Murphy

Kit and Ker-Boot is getting developed and it is so much fun! Kit is such a 'real' kid, most of all I like the fact that she gets into trouble for all her investigative behaviour but it doesn't stop her. The episode lengths have grown to ten minutes so Kit gets to make lots of discoveries with her constant companion, comforter and hapless assistant Ker-Boot. Ker-Boot has had a makeover thanks to designer Alan Murphy and he now looks like a fuddy duddy but caring grand fatherly figure that he is.

Kit and Ker-Boot is developed with the assistance of ScreenWest and Lotterywest.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Coming soon... Skedaddle Games showing you how to play traditional games like hand clap, string games, jump rope, elastics, marbles.... games for on your own or with your friends, neighbours and even parents and grandparents. Games that have lasted for centuries because they are the best games ever!

Meghan Lagdon was inundated with requests by schools to come and visit them and show them how to play traditional games after she did workshops at her own kid's school. Meghan found the kids, of all ages, boys and girls loved mastering the games and it set off many a new (from old) fad in the school yard. But she couldn't get to all those schools. But she had an idea...

"These sort of games used to be passed down from generation to generation but slowly we are losing them. However these games are fun, cheap and don't require much equipment if any and they help you develop your memory, cordination and social skills. There are books on these games but it is much easier to be shown how to do them than to try and figure them out from a book."

So Meghan Lagdon wanted to create a DVD series and that's where I came in and after a few stops and starts our test pilot is almost here! The question is DVD or online or mobile or TV ...??? Put it on your Christmas list anyhow!

Monday, June 1, 2009

WAM BAM all over again

Thanks to a bunch of brave WA animators (and ScreenWest and the FTI of course,) Wanimate's WAM BAM 09 speed animation competition was a great success again. Once again I was blown away by everyone's commitment and professionalism. The films were clever, funny, attractive, they had story and character and for the most part were finished! This year there was quite a range of animation styles - we had a stop motion entry, a 2 and a half D film and even motion capture!
I personally could not have picked a winner but once again it was a Flash animation Kokarokadoo! that walked away with top honours. All the entries made in just 49 hours by teams of animators can be seen on the Wanimate YouTube site.

Everyone who took part can feel proud of themselves and they should show their films off. I have to admit to feeling just a little bit pleased with myself for making the opportunity for that creativity and talent to come forth! And not for the first time I wish I could animate!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spikey Dee gets a big brother and she is up and running

Another story idea I had way back which has only recently found wings is Spikey Dee now called My Extraordinary Little Sister, and this one even predates Kit and Ker-Boot. In fact Spikey Dee started off as a set of children's stories (unpublished) I wrote after my eldest daughter was born and they were based on her - she is now Eleven. Now that she is Eleven I saw how to make the story work for bigger kids. A friend of my eldest daughter is Sam and he is the inspiration for Spikey Dee's older brother affectionately called Matty Pat by his family. Sam is a great cartoon artist and it is his great drawings that inspire me. I think one day Sam will be a film director.

In My Extraordinary Little Sister, a day dreaming eleven year old boy, Matty Pat has to look after his baby sister Spikey Dee whose unusual hair gives her enormous energy boosts when it picks up radiation from machines nearby.

I was lucky enought to score one of the small grants going in the Nick Short scheme (FTI/Screenwest/Nickelodeon Australia) so a three minute pilot is currently in production to be shown on Nickelodeon Australia. I am also lucky to be working with the very talented, very experienced (and a little bit too busy) Stephen Grant. Plus Susie Campbell has worked her magic to help me get the script into shape.

Look out for updates.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kit and her boot tickle at Kidscreen Summit

In February of this year I went to the Kidscreen Summit in New York. It was awesome! The Kidscreen magazine and online newsletters and website have been vital for me learning about the greater business of kids TV (outside of dreaming up concepts and finding ways to produce pilots or proofs of concept.) And the summit was just fantastic for me to meet people LIKE ME from all over the world, ie those that just love to make kids TV, and the people who might be able to make it possible!
Thank you to all those people that helped make it reality.. ScreenWest and Lotteries West for the funding, Susie Campbell for her fabulous mentoring, Chris Hunt for doing my marketing materials and my husband Rob for looking after the kids and the kids for looking after him and all my friends that pitched in.
Obviously New York is a buzzy place to visit whatever, but the conference really did re-energise and inspire me to keep going. I am realistic enough to know nothing is going to happen over-night (as if six years of work to get to this point would be overnight!?) but it at least feels like a really positive step.
The thing that really makes me giggle to myself whenever I think about it is, Kit and Ker-Boot. This little idea was what first drew me back to the business of TV, it led me to get into animation, but most people around here thought it was a bit odd. Because of the ways in which I have managed to develop it - it has never had proper designs or sparkly treatment and I have never quite been sure how to pitch it. But I still believed in it as a show and as a voice for my storytelling. Anyhow I decided to go for it anyhow. I pitched it at Kidscreen and quite a few people liked it and asked to see more!
You can find the Kit and Kerboot mini-pilot which was part of a Jelly Jym episode deeper in these blogs or by going to or clicking on the "watch jelly jym" link over to the right.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Accessible Nature Programmes for Kids

My daughter Demelza and I made a quick science film this time last year. We filmed it with the families digital stills camera (in an unexpected half hour due to a rock to the head which is another story....) and edited it at home. We were inspired to make it for a science film competition for students, the Sleek Geeks Science film competition run through Sydney University. It was a great opportunity for me to work with my daughter, to reinforce her 'story' and to hopefully impart some science appreciation and some understanding of film making. It is called the Fossil Hunters Story and it is self explanatory.......

This is not a professional film, although I enjoy filming and editing I was not trying to achieve professional quality and I am a believer in the additive creative value of teamwork! However the project got me thinking about how kids are very interested in the nature they observe for themselves around themselves, and it is when they are interested that you can get the most engagement and learning. An expert can rattle on about fascinating stuff but it can just fall on deaf ears unless the audience is engaged. But if the interest is there then it is taken on board. Much of the nature programming on television is beautiful and fascinating stuff about things and places most of us will never see or go to. It is nice to watch, interesting to hear about (although usually fairly superficial) and it is escapism. I think there is also a place, especially within kids programming for more accessible nature, the stuff they are able to see and experience if they want to/try to. Kids could tell their nature stories (as in the fossil hunters story) and then we could add to their experience with experts, research and specialist photography. I am working along those lines, watch this space.