Some of the most popular sessions at this year’s KidScreen Summit will undoubtedly emerge from its 30 Minutes With series. On the opening day of the 2008 gathering, a variety of broadcasters spoke directly to purposely small (and enthusiastic) crowds in the meeting rooms at the New York Hilton Hotel.
Nina Hahn, VP of international development at Nickelodeon told a group of would-be producers exactly what she is looking for when projects cross her desk. ‘Who are the characters and why do I care about them,’ she said. ‘It’s as simple as that.’
She added that Nickelodeon is willing to take a chance on creating a series of shorts for a property if it displays ‘passion and a visually breakout style’ and stressed that producers and creators have to be aware of the broadcaster’s brand and niche.
‘At Nick we aren’t looking to talk down to kids,’ she said. ‘That’s not us. We want to create an environment for kids to feel safe on their terms. We want proactive characters, not passive ones.’
But, perhaps her most salient point was her last one, ‘Think like a kid!’ she exclaimed.
Nick Wilson, controller of children’s programming at Five in the UK, had an afternoon slot in the Bryant Suite, and was also blunt about his channel’s needs.
‘Right now, we want dramas for four- to seven-year-olds,’ he said. ‘It’s an area that we really believe is going to grow.’
He continued by saying he would look at pitches that are anything from cocktail napkin drawings to fully realized pilots. ‘Just don’t make them too long or too full of curriculum,’ he said. ‘I hate that. If your first line in the pitch talks about the curriculum at all, I’m not reading any further.’