I’d like you all to meet my boss.
This is Chloé.
She’s 4. Chloé is very particular. She likes tutus. She likes Mardi Gras beads. She likes her friend Max.
Chloé has very high expectations. It’s my job to make shows that she will like. If I fail, she will replace me.
Now, I also have clients. For example, Nickelodeon.
And they have a boss, too.
Chloé is very powerful. In fact, the fate of my company, as well as that of Nickelodeon and CBeebies rests on whether or not Chloé and her friends like our shows.
Here they are at snack time discussing our fate.
So, how do I make a show that Chloé will like?
I always begin with a dot.
A dot is a symbol for an idea.
An idea should be very singular. Just like a dot.
For example, the idea for “The Wonder Pets!” was simple:
“The Wonder Pets!” is a show about three classrooms pets who save other animals in distress.
It is easy to understand and you know immediately what every episode is going to be about.
Here is an example of an idea that is not simple:
“Kittens Away!” is a show about Johnnie, Chewy and Cliff, three toyetic kittens who love to read, count and visit with their friend, Oliver Owl, who tends his organic garden while taking care of his adopted bilingual grandson, Zula.
You do not get extra points for complexity in preschool television. And you cannot cover up a bad idea by adding more words to it. Or characters. Or educational goals.
An idea for a preschool show should be simple. Like a dot.
And you must be able to say your idea in one short sentence.
Now, if you do not start with a good idea, you cannot end up with a good show.
I will say that again. If you do not start with a good idea, you cannot end up with a good show.
It doesn’t matter who animates it or what celebrity you get to do your voiceover or how much money you throw at it.
If your idea sucks, your show will suck.
And if your show sucks…
Chloé won’t watch it. And you’re finished.
Because guess what?
You work for her, too.