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Welcome to Oz Log – Day 3!

First of all, I have to tell you how much nicer everybody is to me now that they realize they are likely to end up on KidScreen Daily! Several people thanked me for not mentioning them and one person who shall remain nameless (Ewan Burnett) even offered to bribe me if I agreed not quote him here! (I accepted, so he will not be quoted here.)
November 18, 2009

First of all, I have to tell you how much nicer everybody is to me now that they realize they are likely to end up on KidScreen Daily! Several people thanked me for not mentioning them and one person who shall remain nameless (Ewan Burnett) even offered to bribe me if I agreed not quote him here! (I accepted, so he will not be quoted here.)

So now it feels like I’m at a conference! The morning was spent at The Westin attending the ‘Kids Pow Wow’ at SPAA. Jules Borkent showed the slick Nickelodeon sizzle reel and spoke about the stresses of being the number-one broadcaster of children’s TV on the planet earth. (We all felt very badly for him.) When asked how Nickelodeon remains number one, Jules said, ‘By responding to the changing needs of the kids themselves.’ He pointed to Nickelodeon’s recent (and very beautiful) re-branding as an example of the network’s willingness to evolve.

Following Jules was Nick Wilson, Director of Children’s Programmes for UK’s Channel Five, also known as the Milkshake block. Nick was very charming and showed a great reel of Five’s preschool shows and mentioned that Milkshake’s new website will be launching in January. He told the crowd that the disadvantage of pitching to Five is that it doesn’t have a lot of money. The advantage, however, is you deal directly with Nick and there’s no bureaucracy. (I have witnessed this firsthand, and I have to say it’s refreshing to get clear, thoughtful responses when you pitch, even when that response is no.)

And here’s where my day got interesting. I was on my way to Suzanne Ryan’s dinner at the Park Hyatt, just minding my own business, when a large fruit bat fell out of the sky and hit me in the head. It felt like getting hit with a large warm rubber Frisbee. Then I watched it hobble off, stunned but apparently unhurt. Needless to say, I was also stunned but unhurt and I continued on to the Hyatt, where I promptly washed my head in the loo. Then I went to the dinner and told my extraordinary tale to a very sympathetic and bemused Grahame Grassby, who told me that this is not uncommon here and is even considered by some to be a sign of good luck. I’m sure he was lying, but it did make me feel a lot better.

The dinner itself was one of the highlights of the week, and was attended by most of the ‘international guests’ and many of the local Australian companies. Thank you, Suzanne, for being so very good to all of us! The evening also happened to coincide with my old friend Carla DeJong’s 25th birthday. so we all sang her Happy Birthday and raised our glasses.

Finally, I have two corrections to make. In yesterday’s log, I said that dirtgirlworld was on Treehouse in Canada but, in reality, it is airing on the CBC. Also, Amber Knight from CBeebies Australia is actually Amber Tomlinson. My apologies to all! I write these things late at night!

Did I mention that a fruit bat fell on my head?

Josh Selig

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