Planet Preschool

The KidScreen Symphony

There was a moment at Little Airplane’s KidScreen party last Tuesday when something quite extraordinary happened.  Bobby McFerrin and his son Taylor had just finished their set and Bobby invited ...
February 16, 2010

There was a moment at Little Airplane’s KidScreen party last Tuesday when something quite extraordinary happened.  Bobby McFerrin and his son Taylor had just finished their set and Bobby invited Dan Zanes to come up on stage with his guitar.  The two musicians had met only a few hours beforehand during the sound check.  “What do you want to play?” asked Dan.  “Anything,” said Bobby.  And Dan began to play.  And Bobby began to sing.  And the energy between these musicians began to flow.  And the song they “wrote” together, entirely improvised, was absolutely amazing.

This image of Bobby and Dan stayed with me throughout the busy KidScreen Summit and became a symbol of the conference itself.  As I walked through the crowded delegates lounge each day, I saw duet after duet being played at each table and on each white couch.  And it occurred to me that this is what I love most about the KidScreen Summit:  the sometimes intentional and sometimes spontaneous pairing of different people and different companies from all over the world.

It happens in the hallways, in the balconies, passing on the escalator, down in the bar, in the meeting rooms, at the buffet, in the lobby and while waiting for a cab.  The duets are about characters, treaties, trends, IP, service work, iPhone apps, books, toys, co-production deals and anything else that might be considered an instrument of our kids’ entertainment business.  And it wasn’t only duets.  There were trios, quartets and even a rock band or two.  In short, the delegates came.  They saw.  They jammed.

I had a great time at the Summit.  The energy was upbeat.  There was laughter and hugs and talk about who would get which new job.  I read once that if you drop a big beautiful shell into a terrarium full of hermit crabs, the alpha hermit crab will crawl out of his own shell and move into the big beautiful shell.  Then, a moment later, all of the other hermit crabs will quickly rush about changing their shells, upgrading whenever possible.  At this KidScreen Summit you could almost hear the happy sound of people scrambling out of their old shells and looking for the next, new exciting shell they hoped to move into.

I had meetings in and around the Hilton with new and old friends from every corner of the globe.  Production companies, broadcasters, distributors, animation studios, film companies and show creators.  And, of course, there were the wonderful Brazilians, who carry their warmth, creativity and generosity of spirit to each and every conference they attend.  And they seem to attend them all.

But my best meeting of the week was not a meeting at all.  It was dinner on Friday night with my dear friend Jocelyn Christie, the publisher of KidScreen Magazine.  I swept Joce away from the Hilton in a black car after our last KidScreen meetings and I took her to Amanda’s, a quiet restaurant in Hoboken away from the delegates, the speakers and her amazing staff.  We toasted what we both agreed was the smoothest and most successful KidScreen Summit ever and talked the night away over red wine and molten chocolate cake.  Congratulations, Joce.  Your Summit was a symphony.

What were some of your favorite moments from KidScreen?

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