I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better this week though I confess I still haven’t had time to pet a dog or eat a dumpling. You see we recently started production on 26 episodes of our newest short-form series, “Small Potatoes,” a show about four adorable singing potatoes. I have to tell you that I have never loved a project as much as I love “Small Potatoes.” Someone asked me recently, “Why potatoes?” I have absolutely no idea. I just feel these characters. They are pure. They have soul. I love them.
I spent this weekend in Brooklyn at the BAMkids Film Festival where the Small Potatoes’ first short film, “Imagination (Give It A Try),” made its world premiere.
It was a wonderful and very well run festival filled with odd and interesting films from all over the world. What struck me most was how true each film appeared to be to its creator. There was no sign of a big toy company or a broadcaster influencing the content of these shorts. They were closer to art than commerce. They were personal. And I have to say, to a TV guy like me, that was refreshing.
But what I liked most about the festival was getting to watch the kids watch the films. That was a real treat for me and such a healthy reminder of just who our audience is. It’s sometimes easy to forget about the kids when you spend your days stitching together co-production deals and haggling over lines in a budget that is already too lean. But, as cliché as it sounds, I really do make my shows for the kids. So it was great to spend a weekend seeing them smiling and laughing along with the Small Potatoes.
Another one of the highlights for me was having my mother attend the screening in Brooklyn. Though she doesn’t live very far away, it is rare that she gets to see anything that I make in front of a live audience. Here she is with me and Jeffrey Lesser, our amazing Little Airplane Music Director. When I introduced the two of them, I said, “Mom, this is Jeffrey. He takes care of me when you’re not around.” Which he does. And for which I am very grateful.
I was asked to do a short Q & A after each of the screenings. Two of the kids who did our voices on “Small Potatoes” attended the festival and I invited them to join me up on stage. Hearing what this audience wanted to know about the films was just amazing. One little boy who appeared to be about three years old asked, “How did you get the kids into the potatoes?” I thought that was great.
Another kid in the audience asked one of our child actors, “How did you get to be a potato?” The actor said, “Well, I was on my couch one day and the phone rang and my mom said, ‘It’s Little Airplane. You’re a potato.’ That was it.”