Planet Preschool Blog
About the Author
Josh Selig is the President and Founder of Little Airplane Productions, producer of international preschool hits The Wonder Pets!, 3rd & Bird and the upcoming CBeebies/Disney Junior series, Small Potatoes.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the author. Any questions/comments should be directed to its author, Josh Selig, and not Kidscreen.com/Kidscreen Magazine.
Last week, I was in the port city of Qingdao for Kidscreen East and my morning run took me past fishermen with cute dogs, old men in swimming trunks and, much to my dismay, a scary Chinese clown pulling a dark, empty cart through the fog. At first, I thought I must be going insane because, when you’ve spent as many years as I have making preschool shows, seeing a clown emerge from the fog is almost certainly the form that your madness would take. But this was not madness. No, it was just one of the many odd and inexplicable things that you see when you’re in China.
It’s July. If you are a sane person, then you’ve already shifted your focus from children’s television to more appropriate summer concerns like making sure your paper plates are strong enough to support potato salad. But, if you are like me, a workaholic with a particular interest in China, than you’ve skipped the barbecues and the cottage to make sure you’re 100% ready for the most important Chinese media event since Big Bird strolled down the Great Wall in 1982.
A kids’ TV show is sort of like a big mother cow. And the t-shirt companies, the toy companies and the book companies are like a bunch of baby cows. So, once a year, the baby cows come to Las Vegas where they try and nurse on the teats of the big mother cows. At least that’s how I tried to explain Licensing Show to a curious child. Any questions?
I know it’s hard. Your pitch seemed to go so well. They smiled. They laughed. They said they could see your show working on their channel. Your heart jumped a fish. They even mentioned toys. But they have not gotten back to you. It’s been weeks. You wonder if you should write to them but you don’t. You’re afraid that you’ll look needy. So you wait.
When it comes to kids media, China is on fire. New IPTV platforms are popping up like wild mushrooms and they carry all of the same series you see back home on Netflix. Show-related swag is available on any street corner (along with a Starbucks Mocha Frappucino and Spicy Wings from KFC).
After an idea for a media project of any kind is born, its further development is dependent on collaborative efforts and contributions of people with different skill sets and assets. And like an idea, a newborn child is filled with potential waiting to be developed, writes guest blogger and Sesame Street alum Norman Stiles.
Last night, I spoke at a graduate-level production class at The New School. At the end of the class, one rather forward young student asked me a question that gave me pause. He said, “What keeps you up at night?” Here is an amalgam of what I actually said and what I wished I had said.
Every MIP that I’ve attended has had a unique personality. But MIPTV 2014 had no personality. There were no big announcements. No global deals. And, apparently, no new trends unless delivering a show in 4K could be considered a trend (yawn). This was the Back-To-The-Grind MIP. Or, maybe, the Who-Is-Still-Here MIP.
Why schlep all the way to Cannes in April to pitch to (or be pitched by) the same middle-aged bunch of boozers you just saw in February in New York City? Here’s why: Because MIPTV is still one of only three markets on the planet that puts you within air-kissing distance of buyers and sellers from Singapore to Slovenia and from Ukraine to YouTube. Though it may not be what it once was (who among us is?) MIPTV remains, in my view, an essential children’s TV market.
When I was in Tokyo recently, I had the good fortune of visiting one of my favorite animation studios in the world, Dwarf, and meeting its founder, Tsuneo Goda, who is best known for creating the character Domo. Goda-san, as he is known, was busy working on a beautiful new project called “By Your Side” in collaboration with recording artist Sadé. I sat down with Goda-san and asked him some questions about this new Dwarf initiative.