Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Science Media in Australia

It's been a month since the KidScreen Summit here in New York, and I'm now starting to work with some of the people that I met there, making this one of the most exciting months of my career (thus far). Recession or no recession, there were so many people there that had such enthusiasm for children's media that it was quite refreshing, to say the very least, to know how large and vibrant the community is. I was there proffering services, not pitching for funding, but that's the area where the recession is being felt: it's always been hard to make a kids' television show, but money is tighter now than ever. I hope in the next few months to shine what little light my blog can provide on some of the people who have immense potential and are in that stage of rounding up all the money.

 The first of these is the wonderful British-Australian writer and director Kate Vyvyan. I only met her briefly after we both attended a session with the CBBC, but she was helpful and gracious and when I later visited her blog I was particularly impressed. You can find that here, at She uses it not for frequent updates but as a venue to display some of her own work, in particular (recently) a home video/documentary she made with her own children about shark fossils in western Australia, and her show reel, which features diverse media and lots of fun. I like both and was encouraged by the potential of the documentary. Certain science shows like Peep and the Big Wide World feature live-action segments after the animation, but there is certainly room in all English-speaking markets for more live action and documentary for children. With some development I think a format like this would make a great series in and of itself, either on television or the web (where kids could post their own scientific findings). It could also skew to older kids (8 and above) if desired; my personal feelings are that shows with curriculum for this age group are fewer and farther between (something even more true for teens, Brigid Sullivan of WGBH informed us). I loved 3-2-1 Contact when I was a tween (before we were "tweens"), and it'd be great to see that kind of show, for that age group, again. But at any rate, please pop over to Kate's site and have a look at her work--if nothing else it's something to emulate in your own family!

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