Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why we like Harry Potter

Astute readers will notice that my posts here have been steadily declining for quite some time. This is mostly because other interests have taken my time and attention elsewhere, and those other activities remain incredibly, well, active, right now. I won't go into them all, which would be boring even for me, but I will say that there's been a lot of things I've wanted to write about here that have fallen to the side during all my craziness and disorganization. (And I'm oh so sorry to those publicists and musicians who I haven't followed through with yet!! It's still coming!) I'm writing for my own film/transmedia blog and have now started posting for Filmmaker magazine, plus I'm also revising my own the intention to migrate a lot of my blogging there. My writing docket's pretty full.

So what to do here, on my oldest and truest little blog? Long term I don't know, but for the next little while I'm going to try shaking it up and seeing what kind of effect that can have on my own writing and consistency. In a nutshell, I'm going to try treating Red Balloon more casually, more autobiographically, and more like any other daddy blog out there--although I'll certainly retain my bias toward media. Loretta and Isabelle are seven and two now, and their adventures through the digital world are well worth chronicling.

A couple weeks ago I was cleaning out some computer and camera stuff from our storage closet and ran across a roll of 35mm film. "Look, Loretta," I said, "this is what people used to take pictures on."

"Why didn't they just use a camera?"

Oh, my dear sweet digital native. Last night she said Izzy sounded like a "record on repeat" and I realized she'll never see or hear a broken record in her life. A hair turned gray but I got a bit more insight into her seven-year-old worldview.

In monitoring all this familial activity, I won't lose my perspective as an active participant in the children's entertainment industry. I'll try to increase my reviews--helpful for both creators and users--and continue speaking about industry information, news, etc. -- just all from the perspective of a father who's both a creator and consumer in this biz.

So I'm going to try to upload a rather large video file of Loretta talking about her favorite books. She accompanied me on a shoot for a nonprofit organization, and while we had a little pause for that I had Loretta take a seat in front of the camera and asking her about books was just the first thing that popped into my head. But I think it turned into an insightful little interview.

Sorry about the squeeze and grain on the image. I shot it HD but am still figuring out all the compression codecs, etc.

So for the record, we've let her read the first two Harry Potter books but we're taking a several-month break before #3. Call us conservative, but I also think that will help draw the experience out longer and help her as the actual reading level pushes upward toward The Deathly Hallows.

Here are some of her favorites, then:


The Anderson School, where Loretta goes, doesn't technically celebrate Halloween, not during the school day anyway (tonight they're watching Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Wererabbit as an evening event). Next Monday is Storybook Character Day, not Halloween, so every kid's costume has to come out of a storybook somewhere. Loretta's is Annie's kimono here from Dragon of the Red Dawn. And if you're really interested in seeing it in action, here she is on the Today show this last Tuesday. A film crew caught us near the end of the day at Boo at the Bronx Zoo a couple weeks ago. So Loretta, little Isabelle (a chicken holding Cinderella's hand), and some friends are in the video at 2:41.

It was just a moment of screen time but it made Izzy's day. Happy Halloween!