Here are a number of websites I like. Some can give you further information on some of the shows I’ve done. Others are informative or entertaining websites on their own. The list is not exhaustive, of course. I’ll be referring to other websites on my News page, so be sure to check there as well.
“What’s Your News?”
Please check out cbc.ca/kidscbc/play/whatsyournews for the Canadian production, whatsyournews.com for the UK production and sproutonline.com/sprout/characters/?preset=what%27s-your-news for the show on Sprout in the US.
TT Games is the parent company of TT Animation and the reason we have such high quality animation faster and more economically than most other people is because of the unique games render engine we use. TT Games make all of those great Lego games and can be found at ttgames.com.
“Kaitanagata Twitch” and “My Portable Ghost”
Please check out productionshed.tv to find out more about these shows and all of the other great work Yvonne MacKay and her company do. And if you have a chance to go to New Zealand, go immediately!
“Fraggle Rock” and other Jim Henson productions
The Jim Henson Company website at henson.com is full of all sorts of good “stuff,” a word Jim loved to use so much we toyed with calling “The Jim Henson Hour” by the title of “Jim Henson’s World of Stuff.”
“The Ride,” “Cracked!” and “The Longhouse Tales”
CCI Entertainment is another fine company with whom I’ve been associated for a long time – back when I worked with both Arnie Zipursky at Cambium and Charles Falzon at Catalyst. They do a lot of interesting work and represent even more of it, so check out their site at ccientertainment.com.
Resources about Media for Children
David Kleeman runs The American Center for Children and Media. David is a human aggregator of all things relating to children’s media. I don’t think there’s any other one person who knows more about what’s happening in the diverse universe of children’s media all around the world. It’s his and his organization’s mission to connect all of us, for which I am very grateful. You can see a bit of what he’s up to at centerforchildrenandmedia.org/index.asp.
The Prix Jeunesse is a unique organization, based in Munich and headed by Maya Goetz. I had heard about this organization for years but first attended it in 2010. It was the single most important “professional development” experience I’ve ever had in my career. The website at prixjeunesse.de has a lot of good information about children, television and other media, as well as information about the 2012 Prix Jeunesse. If you’re truly interested in what’s happening all around the world, this conference brings together producers, broadcasters, academics and many other professionals dedicated to quality in children’s media to screen programs and discuss ideas. It is, gloriously, not a market.
I am the current Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee for the Children’s Entertainment Program at Centennial College, which means that I just chair a couple of meetings a year with a lot of very smart and committed people. We first started to meet in 2007 under the leadership of Dean Nate Horowitz, The Centre for Creative Communications, Centennial College and former Head of the PAC Joan Lambur who had the idea of creating a post-graduate program that could train young people who wanted a career in children’s entertainment. We begin the third year of operation in the fall of 2011. For information about the program, please see centennialcollege.ca/thecentre/childrensentertainment.
Associated with the Children’s Entertainment Program is the KidsMedia Centre, an industry and creative content think tank at Centennial College’s Centre for Creative Communications. Debbie Gordon is its energetic director. The website at kidsmediacentre.ca is a great, dynamic resource for all of us interested in this field.
Youth Media Alliance. Youth Media Alliance (YMA) seeks to enrich the lives of Canadian children and teens by helping improve the quality of the content created for them on all screen-based media. My long-time friend and colleague Peter Moss is the Chair of the YMA, and Chantal Bowen is the Executive Director. The YMA website is another useful resource and can be found at ymamj.org/index_en.html.
In Brazil, as well as around the world, Beth Carmona is known for her dedication to quality in children’s entertainment. A former director of of TV Cultura, she put the imprint of quality into the channel’s work for children, and she has subsequently worked with many different organizations around the world. She has served as a judge for The Prix Jeunesse, The Japan Prize, and the International Emmy, among others. Her company, Singular, in Sao Paulo does diverse work as a consultant, researcher, producer and manager. Singular’s website can tell you more about her and her team at sing.com.br/english. She also founded and heads Midiativa, a Brazilian Centre for Children and Teenagers. Midiativa‘s most recent initiative was the first ComKids conference in June 2011 in Sao Paulo. It included the Prix Jeunesse Iberamericano as well as workshops, discussions, screenings and other activities. Please look at the ComKids website (in Portuguese or Spanish) at comkids.com.br/es to get a sense of the full range and dynamism of the conference.
Some other websites I love:
ted.com – if you’re interested in ideas – all sorts of ideas, including things you haven’t even thought you’d be interested in – this is the website for you.
Mark Achtenberg is a man of many facets. He’s the Supervising Editor of “What’s Your News?” In addition to being a great editor, a teacher of screenwriting at Humber College, and a writer, he has lots of thoughts about film-making. You might enjoy his blog at achtenblog.blogspot.com.
I’ve known Rob Mills since 1983 when he performed the body of Junior Gorg to Richard Hunt’s simultaneous voice and face manipulation. He went on to work on many other productions, including Labyrinth and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then founded Radical Sheep Productions with Cheryl Wagner and created Big Comfy Couch and other great shows. He remains the goofy and incredibly smart guy I knew back then. Check out his website at millsworks.net and see what he and his mind are doing.
wordplayer.com – I don’t know Terry Rossio or Ted Elliott from Adam, but years ago a friend of mine pointed out this website to me. Here are two incredibly successful writers who share lots of ideas about writing, the commercial system, and living as a writer, when they really have no reason to do this other than the love of the art and the craft and the desire to help others. This is a kind of smorgasbord of a website, and you’ll find things that are meaningful to you and others you could care less about. For me, the column about exposition called “Situation Based Writing” by Terry Rossio is worth its weight in gold, and there’s a lot more like it on this site. Thanks, guys.
POV magazine is edited by Marc Glassman – boy, talk about another guy filled with ideas! Check out povmagazine.com which is all about documentary film-making. Marc also edits Montage magazine for the Directors’ Guild of Canada and can be accessed at dgc.ca/page.php?id=501.
Donald Westlake was my favourite comic novelist who sadly died in 2008. His website at donaldwestlake.com has a number of insightful interviews and links about him as well as a full bibliography. Like my friend and absolutely favourite comic writer, the late Jerry Juhl, Westlake isn’t just funny. He has a comic vision of the world that is as profound as it is entertaining. Comedy is rarely given its due as a serious form, but if you read, for example, the Dortmunder books, or “Humans” or “Smoke,” you’ll be richly rewarded.
Beingelmo.com – this site is all about the film by Constance Marks about Kevin Clash who plays Elmo. It’s a wonderful film about a whole lot of things in addition to Elmo.
Ginger Jarvis, the designer of this site, is a talented artist who works in a variety of media. She works full-time as a graphic artist at The Score network in Toronto and teaches at Ryerson University. Her website at gingerjarvis.com is filled with beauty.