My Projects

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under My Projects, Super Why!

Angela Santomero

Tony award winning scenic designer, David Gallo, literally set the stage for Super WHY! Live, translating much of the Super Readers’ world into a magical live production.  David worked with me on the successful theater production of Blue’s Clues and he delivered on Super Why! LIVE as well.  He’s joined with his experts/daughters to explain how he incorporated the Super Readers’ Why Flyers into the amazing production!

 

Click HERE for more Super Why LIVE! info

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Kids, My Projects, Super Why!


Super WHY Live! is the live stage show inspired by the hit PBS Kids TV series. The tour is coming to a stage near you in 2012, but we’ve created some videos to show you what’s going on behind the scenes as we build the show.

In this video, Super WHY Live songwriter Jack Antonoff (of fun. – presently with a #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Digital Songs charts with “We Are Young”) talks about writing music for grown ups and kids, and about how excited he is for the debut of Super WHY Live!”

~Super Why Live Tour

[Click HERE for more info ]

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, My Projects

 Right after the emotional Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Breakfast, we were all whisked away to attend the PBS Kids Session.

I was humbled when asked to present with the Rock Stars of PBS Kids:  Lesli Rotenberg, Linda Simensky and Sara DeWitt.

There, I revealed more about myself, tried not to cry & presented the show’s curriculum & it’s importance for today’s children.

The best part?  I got to walk over center stage to interview Dr. Aisha White Oprah style.PBS Kids

Dr. White, in her own words, let everyone know that many children (& many adults) don’t learn how to deal with their emotions.  You might know some adults like this, right?

Not having coping skills to deal with everyday problems (cooperation, sharing, resilience, persistence) will undoubtedly have negative effects on children later in life

This has been my mantra while writing Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  We need to teach children coping strategies so they can reach their full potential in life!

 

Here are 3 clues that I revealed about myself at the PBS Annual Meeting:

Clue #1:  It’s true, that in my crazy Italian family, Mister Rogers was that calming voice that looked right at “me” and told me that he liked me just the way I was and I believed him.   I followed in his footsteps and got my Master’s Degree in Child Development just like Fred did.

Clue #2:  I went into television to create programs learning taking a cue from Fred’s groundbreaking style and approach.  I just hope to do for kids today what Mister Rogers did for me.

Clue #3:  I am the result of PBS programming…it creates people like me who wish to grow up and educate children through media.

 

Celebrate the premiere of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with us!

Labor Day, SEPTEMBER 3rd @ 11am est

AngelasClues.com

Thank you everyone at PBS Kids for a wonderful Annual Meeting in Denver, CO to announce the Premiere of DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD this LABOR DAY, SEPT 3RD at 11am EST.  

 

photo by @Greeblemonkey

Me & Mrs Joanne Rogers in the Trolley at our PBS Kids breakfast to showcase Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood!

I was close to tears the whole day….

It started at 6:15am as I walked into the room transformed beautifully into the Neighborhood of Make Believe by Karen Fritz and Suzanne Masri from WETA.  Incredible work!

Paul Siefken (PBS Kids) started our presentation talking about Daniel as a “signature show” for PBS.  He said, “Everyone knows not to interrupt me when I’m with my Daniel.  I first have to dab my eyes, because the show is that sweet.  And the characters are that cute.”

It was then our turn. Kevin Morrison (CEO Fred Rogers Company) and I gave some “inside scoop” into the show.  We talked about our passion for the show and I revealed that they practically had to rip the first script out of my hands.  Someone from the Fred Rogers Company said, “It’s not like Fred is going to read it!”  But I thought differently.  “Maybe he will….. and if he does, will he like it?”

But my favorite moment?  Announcing Bill Isler, President of Fred Rogers Company and Mrs. Joanne Rogers to a standing ovation!  Joanne got up on stage and gave me the biggest hug.  I turned to Bill Isler, he had tears in his eyes, and I flashed back to 15 years ago, when Bill allowed me behind the “velvet red ropes” to greet Fred after a keynote speech at NAEYC.  Now look where we are today.

Tears all day…

AngelasClues.com

Angela Santomero, Karen Fritz, Joanne Rogers, Suzanne Masri & Kevin Morrison

 

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, My Projects

So, I remember all too clearly being 9+ months pregnant, on my way to the hospital with my husband, making grand gestures to all my neighbors of “We’ll be back with the baby!” and “Today’s the big day! We’re going to have a baby!”

…3+ hours later we sheepishly returned home

…no baby

Today was not the day.

 

Well, that’s how I felt at #SXSW!  I was so excited to give everyone a sneak peek of our much labored and beloved Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood! We were ready! We were going to share with the world our new little creation! And then…

…technical difficulties.

…no sneak peek.

Today was not the day.

 

However, what I did get to do was show everyone who came to have a glorious PBS KIDS SXSW BREAKFAST was our vision, our goals, and a sneak peek at some of our beautiful visuals.  Hurray!

Daniel Tiger, the son of the original Daniel Tiger is our star. He’s four years old, he wears a little red sweater and sneakers and talks directly to the preschool home viewers the way Fred Rogers did.

Our characters are “the next generation” of characters from the Neighborhood of Make Believe.  All of the original characters have grown up and they all have preschoolers of their own.

 

Introducing…..Prince Wednesday (King Friday and Queen Sarah’ Saturday’s later in life baby), Miss Elaina (daugther of Lady Elaine and Music Man Stan), O the Owl (nephew of X the Owl) and Katerina ‘meow meow” Kittycat (daughter of Henrietta ‘meow meow’ Pussycat).

The friends live and play together in the newly imagined and expanded Neighborhood of Make Believe created with hand crafted textures and love.

 

 

And, WAIT until you hear the music!

Our curriculum is based on little musical strategies that are all singable and relevant to preschoolers (and us, parents) for use every day. So, “What do you do with the mad that you feel?Well, when you feel so mad you want to ROAR! Take a deep breath and count to four….1,2,3,4”.No really, how great would it be if more adults put this this skill into action as well?!

The Fred Roger’s Company is the expert in socio-emotional curriculum and have literally written the book (& thousands of shows) on how to talk to kids about these issues. At Out of the Blue, we’ve painstakingly researched all of these strategies with kids, themselves, to get them just right. We’re proud to say that kids in research can’t get enough of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. They are singing, learning our strategies and using them already in their lives!

 

So, no, we didn’t birth a baby at SXSW.

But we did get a lot of new wonderful blogger aunts and uncles who came to support us and who will be there, at the ready, when our new baby Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood actually does premiere THIS FALL on (where else?!) PBS KIDS!

 

The following is from a talk that I gave this morning at Kidscreen Summit. The session was entitled Like a Boss:  Honing Your Leadership Skills. I was honored that Donna Friedman Meir had asked me to be among such a smart group of panelists, which was made up of

  • Kate Ebner
  • Thomas Lynch
  • Maggie McGuire

 

WHAT DOES LEADERSHIP MEAN TO YOU?

I believe that a leader is an eternal optimist. She has a vision, has audacity to see that vision through, and has contagious, passionate energy to empower the right people to help make the dream a reality.

My passion is to empower kids.  I want them to know that they have a voice, and that what they say matters…even if it takes them longer to say it.  I believe that if we pause, wait, listen attentively, preschoolers (kids in general) will talk.  And what they have to say is brilliant.  My vision is to create educational shows that kids want to watch.  My approach has been to marry the very best preschool curriculum with the magic and influence of media.

I was that 4 yr old who couldn’t sit any closer to Mister Rogers when he was on…& talking to me. I grew up and wanted to make my own mark on children’s television because I did not like much of what was on for kids.  Blue’s Clues was born out of the desire to have kids learn the skills they needed for kindergarten. I wanted them to practice those skills by using their voice and “interacting”. So, we left a 4 beat pause in.

Super Why is about motivating and teaching kids to read. By leaving the pause in, kids at home are practicing literacy skills by helping our super heroes with the power to read.

With the premiere of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood this Fall, I am bringing the pause back full circle, honoring the man who taught us about the power of the pause in television – Fred Rogers. And this time we use it for the most important skills of all…socio-emotional.

 

I started in the research department at Nickelodeon. And the day that I decided to leave to finish my Master’s Degree because I wanted to “create shows for preschoolers” was the day people called my “crazy”. I got lots of push back. But I saw my future. And I love to prove my neigh sayers wrong.

I remember being on set for the pilot of Blue’s Clues thinking to myself, “This had better work out because I’m never going back!” My father in law was the one who told me that only the best & biggest accomplishments come out of educated risks. I believe he was right.

 

THE BUMPS IN THE ROAD… 

My biggest career obstacle was the day we found out that Blue’s Clues had ended its run. What? 10 years, just under 100 people who were like family working under one roof for this great show. This wasn’t just a job.

As much as I should have known that productions don’t stay around forever, I wasn’t prepared for this day. I took some meetings and my barometer was, “If I don’t feel like throwing up after the meeting, I would pursue it.”. It took a year.

I had pitched PBS’ Linda Simensky my “reading show”, which was Super Why, and the day she called to tell me that PBS wanted to make it, I literally sank to the floor. My identity was back!

ADVICE FOR UP & COMING LEADERS…

Push through the negativity. Don’t follow the status quo. Don’t ask too many people what they “think”. Follow your gut, your passion, have chutzpah, make calls, meet people and follow through on opportunities to learn in the area that excites you even if you don’t know where its going to take you. Be open. Find an outlet to get your vision out in the world. And remember that it takes a village. So find the best and the brightest, be good to them, and have them join you in making your dream a reality.

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Kids, My Projects, Parenting

I recently sat down with Carol-Lynn Parente, Executive Producer of the 130 Emmy Award winning preschool show (no, I’m not jealous…really) Sesame Street for an informative talk about their new content and how parents are able to extend that learning with their children.

Sesame Street is quite busy these days introducing their new STEM curriculum for this season.  As you know, STEM addresses science, technology, engineering & math. Even though STEM is all around our children in the real world, it’s quite a large endeavor to deliver this type of content to a preschool audience in an appropriate fashion!

One of the reasons that makes it so challenging is that while comedy is often utilized as a means of grabbing the childrens’ attention, it’s a difficult balancing act when you’re taking on such heavy subject matter like STEM within that same comedic segment.  But in the end, “Penguins and Chickens are always funny” so you’ve gotta find a way.

[See Angela’s interview with Carol-Lynn Parente on PBS.org]

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under My Projects

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve been nominated for

Parents Magazine Best Blog Awards 2011:

Best All-Around Mom Blog category

 

To cast your vote, click HERE & be sure to click on VOTE

Thank you,

Angela

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, My Projects

 

I came across this Parenting in Progress post: My Neighborhood Is Not Animated yesterday & the following is my response:

I do love everyone’s passion.  I am also a passionate fan of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and I am involved in creating the new spinoff of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.   Of course, I take all of your concerns to heart and I want to keep the conversation going.

Here are some answers to your questions:

Who is creating the spin off of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood?

Out of the Blue LLC with myself, Angela Santomero, and The Fred Rogers Company with Kevin Morrison.  I have an MA in Child Development and Instructional Technology and Media from Columbia University, Teachers College.  I created Blue’s Clues in 1996 that changed the way preschoolers watch tv and helped teach them kindergarten readiness skills as supported by a Univ of Alabama longitudinal study.  I created Super Why! for PBS Kids which teaches kids reading skills based on the National Reading Panel and was proven to help teach kids to read by a longitudinal study done by Univ of Penn.

Why Animation?

Because there is no way that we could find a new Fred Rogers.  He was born, not hired.  And I know.  Because I looked at 5,000 actors for Blue’s Clue and I hired Steve and Joe.  And as much as I love them, they are not Fred.  With animation, we can more clearly see the characters emotions in their faces and give little ones a more visual way to experience the curriculum.  We are carefully animating the show using textured, hand made elements that give it the “reach out and touch it” look and feel created by Traci Paige Johnson, my co – creator on Blue’s Clues.  And for what it’s worth, we have been working on this show for the past four years, and I can tell you that our level of animation is more expensive than a live action/puppet set, a style which I had chosen on many earlier projects.

Neighborhood of Make Believe:

As a fan of the show, I loved that Prince Tuesday was a baby puppet and then “grew up” and was a teenager puppet in later years.  I thought, it would be so much fun for me to go back and play in this world, now.  But what would the Neighborhood of Make Believe look like?  Well, everyone would have grown up and have had preschoolers of their own in their lives.  Daniel, the son of the original Daniel, is the star, because as Fred’s first puppet, he was the one closest to who Fred was as a person.  Four year old Daniel Tiger wears a little red sweater and little sneakers, calmly talks directly to the home viewer about his feelings, takes rides on the trolley, goes to the Neighborhood of Make Believe school and visits the neighborhood shops with all of his friends.  The nostaglia elements are in the show for us, fans.  Because, I for one, get very upset when a spin off doesn’t acknowledge where it came from (90210?).

Joanne Rogers (Mrs. Rogers), who, as you can imagine, is the closest to the original show and she loves Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  She said, “I dare anyone to not fall in love with Daniel”.  And I do too.  This show has been lovingly researched, written, cared for, fretted over and is the sweetest show for preschoolers in years.  It incorporates beautiful music based on Fred’s musical style that I dare you not to sing and it will undoubtedly get stuck in your head.  It has a celebration of love between Daniel and his parents and his friends.  It has gentle reminders for little ones about how “grownups come back”, “when something seems bad, turn it around and find something good” and a variety of other prosocial, emotional tips.

I hope you give our show a chance.  Because, I promise you it is THAT good.

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, My Projects

Hey Moms! Join me and a bunch of tech savvy, bloggers, industry pros & execs at this year’s SheStreams conference. It will be held on September 23 & 24th at The Crowne Plaza – Time Square. SheStreams is an amazing resource for helping women to harness the strength of social media to build their brands to the level that they desire.  Plenty of new products and services will be presented to assist us all in this rapidly changing environment!

I will be speaking on Saturday, September 24th, 2011 at SheStreams NYC on the subject of Finding Success From Your Passions.  Please come say hello at the conclusion of the talk!

Finding Success From Your Passions

The easiest way to let your competitors get ahead of you is to lose your passion for what you are doing. In this session, these successful entrepreneurs will motivate you to grab hold of the reigns of your life and go after what you want.

[ SheStreams 2011 ]