Many years ago, armed with the mission to change kids media, I attended Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. Pursuing a master’s degree in child development and psychology, with a specialty in instructional media & technology, I was fortunate to have Dr. Rosemarie Truglio as my advisor.
Dr Truglio informed me about the incredible research on children and television, as well as how to maximize the creative to teach. She gave me the confidence to write my first show, The Magic Library, which transformed into PBS’ Super Why!.
Last night I attended a reception in NYC which honored Dr. Rosemarie T. Truglio with the University of Kansas’ 2013-2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Dr Rosemarie is now the senior vice president of education and research at Sesame Workshop. She is responsible for the development of the curriculum on which “Sesame Street” is based, and she oversees all educational research pertaining to the development of “Sesame Street” content.
I am honored to be one of Dr Truglio’s many accomplishments! Congratulations on last night’s Distinguished Alumni Award award and thank you, Rosemarie, for your brilliance, support and most of all, your friendship.
Meet four year old Cole, undoubtedly one of Super Why‘s BIGGEST fans. When he was a year old, Cole was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
His Dad, Adam, recently told us:
“When Cole was introduced to Super Why at 6 months old, it had been the only TV show my wife would let him watch regularly because of the positive messages it brought across for our son..
Your show has made some tough times in our house more simple..The smile on his face when he hears the opening song come on or from hearing a character’s voice is priceless. If he’s not in a very good mood or crying, instantly his attitude & personality changes.
For that, I say THANK YOU”
Adam & his wife Jennifer would love for more of the public to understand that special needs children have so very much to offer. In fact, Cole has taken some time out of his day to do some modeling and he can be seen in the Toys R Us “Differently Abled” catalog.
Thank you Adam & Jennifer for your message and especially your pictures of Cole.
Enjoy the ride Cole & we expect to see big things from you!
“A quarter of U.S. households have a member with special needs. More than 8% of kids under 15 have a disability, and half of those are deemed severe” -Jeff Howe/CNN Money
“Children who watched SUPER WHY! on PBS Kids scored 46% higher on standardized tests than those who did not watch the show.”
“SUPER WHY! has been successful in supporting learning in a highly engaging environment.”
Children’s Media Lab
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania
I met with The818’s Morgan Shanahan via Skype the other day to discuss my new creative arts program, Creative Galaxy, math based program, Sara Solves it, (Amazon Studios), the preschool tv biz, Fred Rogers and much more.
With our never ending to-do lists, it’s fun (and necessary) to sit and talk about why we do what we do.
See Morgan Shanahan‘s complete post “Blue’s Clues Creator Angela Santomero Launches Two Shows Via Amazon” at BlogHer & don’t forget to visit Morgan at the the818.com
Is today the day that preschool TV could be considered..dare I say it..
When I’m at a red carpet event, flooded with flashing lights & flowing gowns, it’s become customary that when I finally approach the photographers’ line, they decide to switch their memory cards or the old school photographers (those who’ve attended a Flock of Seagulls concert or earlier) will take that time to change their cameras’ film.
By now, I get it. If Kindergarten is but a memory, my cast of characters are no longer “cool” to you.
I’ve learned to become comfortable with this..
But now that a “name” like fun.’s Jack Antonoff has shared his creativity with our team, which previously has only been famous to the juice box set, we’re in Billboard & Rolling Stone!
Like a turn on the swings, you take it when you can get it!
Here’s hoping our new “cool” will push beyond our 15 minutes.
Billboard – Fun.’s Jack Antonoff on Writing ‘Super WHY!’ Songs
Rolling Stone – Fun. Guitarist Writes Songs for Children’s Program
by Jon Blistein
USA Today – Jack Antonoff adds some fun. to Super WHY! Live tour
by Korina Lopez
There are writers..and then there are WRITERS that breathe such creativity & understanding of their characters into their work, which ultimately leads to an engaged audience. This week we take another behind-the-scenes look at one of our WRITERS for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. We sat down with Writer/Story Editor extraordinaire, Becky Friedman (@That_Girl_Becky) to hear about her experiences writing for the series.
Explain your role as Writer/Story Editor and a bit about your creative process.
My role as staff writer is to write scripts. LOTS and LOTS of scripts.
Also, as a part of the creative team, I’m involved in the conceptualization of each episode, working to generate the elements needed for a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episode: a social-emotional theme, a musical strategy, the essential ‘Fred’ approach, a dramatic story arc, & of course, lots of imagination!
My role as the story editor is, essentially, to be the guardian of the ‘voice’ of the show.
So for every stage of every script, I do an editing pass to make sure that the characters sound like our characters, that the story feels authentic, & most of all, that the scripts are… you know…good! I try to balance keeping the individual color & flavor of each script with the overall voice & vision of the series.
My creative process moves fluidly between creative collaboration & solitary confinement. Initially, I hammer out the germ of the story idea with Angela. Then, I head off on my own to flesh out that idea into a more full story. We send those ideas out to the Out of the Blue Creative team, & they’re discussed, shaped, & crafted by the group. Then, it’s back to my writer cave to work on the draft one of the script! Back to my boss, & the rest of the team & then back to my writer cave…and so forth, until at last I send the Final Production Script to our producer, breathe a deep sigh of relief…& start all over again.
What is your favorite aspect of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”?
I have 2 favorites! From the perspective of a former preschool teacher (which I am) I love that this show is teaching kids how to be people in the world. Essential things like: how to be a good friend, how to deal with mad feelings, how to express love, how to share, & why if you take a highly anxious & neurotic owl camping, you will live to regret it. I take that responsibility very seriously.
From a creative perspective, I love writing for characters with such colorful & distinct personalities. It’s great fun, as a writer, to sit down and think “what can I throw at Miss Elaina that will challenge her?” or “What can we do to turn Daniel Tiger’s world upside down?” or, my favorite, “What would be the silliest possible thing we could make O the Owl do?” Having such great characters to write for really leads to endless story possibilities.
Oh shoot, I just thought of a 3rd favorite aspect. The music! I really love the music on the show.
Which character in the series do you most relate to & why?
The character that I’m most like is, without a doubt, Miss Elaina. She’s quirky, she’s silly, she’s impulsive & quick to react, she’s mischievous, impatient, passionate, & she likes to have things her own way. My parents, my boyfriend, my therapist, my friends, my co-workers, & probably anyone reading this Q&A will pretty much all agree…that’s me. Heck, if it was appropriate for an adult to wear a backwards-dress to work…I’d do it.
However, I’m also really excited about a NEW character we’ll be introducing later on in the season. I won’t say much about her except that her name is Chrissie, she’s a real spark-plug, she has a lot that she can teach kids, & I really went to bat to get her on the show. I can’t wait for everyone to meet her!
What was the funniest moment for you while making the show?
You want ONE funniest moment? When your weekly meetings include discussions of how many meows per sentence is intelligible (2), how much glitter is too much (there’s no limit!) & if there’s a way to incorporate more pickles per episode (there is a way, & her name is Becky)…funny moments abound.
We pretty much live to make each other giggle around here.
I just remembered my other favorite character: Daniel’s stuffed tiger, Tige-y. His name is a reference to a beloved stuffed eagle…aptly named Eage-y.
Becky Friedman is a staff writer and story editor for Out of the Blue Enterprises LLC. Becky has written & story edited for the emmy-nominated, PBS hit superhero literacy show Super Why! & is currently writing & story editing for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Becky also writes mysteries for Dramatic Fanatic, & wrote & created “Yoga with Becky,” for Kids Health. Prior to becoming a writer, Becky taught a pre-k program in a full-inclusion preschool in San Francisco. Becky also contributed an essay for the anthology: When We Were Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children’s Classic & the Difference it Made.
Following the announcement of the Grammy winners 2013, a BIG congratulations goes out to Jack Antonoff and his fun. band mates for taking home Best New Artist & Song of the Year!
Perhaps Jack Antonoff is just as excited about his inspiring songs that he wrote about the Super Readers for the 2013 Super Why! Live tour as well..perhaps..maybe? Nonetheless, congratulations for this week’s big wins! We are so very happy & proud for you!
“Super WHY Live! is the live stage show inspired by the hit PBS Kids TV series. S2BN Entertainment and Out of the Blue Enterprises. We are proud to announce that after a successfull first run, we have added new dates and are beginning their Spring 2013 U.S. tour of Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power!coming to a stage near you in 2013. We’ve created some videos to show you what’s going on behind the scenes as we continue with 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 newly added dates for the Spring 2013 schedule for Super Why Live ]
I am proud to announce that Amazon Studios, the original movie & series production arm of Amazon.com, has greenlit for production our creative arts curriculum Creative Galaxy. Amazon Studios announced today that Creative Galaxy is 1 of 5 children’s test pilots which have been selected.
“Our children’s series come from industry luminaries with credits such as Blue’s Clues, Sid the Science Kid and Dino Dan. We think parents—& our very youngest customers—are going to love the magical combination of entertainment & learning that they’ll discover in these children’s series.” said Roy Price (Dir. Amazon Studios).
My incredible team at Out of the Blue Enterprises and I are thrilled to be working with Amazon Studios & can’t wait to soar into a creative arts curriculum with Creative Galaxy. We know that art can have a powerfully positive effect on children & through our proven signature approach to preschool television, we will actively help young viewers learn how to think creatively in their own lives. Working with Amazon Studios has been fantastic & we look forward to jumping further into the production process.
Creative Galaxy is an animated, interactive art, adventure series, designed to inspire kids’ creative thinking through crafts, story, music and dance. The series was created by Angela Santomero, creator of Super Why! (the Emmy-nominated literacy series), Blue’s Clues and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.