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.
Our Annual Halloween Photo Contest winner will receive a signed copy of my favorite Super Why! Halloween story.
Simply LIKE my Facebook page if you haven’t yet (If you did already, Thank You & jump to #2)
Send a photo to me at Angela@AngelasClues.com – Subject: “Boo“
If you tweet I entered my costumed lil’ pumpkin in @AngelasClues #Halloween giveaway! Check it out! http://bit.ly/VpVRAfyour submission will be entered twice
All decision making will be final & entirely up to the discretion of our Fearless Judges: Mr. Willy Wonka & Miss Veruca Salt:
Whenever the subject of Blue’s Clues comes up, it’s rare that the mail song isn’t involved somewhere within the conversation. Hey, we all love mail…and I’m no different. Here’s just 1, Virginian reason why, in regards to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood:
Dear Angela & Everyone who made Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood a reality:
From the bottom of our family’s heart…Thank You!!!! Yesterday’s premier of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood was SO wonderful!
Please know that you had our 2 yr old son unexpectedly spinning himself around the living room & happily singing: “turn (it) around… da da da, somethin GOOD!!! over and over. (It was SO cute!)
We certainly were not a spoiler-free family by that point, (sorry, just couldn’t resist!) having watched every single online clip available multiple times and patiently waiting fro months until premier day…But it was SOOOOOooooooo worth the wait.
We knew about the characters, and had seen the birthday party episode.But the segment afterwards with the child wearing the red cardigan and making cookies or going to the doctor, etc. was also great!!! As was the part with children doing an activity while the theme song from the episode was playing in the background! These 2 segments -really- tied the animated portions to the real world…much like Mister Rogers did after the neighborhood of make believe each episode. Really well done!
Although for me, the best part of all was hearing David Newell’s voice in the beginning announcing those who helped made it possible. We love Mr. McFeely very much & we go to see him back home in Pittsburgh every chance we get. Adding him in the beginning was a really nice touch…passing the torch, so to speak, & brought a tear to my eyes.
Wow. If only Fred Rogers were alive to see what you have done….
I think he couldn’t help but have a joyful tear in -his- eye. This show -really- ‘gets’ him, his message and his essence.
We can’t thank you enough for that. 🙂
Jim & Aileen
Thank you so very much Jim & Aileen for your kind words.
If someone has positively affected you or has brightened your child’s day recently, share it below with us.
I’m giving away an over sized (largest character: 18.5″ x 27″) set of Super Why reusable wall decals this week, Sunday 8/26- Friday 8/31 to celebrate our super readers incredible job with their reading all summer long.
Decals are made of heavy-duty vinyl and are for use on smooth, flat surfaces. Includes 4 large Super Why! characters (largest measures 18.5″ wide x 27″ high), 1 “Super Why!” logo, and 1 light switch decoration. Made to move, these peel and stick clings come off the wall just as easily as they go on. Decorate for your party, & then let your child redecorate their bedroom with no worries!
To ENTER contest, simply:
1) “LIKE” the Angela’s Clues Facebook fanpage (if you’ve already “Liked” us simply continue with steps #2 & #3)
2) click on the “Super Why! SUMMER READER GIVEAWAY” 8/26 Post on the Angela’s Clues fanpage
3) Add a comment about your child’s favorite summer book under this post
~ BONUS ~ If you Tweet about the Super Why! SUMMER READER GIVEAWAY it’ll double your chances to win, as we will enter your submission twice for this contest
Contest ends midnight on Friday 8/31 & a randomly drawn winner will be announced on Saturday.
Immediately following the PBS show in Miami, the cast from the Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power tour kick it old school style with their own hip hop rendition ofWe’ve Got the Power.
Click away because, you really shouldn’t miss this one!
..and much thanks girls.
You did us proud!
Where better to celebrate the opening night of Super Why Live! than the home of Mardi Gras…Louisiana!
Last night, we premiered our live show to an ecstatic crowd of Super Readers at the Monroe Civic Center. There’s been incredible feedback from parents and children who were treated to our very first live performance of Super Why!
A special thanks to Glenn Orsher and his team at S2BN Entertainment for their amazing job of successfully adapting Whyatt and pals to the live stage, as well as my 2nd family…the incredibly talented crew at Out Of The Blue Ent.!
Click HERE for more information regarding a show near you!