Thanks to support from the Pervasive Media Studio I was able to attend the Children’s Media
Conference in Sheffield this year. I wanted to explore the world of creating content for children to see how feasible it would be to develop an animation based on my Wonzie World game for families.
Various people had also recommended CMC as a place to take my game to show it off, meet and learn from experts in children’s media. I signed up for a masterclass the afternoon before the conference talks started as a way to get networking and learning: Building Storyworlds, Developing IP & Growing a Franchise with Alison Norrington was an interesting introduction to the conference, and pushed me out of my comfort zone having to work with people I had just met. It was a good conversation starter and I enjoyed hearing from the expert panel - all of whom were very approachable.
That approachability of delegates and speakers was my overarching impression from the whole conference - you sometimes had to queue to ask a question but it was worth it and most people were really happy to talk and share their enthusiasm for making quality content for children. The two keynotes were both great - David Olusoga and Sharna Jackson - Sharna was particularly warm and funny and inspiring.
My other takeaway is that it will not be easy - animation takes ages to get from idea to broadcast, and I need to work on developing my scripts and storyboards for Wonzie World and follow up some of the great contacts I made.
I got lots of practice introducing myself as a writer and gamemaker, which felt like a step up for me, and also showed the game off on my phone. I struck up random conversations whenever I could, meeting all sorts of creative people from freelancers
to established writers and directors. I braced myself to ask a question at the Slime, Farts and Poo: Writing Comedy for Kids panel, (44:58 in) despite having to mime to a fart sound before being allowed to ask. I embraced my inner child and pulled a suitably stupid face. Because of that I felt able to talk to the panellists afterwards and got feedback on how to write an animation script without dialogue. ( I also won a 2020 Dr Who annual)
I now have a list of people to approach, when I have done more work on the project, and definitely think CMC is a conference worth attending if you are creating anything for children. It was really refreshing being surrounded by people who care about children and the quality of media offered to them.
pretty digital & Wonzie World