Tag Archives: Nickelodeon

I Wrote for Kids and I Liked It

As you might be able to tell if you’ve checked out the front page of the site, I’ve had a couple kid-friendly credits to my name recently, with Step into Christmas over (obviously) Christmas and my piece in the Puppet Theater family-friendly performance this month.

I’ve also been in the planning stages with a writer/musician friend of mine on an original musical for kids. And I wrote that spec for Vampirina for the Nickelodeon Writing Program competition.

vampirina

(If you do not know what a Vampirina is, she’s an adorable Disney Jr. cartoon.)

The Vampirina script was so much fun to write… like, I actually… ENJOYED writing it? It was challenging because I’d never set out to write for the preschool audience before, but I wrote it without *too many* crippling anxiety attacks.

Next up is a spec script for the Amazon Prime kids show Just Add Magic. Because having a second current spec is always good and my old ones are (a) outdated and (b) not kids’ shows. I know I’m kind of taking a risk choosing Just Add Magic… I watched the entire series and, though it hasn’t been announced as renewed OR cancelled yet, the current “final” episode felt very, well… final. Like I feel like if it returns it will be one of those reboots, like when we get a new Doctor on Doctor Who, but with less, you know, burning.

doctorwho

So even if it does come back, it would be like writing a Peter Capaldi and Bill script when they’re not around anymore. It may be instantly outdated the second the show gets renewed (assuming it does, which it should, because it’s wonderful).

But I want to move forward with it anyway because I kind of love the show and actively WANT to write an episode of it. It was on Nickelodeon’s “accepted shows” list for shows they’ll accept as entrants into the preschool track of their competition, but I didn’t get into it until after the submissions were due. I’m going to just write it anyway, even though it may not even make their list next year since it’s technically not a preschool show like a lot of the others were.

So that’s… five projects either done or in development (“floating around in my head” and “Skype convos and shared spreadsheets” totally count as in development, shush) in less than a year. And I really enjoy it. And I think I’m maybe… dare I say… *good* at it? Or at least, my voice lends itself well to this style of writing. Yes, I’m comfortable saying that. My voice lends itself well to four-year-olds, people! But also to, say, ten-year-olds. I have range.

I don’t know why it took me so long to steer my writing down this path. I’ve wanted to write for kids basically since I started writing. I just sort of never did it because there was always a “real script” to be writing first. So I’d kill myself over the “real scripts” that languished in the awful development hell that is my brain, and nothing would ever feel “finished.” And because nothing ever felt finished, I never moved onto the “fun projects” that I’d been reserving just for my own time, i.e., not something I’d share with my writing group.

But why did I think I couldn’t bring in children’s scripts to my writing group? Other people have before. And why didn’t I see it as “real writing”? Maybe I needed the first door to open with Step Into Christmas to make me feel like it was a viable path for me to start down, because before that it was like “ok, so I write a script for kids… and then what?” None of my usual submission places take kid scripts. But now it’s like… just write what you feel like and figure out what to do with it after. And I don’t have to STOP writing for adults. It just makes sense to, you know, write what I like writing and to do that more often in my life. Some things in retrospect seem very obvious.

Advertisement

Leave a comment

Filed under kids tv/film, playwriting, theatre

D-D-D-Do You Have It?

I recently applied for the Nickelodeon Writers Fellowship, along with likely thousands of others who probably already have tv credits to their name. It was my first foray into the world of writing spec scripts, and I wrote an episode of Community. So now, NBC, you are not allowed to cancel this show at the end of the season so that I can maximize this spec’s shelf life (#sixseasonsandamovie).

Of course, since I submitted the application on February 28, I have been thinking about all of the things I must have answered horribly wrong on the short answer responses. They only give you 50 words to answer why you want the fellowship, and I didn’t go funny on my bio, and maybe I should have, though I was afraid of seeming naive and unprofessional. So there’s no way I said everything I wanted to say. I’ve been needing to get my real answer out of my system for weeks. So, I now present…

“What I Wanted to Say” (In Well Over 50 Words)
I am the biggest Classic Nickelodeon nerd. I used to have a blog recapping episodes of classic shows, Television Without Pity-style. (It is still apparently the top result when you google the immortal Busdriver Stu Benedict’s quote “Passengers will refrain from KILLING MY SOUL!!!” from Pete and Pete. Which I’m sure people google all the time.)

I grew up with Nickelodeon from the days of Pinwheel and You Can’t Do That On Television through their early 90s Golden Age. I remember Special Delivery and Marc Summers’ Halloween special. I had the Finders Keepers board game that my mom insisted on returning to the store after she realized you had to hide the game tokens by throwing your own crap from around the house into a cardboard box.

The Finders Keepers boardgame, in all its 80s glory.

In all its 80s glory.

I entered Slime Time for a good four years straight and was never called. I would seriously sit there willing my phone to ring and have it be the Slime Time people on the other end. I entered the Super Toy Run that the boys always seemed to win. I didn’t enter Nick-or-Treat because I was too embarrassed to answer the phone saying “Nick-or-Treat!” only to have it be my aunt.

The station ID bumpers and other Nick commercials are forever lodged in my brain. I could recite about ten of them right now. I remember Picture Pages, and Bananaman, and DangerMouse. And I’m probably one of the only people in the country who worries about what will happen to the Nick Time Capsule now that Nickelodeon Studios is long gone.

I tried to write an episode of Rugrats once. I think it started out as an episode of Rugrats and then morphed into my own original story. It involved ordering a birthday cake. I also was always making up pretend adventures where my brothers and I were the characters from the various Nicktoons. The first three Nicktoons premiered on August 11, 1991 (and I knew that without having to google the date), and that summer we spent a week or two up at my uncle’s lake house in New Hampshire. Nickelodeon promoted the hell out of the upcoming cartoons, so in the weeks before they actually aired, I’d make up my own stories about them based on the bit of info from the teaser ads. I was not happy when I’d been playing Angelica for weeks only to watch the show and discover that she was a heinous little bitch.

I also watch shows that I am far too old for and should be embarrassed to admit to liking. Drake and Josh could be fun, and I was convinced that Zoey 101 was a great show if you removed Zoey from it (nothing against Jamie Lynn Spears… the character was just way too perfect at absolutely everything and had zero faults). And I loved iCarly. Loved it. I was out of college when it premiered, but I didn’t care. One time, when I was still working at my scientific research publishing company, I was out sick and, of course, watching after-school iCarly (did they still call it Nick in the Afternoon by that point?). To my complete surprise, I saw an issue of my journal in one of the kids’ lockers. My scientific research journal that no one younger than college-age bio majors would ever read. I immediately had to download the episode so I could pause it and confirm. And then I sent a screenshot into my company’s newsletter with the lame excuse that I had been flipping channels and “just happened” to see it. I am probably the only person, except maybe scientists who watch tv with their kids, who cared that an issue of Cell was in iCarly.

I’ve known for a very long time that my dream job would be writing for children. Whenever I think of my favorite books, movies, or tv shows, a wide majority of them are written for kids. I want to give future kids the same memories that I had with Doug, Clarissa, and Pete and Pete. I want future 23-year-olds to shamelessly watch kids shows I wrote because they’re just that fun and awesome. I wish I could convey all of this in 50 words or less, but I can’t. They’ll just have to interview me I guess.

1 Comment

Filed under kids tv/film