What an interesting time I had last week at The Children’s Media Conference in beautiful sunny Sheffield.
The keynote speech by Henry Winkler blew me away. I had no idea about his struggles with dyslexia or being accepted by his parents. I didn’t know about his advocacy work for children and I certainly didn’t know that he was a children’s author. His speech was monumentally uplifting and truly heart felt and in no way schmaltzy which I have to admit I was kind of expecting. He’s is completely endearing, funny, down to earth and very inspirational.
The session titled ‘Development 101′ came as a bit of a surprise to me as development in TV media is more about development of character and story rather than actual creation of projects like it would be in the digital world. That didn’t stop it from being interesting though. Carl Draper was part of the panel and he was talking about his role as a TV-Digital interpreter. I really liked what he was saying about how digital media can be used to galvanise the audiences emotional connection to a brand through interactivity. That’s the main reason we at Team Cooper are interested in getting involved in the industry; we love the power of interactivity.
There was little if no tweeting which is a new experience for me (being a confirmed addict) but it had a positive effect on my ability to pay attention. The only time we were encouraged to tweet was through the very interactive and enjoyable session produced by Juliet Tzabar. ‘Get Smart with your Brand’ focused on how children’s brands could make effective use of their licensable content in the games and digital markets. As a moderately shy type *cough* I often find it intimidating to stick my hand up and ask questions or contribute in sessions. Being able to tweet diminished that issue for me so I could join in which had brilliant results as I won a magical prize for my input (which our 3yr old was extremely appreciative of).
We were only able to attend thanks to lovely people at Screen Yorkshire. In addition to getting us in they also provided us the amazing opportunity to be mentored, guided and introduced to this new world by the wonderful Sarah Muller.
The one uniting theme of the conference for me seemed to be trains. There was lots of talk about children’s obsessions with trains. This obsession was defined as being a result of a magical combination of factors it’s a vehicle with all of the elements of mastery that go along with that, a puzzle element in putting the track together and the brilliant opportunity to play at deity. Someone in the audience derailed this discussion by questioning if boy’s were interested in trains directly because of the tunnels…
So lots of new friends, great contacts made, practical skills gained thanks to Mel Norman and lots of great possibilities moving forward – woot!