(Aryann Cuda) Over the course of this past week, Professor Culver arranged for the class and I to attend two separate meetings with children’s media professionals to discuss our experience at The Children’s Media Conference and also about each speaker’s business and overall opinions on the art of children’s media. On Tuesday, we had the privilege to speak with Gary Pope, Co Founder of Kids Industries, and today afforded an opportunity to visit with Tony Collingwood of Collingwood & Co. Both professionals offered excellent insight into their areas of expertise.
More specifically, Tony Collingwood gave the class an in-depth summary of the process that is necessary to create a successful children’s animated show. He was very adamant that the creative process must happen in stages: format (overall concept of the entire show), characters, and finally, storylines. Collingwood emphasized that kids expect basically the same thing in a television show from week-to-week, whereas the format and characters must stay the same. The story is therefore the only quality that changes. This arrangement keeps kids excited to see the things they have remembered from the previous episode but also curious as to what adventure or event will take place in the new episode they are watching. Mr. Collingwood played examples of his current projects and some unsuccessful work to provide further context.
After our talk with Mr. Collingwood, we were fortunate enough to take a tour of Collingwood & Co’s Acton Town studio. All of the staff and creative services employees were very welcoming and were happy to explain their day-to-day duties. One reason I feel as if Collingwood & Co is so successful is simply because as a smaller company, all of the employees seemed to have a firm understanding of what tasks everyone was in charge of. This provides a platform for effective teamwork and creative collaboration.
Another reason I believe Collingwood & Co is a successful media company is because of the unyielding leadership of Mr. Collingwood. From the moment he started to speak to the class, it was obvious that his second profession should be education. I was instantly inspired and intrigued by his passion for his work, and his explanations were easy to follow and comprehend. At one point, Mr. Collingwood shared this piece of advice:
“Sometimes when you create a show you can say that is it… I have my creative vision. It’s going to be this. But in fact, what it is, is the beginning of a journey. You’ve made a creative format, with some core idea, and then as you talk to broadcasters and children, you find that it develops. And it’s has a very organic way in becoming the show it ends up being.”
Although this statement applies to children’s animation, I found Mr. Collingwood’s words to embody the worries I have about what career I want to pursue after graduating from Temple. It seems as with any task, even creating a children’s television show, following a straight line to reach a goal rarely happens. This assures me that although I may not know exactly where my education and experience will take me, I know that life is sometimes more about the journey, than it is about the destination.
Cheers, Collingwood & Co! Thank you for the enlightening experience.