This blog has been written by Tony Colingwood, founder of Collingwood & Co, partners in Bcre8ive’s Lab.
Tony Collingwood produced his debut film RARG in 1988. His credit list includes the specials The King’s Beard, Eddy & the Bear and Dr Suess’ Daisy Head-Mayzie, and high profile series including The Beano’s Dennis & Gnasher, Oscar’s Orchestra, Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!, The Secret Show and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!
Tony has won 6 BAFTAs across the writing and direction categories, winning Best Pre-School BAFTAs for Animal Stories, Eddy & the Bear and Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! The Secret Show won two further BAFTAs in 2007 for Best Animation and Interactive.
Here he sets out his top ten tips for writing childrens’ series.
1. Write for the children today; not the child you were.
2. Watch kids TV. Don’t work in a vacuum.
3. Don’t make the show or the character’s back story more interesting than the stories moving forward.
4. If the audience don’t care about your lead characters, then they won’t care about the stories.
5. Don’t create characters in isolation. We discover who we are by interaction.
6. Test drive your show’s format and characters through a number of scripts. ( You wouldn’t sell a computer game without playing it a few times first.)
7. A great show is about corralling a talented team together. A successful show is alchemy.
8. Be passionate – but also pragmatic. Be willing to change things – as development and production are collaborative processes.
9. Music is more important than you think.
10. Your format needs to fuel over 52 stories. If you’ve fallen back on the “Birthday” story within your first 10 shows, then the format isn’t working.
Her is Tony talking about the three essentials.