I always imagined Fluffy Gardens as a series of books. Even when I was pushing it as a series, I always imagined it as books.
Well, I love children’s books and simply thought that the stories would work really well as books. I love the direct interaction between a parent and child that comes with storytelling.
I had figured out that, even if they weren’t books, I wanted the same feel of that parent/child interaction. It’s why I wanted one narrator to do the character voices, just like a dad would. And I had realised that, while it is said that television is a visual medium, very young children listen more than they watch. So, for me, getting the story to work in just the audio was a must.
So the one thing I needed to capture the feel of a show destined for television, was a book. And so we made one. Just printed up a few copies. I only have one copy myself. I’m not sure where the others went. But I thought I’d show it here, just so you can see part of the pitch materials we used for the show.
Here’s the cover -
Note the different logo. Also, you’ll see that the lines around the background elements are black. That would change for the show itself where we went for coloured lines.
And here is Paolo’s house…
If you’re familiar with Paolo’s house, you might notice that, while it has the same colour scheme as the final design, it’s simpler, more crude (there are stories to tell about the houses – another time). The font is the dreaded Comic Sans for some reason. I know that will make some people vomit. When you get back from the toilet, I’ll save you a second trip by letting you know we never used it again.
A cup of hot tea? On the arm of a chair?! That’s not safe! No, it’s not. That made it in to the pilot episode but broadcaster Deirdre Brennan, of ABC Australia at the time, pointed out that it shouldn’t make it to air. She was right and it didn’t.
My favourite book title -
We had a few funny Paolo book titles but I don’t think I ever managed to top that one.
And basically the book goes on from there. It’s slightly shorter than the final version and possibly the better for it. For me, Fluffy Gardens as a series of books seems a no-brainer. They’re written as storybooks. They’re written to be listened to. But then, if that had gone to books rather than television, I would have missed out on all the amazing and funny moments the animators added in themselves. Or the magic that Michael Maloney added. Or Jonathan Atkinson with the music. Animation can add so much.
Still… there’s nothing like that real parent/child interaction in reading a book, is there?