A time of giving gifts and receiving gifts. Really though, we give and get gifts all year round and maybe Christmas is a time to acknowledge that and think about all those wonderful gifts we’ve been fortunate to get, and those we have chosen to give.
Some of the most amazing gifts I have been given this year have come from those working with me on my new show, Cosmo.
Simon Crane, a wonderful artist, animator and director, offered me ideas, designs, fun and character. These aren’t just his job. These are gifts and he gave them openly. Thank you, Simon. Jenny O’Brien, another amazing artist, gave me gifts of colour and texture for our planets. Jonathan Atkinson gave me the gift of sound, beautiful and absolutely unique music that gives Cosmo a feel all of its own. Young Ali Lyons gave me the gift of Cosmo’s voice – enthusiastic and honest. And so many others gave Cosmo-related gifts, especially the gift of support and encouragement, which people all over the world have given freely. Even if I haven’t named you here (space issue!), I thank you all for your gifts.
Words of support, offers of help, simply a kind word at the right moment, or even a critical word at the right moment. These are all gifts, from family, friends, colleagues, peers, from everywhere. For me, it has been a year of gifts. And I have been given so much more than I could ever give back.
But I try.
This year, we gave Punky to the world, a lovely little show about a girl who has Down syndrome. It’s picking up momentum internationally and, if you haven’t seen it yet, you hopefully will very soon.
And, for most of the year, I have been preparing something new. Picking all the right elements, packaging them together and wrapping a shiny bow around it. This is Cosmo of course and, as I write this, Monster Animation’s producer Gerard O’Rourke is working hard with many of the show’s supporters to pull everything together to make sure this is a gift we’ll be giving to children in 2012. It’s a gift of fun, laughter and, even more than that, an introduction to space and the Solar System. This is something that, for the right children, will be a gift that stays with them. Just yesterday, I was feeling a little overwhelmed with an ever growing ‘to do’ list. I took a mental break, listened to a relaxing album (by Antonyme, if you’re curious), wrapped myself up warm, and went outside to find Jupiter. Even with just binoculars, it looked amazing. So big and bright in the clear sky, with its four biggest moons sparkling around it.
It was wonderful. Like a gift from the Universe to me. A reminder that we’re part of something amazing. I don’t know exactly what that something is, but I do know it’s amazing.
Staring up at that planet and its moons somehow removed all pressure. I felt calm. Just marvelling in the beauty of the night sky, and our place in it. That feeling, the sense of wonder, the desire to know more and really be amazed by it, is something I want to give to children. Sure, there’s fun, good stories and great songs but, hey, lots of shows have those. This introduction to space makes it something more.
I hope they enjoy it.
Gifts are everywhere, and I find the more they’re recognised as such (whether receiving or giving) the more we get from them. The more they can enrich all our lives.
This Christmas, or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate, I hope you get all the gifts you want. Like, really want. More than that, I hope you have the opportunity to give the gifts you really want to give.
Happy Christmas everyone!
Tags: animation, Children, Christmas, Cosmo