Feb 26

Tailoring content for kids (and busy execs)

PayingAttention

Sometimes we get notes back on a script and it is so clear that the writer of the notes was not really paying attention. They were checking their emails, on a phone call, reading twitter all while making notes on our script and they missed that one really important scene that explained the bit they said made no sense.

Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Well, that’s often how kids watch TV. They’re shuffling around, playing with toys, stabbing their sibling with a Peppa figure, being called in for lunch for the hundredth time. What they are not always doing is paying attention.

So as unfair as it may seem, sometimes that distracted exec is actually a good gauge of how clear our story will really be to our audience. Given we can’t possibly control a child’s environment, is it our problem if kids aren’t paying attention? Of course it is.

So what do we do about it?

The first thing is to make your content as engaging as possible. There are many ways of doing this and many tips already on this blog and more to come.

The second, and really the subject of this particular post, is for us to accept that, no matter how awesome our content is, there may be times children aren’t paying attention. So compensate for that.

DO:
Make all goals clear. Several times.
Run your core ideas through the entire story.
Recap. Several times if possible.

DON’T:
Save your story message for the last scene.
State an important line with other action happening that may distract.
Fear repetition. Young kids enjoy repetition.

So make it easy to keep up. Approach your little 7-minute story like it is a 39-episode series with an essential story arc. What happens if your audience misses episodes 25-27? What happens if someone joins the show mid-season? Give kids an in-point to your episode in several places and never forget this: the one part they miss could be your ending.

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