Hello, I'm Colin and I’ve been leading the ideas department here at Sixteen South for twelve years. We make television for kids and I tell everyone here that development is the best job in the world. It really is. But it’s also the hardest job in kids television too.
WE BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF GOOD
We’ve won over 50 international awards for our work including two EMMY® nominations, the BAFTA Independent Children’s Production Company of the Year, the Prix Jeunesse and a host of other awards.
Some of our work includes Claude, on Disney Junior across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australia, Pinkalicious and Peteriffic, on PBS kids every day, WildWoods on Hulu, ABC and in Russia and China and our groundbreaking mixed media show, Lily’s Driftwood Bay, airing in 125 territories across the world.
We believe in the power of story to entertain, amaze and to influence the next generation and we take our responsibility of storytellers to children very seriously knowing that our stories are seen by uncountable numbers of kids across the world.
We know that television is a strong influential force on children. We tell stories of hope because we have proven that positive stories can change attitudes and young lives for the better and that’s why we do what we do. We produce shows that reinforce the fact that everyone is equal, everyone has value and everyone is important.
IT'S TOO EDGY
It's mine and my team's job to come up with new ideas for kids television shows. Some of them are original, some are based on books, some based on existing artwork. They can come from all kinds of places.
Sometimes ideas work - they cut through the thousands of other pitches out there - they get interest, an offer from a broadcaster and a green light. The stars align - the right idea for the right platform at the right time. Sometimes ideas don’t work and they don’t get picked up because the idea doesn’t cut it with the broadcaster and the audience.
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my job is to kill a bad idea quickly. But occasionally, there’s another scenario too - an idea that when you show it to every broadcaster, they laugh at it, they love it, but they think it’s too edgy for them.
What happens when you create an idea like that - when you know that it’s funny and you’ve tested it with audiences and you know that it would totally work... but you can’t get it picked up?
Frankie and Doris are two misfits that just don’t fit in. Which isn’t surprising given that Doris is a skeleton girl and Frankie is an entirely green boy. They’re both 100% happy being themselves, despite being surrounded by people who are anything but that.
Doris may look lifeless but she is a huge bundle of craziness. Endlessly curious and determined to try her hand at any new fad or craze, no matter how bizarre. Hugely opinionated and to the point, Doris is ready to call out anything or anyone at anytime. She tends to speak before she thinks and sees the best in every scenario. Which is exactly what her best friend, Frankie, needs.
Frankie is the polar opposite to Doris in every way. Logical, scientific, ponderous and unsure about putting his rather strangely colored head above the parapet, Frankie would rather have his nose in a science book than a phone or a tablet.
Together, Frankie and Doris are the anti-heros of the online world. They give an honest and unedited insight into what kids are really thinking about the digital age they’re living in. From the latest viral sensation to the even weirder world real life politics and everything in between, Frankie and Doris speak their minds - completely unfiltered.
Frankie and Doris were created in the minds of two equally mad people, my friends Ann Riley and Will Broome. Ann is a journalist who's originally from Northern Ireland and took first-hand inspiration from the colourful people she grew up around. Will, a celebrated London based illustrator produces brilliantly unique commercial work for Marc Jacobs and Wedgwood and brought the sketchy look and feel to the show. Actually, Ann and Will are very like Frankie and Doris.
I’ve loved the creative journey I’ve been on with Ann and Will - we initially developed it as a long-form series of 52 x 11’ with a whole world around Frankie and Doris and the stories we wrote are some of the funniest that I’ve ever read. But a show like that takes millions of pounds to make and without enough broadcasters saying ‘yes’ to Frankie and Doris, it was time to give up.
Actually, that’s not really true. For 18 months, we didn’t give up thinking about it at all.
In that time, YouTube exploded even bigger, taking the eyeballs of more and more kids with it. We knew the audience loved the idea, we knew where they were - and we began to rethink about how to introduce them to Frankie and Doris.
We watch our kids spending much of their time in the company of beautiful people with perfect lives in their aesthetically perfect worlds. These celebrities, the Instagram and YouTube influencers whose influence heavily colour and skew what our kids believe to be normal.
These aren’t just normal teens sharing their view on #LiveYourBestLife. Many are paid as marketing-monsters, monetising their identities and promoting products based on personal reward. Are these people shaping the expectations of our kids into something which is unrealistic and unachievable?
How can we redefine and renormalise what’s normal?
And what even is the truth?
In January, we will launch Frankie and Doris as our new bi-weekly topical sitcom for an 8-12 year old YouTube audience. It’s a no-holds barred look at life through the eyes of two misfits who refuse to conform and how they see the world - as it happens - with the ambition to change perception, to help redefine what’s real and what’s normal.
Our ambition is and always has been to make content that resonates with kids to promote positive messages and launching Frankie and Doris on YouTube allows us to reach our audience in the most direct way possible. It’s a conversational series with each episode finding Frankie and Doris talking about stuff that’s happening in the world around them and their views on all of it.
We’ve spent quite some time testing some new software which will allow us to animate almost in real time and create the most topical, reactive and relevant animated content imaginable, with episodes released twice a week, every week. In constant dialogue with the age group we will write, produce and release episodes in a matter of days so we can discuss any and every trending topic.
We’ve managed to find a way to create the series with a small team and a micro-budget and we’ve raised most of the funds we need already.
We’re launching this crowdfunding campaign to raise the last small part of the budget - but also to raise awareness of the project.
The best part is that all of the funds are free from editorial constraint, so we are free to make a series that calls out everything that is simply wrong and untrue. Whether that's politicians who struggle to tell the truth, or from social injustice to environmental abuse, Frankie and Doris care enough to call it out.
I'd love your support please. We've created some lovely rewards, but if you can't help, please tell your kids to join these two misfits in January on YouTube.
Thanks so much
Risks and challenges
Is it risky putting your work out there on Kickstarter?
Is it possible that we won't reach our funding target?
Will it be really embarrassing if not enough people back it?
Too often we stop ourselves from doing something because we worry about the consequences and therefore end up not doing anything. We all believe in this project and are committed to making it happen, whatever it takes.
I hope you join us!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)