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Decoding Decode

by Martha Ladly

Decode Interactive produces some of the best kids' animation and interactive content on the Web, chiefly in support of internationally award winning TV shows like Angela Anaconda, The Save-Ums, and Girl Stuff, Boy Stuff (which can even be auto translated into Romanian!). They want to create f-u-n online. And with thousands of kids spending an average of twenty-five minutes per visit on their sites, it seems to be working!

I recently spoke with Neil Court (partner and Executive Producer) and Dan Fill (Director of Interactive) about Decode's unique approach. Here's what they had to say:

Neil Court: We know how to make content for kids that is entertaining. American kids' shows can be so curriculum driven - they are meant to be good for you. But the Canadians and Europeans want entertainment, so we threw the curriculum book away.

Dan Fill: We try to do unique things online: with Angela Anaconda, we thought it would be fun if you could be Angela. So we asked kids to upload pictures of themselves, and we were able to digitally involve those kids online and back into the TV show.

NC: When you are the parent of a young child, you have a test mark - when he jumps up and down, I realize that we're touching the right nerve. We try to find what is missing in the market. The Save-Ums is doing well because it is unusual - it's the first action series for preschoolers, and it taps into that kids' action thing of interesting characters going on great adventures with vehicles, blowing things up, fighting evil. The message is: small is powerful.

DF: For Girl Stuff, Boy Stuff - a TV show created for tweens - we made a multi-user avatar world. So you can design how you look, what you wear. And then you get your own bedroom to decorate. And you can meet everyone else online in this virtual world. You can collect music samples and mix up to four tracks, and save them into your stereo in your bedroom. And there's also a collaborative tool that allows you to create and animate stories with your friends online.

Martha Ladly is the Director of HorizonZero.

Links :
Decode
http://www.decode.tv

Angela Anaconda
http://www.angelaa.com

The Save-Ums
http://www.saveums.tv (link no longer active)

Girl Stuff, Boy Stuff
http://www.girlstuffboystuff.com

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