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Friday, July 4, 2008

Salute Your Shorts

Early on in my children’s TV career, as I looked around the world, I was taken especially with the countries (most often in Europe) that used children’s blocks to escape the tyranny of 30 and 60 minute programs. Blocks could feature a five-minute documentary followed by an 11-minute animation and a two-minute video clip. Not only could content could find its appropriate length, but also while kids would know that the block was made explicitly for them, it wouldn’t be predictable enough to let them click away during something that didn’t appeal – what if their favorite segment came up next?

Now, in the manic, mobile and mash-up age, short content for television has renewed life, and this was the topic of the GET SHORTY session. Short-form has both financial and creative appeal: it enables a telecaster to test out a concept before taking it to a longer-form series, or to take content risks, at a lower level of investment. In some cases, channels are using it as an opportunity for user-generated content. Others – like Nickelodeon UK – are using shorts to drive their social awareness or public service campaigns.

Here are links to some of the programs presented:

Pedro and Frankensheep
Nick UK’s See Something Say Something
The Zimmer Twins
The McLeod Brothers (see especially The Odyssey in 15 seconds)

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