Children’s author, Babette Cole asked me to create an iOS app for her classic sex-education bestselling children’s book ‘Mummy Laid An Egg’.
Given budget was limited, it was agreed to re-use an already existing animation from the book proofs that Babette had commissioned.
My role as producer on this project, was to chase down assets and work with the developers to launch onto iTunes, along with the appropriate setting up for Babette’s developer account, metadata and so on.
The final app includes the narrated animation from Babette herself, and simple media buttons to cycle back and forth through the book, as well as a cheeky ‘farting babies’ game.
The video conversion work, basic programming and game were created by the ever trusty TWP.
The app is available for download on iTunes.
I creatively directed and produced ‘Pat & Pals’, a children’s digital content publishing venture established with Colin & Jacqui Hawkins and Ross Sleight.
It took the ‘Rhyme & Read’ learning phonics series as a launch set and designed a set of digital downloads that very young children could play on a desktop PC. The original books had a simple consonant and vowel mechanic – whereby the the vowel would change as the page turned, leaving the ‘at’, ‘en’, ‘ig’, ‘og’ vowel in place.
Parents could access patandpals.com and browse the store, view demos of the download, and browse simple click-throughs of the hardback editions, which we also published and sold via the site.
The site also featured slices of the educational games that featured in the downloads – so children could experience the gentle fun of the characters and wordplay.
Early Learning Centre were a launch partner, and took an initial delivery of the books. Macmillan Books also approached us to create an eBook for Room on the Broom, which I oversaw.
I also oversaw creative direction and production across the site and the digital downloads – or ‘eBooks’. Each book followed the vowel sound character – ‘Pat the Cat’, ‘Jen the Hen’, ‘Mig the Pig’, ‘Tog the Dog’ and ‘Zug the Bug’.
Each eBook was designed along the same template, with multimedia features:
- Character animation
- Original music
- Child friendly media controls
- Settings to vowel on/off
- Educational Games
This was a pre-iOS time, with children moving onto tablets – which is why Pat the Cat is now an iPad/iPhone app, and recently we’ve started to publish the original titles onto iBookstore, Kindle and Google Books.
Thanks are due to Will Richards (Art Direction) and Tobias Sturt (Development) along with TWP for their fantastic animations; David Ayers at Creation Studios who did the audio recording and original music, and my sister Sally Hawkins and Bill Nash, the actorly talent who brought the characters’ voices to life.
If you would like to see a sample of the eBooks, please get in contact.
‘Sheila’ was a short film I wrote which was funded by the Scottish Film Council, Scottish Television, Scottish Film Production Fund. After it was shot, Steven Woolley’s Scala Productions added further funding which enabled a 33mm print. It was originally broadcast on Scottish television as part of the Centenary Reels short film initiative, and later on Channel 4 as part of its Shooting Gallery series.
It tells the story of Harry, a small time gangster, who’s stuck in a room, waiting and pacing. All he has is Sheila, a femme fatale, to keep him company…
The short was devised as a noir, and is shot in black & white.
It was directed by Hannah Robinson, and made in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. I can’t give too much of the plot away – you just need to watch it, which will only take you 10 minutes.
‘Sheila’ went onto win Hannah a Best Director award at Rome’s ‘Donne in Corto’ Film Festival.
Interestingly, searching on Wikipedia for the origins of the name, it comes from the Gaelic name Síle/Sìle, a twisting of Cecilia and means “blind”, from the Latin word caecus.
As part of an ongoing collaboration with my children’s author parents, Jacqui & Colin Hawkins, I have been producing the Rhyme & Read series as iBooks titles.
This work has involved firstly getting to grips with the iBooks Author software and then a lot of trial-and-error on image and audio manipulation.
That said, iBooks Author is a wonderfully rich application, which, while I’m only just scratching the surface on, essentially gives the Hawkins Books team a powerful self-publishing mechanism.
The first book of the five Phonics titles is almost ready to go, with a view to shipping to iTunes this May. I’ll update this post once we’re through submission and I can move onto the other titles.