Greg Page, The Original “Yellow Wiggle” Has a New Project #WhatIsYourChildWatching #ad #ExploreDiscoverAndGrow

Greg Page, the origional “Yellow Wiggle” of “The Wiggles” Children’s TV show and music, recently awsnered some quesitons for us about his new project, “Explore, Discover, and Grow”. Here’s what he has to say.

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What will it take to launch “Explore, Discover, and Grow”?

Explore, Discover and Grow is a massive project which is going to take a lot of passion, hard work, dedication and some money to bring it to life!  We are working at the moment to “pre-sell” as many subscription packages as possible so we can gauge the demand for the product. This will also enable us to get started on production for the series before we launch the mass-marketing campaign next year.  It is also a major objective to give the people that back the project in its development phase, a major discount on the content that will be offered when we go live with the series next year. Essentially, if you get in now, on the ground level, we will be rewarding you with the equivalent of a 50% discount on what you would otherwise be paying if you subscribe when we are live with the program next year.

What made you want to work in children’s entertainment?

It’s an interesting question – and it probably sounds a little trite, but I just had this feeling inside me from a young age that I was going to be on stage, and then as I got older, the feeling turned to being in the education field.  As the “universe” would have it, I met Anthony Field (the original, and still-current Blue WIggle) and he suggested that I get into early childhood teaching, as it involved a lot of music and creativity – for the child and also the teacher!  So I went along to check out the early childhood diploma course that Anthony was doing at the time, and that sealed it for me. I think I had found my calling, and after seeing what was achievable with The Wiggles and how we applied our teaching knowledge to entertaining children it has been a passion of mine ever since – to create entertainment that is purposeful and delivers outcomes for children.

What was life like after leaving “The Wiggles”?

Life after The Wiggles was tough – I had been removed from what was essentially all of my adult life – my passion and my driving force.  I was also going through a marriage breakdown which was affecting me greatly, so I was battling a number of factors. But, I knew that life could, and would be good again.  I met someone who I had known in school, and we started dating and then finally married. This lifted my spirits incredibly and then finally, I was able to start creating content for children again after 5 years of being out of The Wiggles.  That period where I was unable to work in the field of children’s entertainment was difficult, because that was all I had ever known. I tried other things which didn’t work out for me, and then, I got back to doing what felt right. I have now been a co-creator or creator of over 40 brands, with 2 of them being aired on national broadcasters, and 4 in co-productions with animation studios.  So, it has been a long road to get back to doing what I love, and I am SO excited to be producing content that is going to really restore a balance in children’s screen-time diets with Explore, Discover and Grow!

Are you still in touch with any of your castmates?

Not often, they are still very busy.  And the funny thing is that it was never normal, or usual for us to contact each other outside of the business of The Wiggles!  Not that we weren’t friends or friendly, it’s just that was the way it was – we spent SO much time together on the road, that when we got home to Sydney, we would just stay out of each other’s pockets.  And when I got sick and left the group, it kind of just stayed that way really – the guys were touring and they would check in on me every now and then, but then I got “better” and kept doing our own things.  I see them maybe once a year and do “reunion” shows of the original lineup of The Wiggles for the original fans who are now in their 20’s – we play at licensed venues here in Australia where our “over-age” fans can now enjoy a drink while they watch The Wiggles perform live!  I must say it is a strange thing, but it is a LOT of fun, because we just deliver a 100% Wiggles experience – keeping things on the same level that we did for these fans when they were 3 or 4 years old – and they love being able to reminisce about their childhoods.

How has life changed since your diagnoses of autonomic neuropathy/ dysautonomia?  

Things are back to normal for me.  It’s one of those things that I have had all my life, and just thought everyone felt the way I did in certain situations.  There’s no doubt that years of touring and losing sweat from my body affected me greatly toward the end of 2006, and that was undoubtedly compounded by the event so my personal life.  However, like a lot of things, once you finally get a diagnosis and you understand what you are dealing with, things can be managed, and it doesn’t affect me at all today with what I do in my life.  I am very lucky, and I believe that everything happens for a reason. That part of my life led me to a new chapter of my life where I am able to create again, with a new vigour and energy that I didn’t have before.

Was your family musical?

My mum played piano from a young age, and we had a piano in the house from the time I was about 7 years old.  My sister learned piano and did a few grade exams, but gave up. I learned guitar from age 6, but never really practiced enough , or properly which I now regret, as I am nowhere near as good on the guitar as I think I would have been had I practised harder, but hey, you live and learn – sometimes!

Have you ever performed for adults?

What was that like for you personally in comparison with performing for children? Yes, I have performed for adults, and it is a very different experience.  I enjoy it, but it is different. I am lucky that most adults know me from The Wiggles so I can fall back on my WIggles persona a little bit, which is easy to do, because it is inherently my persona I guess anyway!  But it does make it easier to break the ice in those performance situations where people might be a little bit like “OK, this guy can sing and dance for kids, but is he going to be able to entertain me?” – and hopefully I do!

What do you see yourself doing next?

I think I will always be creating for children, and trying to find ways that are enjoyable for them to learn new things – either about the world or themselves.  The world is in a funny situation right now I think. We are tying to progress things socially, culturally and technologically, and I think that sometimes we forget the basics of what makes us who we are.  There is no need for pushing boundaries for the sake of it, and I guess I a bit conservative when it comes to children’s edutainment – if it ain’t broke, then why fix it? There are a raft of educational shows that worked for children over the course of many years – shows that were not fast-paced, and allowed children to digest the content easily.  It seems that a lot of content these days is more about the quality of the production rather than the content, and I think that’s a shame, so I am going to be sticking to my path on this as I feel it si the right thing to do for the best interests of the children! I think this is my life, and my passion!

Q&A with John Martin and Scott Seegert Creators of SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH #SciFiJuniorHigh

A look at the authors who wrote the book Sci -Fi Junior High- you can also enter to win a copy HERE.

1. Collaboration between two artists, especially a successful one, is a rare partnership. How did the two of you meet? What inspired you to collaborate?

Scott: We met the same way all great literary duos throughout history have—through our daughters playing travel softball together. When I discovered that John had all the same childhood influences I did, and could actually draw, working together on children’s books seemed like a no-brainer. Which is perfect for us.

2. What is the inspiration behind Kelvin and SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH? Did one or both of you always dream of going to school in outer space?

John: I had no dream of going to school in outer space. However, when I was a kid, I created a comic strip of a martian borrowing sugar from his astronaut neighbor in space. Scott and I wanted to collaborate with a middle school concept. For SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH, I suggested the story title and a basic premise that involved many types of creature students. Then Scott went to town developing the story alongside some of my character sketches. I do believe that our inspiration for Kelvin and his family is based slightly on the Robinson family in Lost in Space. Throw a bit of Charlie Brown and Looney Tunes into the mix, and voilà: SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH.

Scott: We like creating stories filled with as many bizarre creatures, strange locations, wacky gizmos, and oddball characters as possible, because that’s what we couldn’t get enough of when we were kids. Our first book series, VORDAK THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE, dealt with the superhero/supervillain world, which fit the bill perfectly. SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH takes that up another notch, what with the entire universe and its contents at our disposal.

3. What are your writing and drawing routines like? Do you work together, separately, or a combination of both?

Scott: John’s studio and my office are located right next to each other in an eclectic old former electric trolley power station. We even have a “secret” door between our two spaces, allowing for top-secret middle grade book concepts to be passed back and forth away from the scrutiny of prying eyes. The close proximity really allows us to work as a team, more so than a lot of other duos, I would assume. We’ll brainstorm the main points of emphasis, and then I’ll begin the writing process and

John will work on character concepts and creating the feel of the world. Sometimes, I’ll have a specific look for a character or device in mind and John will sketch it up.

Other times he’ll show me some crazy thing he came up with and I’ll work it into the story. It’s a pretty loose system. There was one character I particularly liked—a bunny wearing goggles and a jetpack. We turned him into a plushy and made him the book’s villain.

John: Scott has named most of the characters, with a few exceptions, such as our main villain, Erik Failenheimer, who is based on a suggestion of mine. I changed our bully’s character design look based on Scott’s name. We even have a few co-named characters in the book.

4. What do you hope children will take away from this story?

Scott: Two things: first, don’t worry about trying to impress everybody. It’s okay to just be yourself. People (or, in this case, six-eyed aliens and giant talking slugs) will still like you—at least the ones worth having as friends. Secondly, we hope kids just have a blast reading it. We try our best to have something exciting or ridiculous or weird to read or look at on pretty much every page. We want even the most reluctant reader to keep turning the page to see what absurdness comes next.

John: We also feel that James Patterson is a perfect partner for us. He is “dedicated to making kids readers for life.” Hopefully this crazy-zany story will be a big part in making that happen!

5. There are so many incredible and zany references to science and technology. Did you have to do a lot of research to create SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH?

Scott: A little. Neither one of us had a real good grasp on how many light-years wide the Milky Way galaxy is, for instance. Or, for that matter, how far a light-year actually is (about 6 trillion miles, as it turns out!). But the book, like most works of science fiction, is a mixture of real science and…wait for it…fiction. For example, the need for artificial gravity at the school is real, but the solution, obviously, is not.

John: We are heavily influenced by the tech and designs from 1950s B sci-fi movies and literature. We have a few tech tributes to Star Wars, Star Trek, and others. Also a Rube Goldberg device and some fun nods to Three Stooges tech with poorly designed devices. Suspended sleeping chambers, portholes, wormholes, sliding elevator doors, mind transfer rays, and concerns over alien bacteria can be found in SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH. A good ol’ porthole can always get you into the story fast.

6. Kelvin has all sorts of alien peers at his school. Was it important to you to write about diverse characters, even among aliens?

Scott: When every student comes from a different planet, the diversity element is pretty much baked in. At least the way we wanted to do it, by creating as many unique characters as possible. That type of “diversity” doesn’t necessarily help readers find characters they physically identify with (unless they have six eyes, live underwater, or have constantly growing and shrinking brains), but the concept of getting along with classmates/people who appear different than you are is pretty universal.

John: We simply changed the setting, look, and skin color of the students, but with the same middle school Earth drama and issues that we recognize. Star Wars cantina scene meets middle school, with a dash of bullies, crushes, math equations, and alien food fights. After all, aren’t all gym teachers robots, anyways?

7. How do you think illustrations and visual art enhance a book, especially for a middle grade audience?

Scott: Growing up, my main sources of reading material were comic books and illustrated magazines like Mad and Cracked. I loved the art. It really kept me engaged in the material.

John: I grew up watching a lot of cartoons and monster movies on TV, like Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, Looney Tunes, Jonny Quest, The Jetsons, Godzilla, Frankenstein, and more. And I loved reading comic books, Mad magazine, and the Sunday newspaper comic strips. I have always known how impactful and powerful visual storytelling can be. If these forms of storytelling were good enough for Scott and me when we were in middle school, then they are good enough for readers of all ages! In fact, we still read comics and watch Godzilla movies!

Scott: We use art as a continuation of the story. The illustrations aren’t merely editorial, repeating what has already been covered in the text. We switch off between text and art to keep things vibrant and interesting. John and I work closely (as in sitting at the same table) to lay out the story in words and pictures. As I said earlier, we create books that we would have wanted to read as kids. The art is also a big draw (ba-da-bum!) for the more reluctant readers.

John: We also use a banter technique that very few creators use. Instead of the redundant use of “he said,” “she said,” “Then I said,” we use a character icon of who is speaking. This is a great visual/textual way to make it easy to understand who is talking in our comedic banter sequences. There are also a few illustrated sequences in the book that are very detailed—i.e., a busy alien cafeteria food fight. Every inch

of this two-page spread illustration has someone or something throwing alien food! A few illustrated scenes like this also really help draw the reader into understanding

this world Scott and I have created. In general, illustration can improve reading comprehension.

8. What’s the best part about writing for children, in your opinion? What’s the hardest thing about it?

Scott: I love writing for kids. Kids are sharp. More so than a lot of adults are willing to give them credit for, sometimes. And they don’t bring a lot of preconceived notions along for the ride. If they find your book to be fun and entertaining, they’ll devour it and ask for more. Our books are meant to be humorous, and I put things in the book that I think are funny. I never “write down” to an age group. That’s a big reason why I feel adults will enjoy reading our books along with their kids, particularly the younger ones. Kids are also honest. Brutally honest, sometimes. You usually know where you stand.

John: I really like creating, illustrating, and working with children’s books for a simple reason—it’s fun! I really want to share my childhood with children of today. Besides, what artist wouldn’t want to illustrate an alien with an underbite sloshing down a galactic school hallway? To be a kid-lit creator is very rewarding when kids come up to you and tell you how much they love your book or character. We are thrilled to hear parents tell us how their kids read our books over and over again. We are also delighted when librarians tell us that our books are favorites in their libraries and are checked out with so much regularity that they are falling apart.

9. What’s next for you both? Can we expect a sequel to SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH?

Scott: Yes, there will be a SC-FI JUNIOR HIGH 2. But all we can tell you right now is that it will involve aliens and robots and bullies and tentacles and spaceships and field trips to strange worlds and universe-threatening plushies and…dancing.

Interview with Sebastian Stan AKA The Winter Soldier

While we were in LA a few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to interview some of the cast of the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie, including Bucky himself.  Most comic fans will tell you that there are two characters that NEVER come back to life- Uncle Ben and Bucky Barnes.  Even I know that!  So what’s it like to break ‘da rules, and risk the wrath of fanboys and girls everywhere, Sebastian Stan?  (It’s cool!  Most of them are over it- the comic cam out quite awhile ago.)

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Question- Was it difficult to switch roles from Bucky to The Winter Soldier?

Sebastian Stan: Well, yes and no. I would say no in the sense that everything is so spelled out for me in the comic books that I sort of feel like I have that to follow as a guide. Yes, in that certain things from comic books often aren’t so easily translated to the screen. There were things visually that were new that we had to discover about the character.

I mean in the comic books there was a lot of information but in terms of how the Winter Soldier moved, how he behaved, what his presence was like on screen, those were all things I had to discover once I was in the outfit and we were actually shooting the movie. And that was more difficult I suppose. At the end of the day the most difficult part was playing someone that’s very different while at the same time the same person.

Question- How do you mentally prepare for a role like this in terms of playing someone who doesn’t even know who they are?
[Read more…]

The New The Tom and Jerry Show

There is a new Warner Bros. Animation series, The Tom and Jerry Show coming out soon!


The series will be premiering Wednesday, April 9 on Cartoon Network.  Entertainment Weekly just debut a trailer for the show yesterday which you can check out here:

As you can see the cat and mouse grudge match between these two continues with the same brand of slapstick humor that made Tom and Jerry two of the most beloved characters in animation history.  In addition to their familiar suburban house setting, each 11 minute short of the new series will expand Tom and Jerry’s never-ending game of cat-and-mouse to include more fantastic worlds, from a witches cabin to a mad scientist’s lab.

Voiced with comedic stars such as Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) and Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) leading it’s talented  cast, the show should be a hit with kids.  Here is what Jay Bastian, the WBA creative executive had to say in an interview with me last week.

Q1- Have you always been a Tom and Jerry Fan?

Jay Bastian– Who isn’t?  I always loved watching Tom and Jerry cartoons with my father, since he would laugh just as much as I did at them.

Q2-  Who is your favorite, Tom, or Jerry?  (And why)

Jay Bastian– This is a debate I have been in both at Cartoon Network and at Warner Bros. for years.  People are entrenched on one side or the other and can speak at length about their respective stance.  I guess I always root for the underdog, so I’ve always been firmly on Jerry’s side.

Q3- How is the new The Tom and Jerry Show different the the older cartoons?

Jay Bastian– Hopefully the characters, their relationship and the slapstick violence will still feel like what was established in the classic shorts.  The newest thing we’ve added in this series is the reoccurring scenarios of the science lab, the witches’ house and Tom and Jerry’s detective agency.  The idea was to keep them the same characters they have always been, but add in new locations and things to throw at one another.
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Interview With Scarlett Johansson #CaptainAmericaEvent

A few weeks ago, I was able to interview Scarlett Johansson about her role as “The Black Widow” in the New Captain America movie.  She came in, all dressed in white, and acted like a normal person, which was pretty cool.  She was as pretty in person as she is on screen, which was pretty annoying  😉 but we can let that slide.  The movie was awesome, and comes out on Friday- make sure you check it out.  Black Widow was a cool character in it, I can’t imagine too many people who won’t like this flick.

Here is an excerpt from the interview. Read on.

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Question- So when are we going to see the Black Widow movie?

Scarlett Johansson: Um, two years… [LAUGHS] don’t print that. The thing about working with Marvel is that how loud the audience voice is. Marvel, and particularly Kevin Feige is such a fan of the source material himself that he understands the fans are kind of what drive this train. If people want a Black Widow film, I’m sure that we can get something together.

Question- In The Winter Soldier, the Black Widow’s like cupid, talking all about love and relationships with Captain America. Why the transition?

Scarlett Johansson: That’s interesting. First of all, when the character is talking to Loki [in Avengers], she’s kind of putting up this front. She’s not, as we come to realize, being completely honest with him. It’s partly for her Widow face that she wears. And in this film, we really get to see a lot more of Natasha. I like to think that Natasha has a romantic side.

You know, she’s been really damaged. I think that she very early on in the past probably learned to not care too much about people because they could be easily taken away from her and used against her. And she probably didn’t want to hurt the people that she loved the most. So she never needs them or never invested too much in them knowing that it would probably put them in danger.

But I think she hopes that for someone like Cap, I think she sees someone who could have his life enriched by sharing it with somebody. She sees someone that kind of yearns for that, but, you know, is also scarred by the series of events that have changed his life. Maybe she kind of sees in Steve [Rogers] a little bit of herself and wants something more for him.
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Ted Reader- Cooking with this Canadian! #Interview

Coffee With Sam: Chef Ted Reader Speaks On Grilling

I recently had the opportunity to have a virtual cup of coffee and chat with Ted Reader, chef, barbecue guru, and cookbook author extraordinaire. Ted has set the world record for the largest hamburger ever grilled and is the celebrity spokesperson for food companies like McCain and TGI [Read more…]