July 3rd, 2013
Back in 2011, we partnered with Scholastic Education to help develop groundbreaking reading software for K-2 classrooms. Scholastic’s had tons of success with intervention software for older students who have struggled with reading, so the natural next step was to create a product for younger audiences and help prevent reading ability gaps altogether. The big challenge was creating a property that would engage the K-2 audience. Enter CloudKid!
Over the course of nearly two years, we collaborated with the team at Scholastic to create iRead, an interactive, character-driven program that takes place at Beastie Hall, a school for monster readers-in-training. With Scholastic, we developed the IP, designed the characters and backgrounds, created an avatar system, made an animated program opener and designed dozens of interactive activities that reinforce reading lessons. We put a ton of work and creativity into this program, and we’re so excited that it’s finally set to launch in classrooms across the country in fall 2013!
We were lucky enough to observe a pilot of the program recently. Kids seemed to love everything about iRead, and watching them enjoy and learn from something we helped create was amazing to witness. We can’t wait to share more on this exciting project closer to launch!
June 20th, 2013
Last month, we brought you a couple reviews from some of the crew here at CloudKid HQ in a new post we are calling “It’s what we’re into.” Well, it’s about that time again, so check out the write-ups below to get an idea of what type of media we’re digging in the month of June!
A Youtube Channel!: The Piano Guys
We’ve gotten really into The Piano Guys, a group of rising YouTube stars who make beautiful music videos. Starring a cellist and a pianist, they put their own spin on pop favorites as well as classical pieces, often combining new and old styles in creative ways. We love how the instruments themselves are used creatively as well; many of the percussion sounds are made using cellos! But the stellar music is only half the picture: every Piano Guys piece is released with its own video. They take pianos to extraordinary locations, like the cliffs of the Grand Canyon, and create lovely imagery that combines with the music to make for a breathtaking experience. We’re hooked!
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June 11th, 2013
Last week, the The Boston Pops played a very special show that we had to check out. Pixar in Concert featured key scenes and moments from all thirteen Pixar movies synced with live music played by the incredible Boston Symphony Orchestra. Being huge fans of Pixar and soundtrack music, the work of Pixar composers such as Thomas Newman (Finding Nemo and Wall-E), Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up) and Randy Newman (Toy Story and Bug’s Life) was even more inspiring in person; we were especially moved by Michael Giacchino’s theme for UP.
Sitting there, we were reminded that an army of musicians create the emotional backbone to Hollywood’s most iconic moments. With so much digital music playing in our earbuds nowadays, it was helpful to witness the sheer magic of a live orchestra and understand the physicality and beauty of the art form.
The Pops makes orchestral music very accessible to the masses. So, if you’ve never been, we highly recommend it. We guarantee there are few things as moving and inspiring!
June 6th, 2013
As a follow-up to our post a couple weeks ago, we’re super excited to announce that we’ve begun production on a second original pilot for Nick Digital! We’re honored to be working with one of the biggest leaders in kids’ entertainment on these pilots, and are particularly proud to be collaborating with such an innovative group within Nickelodeon. Part of our excitement is also due to the fact that our two properties are really different from one another: one is focussed on world and story building, and the other is pure ridiculous, physical humor. We can’t wait to share both pilots with you all later this summer!
May 30th, 2013
Some people think Fridays are the best day of the work week. At CloudKid we say, “No way bro, Thursdays are the best.” Why? A little thing we invented called Donut Thursday. Yes, Donut Thursday is as simple and magical as it sounds—every Thursday, we have a sampling from one of Boston’s best donut bakeries such as Olihn’s, Linda’s, Union Square, and of course Dunkies. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “hey, aren’t you the guys that produce Fizzy’s Lunch Lab?”. While that is true, even Fizzy can’t stand between us and our donuts. Sorry.
Modern science has proven that there’s nothing quite as yummy, artery clogging and morale-boosting as a donut, so we have fully embraced our new tradition with open arms and mouths.
Donut Thursday is here to stay.
May 23rd, 2013
As you’ve heard by now, Microsoft announced their next console, the Xbox One, earlier this week. Certainly a hardware upgrade from the 360, the Xbox One was supposed to be the next great thing to come from Microsoft, as gamers tuned in from all over the world to watch the live reveal on Tuesday. We expected promises for greater graphics, revolutionary gameplay, new franchises, basically anything and everything gamers wanted to see in a new console, especially one meant to rival Sony’s PS4.
Instead, we were served a glorified cable box.
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May 17th, 2013
We know we always say we’re busy with exciting work, but this time, we REALLY mean it. It’s been a crazy packed spring here at CloudKid HQ, and it’s shaping up to be an even busier summer. We’re thrilled to announce that one of many exciting projects we’re working on is our first short pilot for Nickelodeon Digital. With all of the exciting coverage recently about Nick’s app and shorts, we’re pumped to be working on our first project with them at such an innovative time.
We wish we could share more about the project, but just trust us that it’s going to be worth the wait! Stay tuned!
April 29th, 2013
As artists, creators and producers, we love any and all types of media that come our way. From video games and books to movies and web series, it’s often from this very media that we draw our inspiration. So in a small shout-out to the things we love, we thought it would be cool to give you a glimpse of some of the media that the folks here at CloudKid are really digg’n in the month of April. We’ll be posting more updates like this in the coming months in a feature we’re calling “It’s what we’re into”.
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April 25th, 2013
Last week was rough for those of us in the Boston area. Despite all the craziness, we managed to have a bright spot in our week – this year’s Sandbox Summit at MIT. We’re always energized by gatherings of fellow kids’ media professionals, and this year’s summit was no exception. With folks in attendance from all over the country, it was a great forum to discuss the current and future landscape of children’s media.
This year’s summit was titled “Pixel the Possibilities: Nurturing Kids’ Imagination in the Digital Age”. We were welcomed by Scott Osterweil of MIT’s Education Arcade, and then treated to a series of diverse presentations that related to creativity in the digital age. Among the highlights for us was a conversation with Harvard professor Howard Gardner, who spoke about his concepts of five minds for the future, and his concerns that the disciplined mind will be threatened by an increasingly digital world.
In addition to thought provoking conversations and presentations like Howard’s, we were inspired by our time in break-out sessions. We attended workshops on timeboxing (which resulted in the brainstorm session pictured above), IP creation and marketing, and digital creativity tools. We took a lot away from each of these, and have already been putting new brainstorming practices to work at CloudKid HQ. All in all, the Sandbox Summit and the CMA Boston Kickoff event that followed were great opportunities for us to grow as content creators and connect with others who love what they do as much as we do.
Spinning off of the “digital” theme of the summit, here are some great online resources for those who were unable to attend the event in person. Enjoy!
- A great overview of the summit’s highlights from iArt4Kidz
- Another great synopsis from the Pittsburgh Kids & Creativity Network
- Sandbox Summit’s Twitter handle with takeaways from lots of attendees
- Event videos courtesy of Scott Traylor at 360 Kid