From Bologna to MIP

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In the Spring of 2007, I attended my very first Bologna Book Fair (the global marketplace for buying & selling children’s book rights) with an eye towards finding hidden gem publishing properties to turn into television shows.  At the Simon & Schuster stand, I stumbled upon a brand new (as yet unpublished) book series from author Jon Scieszka called Trucktown.  Whereas many picture books are soft, quiet stories designed to lull the kiddos to bed, Jon’s work was a smash-crash, adrenaline fuelled adventure designed to spark boys into reading.

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If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know I was a reluctant reader as a boy, so Jon’s books immediately spoke to me.  I loved the kinetic energy on each page; these trucks were like little kids, zooming around at top speed and full of pint-sized power.

I believed the energy and dynamism on the page would translate well to television – celebrating the rambunctious, rough and tumble life of preschoolers that I see in the nursery school playground every day, but rarely on television.  Jon and I shared a belief that the ‘real life’ (yes, I know we’re talking about talking trucks here!) of preschoolers wasn’t always being portrayed onscreen – especially the non-stop physical activity aspect (anyone who’s got 4 year old boys will know what I mean!).

Jon and I knew that television often excited little kids in a way that books didn’t, so our goal was to create a type of virtuous circle, whereby “viewer”s would discover the show and become “readers” of the books.

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But a television show is a huge project; it takes a lot of money and a determined production partner.  The company I was working for at the time optioned the books, but then chose not to pursue television. It was disappointing and I eventually left that company, but I never gave up on the vision of bringing Jon’s trucks to the screen.

When I brought the project to Nelvana, a big Canadian-based production and distribution company that I knew well, I felt that I’d found the right partner.  Together with an awesome team of creative people at Nelvana, Jon and I been developing and producing Trucktown for about four years now, perfecting the look, the tone, and the humour.

And now, in the Spring of 2014, I’m so delighted to share a first look an awesome new TV show that’s debuting today at MIPTV (the global marketplace for buying & selling TV shows) today, just a few short weeks after Bologna…well…plus seven years!

The team at Nelvana have done an amazing job taking Trucktown from page to screen and it’s my hope that the show reflects the high energy lives of today’s preschoolers, and inspires some of them to go deeper into the Trucktown world through the books.

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The show will start smash-crashing its way onto television screens later this year!

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One Response to From Bologna to MIP

  1. Dan Metcalf April 7, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Looks amazing! Love Jon’s work, can’t wait to see the show.

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