Gerry! Gerry! Gerry!


A former Blue Peter colleague of mine, Kate Finburg recently interviwed legendary puppeteer, Gerry Anderson – creative maestro behind British children’s classics such as Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet.

To be honest, other than the awesome flying dropship, Thunderbird 2, I was never a big fan of the Thunderbirds series, but Captain Scarlet on the other hand, rocked. Big time. I’m rarely in favor of re-making a character universe to be more “dark and gritty” (read violent and depressing) but comparing the former to the latter, this is what Anderson did, and it worked. Captain Scarlet had a strong format and stands as a rare example of that golden egg in children’s television – a brand successfully aimed at boys. Anyone creating content in this genre would certainly benefit from watching an episode or two.

And if you get a chance to read Kate’s interview, I’m the “rather excited devotee” who’d kill for five minutes with Gerry Anderson!

Digital Youth Project

When was the last time you heard anyone use the term, “New Media” ?

Last November, USC and Burkeley released results of a three-year study of the constantly evolving relationship children have with technology, significantly social networking sites, online games and gadgets like iPods and mobile phones.

Long story short, it seems the Internet, aka, The Dire Pit of Evil and Eternal Damnation, might be doing kids some good when it comes to things like developing social skills and self-initiated learning experiences. Wow. Technology like the above isn’t new to young users anymore – it’s the norm, and they’re using it in innovative ways.

It’s a big study – the largest undertaken on the subject in the United States to date. I strongly recommend anyone who’s involved in this field to at least take a quick look at the summary.

Amanda is…

I’m really excited about this.

Fourth Story Media will soon be launching a new brand/book/website/social media extravaganza, named, “The Amanda Project”. Aimed primarily at 12-14 year old girls, but certain to attract older users as well, the idea pushing T.A.P. along is a cross-platform mystery intended to find out one thing – who is Amanda, the enigmatic new kid in school?

This is an original attempt to create a multimedia brand featuring a book as one of its components, but the reason the project has me so interested is because I had a similar idea last summer, utilizing a similar blend of media albeit with a completely different story and target audience. The obvious roadblock I faced was the lack of available talent to work on such a huge project, but Fourth Story Media have enlisted the help of ace design and usability agency, Happy Cog, to bring The Amanda Project to life.

Earlier last year I talked about T.A.P. with Lisa Holton, Founder of Fourth Story Media and ex SVP of Disney Children’s Books. My impression was that even though the cards were being played, quite rightly, close to the chest on the brand’s actual content, there was a great deal of optimism and anticipation about how the project would be received by audiences once all of the components are available.

I don’t disagree with the choice to make the brand girl-specific – research shows the target audience both read more than boys at this age, and are also more likely to contribute to an online community, but I’m curious to know why Fourth Story Media didn’t choose a non gender-specific theme. For instance, how would a male 12-14-year-old be received in the online community if he wanted to be a part of it and had something useful to contribute?

The Amanda Project already fascinates me and I’m certain it will be a big success. No doubt I will be sharing more thoughts about this soon, but in the meantime, take a look a peek at the teaser below and watch this space for more news as the brand becomes closer to launch.


Hello there! Thanks for reading my very first post.

So what’s this website all about? Well, it’s naive of me to start a project as organic as this by reeling off a list of what Imaginary Eric will become, but my biggest aspiration is for this site to become a useful resource of news and commentary, regarding the latest goings-on in the children’s media industry – I love working in it, I love talking about it, but most of all I love to see the magic of children experiencing something that captivates their imagination. My goal is to contribute as much as I can to make this happen.

Yes it’s a broad aim. Yes it’s a challenge. Yes I’m ready to get started – let’s go!

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Copyright © 2016 Shane Lindley