The Complete Guide to Screenwriting for Children’s Film & Television

...Well-presented, readable if sometimes dry, well-researched and extremely useful, this is one of the first non-fiction books to earn a five star rating....

When I picked this up I was expecting a basic how-to: formating scripts, submitting and so on. Instead I found a detailed guide to writing for children, exploring cognitive levels, stages of development, how different age groups respond differently and more, all illustrated with script examples from children’s series including Sesame Street. It wasn’t until I put it down four hours later that I realised how hooked I was.

With specific sections covering comedy, drama, fairy tales, and more, it also offers exercises that the author has used with students to get them into the right mindset (e.g. sock puppets). The entire book is filled with examples from teaching, children’s entertainment on- and off-screen, and script sections showing what children at various ages can and cannot understand. Later sections deal with programming briefs and commissions, and the difficulties making sure that children enjoy the content produced.

I will give special mention to the section on puppets for children’s series. It is a comprehensive guide to different types of puppets, the complications of production of each and cinematography techniques to get the best out of them. It even goes into detail about problems such as interacting with human actors or props staining or damaging puppets, all of which he covers solutions to. The illustrations of the various types of set, puppet, and camera shot are also extremely useful. The animation section is similarly detailed, focusing on the differences of the medium and writing for storyboards rather than script.

For any writer looking to work with children’s television this is a useful guide, but it may also be useful to a wider audience as it covers storytelling and the general presentation of information to children in a manner they can pick up and understand.

Well-presented, readable if sometimes dry, well-researched and extremely useful, this is one of the first non-fiction books to earn a five star rating.

This book was featured in the newspaper column - click for details
Rating: 5
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