Archive for May, 2009

Super WHY! – Hurray for Heroes, a Special Two-hour Marathon on PBS Kids

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

This Memorial Day, fans young and old across the nation can celebrate heroes with Super WHY! – Hurray for Heroes, a special two- hour marathon airing Monday May 25, 2009 on PBS KIDS® (check local listings).  Super WHY! – Hurray for Heroes will delight preschoolers with two debut interactive episodes and two returning favorites, featuring the page-turning storybook adventures of Super Why and his fellow reading superheroes as they unveil what the power of reading can do.  The special event also features never-before-seen live-action interviews in-between the episodes in which real kids share their thoughts about what it means to be a hero. 

The special Super WHY! – Hurray for Heroes TV event kicks off a jam-packed summer of reading-powered fun that also will feature special Super WHY! theme weeks, online games and free downloadable materials designed to help families reinforce the literacy skill building lessons within the series and help nurture their own “super readers” at home.        

 

“We created Super WHY! to provide kids with superhero role models they can relate to – who show them the power of reading and that they, too, can look for answers to life’s challenging questions and problems within books,” said Angela C. Santomero, Creator and Executive Producer of the series.  “Memorial Day provides a perfect opportunity for us all to reflect on and honor all kinds of heroes and we’re delighted to bring Hurray for Heroes to PBS KIDS.  The summer months are also the perfect time for preschoolers to hone their budding reading skills and we’re pleased to offer a number of great ways for them to do so all summer long.”

 

In the action-packed, two-hour Super WHY! – Hurray for Heroes TV event, Super Why and his heroic storybook friends help a fairytale knight face his fears in the launch of George and the Dragon, travel “over the river and through the woods” in Little Red Riding Hood, jump into a book for an interactive island adventure in the debut of The Swiss Family Robinson, and show a stranded princess how to rescue herself in Rapunzel.

 

Leading up to the on-air event, PBS KIDS will feature an all Super WHY! video player at pbskids.org/video where children can view their favorite clips from the show.  Kids can also play fun reading games on the Super WHY! Web site which will launch the new Wonder Red‘s Freeze Dance Rhyming Game (http://pbskids.org/superwhy).

 

The storybook adventures continue in June with the kick-off of a “super” special summer reading campaign that will engage kids and caregivers through Super WHY!’s interactive Web site at pbskids.org/superwhy, and through thousands of libraries across the U.S.  Throughout the season, week-long Super WHY! Reading Camps will boost the early literacy skills of preschoolers in communities from coast-to-coast with learning-rich activities, games, and music.   In August, PBS KIDS will focus on a different Super WHY! character each week and feature never-before-seen episodes of the top-rated show.

 

Reading is power and Super WHY!  is the only preschool property created to help kids learn the fundamentals of reading through interactive storybook adventures.  Produced by Out of the Blue Enterprises in conjunction with Canadian-based Decode Entertainment Inc. and C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures Inc., the series has a fresh, groundbreaking multimedia aesthetic – with a winning combination of two- and three-dimensional animation formats, adorable characters and immersive environments.  The program represents a unique approach to preschool educational television, featuring a team of superhero characters with literacy-based powers, who jump into books to look for answers to everyday preschool challenges.  The home viewer is the superhero sidekick, who is encouraged and empowered to participate in the reading fun by playing research-based literacy games. 

An Interview With Brittany Curran From “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” and “Legally Blondes”

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Credit: Marty CurranCP: In all the films and TV show you have acted in so far, what has been your favorite experience and why?

BC: “Legally Blondes” would have to be my favorite.  The entire filming experience was a perfect combination of a great crew, great cast, and getting to play an awesome character.  Every morning Savage Steve Holland, our director, would hand me rewrites in the script for the scenes my character would be filming that day; then I would go in my trailer and laugh hysterically reading the new lines. Knowing that later that day I’d be acting those fun scenes out on film was the coolest feeling. Not to mention, he appreciated my take on the character, Tiffany, so much he kept adding lines and scenes for me.

CP: You have been acting for many years, and covered a variety of shows from “Power Rangers” to “Legally Blondes.” How do you feel you have grown through all these experiences?

BC: As an actress I have the unique opportunity of learning and growing through many different pairs of eyes; my own foremost, and also those of every character I portray in a film or show.  It’s quite enlightening to view life from another person’s point of view, and I experience that every time I go to work. It’s the greatest job! For instance, on “The Suite Life” my character Chelsea isn’t very bright, to say the least, and she’s also very rich.  I’ve always viewed her as being a very sweet person.  But, the other day a fan asked me if it was fun playing London’s mean best friend.  I was so surprised! I’d never think of Chelsea as mean because when I’m portraying her I completely immerse myself in her and feel totally justified in all her actions.  When she does say something slightly offensive she’s not trying to be insulting. She’s just stating what she believes is a fact; and because she’s so dull, she doesn’t realize that what she’s saying is kind of demeaning.  Just from that experience alone, it really alerts my consciousness to so much about human nature: innocence, ignorance, how quickly we make judgements about other people, our intrinsic justification of our actions, and how tainted our view of the world can sometimes be based on the way we’re raised.  The fact that every person on this planet thinks differently is what makes our world so interesting and once people accept that fact there will be so much more tolerance and understanding.

CP: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

BC: Five years from now I’ll be turning twenty four.  Wow! That’s so hard to believe! Any-hoo. . .  Career wise, I hope to be working on films that have great stories and  enlightening messages, and I hope to have the means – or power – to play the characters that I love.  Have won my first Oscar.  Have worked on a film that my dad and I wrote together called, “High Heels.”  Have published a book of poetry.  Still be as incredibly close with my family as I am now. Spend a lot of time with positive and interesting friends.  Be surrounded by love in all capacities.  Be taking excellent care of my body.  Have traveled to at least three countries in Europe.  Be happy and healthy.  Have completed my film degree at UCLA and begin work on a Master Degree.  And star in a film with my hero Meryl Streep. . . Am I asking too much?

CP: What advice would you have for aspiring actors?

BC:  To all aspiring actors, first be sure that you absolutely love acting and be aware that many people will try to hinder that love and attempt to discourage you; but do not let them.  Don’t let anyone else’s insecurities and jealousies discourage you.  It’s a long and difficult road to becoming a highly successful actor and it is worth every second.  Also, be prepared for the possibility of a little disease called fame to get into your head and try to change you.  Don’t let it!  Never forget who you are; come up with a mechanism to always check yourself and a system to deflate your head if it ever becomes overly inflated.  Let fame humble you, not turn you into the opinions and judgements everyone else thinks of you.  Honestly, fame can be awesome; but only in the hands of the right people.  Be the right person.  I remember interviewing Henry Winkler(Fonzie), and he told me it’s important for actors not to get “that worm” in their brain.  He was talking about people taking their fame to seriously.

CP: In your opinion, what is one of the most difficult obstacles to have had to overcome in your career, and how did you overcome it?

BC: The most difficult obstacle I’ve had to overcome in my career is not taking everything so personally.  Acting is the most personal and at the same time the most impersonal job in the world.  I go to work every day, a camera goes on, and I pour my heart out in front of it.  I have to be very open and sensitive to have the ability to do that.  But, when the camera turns off, I have to look at my job as a business and can’t let every thing said about me to be taken to personally, good or bad! Especially in the internet age; most people are positive, but sometimes people post mean things about actors that don’t make any sense.  For example, I recently went to a charity event to help raise awareness for the treatment of children’s cancer.  Pictures were posted on a popular Internet site. One poster, instead of seeing the meaning in the event just criticized my hair style and the way I looked.  That’s sad, but I realize being in the public eye it will happen, and I can’t take it seriously.   I’ve also learned that when I get so close to booking a film or a show and then don’t get it, it’s really nothing personal.  There are so many factors that go into a casting decision and talent isn’t always the prime factor.  That’s one important obstacle that I’m proud to say I’ve mostly overcome.

CP:  What is one of the favorite aspects of your job?

BC: My absolute favorite thing about my job is when I get the script of a project I’m working on for the first time.  The feeling when I first read my lines and then my character just clicks and totally resonates in me is the coolest feeling!  Then to create the character and come up with unique ways to play her is incredibly fun.  Finally, to be on the set with the director and other actors and, at last, have all my work and creativity come to fruition is very rewarding and very fun.  I have to be honest!  My other favorite thing is the early morning omelette when I’m shooting a film.  I will actually get to a set two hours early just to order my favorite cheddar cheese, sausage & tomato omelette. The cooks are great!

CP: Please give me an anecdote from filming “Legally Blondes” of something that inspired/changed you in your way of thinking.

BC: I really think that the project as a whole improved my acting.  Filming “Legally Blondes” really gave me the freedom to play with and have fun with my character.  A lot of that freedom came from the director Savage Steve Holland who totally trusted me with my character, Tiffany, and let me run with my  ideas.  Savage and I would always be thinking of ways to make Tiffany funnier.  The scene when I’m wearing the neck brace in the hallway was especially fun.  When I first read that scene I had no idea how to play it, especially because my character does finger quotes in the air, which I think can come across as annoying.  So, I juggled ideas around in my head a came up with the idea of doing overly exaggerated air quotes whenever I said the word “study.”  According to the script I’m only supposed to do the air quotes once, but I decided it would be more comical to repeat them.  When time came to do the scene, it made the producers and executives laugh hysterically!  I even screwed up a good six or seven takes by cracking myself up.  Then my sidekick “Ashley” did air quotes at the same time which made it even funnier!  I was just so relaxed filming the movie, took chances, and trusted myself.  That enabled me to come up with some pretty creative ideas!

Connor Gordon, 11, Wins “ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search”

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

ARTHUR, the award-winning PBS KIDS GO! television series, and CVS Caremark All KIDS CAN, a program dedicated to making life easier for kids with disabilities, are thrilled to announce the grand prize winner of the “ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search.” Connor Gordon, 11, of Savage, Minn., was selected for his character, Lydia Fox, a ten year-old girl fox who uses a wheelchair and loves to draw and play basketball. Connor, along with ARTHUR creator and author Marc Brown, unveiled his character at his elementary school in Savage, Minn. In recognition of Connor’s achievement, CVS Caremark presented a donation of $5,000 to St. John the Baptist school for library or arts curricula.Selected out of an overwhelming 8,500 entries, Connor, along with his character Lydia Fox will be featured in a live-action segment of the ARTHUR show. The segment will be part of an episode airing June 30 on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings).”My character, Lydia, wants kids to know that even though she’s in a wheelchair, she can do what everyone else can do, but in her own way,” Connor stated when asked about his character. “I’m so excited.”Launched in February 2009, the ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search invited children ages 6-12 create a new friend for ARTHUR. The activity was designed to educate children about the importance of inclusion and how children of all abilities can play together. It also encouraged parents and children to think about what life is like for someone they know who has a disability.”We were thrilled with the enormous response from children across the country, and the exceptional thought and detail that went into each of the entries, especially our grand prize winner,” said Eileen Howard Dunn, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations at CVS Caremark. “Connor’s entry really champions the idea of inclusion and helps us to think not only about what life is like for someone with a disability but also about characteristics in each of us that make us unique.”CVS Caremark All Kids Can supports programs and services that help children with disabilities learn, play, and succeed in life. Since its premiere in 1996, ARTHUR has celebrated the importance of friendship and the value of accepting and including kids with different abilities from all walks of life. Buster proves that kids who can manage their asthma can do anything, Marina shows her friends what it’s like to be blind, George succeeds as a student with dyslexia, and Carl–in an upcoming season–will share what it’s like to have autism.”We saw thousands of character ideas from around the country,” said Jacqui Deegan, ARTHUR Executive Producer. “We were truly inspired by all them, and especially by Connor’s character, Lydia Fox, whose creativity, intelligence and positive attitude are a perfect match for our series. We think Lydia would make a wonderful friend for Arthur and the gang in Elwood City.”The Character Search entries were reviewed by the producers of the ARTHUR show, colleagues from CVS Caremark, and a celebrity panel including Tolon Brown from Marc Brown Studios; Terri Mauro, About.com’s Guide to Parenting Special Needs; Matt Cavedon from Boundless Playgrounds; Katy Beh Neas, Vice President of Government Relations for Easter Seals; and Susan Kane, Editor-in-Chief of Parenting magazine’s “School Years” edition.The panel also selected nine Finalists in the ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search who will receive prize packages including CVS gift cards and ARTHUR merchandise. CVS Caremark will make a grant of $1,000 to each child’s school for library or arts programs. The finalists in alphabetical order are:· Emily Glaze of Birmingham, Alabama for her character “Grace Davis”· Shane Kearney of Lexington, Virginia for his character “Carlos”· Joseph Kesting of Yardville, New Jersey for his character “Sammy Gato”· Meaghan Pannasch of Morganville, New Jersey for her character “Arianna Petals”· Emily Pruitt of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina for her character “Bubby and his service dog Aubrey”· Meg Sheeran of Worcester, Massachusetts for her character “Preston McPanda”· Amy Solov of South Easton, Massachusetts for her character “Kristy Star”· Eliana Yopp of Santee, California for her character “Alana”· Charlie Zimmerman of Delaware, Ohio for his character “Frankie Salvador”For more information about the ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search, please visit pbskidsgo.org/arthur/allkidscan.Funding for the “ARTHUR/All Kids Can Character Search” is provided by CVS Caremark.

“The Drama Kids” – Official Selection of 2009 Long Island International Film Expo

Friday, May 8th, 2009

The film will screen on July 18 in New York. Congrats to all the cast and crew for our 3rd film festival selection.”The Drama Kids” is a 19-minute short  showing how High School thespians can transform their imagination into reality on stage.

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