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We Got You * Giving A Voice To Every Kid Who Doesn’t Have Anyone Else To Go To

Friday, April 9th, 2021

We Got You is a podcast that gives a voice to every kid out there who doesn’t have anyone to go to, with advice straight from teens who’ve been there before. We Got You is a weekly advice podcast where teens answer questions from middle schoolers across the country on life, loneliness and an uncertain future. We Got You is produced by Sonic Union. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Have you ever felt like you are experiencing something negative that no one else is? Well, We Got You reassures you that there is someone who has been there and done that before, sharing the perspectives of kids on growing up, thriving and surviving in an uncertain world, and dealing with the darker aspects of life.” Avery P. comments, “The We Got You podcast is an amazing outlet for kids and teens that don’t have a voice or need extra inspiration to help cope with their challenges. This podcast is all about helping others hold onto hope. The podcast covers such topics as dyslexia, anxiety, depression, PTSD, social media, bullying and lots more.” Apurva S. wraps it up with, “In the words of Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, when only one remembers to turn on the light.” This describes the message of the podcast (even though it’s not said in that way), that you should never lose hope.” See their full reviews below.

We Got You
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

A candid and honest look at modern teens’ lives with incisive commentary on mental illness, coping with conflict and other timely topics, We Got You is a great listen for kids looking for answers.

Have you ever felt like you are experiencing something negative that no one else is? Well, We Got You reassures you that there is someone who has been there and done that before, sharing the perspectives of kids on growing up, thriving and surviving in an uncertain world, and dealing with the darker aspects of life. Each episode has two parts. First, a kid speaks about their experiences. For example, one episode centers around a girl named Asha and her experiences with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Second, the floor is opened up for questions about the subject, which are submitted through the show’s Twitter account, and the main speaker is joined by one or two other kids who share their personal experiences and thoughts. The show is hosted by actress Samantha Logan, but she takes a backseat in the podcasts, and it feels like each episode is really hosted by the kid who’s sharing their thoughts.

The kids on the show are truly skilled raconteurs, presenting their experiences in an engaging way that makes you feel for them. Many of the speakers bore their hearts on the podcast, especially in the episodes about mental health, and it is heartwarming to see that they feel confident to share their experiences and thoughts so openly. The podcast is full of earnest perspectives and the roundtable segment features lots of great questions that I would definitely have asked. The sound designer Rob Ballingall also beautifully blends together sound bites with some sound effects and background music to make the podcast even more intricate.

The message of We Got You is quite simple: you don’t have to go through anything alone. It’s a podcast with a purpose, a beautiful one at that, and it’s executed wonderfully.

I would give We Got You 5 stars out of 5, and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. You can listen to We Got You on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you

We Got You
By Avery P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The We Got You podcast is an amazing outlet for kids and teens that don’t have a voice or need extra inspiration to help cope with their challenges. This podcast is all about helping others hold onto hope.

Writer / creator (Halle Petro) and producer (Sonic Union) proudly presents We Got You. Many episodes have guest speakers that talk about their conflicts. The podcast covers such topics as dyslexia, anxiety, depression, PTSD, social media, bullying and lots more.

I love this podcast series, because it includes so many inspirational stories. I got a sense of thankfulness while listening to the first couple of episodes. Although the podcast is audio only, it makes you take the time to settle down and listen.  The guest speakers are so strong in their ability to speak out and spread awareness. Each episode is about 15 to 20 minutes long. They are full of amazing stories and a Q and A. The Q and A at the end of each episode includes middle-schoolers from around the country that get their questions answered by teens that have been there before. Especially during these tough times due to COVID-19, taking care of our physical and mental health is important. The weekly advice in these podcasts encourages kids and teens to come of age in the world around us. In each episode the real life example is accompanied by music that transports the listener to that space. Listening to these stories can give anyone hope, courage and gratitude.

I got lots of messages from this podcast, although the one that stood out the most is to hold onto hope. Never give up; have courage!

I give the podcast series We Got You series 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 16. The We Got You podcast is currently available on TRAX podcast page at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you.

We Got You
By Apurva S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

We Got You is such an inspirational podcast. I love it. It shares stories from teens all over the country that have gone through hard times and makes them feel heard. This podcast also makes you feel lots of emotions and is almost as entertaining as a regular TV show.

For example, one of the episodes talks about Jaelin, an 18-year-old boy who lost both of his parents before the age of nine, and went through childhood being abused by his stepfather. His journey continues as Jaelin finds hope through his brothers and friends.

One of the best things about this podcast is the emotions. You can really feel all that Jaelin’s been through, from the death of his first parent to losing his second. His enlightening speech gives you hope that there is always a way out, no matter how much you have been through. Many movies, TV shows and podcasts use music to convey emotions. However, We Got You doesn’t need music to show what these kids are feeling; you only need to hear their stories. To be able to show emotion without music is pretty hard, so that really intrigued me.

In the words of Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, when only one remembers to turn on the light.” This describes the message of the podcast (even though it’s not said in that way), that you should never lose hope. There are no foul words or concepts, but there is some mention of aggressive behavior. An example is Jaelin speaking of his father both verbally and physically abusing him.

I give We Got You 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and anyone who is going through a hard time. We Got You can be found on Trax at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you.

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Gary Gutierrez, Animator, Title Designer, SFX Supervisor And So Much More!

Friday, April 17th, 2020

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Gary Gutierrez, an exceptionally talented animator, title designer, SFX supervisor and more. From his start as an animator on Sesame Street, to his work as the SFX supervisor on The Right Stuff, Gary has watched the industry rapidly transform from cell animation and optical printers to CGI and digital compositing.

Originally, films used glass matte paintings to create environments impossible to do in real life. For example, the original 1933 King Kong used many layers of etched glass to give the effect of a massive gorilla in a lush forest. The film then used a technique called “rear projection” to put the actors’ performances inside it. Since then, techniques have changed with films such as Back to the Future, using a combination of robotic camera movements, blue screens and miniature models to create a futuristic society. While matte paintings still exist to this day, matte painters use computer software such as Adobe Photoshop or Foundry Nuke, far from the layered glass planes filmmakers used nearly a century ago. 

Despite this revolution in techniques, Gary states that the principles haven’t changed. No matter the method, compositional rules and understanding how light works still play a major role in creating realistic effects that fit a scene. For that reason, Gary suggests learning how to draw instead of only learning how to use modern computer software. 

Skilled drawers still have great importance in the modern film industry. Animation takes so long to do, that virtually every animated film will “storyboard” before beginning. Storyboarding involves rough sketches of every frame of the film, allowing animators to easily replicate the design of characters, worlds and framing of every shot in the film. Live-action films use storyboards as well, especially when planning complicated and expensive scenes. For example, Gary did the storyboard for Black Stallion, a live-action film. In a certain scene, the filmmakers had to use a horse, a child actor, a camera on a helicopter and a large racetrack. A storyboard allows every person on the production team to know what to do and keeps the entire production organized. Even outside storyboarding, drawing gives creators the ability to clarify precisely their vision of what a shot should look like. 

While the medium of cinema will keep transforming, thanks to the rapid evolution of technology, Gary’s career and wisdom demonstrate just how important it shall always be to maintain learning the elements that make cinema – lights, camera and action. Thanks Gary for your remarkable contribution to filmmaking.

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Author’s Page – Amazon
World According to G

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Introducing industry leader, Geneva Wasserman, SVP, Condé Nast Entertainment

Friday, March 13th, 2020

Today in our third installment of our CSuite Interviews, we’d like to introduce you to Geneva Wasserman, SVP Motion Pictures, Condé Nast Entertainment.

Wasserman, a nearly 20-year veteran of the entertainment industry, previously was co-founder and executive producer of Project Z Entertainment where she is credited for producing Door Man and Godfrey.  While there, Wasserman and Tim Marlowe struck a deal with Microsoft to develop and implement proprietary artificial intelligence software tools to better predict market reaction to entertainment and advertising content.

Previously, Wasserman was president of Whitener Entertainment Group, a film/TV production house focused on family and animation, and president of WV Enterprises, Wilmer Valderrama’s film and television production company, where she produced Seoul Searching and Gnome Alone. She also co-founded publishing and advertising platforms True360VR and 360 AdSpots.

Wasserman started her career as an attorney with law firm Gray Cary. She has worked as an entertainment licensing attorney and in business development, finance and production roles on projects at Disney, Lionsgate, Oxygen, DreamWorks Animation, Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox and Discovery, among others.

Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE) is an award-winning next generation studio and distribution network with entertainment content across film, television, premium digital video, social, virtual reality and OTT channels. CNE develops, produces and distributes video content across 17 brands, including Bon Appétit, Glamour, GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Wired. We can’t wait to see what Ms. Wasserman brings to life at CNE.

Interview by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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Llama Llama Best Summer Ever! – Tons of Fun for Young Kids & Families

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Llama Llama springs to life in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney.  Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their safe, friendly hometown and make childhood memories. On this DVD, join Llama Llama as he camps, boats, floats and swims his way through his BEST summer ever!  Adventure and learning awaits with Llama Llama and pals! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever! is so entertaining to watch. It has adorable characters, fun animation, great music and lots vibrant content.  The short episodes are the perfect length to keep young children entertained.” Selene W. adds, “Llama Llama is an animated series full of family values and nature adventures!…There are eight episodes on the new DVD Llama Llama BEST Summer Ever! Llama Llama has exciting adventures with his family and friends which include valuable life lessons at the beach, camping and around the town.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer Jennifer V. wraps it up with, “Through Llama Llama and his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat, kids will learn how to problem-solve, work as part of a team, help others, develop friendship and enjoy their families with awesome summer activities such as making lemonade, camping, boating, swimming and kite flying.” See their full reviews below.

Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever!
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever! is so entertaining to watch. It has adorable characters, fun animation, great music and lots vibrant content.  The short episodes are the perfect length to keep young children entertained.

This DVD is about Llama Llama and his friend having the time of their lives on their summer vacation. Episodes include Let’s Go Camping, Beach Day, Boat Float and Last Day of Summer. Wherever Llama Llama goes, there will always be fun.

The Llama Llama animated series is so cool, because they are based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney.  There are several lovable characters including Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu and Luna Giraffe. This DVD is approximately 90 minutes long with eight episodes.  My favorite episode is Last Day of Summer, because it shows that even if the weather is bad you can still have fun indoors during the summer.

There are a lot of positive messages in this DVD including keeping a positive attitude when your plans change unexpectedly and, if you go with the flow and have a positive attitude, the outcome can still be fun.  We also learn that a little bit of practice can make you feel more confident and that if you feel as if you are not getting enough attention from your parents, just know that they still love you. This DVD has no bad language and there is nothing risky or dangerous that kids might try to do.  However, there are scenes showing jealously.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. This DVD is available now. I totally recommend this DVD for your kids.

Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever
By Selene Weiss, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever is a DVD filled with episodes that are full of family values and nature adventures!  This heartwarming animated series is based on the beloved children’s books by Anna Dewdney who also illustrated the books.  There are eight episodes on the new DVD Llama Llama BEST Summer Ever!

Llama Llama has exciting adventures with his family and friends which include valuable life lessons at the beach, camping and around the town.  The series features Jennifer Garner as the voice of the loving Mama Llama.  My favorite episode is “Last Day of Summer” where Llama Llama seizes the day with friends and goes to the park to fly kites and ends up using imagination when the weather complicates their plans.  Change can be exciting and fun!

The message of this series is to learn from family and friends and to enjoy  childhood.  Change can be tough but you can always enjoy time with family and friends.

I rate this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 6.  The DVD is available now.

Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever
By Jennifer V., KIDS FIRST! Juror

Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever! DVD is tons of fun and will appeal to kids and families. It’s a bright and happy animated series that is based on Anna Dewdney’s books about an adventurous llama and his circle of family and friends. This DVD has eight episodes with an option to play all the episodes or select them one at a time at an approximate run time of 90 minutes of lively entertainment.

The series employs bright colors, fun animals and engaging story lines that align with the daily activities that many kids are involved in, to capture their interest. The cute story lines deliver positive messages. For example, Llama Llama’s kite is torn on the last day of summer and his mom teaches him resourcefulness. There’s no need to buy a new one, we can fix this one and it will be better than before. The writing structure is straightforward and geared towards its target audience. The continuity and style reinforce each episode’s message, teamwork, resourcefulness and helping others. The series uses vocabulary that appeals to young kids. For example, when Llama Llama’s kite is torn his mom states that she will help him make a swirl-o-rama kite!

Through Llama Llama and his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat, kids will learn how to problem-solve, work as part of a team, help others, develop friendship and enjoy their families with awesome summer activities such as making lemonade, camping, boating, swimming and kite flying. The series visually appeals to kids with its bright colors and cute animal friends. The DVD cover is appropriate and appeal as it features Llama Llama and his friends. There is also a listing of each episode included, with a picture next to it representing what the episode is about.

There are educational benefits as kids are taught about problem solving and teamwork. For example, Llama Llama wants to help his friend buy a new bike tire, so he opens a lemonade stand to earn the money. His friends help him improve his product and help with marketing it. Additionally, kids are shown that everyone can be included even if they don’t do the same things. i.e. Euclid the Sheep shows up when everyone’s flying kites. He doesn’t have a kite, but he can make calculations on wind, temperature and time to help the other kites fly. There are several messages in this series about teamwork, resourcefulness, friendship, family and helping others. The DVD menu has an option to watch all the episodes or select them one at a time. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 11.

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KIDS FIRST!’s partner, Kidstar Radio Launches Kickstarter Campaign on Labor Day

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

kidstar.jpgKidstar Radio Network, our partner that produces our KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions radio show, is launching a Kickstarter campaign Sept. 1 for a new international program called Voyage Earth.

“I’ve never been so excited in my life,” said Perry Damone, CEO of Kidstar. “International children have been interested and now we have a proper way to introduce them to Kidstar.”

Voyage Earth is Kidstar’s newest program idea. The program will consist of children creating radio packages about current events that will then be used by larger news corporations just like a news wire service.

These packages will include everything from gang violence in the south side of Chicago to even family problems in the London to ‘Foodie News’ from Kid Chef Eliana.

“I think that when we give children a voice to such a large stage, people will listen,” said Damone. “These kids create professional shows and it is about time we get them to the professional limelight. We give the children the tools to create the shows and then we let them be the driver.”

The Kickstarter itself will run from Sept. 1 to Oct. 10.

Some of the rewards include:

•    $25 – A personal thank you letter from the Kidstar staff and kids.
•    $50 – A starter radio kit that includes a headset with a microphone, instructions to start a YouTube account and a tote bag with a Kidstar hat.
•    $3,800 – An annual subscription to the Kidstar Radio Program for your school.Check it out,  https://www.kickstarter.com/

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