And after a dramatic YouTube 2 minute countdown, the ‘Character Stories for Children’ channel was born.

Born? Do YouTube channels get born. i mean, i guess it was conceived about five days ago…

Based on a character i have dabbled with called Erik [with a K] who speaks/shouts people’s favourite poems or stories at them with a bad German’ish accent. i had an idea to create some stories for children stuck at home during lockdown looking for something a little different.

A few of us put together a few promo video trailers and the fabulous Tandi Buchan as Hairyett¬†recorded the first story, ‘The Land of Mites and Maybes’. Poet Arden Davidson has generously given us permission to use her stories and poems.

We released this with great buzz and 31 people watched the Premiere together at 3pm, South African time, yesterday.

That might not seem like a lot of people, but within about five minutes it had been viewed over a hundred times and has now been seen close to 250 times. Reports along with pictures of smiling children from around the country suggest that it made a bunch of young ones happy.

All aboard the CSC channel

What has been exciting about it for me has been the energy with which people have jumped in. From a friend on the Twitterer who is part of a UK Improv group [their first story drops on Thursday!] to an old Improv friend from years ago to a spoken word poet who chased me down on the Twitterer to a good musician friend, everyone is putting their hands up and wanting to be involved.

i don’t tend to start things. i am better at jumping on someone’s thing and helping tweak it or direct it… or connecting people through my networks… or giving critical direction to a thing… so this feels like somewhat new ground for me.

And it happened at pace. Because we are in lockdown. And this was a thing for those stuck in lockdown. So the time between idea and first video was less than a week.

Super grateful to everyone who jumped in and gave ideas and uploaded videos and redid videos [lighting, copyright] and made promos and shared and shouted out and more. Huge Shoutout to the Improguise crew [my Improv family] who were the best and so committed and must be so exhausted now.

How CSC works

My big fear as we were waiting for the first video to drop was that it was four minutes long and what if people were expecting a half hour show? Got feedback from my nephew that he was disappointed it wasn’t a movie, so there’s that…

But the idea was more to create a bit of an event, that hopefully families will buy into, and a regular moment in the day to stop and sit together and have a bit of a smile and escape from the overwhelming nature of life right now.

However, we do have to ideas we are playing with and i thought i’d give you a sneak preview…

Friday Clyff Hanga Saga

A character tells a story that is completely made up and ends it at a certain point with a cliffhanger. Viewers have to wait til the following Friday where a new character will pick up where the story left off and tell us the next part.

Saturday Morning Live Stream

One of the characters will do a Live Stream story-reading as a way of inviting children to be more closely engaged with the story-telling. Might be an opportunty for them to dress up to watch the show and send us pics of what they are wearing. Create more of a fun event of it after the build-up of the weekly stories. Catch Hairyett again this week as she kicks us off at 10am!

What you can do

Show up. Tell your friends. Let’s get as many young people who have access and ability to watch across South Africa, and around the world, to join together and have some fun. Share the videos. Subscribe to the YouTube channel. Post about it on your social media channels.

This is not going to be for everyone. But after just one show and with 100 subscribers already it clearly is for some people. We would love to get all of those people sitting down at 3pm every afternoon to join us as we celebrate stories and poems and even songs…

And it’s okay if you’re a big kid and like them as well. That’s kinda the point.¬†

Spoiler Alert: Next monday’s show is DEFINITELY for the big kids [as in adults] in more ways than we would care to admit… you do not want to miss that one…

See you on the YouTube!

[If you missed any of the promo trailer videos, click here]

[If you’re a parent looking for more ideas to keep your children busy or entertained, here are a good few!]