Nicole Rivera is the Director of Original Series Development for Cartoon Network.
She came from a family of actors but discovered she wasn’t interested in performing. She studied writing at NYU but discovered she wasn’t interested in writing. Then, through a series of internships and and early jobs, she discovered a home as an executive, being the liaison between a network, its creators, its marketing team, and all the other people responsible for bringing a show to life and getting it out to the world.
Keep an eye on Cartoon Network to see what great things she has coming out of the pipeline in 2019 and beyond. Thanks for listening!
Jeff "Swampy" Marsh left a corporate job to pursue art. Three months later, he found himself learning animation by drawing backgrounds for a fledgling show in its second season called... The Simpsons. After trying for over ten years to get it on the air, he and his creative partner Dan Povenmire got their dream show on Disney, Phineas and Ferb. Spoiler alert, people liked it. A LOT.
Besides now acting as the showrunner for Pete the Cat on Amazon Prime, Swampy also devotes a lot of time to a charity called "A Walk on Water," which provides surf therapy to children with special needs and their families.
A new Pete the Cat Christmas Special arrives on Amazon this Tuesday, November 20th.
When you leave your day job to pursue your dream, that’s incredible. In Dan Garza’s case, the day job was already at Disney, so imagine how spectacular the dream must have been.
It’s a dream he’s still living, working as a puppet maker and puppeteer, voice-over artist, and artist. You’ve seen and heard his puppet performances in the family-unfriendly Melissa McCarthy movie The Happytime Murders and in the new Jim Carrey Showtime show “Kidding.” You also may have seen the 11 different digital puppets he gave life to on the Jim Henson Company’s PBS show “Splash and Bubbles.”
Dan and I are also both members of the Children’s Media Association here in LA. If you’re in New York or LA and you have a passion for children’s media, I encourage you to check them out at ChildrensMediaAssociation.org.
You can get updated information on what Dan is up to a dangarzacreative.com. Thanks for listening!
Along with his creative partner Jamie Salka, today’s guest Lee Overtree founded Story Pirates in 2004. For the last 14 years, they’ve taken kids ideas for stories and brought them to life on stage. In the last few years, they’ve expanded their output to include a radio show, a podcast, a book called “Stuck In The Stone Age,” and an album called “Nothing Is Impossible.”
In addition to his work with Story Pirates, Lee is also an award-winning writer and director.
As an 8 year old, Shawn Colvin taught herself to play songs on the piano from a book called “Lullabies and Night Songs,” with songs Alec Wilder and illustrations by Maurice Sendak. Later, as an adult about to give birth to her daughter, she used some of the songs from that book to record her first kids’ album, “Holiday Songs and Lullabies.” Now, almost 20 years later, she’s released “The Starlighter,” another album of children’s music that draws its source material from “Lullabies and Night Songs.”
You can find everything Shawn Colvin, including her current tour schedule, at shawncolvin.com. You can find “The Starlighter,” both the music and the really incredible animated videos they’ve made to accompany some of the songs, on Amazon.
Albert Mazibuko has been a member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo since 1969. They’ve recorded more than 70 albums over the course of their career, all with the same message of peace, love, and harmony. Last year they recorded their first album for kids and families, appropriately titled “Songs of Peace and Love For Kids and Parents Around The World." They’re wrapping up their current US tour, and have enough material ready for another album for families that they’re hoping to record back home in South Africa later this year.
You can find Ladysmith Black Mambazo at www.Mambazo.com. You can also find a web series they’ve been shooting on their current tour on YouTube.
The Not Its are a five-piece genuine bonafide Seattle indy punk pop rock band that have been making music for kids and their families for ten years now. They were generous enough to have me and my family at their recent show in Torrance, California, and to let me sit down with all five members of the band: Danny , Sara, Michael, Jennie, & Tom for a nice group conversation just before they took the stage and made us dance and melted our faces.
You can find The Not Its at WeAreTheNotIts.com and on your favorite social media platform.
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood had its first national broadcast 50 years ago this week, on February 19th, 1968. To celebrate, today I’m having a 2nd conversation with my first-ever guest on the Kid Stuff Podcast, Danny LaBrecque.
Danny started off following in Fred Rogers’ footsteps, but has since branched off and found his own path as the creator and host of Danny Joe’s Treehouse.
If you take a look, it will feel familiar. It’s a calm, grown-up voice talking directly to his audience in a respectful way about really tough issues, bringing in really great guests and a variety of puppets. But it’s also brand new, and exactly what young audiences need in their media right now. It’s an island of sanity in a time of insanity.
Do you know a dude named Mike who hosts a podcast where he talks to people about the stuff they make for kids? So do I! His name is Mike Mason, and he is today’s guest. Mike started the Good Stuff Kids Podcast because he couldn’t find the interviews that he wanted to hear with the people who were making the great stuff that his kids and he were into. Sound VERY very familiar…
Tami Stronach has been very busy since she played the Childlike Empress in 1984's The NeverEnding Story. She’s mainly been a dancer, as well as a choreographer and dance teacher. Her company with her husband Greg Steinbruner, Paper Canoe, has created live theater for families, and have now released their first album. And Beanstalk Jack is a true album, with a through-line, and an A side and a B side.
You can find Paper Canoe Company on Facebook, or at www.papercanoecompany.com. You can go to their Patreon, and there are lots of fun things you can get there for just $1 a month. You can also find Tami on Twitter @NeverendingTami.
Thanks for listening!
Alitzah was a child actor. Then she grew up and was a member of the girl group Nobody’s Angel. Now, she’s come full circle and is performing for children, as her musical alter ego Twinkle. She’s continued acting all along, including a recurring part on General Hospital. She is also the President of the Young Entertainer Awards, which are celebrating their third year.
Brady Rymer has been recording and performing kids music for almost 20 years. He has been nominated for three Grammys, and at the end of last year he released his first holiday album, Revvin’ Up The Reindeer. Here’s what you should do: grab your favorite swing dance partner, Go to BradyRymer.com, listen to the first track from that album (which is also the title track), and you’ll be hooked.
Joe Hennes is not just a blogger. He is a Muppet Blogger. Along with Ryan Roe, he is the co-owner and editor of toughpigs.com, the preeminent location on the web for all things Muppet and Jim Henson. I can’t believe it took me 42 episodes of a show about children’s media to talk in-depth to someone about the Muppets. Muppets, y’all. Muppets.
Kevin Aniskovitch is the CEO of Jumo Health. Jumo Health creates comic books and other media that uses a team of superheroes called the Medikidz to teach children about different medical procedures and conditions. From jumohealth.com:
“It all started when two compassionate medical professionals wanted to alleviate the anxiety that often accompanies a diagnosis.”
Meredith Halpern-Ranzer is the Chief Executive Tinkerer at Tinkercast, the company that produces last year’s immensely popular new podcast “Wow in The World” featuring NPR’s Guy Raz and former Kid Stuff Podcast guest and Kids Place Live host Mindy Thomas.
Before joining Tinkercast, Meredith was there at the beginning of Sprout, and spent 10 years bringing the kids' channel to the world and defining its brand.
C.J. Pizarro is a fan of Vanilla Ice. He tells us why, and also explains the beautiful construction into which all of his music as Mista Cookie Jar fits, The Love Bubble.
Natalie Woociker is a photographer, an artist, and the founder of Wooly Mammoth Stories, where you can have a custom story written and performed by Natalie for your child (or for any child of your choosing).
Thanks for listening!
"I'm still willing to show the flaws and the edges because those things connect us all."
Heather B. Armstrong has made a name for herself writing autobiographically in an authentic and transparent way on her website dooce.com for over seventeen years.
Annabeth Bondor-Stone and Connor White met in the theater department at Northwestern University. Annabeth was writing and directing plays, and Connor discovered the group Griffin’s Tale, which took storytelling into elementary schools with high-energy performances.
When Annabeth’s young cousin Harrison sent them an email asking for a funny story to read, they did not know it would change their lives and careers. But it did, and Shivers, the Pirate Who’s Afraid of Everything, was born.
You should go find Annabeth and Connor on the web at annabethandconnor.com.
Rachel Giannini spent years as a pre-school teacher in the Chicago area. She was so good at it that she has since become one of the subjects of an upcoming documentary about early childhood education called No Small Matter. She was so good at that, that the producers of the movie asked her to take on some of the outreach for the movie via their blog.
She now works at the Chicago Children’s Museum on Navy pier as their Brand Ambassador.
You can find all things Rachel at www.rachelgiannini.com.
You can find the Chicago Children’s Museum on Navy Pier in Chicago or at chicagochildrensmuseum.org.
You can find the movie No Small Matter at nosmallmatter.com.
Susan and Refe Tuma are the creators, authors, and photographers/ art designers of the “What the Dinosaurs Did” book series. The books came out of a project they originally made just for their own kids, but blew up as a blog. Several years later, they find themselves with three books in the series. These books are so charming, and witty, and painstakingly created, they just have to be seen to be understood and appreciated. So listen to our conversation, then run to your nearest local bookseller and buy them.
Angela Ferrari is a painter, writer, and the creator and host of the new Story Spectacular podcast, featuring a new story for kids every Monday and a new mini-nighttime story every Friday. We talked about how she learned the business side of an art career, about finding a project that combined all of her talents and interests, and about the importance of play.
Jack Forman used to be a classroom teacher. When his first child was born, his band Recess Monkey was doing well enough that he became a stay-at-home dad and the manager of the band. Around the sa me time, he started hosting “Live From The Monkey House,” talking to kids and playing tunes on the Sirius XM Kids Place Live channel.
Now, he has his first solo album out, “Songs From The Monkey House.” It’s available exclusively on Amazon Music, and you can find a link and all the info you would ever want about all things Jack by going to jackformanmusic.com.
Stephanie Sharis is the CEO of Cricket Media. Cricket has been publishing magazines for kids for over 40 years, and they still have eleven titles that they publish, on actual paper, for kids of all ages and on a wide range of topics.
They’ve recently launched a new website and initiative called “Keeping Tech in Check.” They’re motto is “a balance, not a ban.” Keeping Tech in Check acknowledges and embraces the idea that technology and screens are part of our and our kids’ lives now. It acts as a hub for resources on how to manage the time we spend on that technology, how to use it wisely and safely, and how to share those skills with kids.
Thanks to Stephanie Sharis for that conversation, to Beth Blenz-Clucas for introducing us, and to Caroline Zekan at Cricket for setting it up. You can find cricket at http://www.cricketmedia.com/, and you can find Keeping Tech in Check at https://keepingtechincheck.com/
Also, don’t forget, thanks to our friends at BizKids, we are giving away a handful of free copies of their book “Turn $100 into $1 Million." Just write into us on our contact page at kidstuffpodcast.com and tell us a story about your business, a business you’d like to start, an idea of a business that you think kids should try, anything at all. Include your address, and boom, free awesome book.