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Erin Brockette
Submission of MFA Thesis
February 2001
I am submitting this thesis paper for my Master of Fine Arts in Producing. In
doing so, I am recounting the...
The idea for Zoey’s Room developed while my business partner, Vinitha Nair, and
I were working as a freelance...
wants to take this interest in advancing girls in technology and computer science one step
further by producing a show d...
They face issues about sex and their bodies at an increasingly younger age,
and are receiving conflicting, i...
Zoey’s Room is a thirty-minute weekly, magazine-style television series for girls
between the ages of eleven and...
The main character is Zoey, an animated pre-teen cyberian. She looks like the
average young girl; her fe...
learn what girls from this world are about. In essence their voices are those of real
adolescent boys. During each episo...
very profound. He is literate and often quotes poetry. His look is similar to an eel. His
body emits an electrical charg...
as they. If our audience couldn’t relate to a cyberian girl, they would at least relate to real
Girls at home, c...
We re-defined the segments to the following:
Fab Female
The Fab Female personality segment highlights progressive women...
The website contains streaming audio and video, downloadable games and
challenges, a message board, an on-l...
Our website will also have a weekly research survey – Zoey’s Z-Zurvey - about
the girls’ activities, preferences, and p...
In creating a television series based on a strong female le...
from the world of reality," says professor, Aletha Huston, director of the Center for
Research on the Influence of Tele...
In other studies I’ve found, even preschool girls suffer from TV's sex
stereotyping. Action-packed shows geared to youn...
From the start, I knew I never wanted a square room. I wanted something unique,
a different shape. At the time I starte...
We originally had the bulletin board and the world map as two separate
elements. Then...
are on location. The e-diaries are electronic journals for girls to write down their
thoughts. The Tech Wall can also c...
lettering over a black keyhole. We’ve created a necklace using the same ZR lettering that
Zoey always wears.
not quite as expensive. However, with our limited funds at the time, I could not explore
this technology further. We st...
My predictions for the meetings were that either Unbound Studios or Natural
Nylon were our best leads. My contact at Un...
room, and storyboards of the opening animation. These artists are under contract and are
paid from a grant from the Mai...
Using rough treatments and sketches, I attempted to shoot a few segments to
develop the look and feel of the...
for testing. As a producer, creating a rapport with other companies is vital and getting
other companies enthusiastic i...
and running. Though what we accomplish before the exhibit may not be exactly what the
end result will be in relation to...
With Zoey’s Room, the television series and the website have become inseparable;
each feeds on and supports t...
and website present a panoply of appropriate marketing opportunities. Zoey’s Room is at
the pulse of where girls are to...
misunderstood with her offbeat personality, she is an outsider of sorts. Cynical, sarcastic,
intelligent and pessimisti...
Many girl websites have 2D characters helping to represent the site, but the
characters lack "character". They are flat...
It should pique curiosity and draw support for the television programs, as the episodes
will push viewers to zoeysroom....
We investigated ways to protect our ideas and consulted the Library of Congress
for infor...
and technical assistance to Maine women owned businesses. They are helping us
organize and write the business plan for ...
We are still answering many questions: Should Zoey’s Room go the investor or
sponsor route...
Our initial attempt at finding funding failed. After finishing writing our first
proposal, we sent out over 20 ...
we waited to hear if we received any money, but before the process was over, we
discovered the organization wanted to c...
When Vinitha and I originally came up with the concept, we knew we needed that
third leg that ...
We thought Katt was as into the project as we were. But without pay, people lose
interest quickly. Then it was time to ...
Five girls around the United States log on to Zoey’s Room at One of th...
The girls get morphed into their computers to hang out with Zoey. The Fab Female
segment ...
Erin Brockette MFA Thesis
Erin Brockette MFA Thesis
Erin Brockette MFA Thesis
Erin Brockette MFA Thesis
Erin Brockette MFA Thesis
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Erin Brockette MFA Thesis


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February 2001: I am submitting this thesis paper for my Master of Fine Arts in Producing. In doing so, I am recounting the history of the development of Zoey’s Room, an interactive website and television series for adolescent girls.

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Erin Brockette MFA Thesis

  1. 1. 1 Erin Brockette Submission of MFA Thesis February 2001
  2. 2. 2 INTRODUCTION I am submitting this thesis paper for my Master of Fine Arts in Producing. In doing so, I am recounting the history of the development of Zoey’s Room, an interactive website and television series for adolescent girls. This is the project that I am going to defend as my graduate dissertation. I will begin by giving the history of this program. I’ll be relating the conceptual process of each step, and the trials and tribulations of the product development, which included creating artwork, animation, and web design. The paper will also delve into potential marketing strategies for Zoey’s Room, business issues I’ve had to deal with in running a company, and my own personal growth. I would not have gotten to the point I am today without the help and support of many people, most of whom I have met during my studies at Rockport College. Much is involved in being a producer. The producer encompasses a wide range of roles, from accountant to promoter, director to editor. It is helpful if the producer knows or is at least familiar with the job of every crewmember. If a crewmember is not available, the producer needs to be ready to step in or have the resources to replace them in a crunch. Producers need to know how to brainstorm an idea and carry it from script to screen. They need to be able to present and market a product, have the people skills to enlist the necessary help, and carry enough enthusiasm throughout the project to see it through. My journey to becoming a great producer of children’s educational programming is far from over. I am learning daily about new inventions and improved methods of doing my work. I hope that I will constantly be kept challenged and remain as excited about my endeavors as I am today.
  3. 3. 3 BACKGROUND The idea for Zoey’s Room developed while my business partner, Vinitha Nair, and I were working as a freelance creative producing team in Dallas, TX. We, along with fellow Art Institute colleagues, came up with our original prototype, Cybergirl. It was designed to be an educational show geared towards girls. The group disbanded but Vinitha and I continued working together on other projects. We were filming a documentary of the recipients of the Maura Awards for the Women’s Center of Dallas when we decided to refocus our efforts and revamp Cybergirl. The recipients of the Maura Awards were making positive changes in women’s history. They often spoke passionately about the suffragette movement and other strides in women’s empowerment. Many of the women had been a part of the women’s movement with Gloria Steinem and proved to us by their community involvement how an individual can make a difference. They inspired us to continue developing our concept of creating a television program that encourages girls to take advantage of today’s rapidly growing technology. At the same time, I heard from the ABC affiliate in Dallas that the networks were providing local stations additional funding if the station aired more children’s programming, especially programs that were educationally driven. With this encouraging news, we redirected our goal as creative producers to use our industry experience and influence girls’ lives through multi-media. While I was still in Dallas, Vinitha and I laid down the skeleton of what was to become Zoey’s Room. After trying to figure out how to progress the show further, we decided that we should seek guidance in pursuing this task. This project was the biggest we had undertaken. Meanwhile, my personal goals included furthering my education with a Master of Fine Arts, so I actively sought out an institution that best suited my interests. I became impressed with Rockport College and began my MFA program there by presenting Cybergirl. Attending the school and procuring appropriate mentorship, seemed the logical step in obtaining my objectives. Cybergirl has since evolved over the past two years into Zoey’s Room. Before delving into the conceptual aspects of the program, the next few paragraphs will further explore the reasons I am devoting my efforts to producing Zoey’s Room. Early in our research I saw the need for improved educational opportunities for girls. In 1991, The American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) report, How Schools Shortchange Girls, found that girls were less likely than boys to pursue more advanced courses in science and math, whether it be because of gender differences in the learning process or societal influences. Today, there have been gains in girls’ scholastic achievements but they are still lacking in some technical areas, such as computer science.1 In recent years, several organizations, such as Girl Tech, Tomorrow’s Girl, and Cyber Sisters, have been established to help girls’ progress in this area. Zoey’s Room 1 Gender Gaps: Where Schools Still Fail Our Children. (Washington, DC: AAUW Educational Foundation Research, 1998)
  4. 4. 4 wants to take this interest in advancing girls in technology and computer science one step further by producing a show dedicated to this effort. Though studies in the past have shown that girls are less likely to enter into careers in science and technology, today that trend is slowly changing.2 Current research indicates that many girls spend at least 12 hours on-line each week.3 Recent reports, however, still show that the way the Internet is currently used, applied and taught to girls needs to change as the computer industry has not yet become appealing enough to girls for them to pursue.4 There is still an immense niche to be filled. For our own research on the needs of girls today, we conducted written and on- line surveys and on-camera interviews to get a better understanding of what is important to girls today. Our website,, contains a preliminary survey to create the first focus group and to receive input from our target audience. We did not aggregate this first survey into statistics because the survey consisted of text boxes making it hard to pull information. It was primarily used to begin brainstorming ideas for content. We co-hosted film festivals called Reel Girls, Real Lives. The festival was organized by Mary Orear, founder and executive director of Mainely Girls, a non-profit organization that plans and promotes opportunities and events for girls throughout Maine. At the festivals, we conducted focus groups on what girls thought about Zoey’s Room. At the same time, we provided hands-on workshops for girls in order to help them close the gaps in technical areas. Research also included a Girls Unlimited conference at Kennebec Valley College in Fairfield, Maine. Many of the topics dealt with how girls tend to lose a sense of self during their adolescent years. This has been the outcry in recent years and is explored in books such as Reviving Ophelia by Mary Piper, Ph.D. and Delinquents and Debutantes by Sherrie A. Inness. The conference also provided information about what issues girls confront today. Future conferences, festivals and focus groups are scheduled for major cities in New York, Texas and California. The information gathered from these events, and the Zoey’s Room website, confirmed that girls would welcome a forum in which they could relate and participate. Our own studies also indicated that girls had an interest in technology but that they also wanted to learn more about personal issues. Girls are now dealing with problems that did not exist even a few years ago. Peer pressure has never been more 2 Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age (American Association of University Women, 2000) 3 Eric V. Copage. “Web Sites Clamor for Teenagers' Attention.” New York Times. April 13, 2000 4 Pamela Haagg. “Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age”. (Washington DC: AAUW Educational Foundation Research, 2000)
  5. 5. 5 demanding.5 They face issues about sex and their bodies at an increasingly younger age, and are receiving conflicting, if not incorrect information.6 Even in today’s television the need is strong for positive role models for adolescent girls.7 Author Lyn Mikel Brown’s work-in-progress research shows that today’s programming continues to depict demoralizing female characters. What girls are learning is to compete with each other, find ways to fit in with boys, and play their game.8 Our program aims to steer away from such negative reinforcement, and instead have girls bond and learn from each other. Zoey’s Room is the platform for getting girls to be less critical of the computer age, encourage their increasing fascination with information technology, and provide a safe forum for them to discuss their challenges. 5 Connie L Matsui,. et al. Girls Speak Out: Teens Before Their Time. Girl Scouts of United States of America. (New York: First Impression 2000, 2000) 6 Ibid. 7 Lyn Mikel Brown. “The Girlfighting Project: Power Dynamics Among Girls”. Unpublished manuscript. 8 Ibid.
  6. 6. 6 CONCEPT Zoey’s Room is a thirty-minute weekly, magazine-style television series for girls between the ages of eleven and fifteen. It takes educational programming a step higher and makes its audience an active participant in the program’s content, not just a passive viewer. This is accomplished by combining two educational mediums - television and the Internet. When the television show ends, the website picks up with daily uploads throughout the week, allowing girls to delve deeper into topics. The program is also unique in that it features a virtual room where real girls interact with a 3D animated character, Zoey. Zoey is as curious about our world as the real girls are about her high- tech one, where they can travel with her on the information superhighway. Program segments include personality profiles, science and technology stories, self-awareness issues, games and challenges. It combines live action with 2D and 3D animation, computer graphics, and special effects. Zoey’s Room will build on the adolescent’s natural sense of self-exploration, but will explore with the girls the idea that there is more to life than looks, sex, and fashion. The program is on the leading edge of production technologies. The content and format are designed to be entertaining and provocative, while also being inspirational and educational. The energy and relevance of the show comes from the fact that it listens to what girls have to say, and helps girls to learn from each other. Zoey brings girls together in a world where they can discuss what excites them, frustrates them, and challenges them. The excitement generated from girls is in having a place to call their own, communicating with their peers around the world, and being a part of new technology. Zoey’s Room is rooted in the belief that girls can do anything, and do it well. The project initially started as a website that would contain a weekly webcast series, or “webisode”. Unfortunately, with the uncertainty of broadband technology and whether it is becoming more accessible9 , we have geared our efforts into producing a television show that will create and establish the brand of Zoey’s Room. The website enhances and supports the television show, as it is the main source of interaction from our viewing audience and where we will be obtaining most of our input. The television series will allow us to reach a wider audience and not exclude those that might not have Internet access. The website and series, therefore, become interdependent upon each other. 9 “Broadband’s Believers.” Internet World. 1 Oct 1999: 56-68.
  7. 7. 7 CHARACTERS ZOEY The main character is Zoey, an animated pre-teen cyberian. She looks like the average young girl; her features combine the diverse ethnic backgrounds of the girls who visit her. Her hair is always in an up-do and the ends emit an electric glow whenever she talks. Her clothing has a funky look with futuristic accessories. Zoey is savvy, quirky and inquisitive. She questions everything that happens around her. She is very outgoing and loves to share information. She emulates the girls who visit her, and she tries to assimilate their lingo into her own. But because she is immersed in many languages, she always mixes words to create her own form of slang and odd cliches, referred to as “zoeyisms.” She also incorporates Internet acronyms, like LOL (laugh out loud), into her speech. She has her own slew of cyberian friends, but she is always eager to find out what real girls think, what their interests are, where they go, and what makes them happy or sad. She seeks to understand the emotions and motivations of her real friends, providing real girls the opportunity to show and discuss their own feelings and decision- making processes. Zoey will also be the "electronic encyclopedia" of the show, similar to a Net search engine. She will supply the girls with factual information, insider-info and statistics relevant to the subjects being discussed, with resources pulled from the Internet. Zoey also appears during field segments and teasers in a pop-up format with her one-liner zoeyisms, interesting factoids, and links to other web sites that are relevant to a particular segment. PIXEL Pixel is a cute and cuddly animated animal character. She is Zoey’s Internet companion. While Zoey likes to stay in her domain, Pixel is a scavenger of the virtual world and pops up unexpectedly from time to time. She gathers "bytes" of information and delivers them to Zoey when someone inquires about a topic. Pertinent Website URLs spray from her pixie dust tail to capture the attention of the girls and Zoey on her scavenger finds. MOODY Moody is an animated chair. It is unique in that it changes colors and shapes to match the mood of whoever is sitting in it. It is Zoey's favorite place to sit in her room when girls come to hang out. Zoey calls it "Moody" because it seems to have a mood of its own. What Zoey doesn’t realize is that her Moody chair is actually a reflection of her own moods. THE CYPHIBIANS Prominent in Zoey’s Room is what looks like an elongated aquarium with mist rising through it straight up to the ceiling. This elongated aquarium, or cyberpool, is a place for some of Zoey’s cyber-friends to come visit. These friends are called the Cyphibians. The Cyphibians are a race of individuals who exist in cyberspace. The Cyphibians that come to visit Zoey are usually male because they, too, are curious to
  8. 8. 8 learn what girls from this world are about. In essence their voices are those of real adolescent boys. During each episode, they swim down into the cyberpool and announce “You’ve got male!” to share the male point of view on any given topic. This may help to expand our audience and give boys a share in the programming. 1) Chuck Chuck is a nosy brat but loyal to his Cyphibian buddies. He doesn’t understand girls very well. He is loud and brash. He’ll make comments about girls without thinking about what he is saying. But, if something is explained to him that he is not knowledgeable about, he comes around to understanding a little bit more. Chuck is the jock of the group. He is the fastest swimmer, loves playing water games and has a competitive nature. His Cyphibian body is similar to a shark. It is iridescent in color like the backside of a CD. His scales and gills take the shapes of different emoticons like  or :-P 2) Thaddeus Thaddeus is Chuck’s best friend, however he refers to Chuck as Charles. He is Zoey’s best male pal and she can always count on him for support. He is the one she turns to for personal matters when it comes to male-female relations. He has deep respect for the girls in Zoey’s Room. He has manners and is always kind. He has a huge heart and always seems the most cheerful in the group. His body is similar to an octopus. He has dark skin and is heavy-set in stature. His tentacles are wire-shaped and the suckers are in the shapes of Internet phone jacks. 3) Phillipe and Paul Philippe and Paul are a humorous team. They go everywhere together but, just like Oscar and Felix of The Odd Couple, they often quibble with each other. They are the girls’ favorite Cyphibians, probably because they have many feminine traits. They become complete chatterboxes when hanging out with the girls. These two Cyphibians resemble a couple of seahorses. Philippe is very flamboyant, even flashy in his appearance. He always corrects people if they pronounce his name Philip and quickly retorts with “It is Philippe!” He is very sassy and tells it like it is. He often puts his foot in his mouth but really doesn’t care if he does. Philippe loves egging on the other Cyphibians into conversation, especially when it comes to what the girls are talking about. Paul is more reserved of the two. He is very witty when he speaks. He has a dry sense of humor and is often embarrassed by Philippe’s boisterousness. Paul is clean-cut and pristine in appearance. He believes the outside is what counts and is very aware of everyone’s appearance in the hopes that his is always top-notch. He knows the latest trends and makes sure he’s in the thick of it. 4) Xi Xi is the rebel of the group. He looks like the cool, elusive dangerous type, but when you get to know him, you discover he’s a sensitive romantic with the biggest heart. Xi has a unique sense of style. He doesn’t talk much but when he does, he usually says something
  9. 9. 9 very profound. He is literate and often quotes poetry. His look is similar to an eel. His body emits an electrical charge when he moves around. He always wears a hat. 5) The clams Juan, Omar, Milton and Ling are a group of computer clams. They are computer nerds and are always trying to out-smart the girls. They usually try to do that because they are scared of them. They constantly chatter amongst themselves and are often talking in lingo above everyone’s heads. It is very hard to shut them up when they start up on a technical tangent. The easiest way to keep them quiet is to throw their jargon back at them and that is what the girls in Zoey’s Room usually do. This often stumps them when they realize the girls already know what they are talking about. Their shape is similar to a clam but their shells resemble more a colorful iBookTM notebook computer. Their shells are often open and they have a 3D-hologram face. Their faces contort and create shapes of what they are thinking as you hear them ramble on and on. Each one is a little different in shape and color. THE ROLE OF “REAL” GIRLS Zoey will interact with a group of three real girls, the hosts of the program. Though the hosts are obtained through auditions and in-depth interviews, it will appear as though they met Zoey while chatting on the Net. All of the young women selected will be chosen as hosts because their individuality and personalities will be most appealing to viewers. The girls will be on the set - Zoey’s virtual room - and on location covering various stories of the series. They will serve as field reporters to explore events in their geographical areas and report their discoveries to Zoey. Each season, some of the hosts will change, allowing new girls with their own dispositions and interests to share their viewpoints with others. A symbiotic relationship will develop among the girls and Zoey as they draw information from each other. The girls are as curious about Zoey’s world, the Internet, as Zoey is about theirs. The hosts will have a behind-the-scenes role in the program, as they will be the producer’s direct contact to their peers. Each host will be actively involved in the segments she is in by assisting with content. They will also participate in the weekly on-line chats to answer questions or simply talk with viewers. The girls chosen as hosts will represent the geographic locations, ethnic backgrounds, ages, and personalities of the target audience. In the first season, they will all be from the US, although with multi-faceted backgrounds. They will be thoughtful, outspoken, and passionate, attempting to scope-out their own feelings and beliefs, as well as their place in their peer group and society. From the beginning, we have always wanted reality mixed with fiction. We wanted to create an animated character; but since we were dealing with girls’ personal issues, we wanted to show our audience real girls who were dealing with the same issues
  10. 10. 10 as they. If our audience couldn’t relate to a cyberian girl, they would at least relate to real girls. Girls at home, called E-Pals, get involved in the program by online interaction with Zoey, the hosts, and other girls through chat rooms and message boards via the co- existing website, Though some may question why we would classify them as “characters”, they are an integral part of the show. E-Pals help in shaping the programming content. Also, their artwork, views, opinions, etc. may get some airtime in the form of bumpers and teasers between segments. FORMAT TELEVISION Our original concept from the days of Cybergirl was that the program’s content would focus on a theme, such as “Space”; and from this theme, many topics could be explored. The first treatment we wrote was based on the theme “Space” and introduced Sally Ride, the first American woman astronaut, Space exploration camps, and Alexandra Nikita, the teen artist the media hailed as the next Picasso. While an MFA student, that theme turned into using a tangible noun as a recurring motif. The word had to be something a girl could pick up, touch or feel. Not only did the theme become a word, but also developed into a play on words. One word has multiple meanings that create word associations. We also thought it would be fun for the girls to guess the theme for each week’s episode. We then took the one tangible word and organized our treatments a little more. At this point, we knew we wanted to make the Internet a positive resource for girls — and who better to provide it then Zoey herself, since it was her world they were visiting. Zoey would provide websites to go with each segment in order to give girls multiple doors to find more information on a certain subject. We also made sure there was a common thread through the entire episode and that thread was the word association. The second treatment we attempted used the word “rock” as its theme. (Refer to APPENDIX A.) Our original idea for content had recurring segments, a news segment that had separate sections such as “Cybergirl around the world,” “Netorious”, “Sports” and “What did you say?” and other segments on art, science and technology. For a magazine style show, though, we still felt Zoey’s Room was lacking character. We wanted to pump up each segment and we also wanted to make each segment “green”, meaning we would be able to use them more than once.
  11. 11. 11 We re-defined the segments to the following: Fab Female The Fab Female personality segment highlights progressive women in society and presents role models for young girls. They may be girls like themselves who have done something challenging; teen-agers and women who are beginning to find their way in life; or mature women who have created an extraordinary presence for themselves, or whose expertise and passion for some element of their life makes them absolutely fascinating. The Ladies Lounge This segment allows a girl to connect with other females on personal matters. The name references the one place exclusive to girls where they discuss hot topics or just gossip: the girl’s bathroom. Subjects that spring up at this developmental stage in their lives will be discussed in a straight forward way so girls realize that it’s better to talk with other girls about their problems than keep it all inside. The Ladies Lounge is a visual chat room where girls who have problems they need addressed can turn to others their age, in addition to qualified experts who can provide the girls with factual information. This segment is important to help girls recognize that the changes occurring in their lives aren’t as devastating as they seem at the moment, that they’re not alone in facing these difficult issues, and that supportive guidance is available. Gals Around the Globe Part of the magic of the Internet is that it connects people globally. Gals Around the Globe helps girls see how accessible information about the world is. Here, girls from different parts of the world talk about a topic in relation to their own country, culture, and/or religion. In this segment, the hosts turn into animated characters as they get pulled further into the world of the web. Do You Dare? The interactive Do You Dare? segment challenges girls to use the Internet as a resource tool. Zoey motivates the audience to participate in the challenge and asks them to respond to her during the week. This challenge will reflect the current or upcoming show. It is an exercise that requires girls to interact with others in a positive manner. We took these more defined segments and developed another treatment using the word, “body.” (Refer to APPENDIX B.) A strong factor in creating content was to keep our audience interested. We realized that magazine style shows do not keep their audience glued to their seats. Creating an underlying sub-plot for each episode would help make girls watching feel more in tune with what the hosts were talking about and want to explore the topic further. Since the Ladies Lounge segment would tend to be the most emotional, we’d have the subject discussed in that segment be the thread for the rest of the program. In doing so, we created a third treatment, this time using the word “match”. (Refer to APPENDIX C.)
  12. 12. 12 THE WEBSITE The website contains streaming audio and video, downloadable games and challenges, a message board, an on-line chat room for girls to talk with each other, Zoey and professionals. It has background information on Zoey and the hosts, history on the creation of the program and website and an e-mail address for any confidential questions some girls may have, which will be answered by professionals. The site will contain segment clips from the television episodes. There will also be an area dedicated to video clips, poems, stories, and artwork sent in from the viewers. Later, an e-commerce page will be established for sale of Zoey paraphernalia. The website contains a separate page for each of the main program segments. We will highlight each segment but provide more information than what was seen on the television show, including important links and phone numbers that may have been missed during airtime. Girls can also discuss the show using the message boards and chat lines. We are hoping to get a Monday time slot for the television episode to air and then stagger a segment each following day. A preferred programming schedule would be as such: Day Description Monday The television show airs Tuesday The new Ladies Lounge segment will be uploaded and explored further on the website, as it will be the most controversial and heated. Girls at home can give us their feedback on what just aired. Wednesday Gals Around the Globe will be uploaded. It will go into detail about the country or area that was discussed in the episode. Thursday Fab Female will be uploaded. The Fab Female for the week will host an on-line chat so girls will have a chance to ask her questions. Friday Do You Dare? entries will showcase here. This will give girls the whole week to respond to this segment. Other sections on the site that contain interactivity are: 1) Chat line. This will be an instantaneous chat line that will be hosted by an adult. 2) Message Board. This is where the girls can post concerns regarding the show or voice an opinion on a topic. 3) U B the Judge. We will have monthly polls on the latest interests in popular culture. Girls will get the opportunity to voice their opinion on their favorite and least favorite website, television show, CD, movie, or book. One girl will be the critic or judge for the month and then other girls can voice their opinion on the judge’s choices. The replies can be positive or negative but remains a forum for girls to freely express themselves. 4) GAL’ry. This is an art section where girls can showcase their talents. Separate sections will be devoted to music, stories and poetry, video clips, photography, and artwork.
  13. 13. 13 Our website will also have a weekly research survey – Zoey’s Z-Zurvey - about the girls’ activities, preferences, and product assessments. The Zoey’s Z-Zurvey page will offer girls the opportunity to give their opinions on the products they use or do not use, and all the important issues they face in the world. Our original survey was not designed to compile into a database format, as they were questions that girls could answer randomly. The new survey that will be uploaded to the site will contain more multiple choice and yes/no questions. This way their answers can be aggregated more effectively. Great care will be taken to ensure that every survey states precisely how the collected information will be used. The information will be aggregated and marketers will not be permitted to track or contact any of the girls who take the surveys. The chat room will be an important and integral part of Zoey’s Room. It is where girls can communicate with Zoey and the hosts, with each other, and with professionals who are experts in the areas discussed on the site and on the television programs. It will offer local hot line assistance to girls in all the major markets, and eventually to girls all across the US and worldwide. Each user who wants to log into the chat line will have to create a traceable profile to ensure safety for communication within the chat rooms. Access will be denied to those who are not registered nor recognized. One way to accomplish this will be to request the girl user to have a guardian grant their permission via e-Mail. Eventually, the website will run webcasts and intends to be a fully interactive web broadcast program as advances in broadband technology is making programs like this more accessible.
  14. 14. 14 PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT HISTORY OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN THE MEDIA In creating a television series based on a strong female lead, I was prompted to review a history of women and girls portrayals in the media. This investigation confirmed for me the need for more positive representation of girls. Most genres of television programming in the 1950s were very masculine and had no regular female characters. Situation comedy was the only genre that was hospitable to female characters because it focused on the family and women were mainly seen as wives, mothers, and daughters. For example, in Father Knows Best, although father Jim Anderson is the moral center of the show, his intelligent wife Margaret and ambitious daughter, Betty, are confronted with issues in more than one episode on the choice between wife and mother or career. There were a few independent female characters in the 1950s, however they were usually portrayed as wives, who continually acted against their husband's wishes, such as I Love Lucy and My Favorite Husband. If there was a single working women character, such as in Private Secretary, the character was seen as irrational compared to the other supporting characters. Many of the programs during this time were fraught with gender tensions. In the 1960s, a mother’s nurturing role in a family continued to play a big part in female leads such as in Leave it to Beaver. However, restlessness with domesticity reared its head with female characters using magic to leave their roles, as in Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. During the women’s movement in the 1970s, Mary Richards of The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a refreshing relief from the frustrated women in sitcoms of the 1950s and 1960s, however she was subservient to her boss, Mr. Grant. Maude and One Day at a Time worked against earlier portrayals of wives and mothers. These women were married more than once, raised their children on their own, and stood up for their rights and beliefs. Sitcoms of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Kate and Allie, Designing Women, Golden Girls, Roseanne, Murphy Brown, and Grace Under Fire continue the trend of the 1970s in representing working women. An ensemble of girl characters also started appearing at this time on the networks, such as, Facts of Life, Punky Brewster and Blossom. These programs began to show girls as lead characters. However, it was My So Called Life and Clarissa Explains It All that began to portray lead girl characters in a more realistic manner. Current network programming presents a greater variety of women than in previous decades due to changes in gender roles in society since the women's movement. This is because the "new woman" is recognized as a consuming audience member and networks feel a responsibility to break down cultural stereotypes. Today, women on TV have landed the best pay, the best promotion, and the best punchline. But something crucial is missing: reality. For the most part, female characters hardly ever tackle the real-life situations that cause working women the most grief: child care problems, job discrimination, sexual harassment or ... just plain being broke. "They are far removed
  15. 15. 15 from the world of reality," says professor, Aletha Huston, director of the Center for Research on the Influence of Television on Children.10 Children Now's recent national poll found that most girls feel there are enough role models for them on prime time TV.11 And when it comes to young girls on TV, they're right. There are roughly the same number of boy and girl characters on TV- and for the most part, no significant differences in the way they are portrayed in terms of their motivations and behaviors, although girls are more likely to show affection and boys are more likely to be aggressive. However, with TV shows designed specifically for kids, only 23 percent of the characters - and even fewer of the major characters - are female. "In cartoonland, all the girls are sidekicks and there's no doubt who's in charge," says ABC news anchor Carole Simpson. And they're stereotyped, too: the lone Smurfette is blond and all too caring and a female Power Ranger is, of course, dressed in pink. "The girls on these shows are a quick fix, almost an afterthought," says Katharine Heintz-Knowles, assistant professor of communications at the University of Washington and author of a pioneering study on the subject.12 "The issue of a girl being empowered is a wonderful theme you just don't see in American animation," ventures Andy Heyward, president of DIC entertainment, who brought the Japanese cartoon series, Sailor Moon to American TV last year.13 Some Hollywood execs recognize that female cartoon characters are an endangered species but most execs argue that girls will watch shows designed for boys, but the reverse isn’t true. Though it appears, girls may watch male dominated shows, research still shows that as they grow older, they're less satisfied with the experience. In the recent Children Now poll, teen girls were much less satisfied than most kids with the role models they see on TV. The result? They tune out -- with teen girls watching half as much TV as other kids. Partly it's the heavy barrage of sex -- 14,000 sexual references versus 150 of abstinence -- on soap operas, prime time shows, commercials, and even MTV videos -- that turns them off. Those who keep watching are strongly influenced -- often by stereotypical images of uniformly beautiful, obsessively thin, and scantily dressed objects of male desire. And studies show that girls who are frequent viewers have the most negative opinion of their gender.14 10 Shawn Doherty and Nadine Joseph. From Sidekick to Superwoman: TV's Feminine Mystique. 1995. 11 Children Now. Reflections of Girls in the Media: A Two-Part Study on Gender and Media. 2000. 12 Shawn Doherty and Nadine Joseph 13 ibid. 14 Allison Alexander. The Museum of Broadcast Communications. Children and Television.
  16. 16. 16 In other studies I’ve found, even preschool girls suffer from TV's sex stereotyping. Action-packed shows geared to younger kids have the fewest girl characters -- one out of four -- with girls less aggressive and combative than boys, unless they're evil witches. And these shows can erode girls' self-confidence. One study of 3 to 10 year olds found that those who watched the most TV were most likely to want to be housewives and nurses. In another study, three to six year olds agreed that men have more ambition and that women are happier raising kids. Yet, on the rare occasion when TV has been used to break down sex stereotypes, it's been successful. After watching a PBS series called Freestyle that showed girls and boys in non-traditional roles, kids were more accepting of boys as helpers, girls as leaders, and girls doing mechanical tasks. But such shows remain rare experiments. The new and few female characters on Saturday morning have had little impact, so far. In a recent survey, school age girls had a hard time coming up with more than three female heroines. Marilyn Monroe, who's been dead for 30 years, Wonder Woman "because of the sparkles on her dress," and Julia "but-I-could-never-look-like-her" Roberts. So while progress is being made, too often, as Professor Heintz-Knowles points out, "the message coming from the screen is that girls are not valued in our culture."15 In creating Zoey, I was indeed influenced by previous female characters who were multi-faceted and dynamic. Women who were strong and intelligent, but also vulnerable. There are many characteristics in these women that I found admirable. For a character being developed for the next millennium, I wanted these attributes reflected in a younger female character. One who was savvy, inquisitive, and would express her own opinions, rather than shut down. VISUAL REPRESENTATION As a huge part of developing a television program with an interactive website, I knew I would need extensive artwork for visual support. Not only would this help for potential sponsors or networks to see our vision, but it would also let us know what was feasible and what would need to wait until technology caught up. The following section explains the tribulations of creating our vision. THE ROOM Zoey’s bedroom is as important as Zoey herself as it will be the virtual set for the television program as well as the layout for the website. The room encompasses all of Zoey’s unique qualities. Since she is the female symbol of the new millennium, her room reflects femininity and strength. It is cozy, yet modern. In keeping with the program’s connection to the Internet, the term “room” is also synonymous with “domain”. For young girls, this term may also help make the association of the “private-ness” of her room to the “public-ness” of the Internet. Every element of the room has been carefully chosen, down to the shape of her room. 15 Shawn Doherty and Nadine Joseph
  17. 17. 17 From the start, I knew I never wanted a square room. I wanted something unique, a different shape. At the time I started developing the layout of the room, I was living in Rockland, Maine, and noticed that I loved brainstorming in my living room. It was a big spacious room with a bay window and none of the walls were the same. I also knew from growing up that there were two things I always wanted in my bedroom and never had. The first was a bay window as one of my parent’s friends had a bay window that my sister and I would always curl up on and read. We thought we were so suave when we sat there all cozy. The other element I always wanted in my room was a fish tank, but I didn’t want a plain square fish tank. I wanted a fish tank like the Barbie H2O tubes at FAO Schwartz. For Zoey’s fish tank, I didn’t want just fish in the tank but funky cyber creatures for Zoey to communicate with. We chose an octagonal shape for Zoey’s Room. This shape is used for a stop sign, which to me symbolized the place we would like girls to stop and stay while surfing the net…Zoey’s Room. In order to complete a sense of equilibrium, I have studied the Chinese philosophy of Feng-Shui, which provides balance to one’s home environment. The room has been arranged in a way that allows chi to energize and flow freely through it because there are no hard edges in the octagonal shape.16 The colors and shapes of the room also play an important role in creating the elements. We didn’t want too girly of a color so red or pink were definitely out. We wanted a color that was girly but technical. Based on the 1998 Duncan Color Guide, teens tended to like extreme colors that are very bright or very pale, especially in the violet hues.17 Purple seemed the perfect choice. Though the underlying colors of Zoey’s Room are shades of purple, we accent the room with orange and green. The color purple increases self-respect. It helps one connect with feelings of dignity and beauty. Orange is the color of joy and green is the color to cleanse and balance.18 Many elements have a cylindrical, circular or spiral shape to them. There are no square edges in Zoey’s Room. I believe symbols subconsciously tell a lot about a person’s character. My studies of symbols discovered that the circle indicates a desire to be independent and self-sufficient and the spiral shows that the process of growth is most important. The spiral states that you want to handle situations differently than the way you have in the past and you want to implement changes in your life.19 16 Richard Craze. Practical Feng Shui: The Chinese Art of Living In Harmony With Your Surroundings. (New York: Lorenz Books, 1997) 17 Lyn Rose. “The Personality of Color.” Online Posting. 1999. <> 18 Lee Rodwell and Andrea Kon. Natural Pregnancy: A Complete Guide to a Gentle Natural Pregnancy and A Happy Healthy Baby. (London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1997) 19 , David Fontana. The Secret Language of Symbols: A Visual Key to Symbols and Their Meanings. (New York: Chronicle Books, 1994)
  18. 18. 18 OTHER ELEMENTS IN THE ROOM Z-Zine We originally had the bulletin board and the world map as two separate elements. Then they were combined into one element, the Z-Zine. The Z-Zine is more technical and visually appealing and girls could interact with it in the room. The Z-Zine is a 3D hologram, spheroid collage of images, shapes and lights. When Zoey begins to think and talk about an e-friend, a photograph of her can appear within the 3D collage. When one of the hosts returns from an adventure, objects and posters will flash up on the Z-Zine because Zoey is thinking about them. The hosts are always drawn to the Z-Zine when they enter Zoey’s Room because it is constantly changing, just like Zoey's world. Often the image that appears is that of a globe as it is where Zoey takes the girls during a Gals Around the Globe segment, letting them know that the world is at their fingertips. Bay window Originally, we had a bay window filling two of the 8 walls in Zoey’s Room. Eventually, I realized one was enough. This window provides Zoey’s view to the outside world, where she observes the hosts and other girls pursuing various activities. It will also be an area to key montages and multi-layered effects revolving around stories the hosts discuss with Zoey inside her room. When keyed montages and multi-layered effects are not taking place in the bay window, the scenery changes to different views from around the world. Tech wall I always wanted Zoey to have a hobby. Collecting old film cameras was my way of trying to get girls interested in picking up their own cameras. I thought collecting old cameras was technical enough, but the more it was discussed the more it didn’t make sense for a Cybergirl to be collecting something old. Though I would like girls to understand the necessity of keeping tradition, Zoey’s Room is a way for girls to move into the new millennium so the cameras went and was replaced with the Tech Wall. I thought all the latest news groups could be part of the Z-Zine. The idea for the Tech Wall came gradually. Recently while walking around the streets of NYC, I found what was missing in the room. I was in Rockefeller Center by the NBC studio when I saw their logo. In a window in silver block huge letters was NBC. This sparked my idea for the tech wall. The ZR necklace Zoey wears is a silver metal so why not make a big silver ZR on the wall with the black keyhole behind it and within the silver ZR have odd shaped monitors (like broken glass between the silver metal)? The Tech Wall now is a huge ZR logo that covers the expanse of the wall. The letters, Z and R, have video monitors in between its silver metal shape. These monitors project a slide-show of images and could display the latest news in technology. Behind it is the black keyhole that is a magical tech passageway. Girls can reach into the blackness of the keyhole and pull out many technical items; such as the Z-Cam or e-diaries that could actually be a tangible object they could pick up, touch and explore. The hosts take the Z-Cam with them into their world to cover stories, as it is the eye for Zoey when they
  19. 19. 19 are on location. The e-diaries are electronic journals for girls to write down their thoughts. The Tech Wall can also connect to the chat lines while Zoey and the hosts hang out in the room. W3 In the beginning, Zoey had a computer on her desk. Her computer was one way for Zoey to interact with girls. The girls log on to the website, get morphed into their computers and enter the virtual world. We knew Zoey was part of the Internet but we knew she didn’t represent the Internet. Her room was only one URL of many. We wanted to create a visual element that would represent the Internet. This would also be a great place for positive product placement and we originally called this element of Zoey’s Room, “G” (short for G3, a Macintosh product). Then we realized it didn’t make sense for Zoey to have a computer when she already lived inside the computer realm. The idea was too real and not quite right for a room existing in cyberspace. We then thought of just a screen that could sit beside her and slide up from a table when Zoey was talking to it, similar to the holograph deck in Star Trek. This deck could transport her and the girls to different areas on the net. But, it resembled the television show, “Out of this World” too much to be original. We started considering the structure of the Internet and the intricate web of connected URLs that made us realize Zoey should be plugged in to the rest of her world, the Internet. We created a preliminary 3D modeling of the room at this time. With Wolf Zoettl, my Director of Photography, I realized there was no natural light source in the preliminary models. There was no ceiling; it was a black hole. The ceiling became the plug and the light source Wolf was looking for. Since it was a representation of the World Wide Web we decided to just name it a quirky version of that, hence the name W3 . W3 is a translucent concave ceiling with information, such as numbers, letters, icons, and folders flying by in all different directions at warp speed. All of the elements in Zoey’s Room are plugged into W3 . For example, the four posters of Zoey’s canopy bed are cylindrical piping with lights flashing upward into W3 . W3 is also the hosts’ entrance into and out of Zoey’s room as they get pulled into her room from their computers via the Internet. Zoey is connected mentally to W3 . When she is searching for information on W3 , the tips of her hair glow and pulse. Zoey and her room exist because W3 exists. The logo For promotional purposes, we felt having a logo to symbolize the entire project would help. I looked at many different logos from product logos to television icons and realized the ones people remembered the most were very simple in design. Zoey’s Room always brought to mind the room that would be the hangout for girls. I thought back on my childhood and tried thinking of symbols in a room for a pre-teen. The door always came to mind especially signs we put on our doors as a teenager, like Keep-Out! or Please Knock! We drew one logo after the next with a door but they were too big and not simple enough. I then thought of symbols that could represent the words we placed on the door as a teen and the keyhole came to mind. The keyhole on the ZR logo symbolizes “secrets, privacy, a sacred haven”. I art directed an artist I met in Dallas, Brandon Adams, in creating the current Zoey’s Room logo of the connected purple ZR
  20. 20. 20 lettering over a black keyhole. We’ve created a necklace using the same ZR lettering that Zoey always wears. ANIMATION After developing all the characters, we had to decide on the style of animation for each character — and learn the elements for creating the character in full detail. With our first artist, we spent a solid month on Zoey’s face. Over 50 face drawings were created. Vinitha and I wanted Zoey to be the global melting pot girl. Vinitha is Indian and is a first generation American in her family. We wanted to combine my Irish face with Vinitha’s Indian face, into a distinct character. We also wanted her wearing my glasses and my favorite necklace, which would become Zoey’s defining characteristics. Not only did Zoey’s looks make a difference, but her style and body type also mattered. We did not want Zoey to be a waif of a girl, nor did we want her to have unrealistic dimensions like Barbie. We initially drew Zoey as a 2D character; however, keeping her 2D made her feel more like a flat character and unrealistic. Zoey interacts with real girls in her virtual room. We wanted our viewing audience and the hosts of the show to feel as if Zoey was as real as they were. The first artist to create Zoey visually was Katt Montgomery. Katt was just out of art school, and had the enthusiasm for the project necessary for the type of commitment we needed. We also liked her girlish flair in art style. We had previous experience with Katt in that she designed Virtual Viki for Cybergirl. Katt was a storyboard artist, not an animator. So when we started talking about building a website, she became overwhelmed. About the time when we were deciding on Zoey’s appearance, Star Wars Episode 1, The Phantom Menace, was released in theaters. After seeing one of the animated characters, we felt that we found exactly the type of animation we wanted for Zoey. The character, Jar-Jar Binks, was created using 3D-motion capture technology. We watched Jar-Jar interact with real humans. He looked as much a part of the set as the real actors. It set us in motion to make Zoey into a 3D character. We liked the idea of her being more real, at least real looking, so girls could relate to her better. I investigated motion capture technology for Zoey. It is a very expensive process. The prices run into $10,000/minute. In this complex capture system, an actor wears a sensored body suit and moves the way you want the character to move. The sensors are the key frames for the movement of the 3D character. Rob Draper told me about this new type of animation software, Typhoon. This Israeli-based company called Dream Team, Ltd. who had presented their new motion-capture animation software called Typhoon at a recent NAB2000 tradeshow. This software was along the lines of what we wanted and
  21. 21. 21 not quite as expensive. However, with our limited funds at the time, I could not explore this technology further. We still hadn’t given up on other forms of 3D imaging and investigated less expensive means of doing so. We looked into several 3D software programs with the help of colleagues who had expertise in this area. We tried Hash, 3D Strata Pro and 3D Studio Max. Eric Leidenroth was my next artist. This time we looked for an artist who had 3D experience. Eric had been out of school longer than Katt and Brandon and had more work experience. He agreed to do the project on spec because he wanted to improve his skills in character animation. I worked with Eric on re-creating our 2D Zoey into 3D. For Zoey to look as realistic as possible, we had to have many key frame points within Zoey’s face. In our conversion process, we discovered some hurdles. The biggest problem was her hair. We found hair to be next to impossible to create in 3D without buying expensive hair plug-ins or writing your own scripting language. To solve this problem, we spent days scanning photos of Vinitha’s and my hair. Unfortunately, in the end, it looked like Zoey was wearing a hard helmet on her head. This look did not fare very well with our focus groups. Because Eric was still improving his characterization 3D work, the models were only preliminaries of what Zoey could be. Unfortunately, Eric transferred out of state for further job opportunities and it became very hard to art direct a graphic designer long distance. Prior to leaving, Eric had began initial work on the virtual room but had discontinued the process when Vinitha found a 3D animator, Ron Tanferno, in Dallas who offered to help out. The second stab at building the room in 3D was exciting but it still needed more work. Since animation was half of our project and we didn’t have the necessary resources to complete this project ourselves, we decided we needed to collaborate with an animation company or production house in order to get it done right. While it is easy finding people in Maine to help out with production, it is near to impossible to find an animation company in Maine. Sputnik Interactive is the only 3D- animation house in Maine and James LaPlant, the owner, is kept extremely busy with projects. I met with him to introduce Zoey’s Room asking if he would like to create a partnership. He liked the idea but declined due to the fact that he was on his way to the LA Animation Festival in hopes of getting a distributor interested in one of his own projects. I began researching the major markets, Los Angeles, New York and Boston, for potential animation houses that actively seek creative content. I made cold calls requesting to speak to the creative directors or directors of sales and marketing. For making cold calls, I was surprised at the amount of positive and interested people I spoke with about Zoey’s Room. If I got a positive response, I faxed over the synopsis. If there was more interest after the director read the synopsis, I Fed-Ex’d the entire proposal with a non-disclosure agreement for their review. Out of about 25 companies I talked to, I ended up with 5 meetings set up in New York: Unbound Studios, Natural Nylon, Zero Degrees Kelvin, Click 3X, and Atlantic Motion.
  22. 22. 22 My predictions for the meetings were that either Unbound Studios or Natural Nylon were our best leads. My contact at Unbound Studios seemed the most interested as we had been talking back and forth over the phone for a solid two months. Natural Nylon was my second best reaction because they spoke about having recently received some funding and were actively seeking creative content. These encounters proved to be a learning experience. In the end, Zero Degrees Kelvin was the most disappointing. The director claimed to be the owner of an animation company but, in fact, he wanted us to hire him as our creative director and he would find freelancers to do the animation. I don’t think he had a good grasp on the amount of work it was going to need. The meeting with Unbound Studios fell through, I made some secondary attempts to meet and then finally let it go. Natural Nylon’s meeting was bizarre. We went into the meeting expecting to have them pitch to us, but they reversed the roles on us and we felt we were in the hot seat. Then they proceeded to rip our concept apart. They loved our content and all our different segment ideas but they were more interested in the website and wanted to create just the visual chat rooms on the Internet. They also didn’t think the project needed an animated character, especially Zoey. Naturally, we didn’t feel they were a good fit. Our meeting with Click 3X ended up being the most fruitful. We met with their executive producer, Stephen Kinney. Stephen believed he could sell the idea of Click 3X working on Zoey’s Room to his boss. He asked questions concerning the project as a whole and our projection of the future with it. He gave us a tour of the facilities and we looked at their demo reels. When we arrived home, he had called us saying he had taken the initiative to contact the creative director of Sesame Workshops, who became interested in having Zoey’s Room pitched to him. Stephen believed this would help him get the management to agree to take the initial animation on spec and create a partnership with Zoey’s Room as a whole. Click 3X’s decision to partner with us will be dependent on the outcome of our pitch to Sesame Workshops. We have also started seeing 3D characters; at least talking heads appearing on the web. One that caught my eye was a character named Ananova. Ananova was a green- haired female webcaster created by Digital Animations Group and was introduced in April to broadcast live international news over the Internet. 20 Her look was realistic enough and not too cartoon-ish. She is what some view as the genesis in online virtual character animation.21 I also investigated the CD-Rom and gaming industry, as they appeared to have a handle on 3D graphics. I found several that were the look that we wanted Zoey to have, like Squaresoft’s Ehrgeiz and Eruptor’s Vagrant Story. Both are games for Sony’s Playstation. For the purposes of our presentation we have hired two storyboard artists to work on laying out the necessary graphics on paper. The artists are Steve Taylor and Helen Fisher. These artists will finish all the preliminary artwork for an animation house, including creating model sheets of each of our characters, different views of the virtual 20 Victor Godinez. “Eclipsing Clippit.” The Dallas Morning News. Aug. 10, 2000. 21 Ibid.
  23. 23. 23 room, and storyboards of the opening animation. These artists are under contract and are paid from a grant from the Maine Women’s Fund. Doing 3D for television proved to be a hurdle, but so did the feasibility of doing 3D on the web. A huge factor in creating a television series had to do with not limiting our female audience, so we didn’t want to start down that path again with the website. If we were to design the layout in 3D and girls wouldn’t be able to download any of the graphics, the site would defeat it’s own purpose. We have to come to a point where we will have to make compromises on this matter. We don’t want to sacrifice our vision however, so the solution so far is to do a vector-based graphics website that employs mainly 2D graphics with a few 3D images. 3D websites are up and coming, such as, however scripts have not been created that allows 3D animation to fly through the pipelines like vector-based graphic programs, such as Flash. With funding, we hope to be able to find the programmers and help stretch the horizon of what is possible with web entertainment.
  24. 24. 24 PRODUCTION Using rough treatments and sketches, I attempted to shoot a few segments to develop the look and feel of the television program. I held mock auditions at a film festival to see how I would go about getting my “talent” as hosts. I then held a real audition in Camden, Maine, and selected three local girls, Mary Ellen Hitt, Courtney Marine and Emily Payne, as the girls that would host the show with Zoey. They were each unique in their own way. Mary Ellen was the rebellious one who liked to play music, skateboard and draw tattoos; Courtney was the sweet, innocent girl next door type; and Emily was the serious, deep thinker of the group. I was very pleased with the selection but was also slowly getting apprehensive on how I was going to direct non- talent. I came across a fellow MFA student and Maine artist, Amy Wilton. She was building an entire apartment based around women’s stereotypes and body image in the media. I thought Amy would be a good example of a Fab Female who was doing something extraordinary in the way of helping other women and girls. The girls I had just chosen as my hosts could walk through her apartment and it would be interesting to shoot their reactions to it. I centered a shoot around Amy’s completion of her installation project. After brainstorming a rough script and getting a crew together, I spent two days shooting documentary style the girls interacting with Amy’s installation. I felt the footage lacked Amy’s involvement and did a second shoot with Amy in her own room so I could juxtapose the concept of Amy in her room in relation to Zoey’s room. Shooting a segment may have been a step that I jumped the gun on, but I learned a great deal about being a producer by doing this test run. It involved scheduling, organization of crew, directing non-talent, troubleshooting, dealing with equipment failure and breakdowns, maintaining control at all times, and keeping morale up during the downtimes. It also made me reconsider the writing of future episodes on how to incorporate Zoey within on-location segments. We needed to seek a green-screen studio for initial testing of compositing real girls with the 3D work. Craig Fisher, my MFA mentor, introduced me to some of his contacts around Maine. Meetings were set up with the local PBS in Lewiston, Scott Rocknack, an animator, and VP Film & Tape in Portland. The local production companies seemed interested in the possibility of having this program produced out of Maine. Letters were sent to them asking if they would be interested in providing their green-screen studio for our beta test. Except for VP Film & Tape, construction would have to be done on all studios in order for Zoey’s Room to be shot there. Scott Rocknack wasn’t interested and never returned calls. PBS was interested and thought their studio could learn a lot from such a high-end production and VP Film and Tape loved the project, wanted to get involved and offered their studio free of charge
  25. 25. 25 for testing. As a producer, creating a rapport with other companies is vital and getting other companies enthusiastic in your project is an added bonus. WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT The other dynamic to our project is the website. The television series works in conjunction with the existing website ( which relates to segments on the show, contains interactive games, chat rooms, and other ways for girls to be involved in creating and participating in each program’s content. We feel this is the next step in interactive, on-line entertainment and education, the ongoing “convergence” of the Internet with television. Broadband is coming by cable, telephone, satellite, even through a home's electrical lines. It is still, by all conservative estimates, three or four years away, but pushing forward at steady speed.22 Today, streaming video is small, jittery, fuzzy, and exasperating for most home computer users. Only a few dozen major, urban locations have high quality video on computers and two-way access to the Internet on every television in the home. 23 Making our website a success was a crucial part of our game plan because the attention it attracted would lend great support to the program as a whole. I first attempted to design the website myself with the help of Katt and Brandon using PageMill and Macromedia Flash software programs. A first layout was done and though we were pleased to even be able to figure how to upload it, it was not quite what we wanted. I decided to look into a web design institute that would take this on as a student project. I found the Cyber Graphics Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida via a colleague. They were offering huge discounts in web design and sounded very impressive over the phone. They fine-tuned what we had already built but didn’t come through on all that they promised and left us very disappointed. We put the website on hold until we got the characters developed further. While our characters were being created, I approached Penbay Media for website support, they were interested and offered to help once we got the images ready to upload. In the meantime, they helped in updating a few pages. Through our contact at Click 3X, Stephen Kinney, we have met the owners of a web development company in New York called Kinetescope. We met with them to see if they could create a “look” for our site and they have agreed to do some work on spec in order to be the company who we hire once we get signed on to a network. For my exhibit to the public, I have obtained the mentorship of Laura Cannon. She is guiding me in HTML programming and helping me to at least get my website up 22 “Broadband’s Believers.” Internet World. Oct. 1, 1999. 23 Ibid
  26. 26. 26 and running. Though what we accomplish before the exhibit may not be exactly what the end result will be in relation to the visual feel and brand, it will at least provide some of the interactivity that was lacking on our previous site. Even though I have artists working on the graphics, my skills as a graphic designer have strengthened because I need to assist them in implementing the necessary artwork. This is due to limited funds and resources but also my genuine interest to make sure that the vision is carried through.
  27. 27. 27 MARKETING With Zoey’s Room, the television series and the website have become inseparable; each feeds on and supports the other. Marketing and developing both entities is important as each uses the same elements in different but complementary ways. After the initial visuals are completed, we will begin creating the necessary video, audio and print materials for the website, in association with an animation house. We will also attempt to produce a CD-ROM that can be used as a marketing tool for interesting broadcasters, sponsors and investors in the concept of Zoey’s Room. We will actively conduct a series of nationwide events designed to attract our age cohort, which will include girl's film festivals and girl survey weekends where the television/Web audience can meet the hosts and participate in surveys about girl's likes and dislikes on a range of issues and products. Currently, the number of hits to a site is not always the measure of its success; rather it’s the duration of time spent on the site and whether it has a recurrent audience. Zoey’s Room can keep girls on its site longer and ensure their return by its interactivity. In order to make the Zoey’s Room website the top site for teens, we will seek out girl-oriented search engines and link with other sites for publicity. The television series offer more options. "Children's" programming is traditionally for young children. The few teen series, primarily on Fox, are dramatic sitcoms. It is possible that Fox or UPN (also seeking a teen audience) could be interested in tapping into this market with reality programming, but the cable channels are probably a more likely venue. Cable offers a number of options. Coming to mind first are Discovery, the Family Channel and Nickelodeon followed by MTV, Disney, A&E, USA, Lifetime, and perhaps the Learning Channel. Part of the process to impress a potential cable channel programmer is to include sufficient information and graphics on the website so it looks professional. Zoey’s Room is an exceptional opportunity to attract, stimulate and communicate with girls. Its unique and technology-driven format will empower adolescent girls to move into today’s complex adult world better informed, with greater self-confidence and a sound judgment-base means to address the challenging issues of their lives. The amazing technological wizardry of the television series and website will graphically state to the girls the need and the ease of acceptance of their computer generation. It offers many opportunities to expand the horizons of the viewers into real and virtual worlds to which they may otherwise never have access. The program content will push girls forward into the adult world they are quickly moving into with comfortable poise and additional knowledge. In accomplishing these goals, the series
  28. 28. 28 and website present a panoply of appropriate marketing opportunities. Zoey’s Room is at the pulse of where girls are today and in the future. COMPETITION As history of the media portrays, there is a lack of television programming for our audience, girls between the ages of 11 and 15. In examining our competition, we found few programs that compare to Zoey’s Room, a combination of live action and 3D animation. Our competition is either one or the other, never both. There are few programs that our age group continues to watch, partly because research states that girls watch half as much TV as other kids.24 Sailor Moon targets the same genre and age group as Zoey's Room and has done very well with ratings. It is about an ordinary, klutzy, 14-year-old junior high school girl who receives a special quest from a talking cat named Luna to fight evil and find someone called the "Moon Princess". She accomplishes all this by transforming into the sailor suited "pretty soldier" Sailor Moon. Over time, she discovers other Sailor Scouts and another cat Artemis who join her as a team. Even though Sailor Moon is the main character, the ability to show her as a positive role model for girls is something to be desired. As a regular girl and not “supergirl,” Sailor Moon often acts like a crybaby. The romance of the show has Sailor Moon falling for both a cute guy named Darien and a caped-hero named Tuxedo Kamen. Coincidentally enough, they happen to be one and the same. Tuxedo Kamen reappears constantly to save Sailor Moon and her Sailor Scouts from the generals of the Dark Kingdom. Zoey's Room does not provide Zoey with a guy to save the day. Romance and sex are not part of the programming as we consider girls to be interested in other things. Zoey's Room gives girls the freedom to help each other and themselves and sends no “strong” man to save the day or solve their problems. It also doesn’t isolate boys in a “them vs. us” battle. Zoey has a slew of close cyberian male friends. She possesses mutual respectful relationships with all of them. Sabrina, The Teenage Witch is a US situation comedy series based on the popular Archie Comics heroine, Sabrina. It follows the rites of passage experiences of a 16-year- old girl who moves in with her aunts and discovers that they and she are all witches. They live in an old house with a black cat called Salem who talks. Sabrina struggles through her teenage years, gets in harmless trouble and is in the process of learning responsibility. Sabrina, The Teenage Witch has done increasingly well and is in its third season with ABC. Like Sabrina, Zoey struggles as a teen, gets in harmless trouble and learns to take on responsibility. However, Zoey is animated whereas Sabrina, The Teenage Witch is a live action series. Daria is an animated cartoon on MTV. A spin-off of another MTV favorite, "Beavis & Butthead", it stars Daria Morgendorffer, outcast connoisseur. Often 24 Desjardins, Mary. Gender and Television.
  29. 29. 29 misunderstood with her offbeat personality, she is an outsider of sorts. Cynical, sarcastic, intelligent and pessimistic, Daria is not bothered by the toils of being popular and accepted in high school. The program’s episodes center on Daria’s day-to-day activities at Lawndale High School with her best friend, Jane. Daria provides colorful commentaries on every aspect of adolescence, an attribute that is the cause of her being ostracized by her classmates. Though Zoey’s personality is not as dour as Daria’s, it is similar in that Zoey is not afraid to speak her mind and express unpopular sentiments. Daria is also 2-D animation whereas Zoey’s Room is 3-D. Another attribute of Daria that Zoey’s Room stays clear of is during recent episodes of Daria, Daria is seen “stealing” her best friend’s boyfriend. Zoey's Room aims to steer away from story lines that pit girls against each other. In examining other media for competition, I found more websites than television programs that came close to competing with Zoey’s Room. Pre-teen and young teen girls have few safe, constructive, venues to test their emerging ideas in this challenging time in a young person’s maturation process. Many parents are absorbed with work and place the responsibility of informing their children about life experiences; their changing physical and emotional needs, as well as their formal education, on the schools. Many school systems are not able to meet this challenge. Often these children are now turning to the Internet to be a place for entertainment. Girl websites either cater to young girls up to age 10 or jump to teenage girls in the later high school years and into college. The websites available for girls are filled with information, however, it is all written material and the visual stimulation to keep you in your seat is lacking. Many of the websites have sections on body, career and fashion, but only a few speak to girls only about science and technology, such as and Zoey’s Room will combine all of these elements into one website. Most of the websites have some type of survey. The surveys are usually short and categorized by subject allowing for girls to jump from one place to another on the site. They do not keep the girls engrossed in the survey itself. None of the websites stated what they do with the information the girls provide. On the Zoey’s Room website, a disclaimer will state that any survey information is only for the producers to help structure the television programs and the website to be more relevant for our intended audience. If, at some point in the future, we were to use the opinions of the viewer as part of a commercial venture, we would say so clearly at the beginning of the survey. We also promise that we would never use, sell, rent, or in any way provide the name or email address of the girls participating in the survey. We would also make it very clear to the girls that they are doing a market research survey so there is no mistake in what it is used for. For example, we can say, “Hey girls, Hasbro, wants to know what you think of…”
  30. 30. 30 Many girl websites have 2D characters helping to represent the site, but the characters lack "character". They are flat. They are not animated, nor are they described as being a personality, except as a trademark for the site. There are limited flash animation files, animated gifs or rollovers. None have music or sound effects for the rollovers. The websites that do have visual stimuli are for the older teens, such as or As far as websites go, our most robust competition is Cybergrrl, Inc. Created in 1995, Cybergrrl, Inc has been at the forefront of the Internet explosion and was one of the firsts in specializing in online content for women and girls. They have 3 linked websites,, and, a search engine for woman and girls. Their sponsors and clients are some of the leading names associated with women and girl products, such as Clinique, Jane Magazine and Lifetime Online. However, for all their information, the age group that is lacking in interactive on line information for Cybergrrl, Inc. is the age group Zoey’s Room targets. Currently, there are no television programs with a co-existing interactive website for this age group, especially geared toward girls. No pre-teen/adolescent program has tried to combine 3D animation with video. The only girl website we’ve seen that is in the process of creating a television series is Last August, sweet16 also launched a print magazine to attract a large audience and also has Brittany Spears as one of their main shareholders. Their ideas for the television series are in the early stages of development and not as drawn out as Zoey’s Room. Their on-line programming and their hopes for television are geared more towards the entertainment industry, specifically music. Another noteworthy site is A fourteen-year-old girl named Ashley Powers started it. It has progressed into a very entertaining site for teens. It also has a weekly web series called “Whatever”. The series portrays what it’s like to be a teen today. This website deals with issues of older girls. There is a webcast airing on called WhirlGirl. It is a ShowTime original series exclusively for the web. It stars a tough-talking street-smart super heroine in the 21st century who battles Ty Harden, the megalomaniacal ruler of ZoneWerks, an all-powerful 'media-tech' empire with total control over information, communication and every aspect of 21st century life. Though she is supposed to represent the girl of the millennium, she walks around in short leather skirts and often has to be rescued by her cohorts. Also, this is a 2D cartoon meant for a much older audience. Zoey’s Room provides an entertaining and interactive way for girls to learn more about themselves, the world around them, and about the challenges of science and technology. The Zoey’s Room website provides a venue for girls to connect and talk to one another and to experts in the fields in which they are interested, or even confounded.
  31. 31. 31 It should pique curiosity and draw support for the television programs, as the episodes will push viewers to Girls and boys need to share their experiences with others, peers and adult role models, to help formulate their own opinions and mores. In addition, there are few opportunities for young women to be encouraged to participate in science and technology. Zoey’s Room is uniquely positioned to provide such a venue for both of these challenging endeavors. MERCHANDISING Obviously, the success of the television show will determine further merchandising possibilities. But from the television series and website themselves revenue sources include television commercials, leasing of the programs to a broadcaster, banners and pop-up advertising, streaming ads, and income derived from routing viewers to other sites. In the future, products will include a toy and clothing line, a survey service, a web-based 'zine and a print magazine, and a games component. Zoey, Pixel, The Cyphibians, and other elements in her room can be made into marketable toys. “Moody” can be made into an actual chair that changes colors by body temperature and molds into the characteristic of one’s mood. A clothing line with clothes Zoey wears as well as clothes with Zoey’s face, logos and net-show graphics can be made. Creation of a commercial Z-cam, electronic Zoey e-diaries (palm-pilots) and other technical devices are possible. Girls can purchase Zoey products directly on-line. Recent successes of girl-oriented CD-ROMS show a piqued curiosity for games designed for females. However, girls prefer "skill" not "kill", and need games with simulation, strategy, and interaction.25 Zoey’s Room games will cater directly to their needs and can be offered on the site as well as sold in stores. Spin-offs of Zoey’s Room are also in the works. We are developing ideas for The Cyphibians; an action series geared towards boys and Pixel’s Prizes, a fun, games and challenges series geared towards toddlers. 25 Ibid.
  32. 32. 32 BUSINESS ASPECTS LEGAL ISSUES We investigated ways to protect our ideas and consulted the Library of Congress for information on copyright laws. We could not submit just an idea. Therefore, we submitted a well thought out proposal of the television series and website, an example treatment and preliminary artwork, including Zoey and the ZR logo. We found that we could register an idea with the Writers Guild of America and did that as well to better protect ourselves. We have had two lawyers providing counsel for us. One was a relative of mine the other was a contact I made through my mother. This second lawyer, Mark Pistorious, has been given equity in our project and has offered to be our legal counsel throughout the process. With the help of Mark, we’re in the process of incorporating Zoey’s Room, Inc as well as trademarking important elements of the programming concept. CREATING AN ORGANIZATION Under the guidance of our lawyer, we have decided to incorporate ourselves as a research and development company developing a product, Zoey’s Room, to be sold to a network or broadcaster. If in the event that we get sold or signed on with a network, we can revise any contractual obligations at that point. The production offices of the company will be in Maine. The animation portions of the programs and of the website will come from an animation house in either New York or Los Angeles, as there are limited facilities in Maine for this type of work. The animation will be under the direction of the principals and will be integrated into the series and website from Maine. Unlike a large manufacturing operation, a television/Website-based venture is dependent on a small number of creative professionals. Camera and location production crews are hired as needed. The production staff will include three producers, an associate producer, a researcher and assistant, a webmaster, a production manager, and a production assistant. The creation and maintenance of the website and the creation of the animation can be either a work-for-hire arrangement, or with a co-producer who will share in the profits of the project. In preparing our business plan for this joint venture, we sought out the help from a group called Coastal Enterprises, Inc. CEI is a non-profit corporation that provides financing
  33. 33. 33 and technical assistance to Maine women owned businesses. They are helping us organize and write the business plan for Zoey’s Room, Inc. Vinitha and I have split up our roles and duties as such: I will have creative control within Zoey’s Room, Inc.; negotiate with lawyers limited partnership contracts for projects; oversee sales and marketing, including internal and external communications, press, website development, and distribution of projects. Vinitha Nair has financial control within Zoey’s Room, Inc. which includes but is not limited to control over all budgets, accounting and bookkeeping; oversees day to day operations, including overseeing personnel; negotiates personnel contracts and deals with unions; responsible for finding investors and grants to support projects. Both Vinitha and I will be senior producers in the project helping create content, develop, produce, direct and edit segments for each program. Craig Fisher will also be the lead senior producer in the company. Zoey’s Room, Inc. will hire 6 employees to fulfill project needs and operate day to day: 1. Associate Producer. Duties will include assisting lead producers in all detailed project work assigned to them by senior producers. 2. Researcher. Duties will include finding statistics, interesting factoids about things happening in the adolescent world, responsible for finding grants and funds that relates to projects takes on and other research particulars. 3. Research PA. Duties include assisting Researcher in all detailed work. 4. Production PA. Duties include running errands, making copies, answering phone calls and maintaining schedules for the ZR chat line. 5. Production Manager. Duties will include making arrangements for and overseeing location and studio logistics, organization of equipment, crew, travel, and location scouting, and keeping the budget. 6. Webmaster. Duties will include responsibility of all technical issues and web development issues in regards to creating a web presence for every project created. Webmaster must keep abreast on all current and up-coming changes on the Internet and latest web technology. We understand that if we are going to dig deep into the psychology of girls, we need to have a board of advisors to give us validity. We wanted to provide information to girls but we wanted to make sure that anything we provide was accurate. We researched a variety of women and organizations and asked over 25 to be on our board of advisors. Zoey’s Room now has a distinguished panel of professionals in the areas of psychology, education, business, women’s issues and medicine. They are consulted for accuracy in the program’s content. During pre-production of every series, members of the board of advisors will meet or participate by email, to review the details of each episode for accuracy. They will be paid an honorarium of $1000 as compensation of their expertise and time. For board, reference APPENDIX D.
  34. 34. 34 NON-PROFIT VS. INCORPORATION We are still answering many questions: Should Zoey’s Room go the investor or sponsor route? If we’re going to apply for more grants, should we get our own 501(c)3 non-profit status or should we start a Zoey’s Room Corporation? Many questions are still being considered. We have just begun to tap the beginning of which type of funding we should seek. With our marketing strategies laid out, it seems creating a corporation and going the Investor/Sponsor route seems more lucrative and productive. These questions are still being decided. The following is my initial estimate of what I will do as CEO of Happy Dance Productions and one of the two creators of Zoey’s Room, which will be our initial project to help push our company into the forefront of producing creative content for children’s programming. I still feel it’s too early to tell yet as to which way this project will go. With my research into investors and obtaining venture capital, I have discovered that, usually, investors do not consider your venture unless you are requesting millions. Many investment firms give to dotcom start-up companies. However, research has shown that over half of these companies fail. If we go the investor route, we could interest an investor into a research and development corporation, sell to a broadcaster or network, then put some of that money into Zoey’s Room, as our initial project. Investors usually require owning a minimum of 2/3rds of the company up front. However, they do allow you to buy back that percentage at the end of the contract. The possibility of securing sponsors is also still there. We are still going to look into getting larger corporations involved. I believe we could get a magazine to support the program such as Jump. In my opinion, Jump Magazine is the most positive magazine for young girls right now. I also have considered trying to get a big-name actress to be a major shareholder in Zoey’s Room and possibly the voice of Zoey. Natalie Portman and Minnie Driver are names we are considering because of their popularity with our age group. If we try all possible avenues, getting picked up by a network, securing investors or sponsors, and they are not as promising as we would like, we can then remain a non- profit organization and try getting funding from grants. There are many foundations that we feel we could seek grants from such as the AAUW, National Science Foundation, The National Endowment of the Arts and many more. If we decide to obtain our non-profit status, one of our board of advisors, Mary Orear, offered to be our fiscal sponsor. This could also be a natural step for us as we have helped Mainely Girls conduct girls film festivals here in the Maine area.
  35. 35. 35 FUNDING Our initial attempt at finding funding failed. After finishing writing our first proposal, we sent out over 20 proposals with letters, spending a good chunk of money on putting the packets together. We thought if we sent the professional packet out with a letter, we would get at least a few responses. The replies did not come as we expected. The only research we had done initially was to locate the organizations that gave money to the arts in Maine. There was no research done on what type of arts the organizations gave to, nor who the contact person was. We didn’t even call and ask if they would like an initial letter of intent before sending them the proposal packet. So again, we sent out “cold” packets. After being disillusioned that funding wouldn’t come as easily, we tried to compile applications and guidelines from foundations. With some guidance, we started again. This time we went to the library to research private, federal and state agencies that fund projects similar to Zoey’s Room. We found a handful of large organizations. Each had a deadline that we had missed for receiving funding for the coming year. We also realized that most grants required you to be a non-profit organization. We did not have 501(c)3 status and, therefore, were not eligible to apply for grants. Craig Fisher agreed Zoey’s Room needed funding and offered his 501(c)3 status for us to umbrella under. We decided to start small and then return in the coming year to the larger organizations. At that time, we had received information from one of our board of advisors that the Maine Women’s Fund grant’s initial letter of intent was due in 2 weeks for funding for the coming year. The letter consisted of 2 pages summarizing our project, the amount of money we were seeking and what we would specifically do with the funding. It was concise and to the point. We knew that the largest amount of money Maine Women’s Fund gave out was $10,000. We learned from our previous attempts that non-profit organizations retreated from giving funding to Zoey’s Room because the concept was so large. The letter of intent we wrote to Maine Women’s Fund focused on one developmental area, improving the website. We believed that if we were able to receive small funding then the next time, we would hit the big money sources, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. We also believed that, since we were still in development stages, a small amount of money would be fine to begin with. The Maine Women’s Fund approved us in the pre-screening process and requested us to continue with the 2nd phase for funding, the grant application. This was more detailed and we then included our proposal within this package. After the 2nd phase,
  36. 36. 36 we waited to hear if we received any money, but before the process was over, we discovered the organization wanted to come out for a site visit. Craig and I met with the Maine Women’s Fund. At this meeting, we reviewed Zoey’s Room as a whole and then focused on what we would do with this developmental money. I had created a flowchart to help them visualize our intent for the website. The two women who visited were impressed and, at the end of the meeting, told me that they really wanted a site visit with Zoey’s Room because they thought we were a huge production company, looking to channel additional funds into a large production. They said our proposal and the way we presented it to them looked very professional. They were surprised to discover it was a student project. After a month of waiting, Maine Women’s Fund wrote us saying we had received the full amount, $6903.00. We now could use this first grant as our stepping stone in obtaining funds from the larger organizations. As a research and development company, I have complied a preliminary cash flow projection. This was necessary to complete our business plan. I have estimated our budgetary needs to be $600,000. (Refer to APPPENDIX E.) Again, the pursuit of funding is constant and a never-ending battle for me. Once I get a few professional pitches under my belt and know what to expect, I am hoping that I will develop a clearer idea of how to progress in funding this project.
  37. 37. 37 PERSONAL GROWTH TEAMWORK When Vinitha and I originally came up with the concept, we knew we needed that third leg that we just didn’t have, the artwork. It wasn’t until much later that we said let’s try doing the art ourselves. Any project as big as Zoey’s Room requires more than just the two of us. Finding help has been a major undertaking and we have gone through ups and downs with everyone since almost day one. I am a firm believer in collaboration. This project would not be where it is today without the help of so many people. Though collaboration is the key to a successful production, it takes strong leaders with follow through to finish a production. What I have learned most in becoming the producer that I am today is that being in charge can be quite difficult sometimes. LESSONS LEARNED There were obviously MANY lessons learned in undertaking this venture, and many mistakes in the process. My first mistake with people was letting someone who was working for us choose the other artist. Without even talking to us about whom she was considering, Katt Montgomery chose her ex-boyfriend and artist, Brandon. I also regret not signing contracts with anyone. This has been a thorn in our side even to this day. With the help of our new lawyer, we should be nailing down contracts with all the people who have worked, and who will continue to work on this project. Due to my excitement and zealousness on this project, I have expected a lot out of people and have over-worked people who were working for free. I understood from the beginning that these people were doing their work on spec. However, we tried providing for all their needs when they worked, such as food, housing, travel costs, computer software and art supplies. I learned this: no one loves the project or believes in the project as much as you. Also, no one wants to work as hard as you do. This scenario occurred with our first two artists, Katt and Brandon. After a weekend of intense work on Zoey’s Room, we had lost them. They did not communicate their needs nor did we know anything was wrong until it was all over. Katt had become overwhelmed with the project. She realized over the work weekend how big this project was. My mistake was my excitement and my need to voice that excitement…I should keep this passion to myself. I spoke about all that we were going to do. Katt understood it as all that needed to be done right now.
  38. 38. 38 We thought Katt was as into the project as we were. But without pay, people lose interest quickly. Then it was time to fix what had been broken. So we went and saw Katt and Brandon and asked them to sign a contract in order for us to use the initial artwork until we could find another artist to pick up where they left off. Getting the contracts signed was nearly impossible. Katt claimed she owned Zoey because she drew her. This was the start of many meetings with lawyers to find out who owned what. Vinitha and I had already obtained copyright on Zoey’s Room. Katt knew we had the copyright and verbally agreed that she was working on our project. We ended up writing a contract for both Katt and Brandon that read when Zoey’s Room received a net profit they would be reimbursed for their artistic services. This seemed to appease them and this allowed us to move on to the next artist. From then on, we talked about contracts up front with everyone we encountered. The past two years was a great experience for me, I have learned so much, not just about my career but also about my work ethics. I’ve come to appreciate my strengths and point out my weaknesses. With the help of the great mentors and colleagues in the industry that I have met, I feel my education at Rockport College gave me a solid direction to take. I am still learning things on a daily basis. I’ve learned; you must always remain calm, cool and collected. You must be fair but above all, you must be able to make your own decisions and be able to stand up to adversity. There will be many people who disagree with your vision or who would like to change it. The most important thing is to be willing to hear other sides, consider the suggestions, and ask yourself pertinent and often hard questions, like would it be a positive change? Does it fit the project? When you take all this in, you still have to make your own decision. None of the negative experiences or setbacks I’ve encountered has yet daunted my passion for Zoey’s Room. I strongly believe in the power of this program to provide a sound, educational forum for adolescent girls after knowing the needs of adolescents and the limited entertainment vehicles geared specifically to girls between the ages of 11 and 15. The potential of this program is to be a leader in interactive programming.
  39. 39. 39 APPENDIX A TREATMENT for ROCK Five girls around the United States log on to Zoey’s Room at One of the hosts begins the discussion by telling the other girls of the pet rock her mom gave her. Zoey peruses the net and finds the history of the pet rock fad. This springs the topic of the popular fads of today. The girls narrow down the most popular fad for their age and Zoey finds websites that relate to that fad and the growing popularity of it. The next segment is a bumper of the girls playing the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors”: Two hosts play the game, Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who gets to tell about their adventure with rock climbing. One of the girls talks about her experience at Camp Mi-A-Kon-Da, a summer camp for girls One of the girls mentions rock and roll. A discussion ensues about MP3 and if it is a threat to the music industry. Zoey’s teases into the next break with a Challenge of the Week: Zoey provides websites about the MP3 controversy and challenges viewers about the hosts’ findings. Is this a good use of the Internet? What are the pros and cons? She requests that they e- Mail her with their opinions on the topic. The talk of rocks brings up the subject of the earth itself, which lends one of the hosts to talk with Sarah Zimmerman, a woman geologist. Sarah’s current geologic interests are in planetary and structural geology. Her career as a geologist is explored as well as her personal life. Not only is she a geologist but she is in the middle of a set of triplets. Her other two sisters have Down's Syndrome and as a result she is very active with the Special Olympics. The girls all gather at the Hard Rock Café and talk to Danny Perkins who has supplied all Hard Rock Cafes with rock & roll memorabilia for the past 15 years. He shows the host some of his collection, such as his new and vintage signed instruments of some of the biggest names in Rock 'n' Roll, as well as autographed photos and posters of the hosts favorite stars. We see the hosts log off with Zoey until next week.
  40. 40. 40 APPENDIX B TREATMENT FOR BODY The girls get morphed into their computers to hang out with Zoey. The Fab Female segment highlights a high-ranking female naval officer taken from “body” of water. One of the girls interviews her and follows her through a typical day. The Ladies Lounge reflects upon “body” image and it’s effects on young girls. Girls give their stories and offer advice to others. Child psychologists and educators discuss anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders and how to help if someone is suffering from them. Gals Around the Globe allows the hosts to have fun trying on different clothes from around the world, in this “body” wear segment. Do You Dare? is on the topic, “body” art, where girls get the facts on tattoos and piercings before attempting to try these fads. The viewer watches as one of the hosts, with her mother, goes into a tattoo parlor as she decides on getting a tattoo or piercing.