Tag Archives: children

Starting Monday

22 Oct

Starving stuffed animals!
A brand new comedy detective series!

Ruby Skye P.I.
The Spam Scam

12 great video chapters.
Mondays and Thursdays.
Curtain goes up Monday October 25
@ noon Eastern.

Can 15 year old Ruby Skye figure who is running the email scam and get her wacky neighbor’s money back? Maybe, but she’s going to lose a lot of friends along the way!

Ruby Skye P.I. avatar


Marlee Maslove Plays Ruby’s Sister Hailey

21 Oct

Marlee umbrella laughingMarlee Maslove is no stranger to web series — or to playing Hailey.  Over the last two years, she’s shot ten episodes of Hailey Hacks, a web series that shows you cool things to do with your computer.

Marlee has spent a lot of time on stage. For the last four years, she has been a member of the Randolph Young Company.   Not only was she in musical theatre five productions with RYC, each show ran for more than a dozen performances, Hailey at mailboxwhich adds up to a lot of stage time.

She’s also been a featured extra in two TV series: Blue Murder and Metropia.

Marlee is 13 years old and is in grade 8 at an alternative school in downtown Toronto.

Lucky Number Three!!

19 Oct

Aidan CheeatowIt’s getting exciting.  Only six more sleeps until launch.  But around here, the fun never stops.  So we have something new for you to look at today: a brand new teaser entitled Life on the Set.

One of the things that makes this teaser especially awesome is that the director is Aidan Cheeatow.  Aidan is 14 and a film major at Claude Watson School for the Arts.  He is also the brother of Madison Cheeatow, who plays Ruby Skye.

When we heard that Madison’s brother was a young filmmaker, we invited him to set, gave him a camera and full access to cast and crew and forced him to make a little film.

Here it is.  We think it’s great.

Comment on Our Comment Policy

18 Oct

One week from today, when Ruby Skye P.I.: The Spam Scam launches, we’ll also be launching our new site. And it’s going to be fabulous!
As we’re getting it ready we have to prepare some policies about how people can use the site and what our responsibilities are to the audience.

I’m getting four documents ready:

  • A comment policy
  • An advertising policy
  • A privacy policy
  • A web safety policy.
  • I will be sharing them here as I draft them, so that you can feed in.

    rubyskyepi.com is meant for kids so we want everything to be clear and easy to read.  We want the site to be a safe environment that parents, teachers, librarians and other adults feel good about recommending to kids.  That’s why we are publishing these policies in advance.  We want input from the community.

    Here’s the comment policy:

    We want to know what you think about Ruby Skye P.I.  The site has lots of places to leave comments and questions or talk to other members of the community.  You can leave messages for Ruby on her blog and she’ll answer lots of them.

    To keep rubyskyepi.com a safe and positive place be nice to other people, smart about sharing information and enjoy what we have to offer.

    If you need us to spell it out, here are the things you can’t do:

    • No swearing, flaming, bullying, racism, sexism or just plain being mean.  We’ll take down comments that are hurtful to others.
    • No selling, advertising or spamming.  We’ll remove that too.
    • No personal information about yourself or anyone else.  That’s right, that stuff’s going too.

    Some comments won’t appear on the site until we’ve read and approved them.  We’ll try to be quick about it but if you write a comment and it doesn’t appear right away, don’t worry.  We’ll get to it.

    Now, go ahead, comment, share and have fun!

    Let us know what you think.

    Meet Ruby Skye

    13 Oct

    It’s Teaser 2: Meet Ruby Skye.

    What Do You Think?

    12 Oct

    Ruby Skye P.I. shoots with Polaroid PogoWe’re all used to seeing ads — on the bus, in magazines, billboards, on TV, even in movie theatres.  Most of the time, they look like ads. They’re separate from the story, articles or content.

    Sometimes, the product is shown inside the story — that’s called product placement.  Ruby Skye’s camera is a Polaroid Pogo, given to us by Polaroid as a way of advertising the camera.

    There’s another kind of advertising called product integration.  Then it’s not just that you see the product in the story, but it’s part of the story and the characters talk about it.  Ruby, Hailey, Griffin and Diana go to The Dragon Academy.  The Dragon is a real The Dragon Academyschool in downtown Toronto that became part of our story as a way of letting kids and parents know more about the school.  That’s advertising too.

    You can see product integration at work if you check out readmysistersreportcard.com.  Remember how in Ruby Skye P.I. and The Case of the Missing Brownies Hailey uploaded Ruby’s report card to the internet?  Well, the report card is a work of fiction, but it’s on a real report card form from The Dragon Academy.  The teachers names are made up, but the principal’s name, Dr. Meg Fox, is real.

    There are a lot of rules about advertising to kids; lots of parents, educators and government officials are worried about ads that trick kids or take advantage of them.

    We’d like to know what you think about the kinds of advertizing that are part of Ruby Skye P.I. — especially if you’re 16 or under.

    Some of the things we’d really like to know are:

    Would you rather pay for entertainment yourself or have advertizers pay for the entertainment?

    What do you think of product placement and product integration?  Does it make you like products more or less?  Do feel fooled?  Would you rather we stuck to more traditional forms of advertizing?

    We’d love your opinions, please share!

    Fine Cut

    10 Oct

    Ruby SkyeWhen we first began editing the episodes of Ruby Skye P.I.: The Spam Scam we had to make some style calls.  There are some among us who argued that the way to win a young audience was with breakneck pacing and MTV style editing.  There was a second faction who felt that would be sacrificing content for style.

    The stakes are high.  We need an audience.  We’ve thrown ourselves into this project heart and soul – because we love the story and the character of Ruby but also because we want this project to be a model for a new way of creating entertainment.  This project is a prototype for entertainment properties that are controlled by creators every step of the way.  But that way has to lead – eventually, at least — to money.   Creative freedom is a wonderful thing but the rent must still be paid.

    Money follows audience.  If we can build an audience for Ruby Skye P.I., we’re pretty sure we can raise money for more episodes and new projects.  And other creators can follow the model to do the same.

    But we’ve got to get an audience.  Of kids.

    Adult viewers will be great too.  Please, watch our videos often, especially when you’re in cafes and airports and using other people’s computers because clicks from different IP addresses are especially lovely.

    But views by kids – children, tweens, teens and families – are the ones that will prove the success of this project.

    So the discussion about how to best attract young viewers was crucial to us.

    There’s one school of thought that kids have grown used to intense, fast-paced entertainment thanks to Sesame Street, MTV, videogames and the like.  Sometimes the fact that YouTube videos are so short gets mixed into this argument – leading people to think that if you don’t grab your audience in the first couple of seconds and get out in less than three minutes all is lost.

    There are merits to some of these ideas.  I do think it’s important to pump entertainment value into every second and not to waste time.  But I reject the view of kids that underlies some of this.  I don’t think kids have short attention spans and I don’t think you have to use visual trickery them to get their interest.  If you give them some quality, they’ll give you their attention in return – and for a long time.  If it’s a great story experience.

    What’s my evidence that this is true? Two words: Harry Potter.

    Harry Potter volumesShort attention span?  Excuse me.  Seven fat volumes.  And kids didn’t say, I can’t read this whole thing.  They said, yay, that book’s going to last a good long time.  Then they tore through the entire 600 pages in a weekend and turned the book over and started again from the beginning, this savouring every word.

    If Harry Potter teaches us anything about kids it’s that they are smart and they know what’s good.  You don’t have to dumb anything down to entertainment them.  In fact, the smarter and deeper the story is, the more they seem to like it.

    Which is why when it came down to it, we did not adopt rock’n’roll editing techniques for The Spam Scam.  We’ve shot something that’s quite beautiful to look at.  It has some terrific performances.  So instead of using an editing style that was mostly designed to trick you into thinking that something was happening, we chose one that we felt suited the story; a style that helps us tell the tale.

    Like many of the other difficult choices we’ve faced along the Ruby Skye P.I. road, this one was solved by reminding ourselves to respect our audience and by letting the needs of the story be the determining factor.

    %d bloggers like this: