Report – The Art of Preschool

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2022 8:45pm by Yosr Saber


  • Know your audience, both commissioners and potential viewers.
  • Nail the creative. The ideas and characters are key.
  • Aspire to make a difference.

Host Michelle Jones started the session with introductions and a recap of the careers of both Andy Mundy-Castle of Dochearts and Lynsey O’Callaghan of Paramount Kids and Family.

Lynsey regularly reviews pitches for preschool shows and said those that stand out have really done their homework and are not pitching something that is already out there. They know what their audience watches, what they find funny, what’s important to them and what’s reflective of them. They also know what truly resonates with an international audience, not just a UK-based one. She looks for a story that is full of heart, as well as characters who have been developed from an authentic point of view, with different ethnicities and religions, and don’t just tick the boxes.

Andy moved into developing preschool content because, ‘As a producer, you can introduce those young minds to things that can really shape their thinking about the world’.

Lynsey provided some useful tips for those who haven’t worked in the preschool genre before:

  1. Know your target audience, spend time with them and find out what makes them tick. Don’t just rely on your own children.
  2. Look at what is working across different channels and platforms. A returning series must be working, so try to understand why.
  3. Take a walk down the toy aisle. Things don’t get made into toys unless they are popular.
  4. Think about whether your content fits in a 5-, 7- or 11-minute slot, because each will require a very different story – especially as children’s attention spans are decreasing.
  5. Think about co-viewing and ensuring that you cater to all viewers.
  6. Think about the characters and define them. They each need to have a clear voice and you can consider catchphrases to help with that.
  7. Think about the secondary cast – family is important in preschool.
  8. Think about where you see your series – a linear or streaming space?

Andy sees live-action content moving towards sustainability and a sense of self – being more thoughtful about how to engage with children at that very early age, and how to practically help them develop in this constantly changing world, whilst keeping it fun and entertaining.

For Lynsey, winning pitches are:

  1. Those that cater to the Nickelodeon brand and don’t sit easily on other platforms.
  2. Pitchers who are willing to take feedback on board.
  3. Pitches that can be explained in one sentence.
  4. Those that nail the creative. The idea and characters are key before thinking about spin-offs.
  5. Those that think outside the box.

Finally, the tips Andy would give to someone who has never worked with a broadcaster or in the genre:

  1. Interrogate your idea before you take it out. Test it on people that are going to be your audience.
  2. Knowing your audience is paramount, not just on the commissioning side but the wider audience too.
  3. Hire and engage with great talent that can really assist the process.
  4. Aspire to make a difference.

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Yosr Saber

About the author

Yosr Saber

Kings College London, Postgraduate Student

My name is Yosr Saber. I am originally from Cairo, Egypt but have been living in London with my husband and two children since January 2014.  I graduated from the American University in Cairo back in the year 2000 and worked for over 9 years in advertising both at Ogilvy&… Read more