Taking The Adventures Of Ezekiel to School (Part One)
As soon as I had finally drafted Season One (the first seven episodes) I decided to do some market research. So I took my edited scripts into my sons school.
In the one class, I had my perfect target market audience. My son went to an amazing school. It was a small, rainforest community school not far from our little town of Nimbin.
Because of its size, the classrooms were divided into two. The “lower” class consisted of grades 1, 2 and 3. This was perfect for me, as my target market audience for my stories was ages 5 to 9.
This marked an important and unique opportunity for me to go into their classroom and read them one chapter (one episode) a week for seven weeks...
It was amazing to watch their little faces and take notes on how engaged they were, or where the stories had lost their attention. Some chapters kept them enthralled from beginning to end...and some chapters were a bit hit and miss. It's funny working for so long drafting and redrafting for over 8 months, only to realise that something doesn't work in real life...with the real deal (the kids of course).
The changes to the stories I made, after each visit to the school were necessary and relevant right to the core.
For Season Two, I trucked back to the school. Dressed in my best so the kids would take me seriously (or so I thought in my head). I sat down this time with the “Upper” class.
The “Upper” class consisted of the next three grades. 4, 5 and 6. Their age range spanned between 9 and 12. The reason I chose this higher age group was because my Editor, Kaali (bless her cotton socks) informed me that through the progression of my story...My “voice” had changed, and my target market audience had gone up.
Naturally I was devastated. Being the delicate “creative” I was... I wanted to hear praise and be showered in compliments for how well I'd done in season two! I wanted to hear that my writing had improved and that I was in fact brilliant! Aahhhhh...such are the woes of a writer...
It was an attempt to prove her wrong, that drew me back to the school. It would have been perfect to take The Adventures Of Ezekiel into the same classroom and have the same kids fall in love with the second season like they did the first.
However that class was not available until next term.
Not one to be deterred... I had a great idea. My idea was to take it to the older group of kids and get them to help me rework it.
My first day with the “Upper” class was fantastic. Those kids were so amazing! I read them the first Chapter of season two. It was a smash hit!...It boosted my confidence AND my ego. I asked them questions such as “Tell me kids...what did you think? Was it boring? Was it exciting?”.
The kids bounced up and down and told me they loved it.... (Thank God!).
Their teacher and I had put our heads together the week before, and worked out how exactly to fit my stories into the curriculum.
It turns out, they had been working on 'Inference and Prediction”. Which was perfect for giving them the first chapter in the second season. We chatted about their ideas, of what, in the story, came before this chapter, AND their predictions on what they thought was going to happen next.
They were absolutely delightful! What ideas they had! What insight their imaginations held... It was wonderful.
My last question I proposed to these bright young sparks was... “What age group do you think would enjoy this most?”. After a small discussion on what an age group was, we got stuck into it.
“So kids” I said, “would a 5 your old enjoy this story? Or would it be a bit old for them?”
I got some wonderfully definitive answers. They all agreed that 5 would be too young, but age 6 would be fine. Also considering that the oldest students in this class were 12, they all agreed that 12 year old's would enjoy it too. My new target market audience according to everyone (me included) was for ages 6-12.
So there it was, stage one of my market research was achieved for season two of The Adventures Of Ezekiel. I'd gotten some delightful feed back, got to hang out with some super cool kids, and redefined who my target market audience was from the perspective of the kids themselves. I loved having my boots on the ground and getting the school on board...It has been such a great experience.
Wishing you lots of love and adventures,