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Saturday, Jul 20, 2024

Euro TV Producer Takes Interest in Shushybye

Steve Syatt, creator of the Shushybye children’s characters, has signed a co-production deal with Studio 100, a European family entertainment company, to get his message to a larger audience through an animated series, theme parks and live shows. For the last 13 years, the Shyshybye brand has spawned a live action cable show, DVDs, CDs, books and licensed apparel and consumer products, but now Syatt wants to take in international. “I ultimately came to this conclusion that housing Shushybye with a large company that has contacts in the global marketplace for production, distribution and licensing would really be the best way to build the brand,” said Syatt, owner of SSA Public Relations in Sherman Oaks. The premise behind Shushybe is simple: the Shushies are magical creatures living in Nap Valley and Snore Shores, and they create children’s dreams and pack them up in Dream Boxes for delivery by Conductor McCloud and his Shushybye train. Music plays an integral role in the storylines, with Syatt writing and composing the songs himself. The Shusybye Dream Band appeals to infants and toddlers, while the Dreamsters play “harder-edged” music and are geared toward preschoolers and first-graders. Studio 100 subsidiary M4E in Germany will handle production. The road to the deal began about a year ago when Jo Daris, chief content officer with M4E, contacted Syatt via email. Daris had become familiar with Shushybye through a live action show airing on cable channel BabyFirstTV and Netflix. What the European entertainment company liked about Shushybye is that its intended audience skews toward the toddler market while also encompassing the pre-school market, Syatt said. “The toddler market is expanding,” he added. “From a licensing perspective and a retail perspective, this market has more opportunities and parents are looking for entertainment in consumer products for their toddlers before they become preschoolers.” M4E is putting up the money to produce 26 half-hour episodes of Shushybye starting next year that will begin airing in 2020. The company will also oversee a live stage show that will perform at seven theme parks that Studio 100 owns in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Syatt will continue handling the live stage shows in the U.S. He currently is putting together a holiday show for the Christmas season that will tour in six to 10 cities. Teaching Storytelling Skills Warner Bros. Entertainment completed this school year two new in-school programs that brought storytelling and filmmaking skills to more than 1,500 Los Angeles Unified School District students. The Burbank studio partnered with two nonprofits and the school district to create Story Lab and First Cut. The programs are the first under WB Good, the Burbank studio’s social impact platform. Story Lab, developed with Young Storytellers, a nonprofit based in the Arts District in downtown L.A., and the school district’s arts education branch and division of instruction, is a curriculum for sixth-grade students using DC Entertainment superheroes to get the students thinking about their own “super powers” and the heroes in their lives. The program included writing assignments, biographical comic books and oral presentations. Bill Thompson, executive director of Young Storytellers, said the Story Lab program teaches the students that their stories matter. “Through this program, students have a platform that nurtures the confidence needed to voice their stories to discover their inner superhero,” Thompson said in a statement. First Cut, launched with Ghetto Film School, a nonprofit with offices in Los Angeles and New York, and the arts education branch of LAUSD, provides filmmaking skills to high school students who do not have access and exposure to creative storytelling. The experience included shooting a short film from start to finish, with Warner Bros. providing equipment to classrooms in need. Both programs will be offered again in the upcoming school year. Warner Bros. worked with the school district and the two nonprofits on training sessions for 30 teachers from eight middle schools and eight high schools across LAUSD’s six local districts hosted on the Burbank studio lot. Additionally, staff members from Ghetto Film School and Young Storytellers provided in-class support to the teachers for the programs, each with events at the end of the school year to showcase the students’ work. Kevin Tsujihara, chief executive of Warner Bros. Entertainment, said the programs allowed the studio to use its strengths and resources to make a difference by inspiring the next generation of storytellers. “We have incredible partners in LAUSD, Young Storytellers and Ghetto Film School, and working together, we’re literally changing these students’ lives,” Tsujihara said in a statement.  Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or [email protected].

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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