It’s young talent time
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR Phillip Tanner needs just five minutes to decide if a child has what it takes to work in TV.
But even more important in casting his new kids’ show was their parents’ attitude.
Tanner, responsible for shows such as Cooking for Kids with Luis and Camp Orange, scoured Australia to find the stars of All for Kids. The show is hosted by kids for older pre-school kids. In a nice touch for those worried about childhood obesity, it urges them to go outside and do things rather than spend their time watching telly or playing computer games.
Wary of pushy stage types, Tanner urged parents of auditioning children not to coach them. Some couldn’t help themselves, like one mother who dressed her daughter as a professional chef.
‘‘The poor girl was really nervous. It was very clear that she’d just been coached and coached,’’ Tanner says.
All for Kids’ hosts are aged from 6-9 years and were chosen for their natural brightness and enthusiasm.
Keira and Karl (hosts), Madi (gardening), Christian (art and craft), Lindsay (cooking) and Jameson (science) do fun things such as cook fried rice, make a volcano and build a garden tepee.
Mark provides the music with his witty songs about the alphabet.
Child experts are divided about TV for pre-schoolers. Some say children shouldn’t watch at all before they turn two.
Tanner disagrees, as long as the content is good and the kids are also active.
‘‘Our program . . . says get out and do this, get into the garden, get into the kitchen . . . it gives you things to do,’’ he says.
While budgets are not great, Tanner says Australian children’s TV does have passionate and talented advocates.
He wants his latest show to fill a gap for older pre-schoolers, whom he thinks are somewhat neglected.
‘‘The difference between the two-year-old and a four-year-old is 100 per cent of their life. It’s huge,’’ he says.
Tanner also wants kids to enjoy the same memories he did of billy carts and back yard science experiments.
‘‘I just wanted to give kids a lot more control. None of these kids is doing it because they want to become TV people. There’s something about them that just shines,’’ he says.
Calling the shots: All for Kids is a show hosted by children for other children.