Wishes Granted

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

FNick Jr. gets in touch with its glit­tery, girly side for a new an­i­mated preschool se­ries

ar­naz Es­naashari-Char­matz is un­apolo­get­i­cally girly in ad­mit­ting her love for dolls, girls’ toys, glit­ter and fash­ion — all of which she pulled to­gether to cre­ate her first an­i­mated se­ries, Shim­mer and Shine, now air­ing on Nick Jr.

“It was really pulling to­gether a lot of things that I love,” says Es­naashari-Char­matz. “I loved I Dream of Jean­nie as a lit­tle girl, I loved glit­ter, I loved fash­ion, I loved all th­ese things when I was lit­tle, and I still, as a grown woman, love it in my grown-up way.”

With a 20-episode first sea­son in pro­duc­tion at Nick­elodeon An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios in Bur­bank, Calif., Shim­mer and Shine is about a pair of twin sis­ters who are genies in train­ing and grant wishes for a hu­man girl named Leah.

“Be­cause they are still genies in train­ing and they are from Zahra­may Falls, which is the ge­nie world, and Leah is from our hu­man world, they don’t al­ways understand the con­text of the wishes,” she says.

When those wishes go awry and the pair has reached their three-wish-a-day limit, they have to work to­gether as a team and with Leah to set things right. “We’re hop­ing that it will really teach kids that it’s OK if you mess up, that you can work through it with re­silience and make a good sit­u­a­tion out of a bad one.”

Es­naashari-Char­matz pre­vi­ously had worked 10 years in post-pro­duc­tion on Nick Jr. prop­er­ties in­clud­ing Dora the Ex­plorer, Go, Diego! Go! and Ni Hao, Kai-Lan. Mov­ing to the front end of the cre­ation process was a real eye-opener, she says. “When you’re work­ing on the back end in post pro­duc­tion you don’t re­al­ize what’s hap­pen­ing on the other side.”

Get­ting in­volved in all as­pects of the show down to the small­est de­tail has been re­ward­ing and fun, says Es­naashari-Char­matz.

“It was really im­por­tant for me that we be able to have or­nate pat­terns and de­signs be­cause that’s part of what’s so fun about the genies,” she says. “If genies were real, you would ex­pect their cos­tumes to be com­pletely blinged out and have all the be­daz­zling and have all the pat­tern­ing.”

But it’s sto­ries that con­nect with kids that make the show really work, she says. “It seems like kids are lik­ing it and really at the end of the day that’s the main goal, to have the show that kids like,” says Es­naashari-Char­matz. “Be­fore we even had our full of­fi­cial pre­miere, I re­ceived our first fan let­ter and it was so sweet it made me cry.” [

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