Ground-breaking kids entertainment academic program launches

In what's likely an industry first, Toronto-based Centennial College has set up a post-graduate program to train the next generation of kids biz execs. The year-long Children's Entertainment: Writing, Production and Management course being run from the college's Centre for Creative Communications is set to welcome its first class of students this September.

In what’s likely an industry first, Toronto-based Centennial College has set up a post-graduate program to train the next generation of kids biz execs. The year-long Children’s Entertainment: Writing, Production and Management course being run from the college’s Centre for Creative Communications is set to welcome its first class of students this September.

Headed up by co-ordinator Suzanne Wilson, who is also the director of onscreen entertainment at Toronto’s Lenz Entertainment, the program is aiming to fill a niche currently not being served by other, more general film and TV production courses available at post-secondary institutions in North America. So rather than emphasizing technical training, says Wilson, the new program has been designed to provide 10 to 20 students each year with a good grounding in the art of writing, creating and managing children’s content production.

To that end, Centennial’s Early Childhood Education faculty will offer CE students core classes on childhood development alongside industry-specific ones being taught by kids entertainment pros on writing for children, project development and management.

Kids industry heavy hitters are also involved in the program through a local advisory board and international advisory panel.

Breakthrough Entertainment EVP Joan Lambur is chairing the committee, and Mary Bredin, former Disney exec and now head of development at Toronto’s guru Studios, Joy Rosen, cofounder and president of Portfolio Entertainment, and Spin Master executive producer Matt Wexler are also advisors.

At press time, Wilson and the board were in the process of finalizing faculty and the program course lineup.

An unpaid field placement is also an important part of the program. While the students will be responsible for landing an internship, Wilson says she’ll be scouting for opportunities with kids entertainment producers in and outside of Canada, and is inviting anyone interested in bringing in a student to contact her directly.

As part of a planned intro to industry types, Wilson is working on setting up a launch event to be held sometime this summer.

The inaugural group of students has been admitted to the program with a tuition fee of approximately $6,700 for domestic applicants. Contact Wilson (www.centennialcollege.ca/thecentre/childrensentertainment for more info.

From KidScreen