Victoria Lozano, EVP Crayola, recently took to the stage at MipJunior in Cannes, France, to set out the vision and inspiration behind Crayola Studios. LM had a talk with her, to discover more about the future plans for the Studios.
During the MipJunior keynote, in addition to outlining the genesis of and rationale behind Crayola Studios, the entertainment content arm of Crayola, supported by sister company Hallmark Media, Lozano also unveiled the company’s significant development, production co-financing and licensing deal with 9 Story Media Group, a leading creator, producer, and distributor of award-winning animated and live action content for audiences around the world. For the first title in the multi-project deal, 9 Story will partner with Crayola Studios and MIMO Studios on the active development of The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian, the animated adaptation of Gen-Z Media’s award-winning kids’ podcast, written and performed by Jonathan Messinger with the help of his son. A first-look has been presented to buyers at MIP.
What inspired you to establish Crayola Studios?
Crayola has a clear mission to champion and celebrate children’s creative self-expression, and the entertainment space can bring that to life brilliantly – so Crayola Studios was really the next logical step for the company. We have a unique perspective, one that is currently not represented in a singular and cohesive way in the industry, so we think there’s white space there that we can fill with compelling and meaningful content that will inspire and nurture the next generation and help them develop lifelong creative mindsets.
Core to our company is the belief that creativity is a life skill that helps kids reach their full potential in life. But while parents really value creativity, many need help to nurture it – another reason for us to provide another avenue to help inspire and celebrate creativity in children. Our research showed that parents are very much on board with our move into entertainment content – after all, we have been a trusted part of kids’ and families’ lives for over a century.
We want Crayola Studios to make its mark on the industry – no one does, or frankly can do, this the way we can.
What kind of content are you looking for?
We are looking for a broad range of content across multiple genres and touchpoints. We want stand-out new entertainment content with creative self-expression at its heart, that is unique to what’s already in the market. Our aim is to develop a compelling slate that helps bring our mission to life and explores the limitless possibilities of children’s creativity. Whether that’s across animation, live-action, shortform content or longform theatrical projects, if it’s exciting and engaging for kids, and parents will feel good about their kids watching it, then we’ll look at it.
Although we expect to have a large percentage of original ideas, we’ll also consider existing IP that captures what the Crayola brand is about. In fact our first project, The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian, is based on a very successful podcast series. Focusing on creativity, imagination and action, with great characters, engaging storytelling and creativity and colour as intrinsic elements of the story, the DNA of the series is at the very core of what we do at Crayola.
Basically, we want the best projects and the best ideas, so may the best content win.
What is the current development plan of the Studios?
Our robust, carefully planned development pipeline already includes several exciting cross-genre projects across animation and live action for kids and families. Additionally, we are actively looking for best-in-class partners who share our creative vision so that we can develop more entertainment content that inspires and empowers the next generation and helps nurture lifelong creative mindsets. We are very protective of our brand so we want to ensure our partners – whether it’s production companies, animation studios, writers or IP owners – will help us to do it justice in this space.
We already have a significant presence on digital and want to expand our digital content across numerous touchpoints to provide kids and families with a multitude of opportunities to engage with a plethora of inspiring content that will have wide-ranging appeal.
Crayola Studios is a long-term commitment with a significant investment to make it happen. With the right capabilities, the right expertise and a nimble mindset, we look forward to evolving and growing with scale.
Curated by Rossella Arena