Two adults, screenwriters Will Bowles and Josh Flaum, sit down with a child and create a new story for each episode of Written by a Kid. The kid, sitting in a yellow throne in what looks like a playroom, comes up with the idea, but the guys help coax it along by asking questions, eliciting details and prompting an ending.
For example, in one of the roughly four-minute episodes of Written by a Kid, Brett, 5, tells of a one-eyed red monster who fights a man named Gerald (writer/director/author Joss Whedon stars). In another, a little girl named Sierra, 7, creates a tale of a mermaid named Carolina and her “sort-of” friend, John.
The tales meander. There’s swordplay, monsters, naps, secrets, friends, milk, and enemies. The children don’t follow scripts. It’s hard to know how long the story, or pieces of it, have been percolating in the child’s brain.
Once they start, they’re imagining and creating on the fly, and it’s fascinating to watch and listen to the thought process. Concepts of good and bad come out, themes of death and heartache are explored, and heroes emerge.
As the tale is told, it plays out with illustrations and animation that turn it into a mini-film complete with music and direction, all while the child’s voice narrates.
Written by a Kid episodes are captivating and amusing, odd and interesting, and always give a fascinating peek into the unpredictable world of a child’s mind.
Watch and enjoy the tales. Or watch and be inspired enough to try to sit and orate a story of your own. You might be surprised by what you come up with. As Bowles and Flaum said in an interview with Wired magazine last year, remember: “This is your story…It doesn’t have to be right or wrong.”