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A self-produced kids show for Atlas Obscura
In early 2020, Atlas Obscura’s VP of Entertainment asked if I’d like to pitch him some concepts for a short YouTube show.
I already had a pitch at the ready: A DIY kids crafting show demonstrating how to recreate unique, unusual, and unexpected objects from history with everyday materials. I presented potential selections from the Atlas Obscura database—the cyanometer, book toilet, long pointy shoes, and entrail models made the short list. With a few notes of guidance, I scripted, prototyped, and self-shot four full episodes of the show (plus an animated opening title). A video editor masterfully stitched together the pilot, but sadly, budget cuts ground the project to a halt.
“Curious Crafts” combines making things with your hands with prompts on how humans throughout history have made sense of their surroundings—or simply come up with ways to entertain themselves. Why did 14th-century Europeans wear shoes so long and pointy? Why did Mesopotamian oracle-priests use animal livers to predict the future? Are either of these rituals so different from things we do today? While the show never reached its intended audience, the process of working on it was totally enlivening.
Looking back, I suspect my objects were a bit too complicated for the kids I was targeting (something that likely would have become apparent had the show aired). If I had another stab at it, I’d like to test each project with kids of a few different ages to gauge for feasibility and fun. Any feedback received would guide my approach and process, from length of episode and use of humor to type of object and level of detail.