Shooting on location in New York City gives the show a unique visual stamp. Our characters live in a mixed and vibrant neighborhood. The front stoops, the fire hydrants and the bodegas are real, but there is a fantastical element to the place. It’s a place where you can (and do) meet all kinds of people – even more diverse than the real New York City. Aliens, gorillas and medieval knights can walk down the street with the beat cop and the hot dog vendor. And the lettering on any sign in the hood is subject to manipulation by anyone. There is an “everybody knows everybody” feel about it, and the central social gathering spot of the neighborhood is a diner.
The Electric Diner
The Electric Diner, owned by Keith’s father, Leo, is the headquarters for the The Electric Company group. The Company has a regular booth where they hang out, tease one another and hatch plans.
Each episode will be composed in nearly equal parts of narrative and interstitials. The scenes of the story will be interspersed with innovative, musical and educationally-rich shorts. The short pieces will be a mixture of animation, musical anthems, Shock segments and other comic interludes.
1) The Narrative
In a cold open, one or more of our regulars encounter a problem. The problem is established and the regular(s) scream out the signature “Hey You Guuuyyyys!” This is our “Live from New York, Its Saturday Night” and launches us into the opening theme song. At the diner, early in the episode, the Company will identify the source of the problem which then vaults them onto the streets of NYC to set things right. Over the course of the narrative, the gang will naturally use their wordplay and reading skills to help solve the problem. Each story has specific vocabulary that supports the kid relevant themes of the body, animals, games and space.
Integrated musical segments are songs that are specific to the action of narrative. In the musical theater tradition, when something is too big to talk about, we sing about it.
2) The Interstitial Magic
Whenever the Company is in transition, heading from one location to the next or as a result of a time lapse, we will drop in any of several inventive interstitial pieces. This is where the bulk of the explicit teaching of the phonics curriculum resides. In effect, these pieces will illustrate and emphasize an element of reading, which has been introduced in the narrative. Essentially, we’ll give the viewer the tools to solve the problems in the narrative right along with the Company, offering organic play-along opportunities and giving our viewers a sense of mastery.
Musical Anthems are highly produced music videos that reinforce or drive home key literacy elements, like ‘Silent E’, ‘Bossy R’, etc. These catchy songs will be repeated in multiple episodes and are designed to become household favorites.
Shock segments are accessible beatbox/mime pieces crafted to illustrate phonetic strategies using the remarkable gift of this contemporary Buster Keaton.
Animated shorts As with the original, we have built recurring animated characters that help reinforce elements of the curriculum.
Comedic Interludes are live action pieces employing stand up comics, physical performers and pieces featuring real kids that will serve our curricular goals.