ELORA – A little idea from a young Elora author is starting to grow as an animated adaptation of his self-published book has been picked up by a major children’s educational broadcaster.
TVOkids has released a 30-episode series called Teeny Tiny Stories based on a book published by Skyler Hammond, a 26-year-old author from Elora, who has also written original versions for the program.
As the title of the series suggests, Hammond’s stories are short with each episode being approximately 45 seconds and the original book’s stories are just a few lines to tell a core story or theme through various genres.
The stories were first posted to social media with ideas stemming from either writing prompts or exercises, inspired by other media or just simply watching his pets.
“They started out as quite tiny stories for quite a tiny audience, so to have it go to all these people now it feels pretty good,” Skyler said.
The series airs on television but also on YouTube where the series has close to 300,000 views after being published under a month ago.
This has already surpassed any personal goals Skyler set with the first 10 episodes alone and there are still more to be released.
“We’ve tripled that almost already and we haven’t even had the last 10 released. For whatever reason it’s connecting with people,” Skyler said.
Trevor Hammond, Skyler’s uncle and executive producer of Good Game Films who make the series, said the reason for the success is simply because the stories are great and there’s not much else like this out there.
Pitching a series with 45 second episodes wasn’t easy, but Trevor said TVO was interested in it due to the educational value that fits within the vision and mandate of the station.
“The powerful storytelling that happens through a few short lines and a single piece of artwork is really impressive,” TVOkids producer Kirsten Hurd said in a media release.
“We hope these videos will be a way to encourage two-way communication, conversations about critical thinking and let children explore the power of art.”
Both Skyler and his uncle have heard some educators have been incorporating both the videos and book into lessons for students.
“Beyond enjoying a story, if you can break it down and learn something from it or have kids get maybe excited about writing in general or art in general … it’s just super cool,” Skyler said.
Trevor said they worked with an education specialist on it and was blown away at how many levels he learned educators could use it whether it be language, writing, art or understanding emotions.
“There’s so many valuable tools that can be used by teachers for this series and that’s a huge value that TVO saw so we’re thrilled about that,” Trevor said. “We’re really thrilled to have them as a partner.”
Skyler also expressed gratitude towards TVOkids and added he’s on board to do more episodes if they’ll have him and so are Good Game Films. That however isn’t up to him but he hoped the good viewership will help facilitate that.
He’s also finished a second Teeny Tiny Stories book which he may or may not self-publish.
“I’m hoping to find representation, maybe take it up to a more professional level or have someone who has a wider reach for the written side of things,” Skyler said. “We’ll see.”