What do you get when you cross “The Big Bang Theory” with a bit of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse?” A hilarious comedy show called Flummox and Friends that entertains both children and their parents while exploring the details of everyday social interactions.
LocoMotive Labs is pleased to showcase a new template for Kid in Story Book Maker featuring characters from Flummox and Friends. Now your kids can enjoy watching the pilot episode and extend their experience with the Flummox and Friends template in Kid in Story Book Maker. We sat down with Christa, the creator of Flummox and Friends, and asked her a few questions about the show including the inspiration for the story she created with our app.
Be sure to watch the pilot episode, download the new template in our community library and read on to learn more about Flummox and Friends!
What is Flummox and Friends?
Flummox and Friends is an offbeat, live-action comedy designed to help kids navigate the social and emotional world. The storyline focuses on three smart and quirky inventors and their friends.
You might think of it as “The Big Bang Theory” for smart, quirky kids with a little “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” thrown in.
Through comedy, we try to demystify those unspoken rules of interaction that tend to be challenging for kids with a wide variety of differences. Our goal is that the show gets families talking – in a very open and nonjudgmental way – about what’s hard about social interaction as they watch and laugh together.
People can check out our pilot episode for free on our website.
My kids love Susie and I love the character named Wanda. Do you have a favorite character?
It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite, but I know lots of our fans do. People write me and say things like, “I’m Wanda and my son is Milo and my husband is Dex.” Or, “My daughter was having a ‘Wanda moment’ the other day and we both laughed about it.”
When developing the characters I drew inspiration from my son, who is on the autism spectrum, and other quirky kids (and adults) I know. Professor Flummox, Milo, and Wanda all have aspects of my son’s personality – the unselfconscious enthusiasm of Flummox, the intense focus and memory power of Milo, and the tendency to get lost in books and his own imagination like Wanda. And I wanted to make sure that Suzie and Dex experienced their own struggles or “blind spots” when it comes to social interaction as well, even though they are more extroverted characters.
What was the inspiration behind the story you created with Kid in Story Book Maker?
New technologies are really disrupting the notion that screen time is passive time. The Kid in Story Book Maker is an amazing example how can use technology to bring kids literally into a story and create an experience that’s interactive, collaborative and imaginative. Like Locomotive Labs, we see the screen as a catalyst for learning and play off-screen.
For the Flummox and Friends and Me story, we thought it would be fun to support the learning goals of self-reflection/awareness and recognizing and expressing different emotional states, since those are common focus areas for kids with developmental differences. But we also knew our current fans would love the chance to feel like they were interacting with the characters. All of our actors have incredibly expressive and fun faces; it just seemed like a perfect way to inspire imaginative play.
What was the experience like creating a story with the “kid” in the Flummox and Friends story?
I used my son as our example kid in the book and he loves to act, so he leapt at the chance. We gave him each prompt and showed him the character photo and then he ran into his room to rehearse his pose in front of a mirror, then came back to do his pose. He really put a lot of thought into how he was going to embody each emotion!
The Kid in Story Book Maker is a really nice extension of how he likes to relate to books and stories in the first place, which is to imagine himself as a character in them, so this came quite naturally to him and it’s a great tool for him. We can’t wait to see examples of other Flummox fans who put themselves in the book!
What’s next for Flummox and Friends? Will there be more episodes? I want more Wanda!
We’ve had such an enthusiastic response to our pilot episode and lots of people are asking for more. The good news is more Flummox and Friends is coming! We’re developing our own iPad app that will allow us to release videos directly to our audience via in-app purchases. We’re starting with the release of a new short – starring Milo and Wanda – along with the app and we have more shorts in the works. The more successful the app is, the sooner we can shoot more full-length episodes. Flummox fans can stay informed of our upcoming launch by following us on Facebook or Twitter, or signing up for our email newsletter from our website.