Let me get this out of the way right at the top. I’ve never met Gwen Stefani.
Nevertheless, Rhonda Smiley and I have been writing on her show for a while now, and it premieres in the U.S. on Nickelodeon today at four (featuring one of our episodes, “Angel’s Flight”).
This is not insignificant, as I’ve written on international co-productions before that didn’t air in the U.S. until years after they were out of production, or sometimes not at all. That’s the global marketplace, of course, and one of the things you contend with as a freelancer.
Still, being a working writer can feel a little less rewarding when people think of you like that kid in Junior High who always talked about his “girlfriend in Canada” that no one ever met.
Sure you’ve written four episodes of a show for Disney Channel France. Wink wink.
Kuu Kuu Harajuku started life abroad as well. The show is a joint production of an Australian company – Moody Street Kids – and a Malaysian one – Vision Animation.
But animation production takes significantly more time than recording a six second Vine with your phone and uploading it to the web.
In fact, it can take years between the moment you type “fade out” on a script and that episode finally hits the airwaves. And in the meantime, you’re stuck in a sort of industry limbo.
A strongly-worded NDA can throw a pretty hefty-sized wrench into your ability to milk some self-promotional magic in the social media world while you’re waiting too. In fact, the words “Gwen” and “Stefani” were actually verboten for me up until a couple of weeks ago.
“I know half my IMDb page looks like it’s filled with made-up titles, but I’m huge in Germany. Huge, I tell you!”
But the day has come at last thanks to the hard work of distribution staff I don’t even know. I can finally talk about a show I’m working on and listeners will actually understand what I’m referring to.
Jokes aside, perception is important in this business, and a list of unfamiliar credits can make it that much harder to impress potential employers. So landing on a major U.S. Network like Nickelodeon is a big deal.
Oddly enough, Kuu Kuu Harajuku is my second show in a row that revolves around a girl band, following Marathon Media’s LoliRock (though the Kuu Kuu kids aren’t magical princesses. Yet, anyway. Who knows what might happen in seasons ten and eleven).
To quote the press release…
“Kuu Kuu Harajuku follows the adventures of the musical group HJ5: Love, Angel, Music, Baby and their inspirational leader, G. Despite their superstar talent, HJ5′s manager Rudie, angry aliens, NoFun politicians, hungry monster pets and other obstacles are constantly interrupting their gigs, and they never get to finish a concert — but G and her friends never give up!”
After this week’s daily episodes at four, the show will move to its regular slot Saturday mornings at 8:30.
Remember, the only thing better than a name-brand show is a name-brand show that’s also a monster hit. So get on it, people. Watch early, and often. And don’t forget to spread the word.
Tick tock. What you waiting for?
FULL DISCLOSURE: My girlfriend actually is from Canada. But she’s totally real. You can even ask my mom.