After eight years of scripting lessons that start with objectives and end with a summary, it is a welcome change to script stories for TATA Sky, India’s premier direct-to-home television service. There are no modules or lessons, no tools or tips, no knowledge checks or learning aids, no graphic organizers or assessments; just seven screens of fun, color, and magic!
Scripting for TATA Sky Actve Stories is a writer’s dream. It is about writing stories for children in the age group of 3 years to 10 years. Some of the stories are original; some are adaptations from folklore, grandmother tales, mythology, and history; and some others are anecdotes from the lives of great national and international personalities. All stories are moral based or deal with a problem that children of the target age group commonly face like, getting lost, sharing, being clean, being lazy, etc. Each story is of the same small size—just seven screens! The first screen is the title screen and the remaining six house the story with full screen graphics and 2-3 lines of text each.
For me, the greatest satisfaction of being part of this project is being able to see the stories on television and seeing user reactions first hand. Almost every day (since I do not have a TATA Sky connection as yet), I head to the nearest Croma (an electronics retail chain in India, also owned by the TATA Group) to check out the story being aired that day. And while the salesman rattles out the benefits of taking a connection for the umpteenth time, I skip through the seven screens, drool over the awesome graphics, and try to ignore my son shouting, “Mummy you wrote that?” On some days when we have friends and family visiting, the enquiries for TATA Sky connections in Croma are a little more. But the real satisfaction is when I stand behind and watch the little children in the store leave their parents and rush to stare at the screen.
TATA Sky Actve Stories do not have the fast paced animations or the action packed sequences children of today are used to. But it yet succeeds (as initial feedback suggests) in its own charming way, in doing what it is meant to do—introduce children to a magical world of characters who live and learn from experience just like they do, and teach them some morals without actually doing so.
(Susan John is Senior Specialist – Instructional Design at TATA Interactive Systems)