Creating Billy - Local Video Production Company Enters the Children's Education Market

Seattle, WA - Kayo Media, a Seattle-based video production company, announces the video launch of Billy Blue Hair TM - Why Do Giraffes Have Long Necks? a new half-hour educational program for children ages 5 and up that combines animation and live-action video. 

The Billy Blue Hair series encourages children to use their imagination in discovering why things are the way they are. "We like to think of the Billy series as education through entertainment and imagination," said Kris Olson, the founder of Kayo Media. "We want kids to learn in a fun environment." The animated character Billy, a hip and quirky kid with blue hair, is the guide and educator as he and the audience learn the answers to such things as, "Why do zebras have stripes?" and "Why do giraffes have long necks?" After asking a question, animation augments live-action video to produce the answer, creating a fun and humorous outcome.

So, how did Billy come to life? During the dot-com craze, Kris worked at AtomFilms, the short film distribution company that started in Seattle and ultimately merged with Shockwave of San Francisco, CA. After being laid-off, the now 38 year old Mr. Olson enrolled in video production classes at the non-profit organization, 911 Media Arts. "It's amazing what you can do with a digital camera and a computer. 911 gave me the technical know-how and from there it was just a matter of coming up with a creative idea to pursue."

But, bringing the Billy character to life created one problem for Mr. Olson. For the solution, 911 Media played another important role. "I needed someone to create the actual character and to develop all the animation that would occur within the video. I posted a message on 911 Media's Web site bulletin board and got an immediate response." The response came from Charlie Kothe, a freelance animator from West Seattle. "I met Kris for coffee one morning," said Mr. Kothe. "After hearing his ideas and him viewing my sketches, we were both sold on each other." With just a few guidelines to follow, Charlie created Billy Blue Hair within a week.