CMA Newsletter | August 2017

unnamedCMA – L.A. Town Hall Kickoff

This is not your typical industry event! Enjoy networking with other children’s media pros, executives, creatives, educators and researchers while playing games, reminiscing about your favorite programs from childhood, eating appetizers and hearing about what’s new in the children’s media industry. Our Town Hall is an opportunity to participate as part of the important “think tank” that is CMA-L.A. Join us for this FREE event and a chance to become a founding member of this exciting organization!

For questions, please email

Date and Time: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Location: Soapbox Films 1011 W. Isabel St., Burbank, CA 91506

Members & Non-Members: FREE
Register NOW!


Red Chair Series Recap

CMA Presents The Red Chair Series: A Conversation with Amy Friedman and Randi Zuckerberg
Blog Post by Amy Beaudoin

On Thursday, May 18th, 2017, Children’s Media Association hosted the 8th annual Red Chair Series. The Red Chair Series are conversations between Amy Friedman, CMA board advisor and SVP of Programming and Development at Sprout, and some of the most influential figures in the children’s media industry. This year Amy Friedman talked with Randi Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media New York.

The event felt less like an interview with a figurehead in children’s media and more like a conversation between two friends, as they talked about Randi’s career and how she went from working at a marketing firm to being the head of Digital Marketing for Facebook, to working with Amy and Sprout on Dot.

See full post here

FullSizeRender-49Industry Spotlight: Interview with Alexandra West, Marvel Press Assistant Editor

Prior to becoming an Assistant Editor for Marvel Press, was it necessary to do extensive research into the Marvel Universe?

It actually was not! Surprisingly enough, I came in with a background in children’s publishing and it was better to enter the role with a knowledge of children’s books rather than knowing obscure characters in the Marvel Universe. Mainly because what we do at Marvel Press is take core characters and apply them to best-selling formats. We don’t really delve into any of the obscure characters . . . like Porcupine who is a real Marvel villain (look him up!). We typically wait until a storyline in the Marvel comics takes off before we adapt it into one of our formats. Marvel waited until they let us do big projects with the Guardians of the Galaxy because they didn’t know if it was going to take off or not. We’ve recently started to create books around the character Squirrel Girl, who is slowing making her way up into the Marvel mainstream!

Do you often create a story with a specific artist or artwork in mind?

ALWAYS. We always consider the art style because (buckle your seat belts) Marvel has multiple universes. Unlike a franchise like Star Wars, which has one cinematic universe, Marvel has over five and counting. We have cinematic, animation, TV live-action, comics, evergreen, and also a growing list of unique opportunities. Each universe has its own art style. The bulk of what I do is in animation, evergreen, and unique. Animation and evergreen include your three families of core characters: Spider-Man, Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy. This is highly-rendered, what you see on kids backpacks kind of art.

As for unique, we are actually starting to experiment with a new art style called Super Hero Adventures which is geared towards younger 4-7 age range. They are your favorite Marvel characters but in a cute (chubby!) kid-friendly art style that we’ve found resonates well with younger kids who aren’t ready to watch Marvel animation on Disney XD.

And then always of course when we do unique formats. These are opportunities that we capitalize on using unique art styles that fit that format, age range, audience, etc. We do these kooky Doodle Books that are inspirational activity books for kids ages 6-8. Check ’em out, we just published a Spider-Man Doodles written by Brandon T. Snider who is the funniest person on the planet. He also wrote me a Spider-Man joke book over his Christmas break this past year. I owe him for that one.

For your new middle grade Monsters Unleashed books, what was it like to choose which monsters would be in the series?

When I first learned about the initiative, I went to my fabulous author Steve Behling and we sat down and brainstormed what traditional Jack Kirby monsters we would want to see in these books. Kirby’s 100th birthday was coming up and we thought it would be awesome to pay homage to the legendary artist. Steve gave me four monsters that he instinctively wanted to write about. So we laid out four different stories each starring four different monsters, basically mapping out the plots all at once. I completely trust Steve and his creative direction. He is one of those Marvel fans that’s super knowledgeable about the Marvel Universe and we had some fun hiding easter eggs throughout the books.

As an editor are you also responsible for coming up with the material that the authors will work on?

It’s kind of crazy to think how much licensed publishing is different from traditional publishing. We have this amazing freedom to create an idea, and then we hand it off as a complete package to the author. This is mainly because the book or series idea has to be approved by so many parties. I can’t even approach an author until I know everyone has signed off on it. That being said, there are so many things that fall into my idea graveyard, for various reasons. RIP! Hopefully some of them might make a comeback someday.

What makes Marvel Press different from a traditional publishing company or imprint?

Besides the whole licensed versus traditional thing, Marvel Press is different from any other imprint at Disney Publishing because we work with so many different work-for-hire artists. I didn’t realize when I signed on in an editorial position how much art directing I would be doing. It actually kind of became this huge blessing because I got to learn about the entire artistic process. Which I love! I was an art history minor and have always cursed the fact I couldn’t draw so my inner artist gets to live on through this awesome aspect of my job.

What current or upcoming projects are you the most excited about?

I’ve already mentioned them, but I am super excited about my Marvel Monsters Unleashed chapter book series. There are currently four books in the series and the first two are already out in stores now. Check ’em out, Beware the Glop! and The Gruesome Gorgilla! I based the format on the classic Goosebumps series and sent them off to R.L. Stine on a fluke. But he actually read them and gave them amazing praise! The fifth book in the series (which I hope I get to make!) will feature my favorite character Fin Fang Foom. He’s a 44-foot tall hyper-intelligent dragon monster with a tragic backstory. What more could you want?

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