Prankster Plan­et

Sesame Work­shop

The mak­ers of The Elec­tric Com­pa­ny tasked Pri­mal Screen with extend­ing the expe­ri­ence and cur­ricu­lum of the show. The result, Prankster Plan­et, spans online, broad­cast and print, each enrich­ing the others.

The Best of All Worlds

Sesame Work­shop, the cre­ators and pro­duc­ers of The Elec­tric Com­pa­ny, want­ed to give their audi­ence a deep­er expe­ri­ence of the show and its curriculum.

Prankster Plan­et is a world that spans online, broad­cast and print, each enrich­ing the oth­ers. Here, the show’s live-action char­ac­ters embark on learn­ing adven­tures in a series of 12, two-minute, car­toon mini-episodes.

The adven­tures don’t end onscreen — 12 mul­ti-game online mis­sions” con­tin­ue episode sto­ry­lines. Kids can cre­ate car­toon avatars of them­selves and work with the char­ac­ters to solve prob­lems just hint­ed at dur­ing the show. Final­ly, a work­book rein­forces the cur­ricu­lum of the online and broad­cast expe­ri­ence, help­ing to make the learn­ing last.

Strat­e­gy

The Elec­tric Com­pa­ny’s cur­ricu­lum goals and and strong brand lega­cy are the bedrock of Prankster Plan­et. We col­lab­o­rat­ed with Sesame Work­shop to dis­cov­er ways to make the learn­ing inte­gral to the games and mini-episodes — nev­er tacked on.

The release sched­ule was to be aggres­sive: four new ani­mat­ed episodes air every every week for three weeks. Twelve mul­ti-game mis­sions” (each unique to an episode) go live the morn­ing the episode airs.

Face-to-face meet­ings in our stu­dio and at Sesame Work­shop’s facil­i­ty in New York yield­ed a plan of attack. With some months of lead time, we would design char­ac­ters and back­grounds, ani­mate them, and mean­while, design, devise and code the games.


Illus­tra­tion and Animation

In the past two sea­sons, The Elec­tric Com­pa­ny’s char­ac­ters had only tak­en live-action form. Before we could begin work on the games and ani­mat­ed mini-episodes them­selves, we had to design the characters.

Our ani­ma­tion staff designed 10 char­ac­ters (all based on real peo­ple) and over a hun­dred back­ground scenes to bring the episodes and sto­ries to life. Char­ac­ter design and ani­ma­tion took place in Flash to yield 25 min­utes of content.


Online Games

We worked with Sesame Work­shop to build games that are fun, mul­ti-lay­ered and edu­ca­tion­al. Games and car­toon episodes form a con­tin­u­ous nar­ra­tive that cycles between lin­ear, broad­cast sto­ry­telling and immer­sive, inter­ac­tive gameplay.

For every car­toon episode there is an online mis­sion” that com­pris­es a sidescroller game along with some mini games. Play­ers cre­ate avatars of them­selves to help the show’s char­ac­ters. As play­ers suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete chal­lenges, they earn handy tools and cool acces­sories for their avatar.

Work­book

Every year, The Elec­tric Com­pa­ny cre­ates a com­pan­ion work­book to sup­port the series’ cur­ricu­lum. Sesame Work­shop dis­trib­utes them for free through teach­ers to include class­rooms in the show’s edu­ca­tion­al mission.

This year we devel­oped a look that inte­grat­ed the new car­toon aes­thet­ic with the col­lage style of years past. We had the advan­tage of hav­ing game, ani­ma­tion and print design­ers all under one roof. Often we had new illus­tra­tions almost as soon as they were request­ed. This gave us a more cus­tom look and the all impor­tant abil­i­ty to just try stuff.”

10 times the traf­fic, 9 times the engagement

Elec­tric Com­pa­ny’s Prankster Plan­et rep­re­sents a num­ber of mile­stones. For the first time, a show’s online, on-air and print forms have been devel­oped by the same team at the same time. More­over, for the first time these three forms rely on one anoth­er to com­plete the nar­ra­tive and deliv­er a curriculum.

The ana­lyt­ics since the site’s May launch have been staggering:

Aver­age time on the site soared to 28 min­utes, that’s a 900% increase, and unheard of in this demographic

Total vis­its rose from 31,000 to 3.2 mil­lion, which amounts to a 1000% increase

Vis­i­tors who found the site through a ban­ner ad(!) aver­aged 16 min­utes of engagement

Kids’ adven­tures on Prankster Plan­et are immer­sive and active. The time they spend in this world has real val­ue: as enter­tain­ment, as brand expe­ri­ence, and best of all, as learn­ing. We’re proud to have been a part of the best that trans­me­dia can achieve.