Commentary &commercial animation &Illustration &Layout & Design 30 Aug 2013 12:49 am

Child Development care – on a tight shoestring

- Let me give some attention to a series of films we did for UNICEF back in the 90′s. There were four films which focussed on Child Development, trying to teach parents in the Third World how to take care of their children in the first eight years of development.

The animation proved crucial, but without a unique artistic style there’d be nothin but cute baby pictures. We were successful (or I wouldn’t be talking about them.)

These films were brought to me by one, Cassie Landers. A well trained educator and an employee of Unicef where she promoted child development training and was hoping to use film to get the message across to the Third World.

Primary to these films was to get the point across that females deserved as much attention, including education, as the boys did. This is a major problem throughout the world, and UNICEF has done an entire series specifically for India about it.

Our aim was to encourage good diet, good behavioral practices and, again, the importance of a good education. The four films were ultimately combined with some live action footage of T. Berry Brazelton talking with children and introducing each of the four segments.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, as First Lady, introduced the entire 1/2 hr. show.

Here are some frame grabs from about 2/3 the scenes of the first film, Off To A Good Start.


After the UNICEF logo, the film started with a montage of children’s faces.

I’ve compiled about a third of the faces.

The camera continually moves in on the faces while …

… constantly dissolving to the next setup.

This was the opening to all four of the films.

It was accompanied by narration by Celeste Holme describing the films.

The narration was written by UNICEF Producer/educator, Cassie Landers.
Sue Perotto drew all of the children’s faces for the opening.

The main title.

The first film started with prenatal care.

Giving a very short the child in the womb.

Right through to the actual birth.

Then it jumps to the first year of development.

The art style was designed after Matisse’s Moroccan paintings.

He had a very primitive set up colors with
earth-toned characters dominating their paintings.

We tried to reproduce the feel of these paintings
allowing the texture of the paintings to run and bleed.

This was all done pre-computer days, so all art was
painted on paper, then cut out and pasted to cels.

It was all shot on camera by Gary Becker at his FStop Studios.

The first year continues with similar setup.

After showing some advanced activity . . .

. . . we show how the brain has started to . . .

develop enormously in this first year.

The child learns to get up and crawl.

From here she learns to walk.


Then he learns to play more sophisticated games . . .

. . .utilizing tools that require more dexterity and thought.


Directed by Michael Sporn
Produced and Written by Cassie Landers EdD, MPH
Narrated by Celeste Holme
Music by David Evans

Production Coordinated by Masako Kanayama
Backgrounds by Jason McDonald
Edited by Ed Askinazi
Photography by FStop Studio – Gary Becker & Bob Bushell
Technical Consultant Marc Borstein Nat’l Inst of Health, Bethesda MD.
Office Manager Marilyn Rosado
Animation by Rodolfo Damaggio, Sue Perotto, Michael Sporn
Rendering by Christine O’Neill, Matt Sheridan, Stephen MacQuignon, Masako Kanayama
Special Thanks to Nigel Fisher, Deputy Regional Director,
UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and Africa

2 Responses to “Child Development care – on a tight shoestring”

  1. on 30 Aug 2013 at 5:05 pm 1.Stephen Macquignon said …

    Always nice to go down memory lane

  2. on 04 Sep 2013 at 8:26 pm 2.Janet Benn said …

    Sue Perotto did an amazing job on those faces! A beautiful piece of work all around.

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