Small Factory Productions Kids Kare Create-A-Cartoon Workshop Made Possible by a Grant from the Jay Dooley Memorial Foundation

Fair Haven, NJ – Six months and 15 days following Superstorm Sandy’s destruction, many families in communities across the Jersey Shore have yet to return home. In an effort to help children still experiencing the emotional affects of being displaced by the storm, Small Factory Productions in Fair Haven, NJ organized one of its Emmy-Winning Kids Kare Create-a-Cartoon workshops to bring together a small group of area kids for a day of healing and creative fun. The workshop was made possible by a generous grant from the Jay Dooley Memorial Foundation.

On May 4-5 the children, who ranged in ages from 5 to 12, worked as a group to create their original animated cartoon short. The workshop began with the group learning about how a cartoon is created, then Small Factory’s Executive Producer Chris Dudick and Dr. Alison Block, a licensed psychologist from Little Silver, NJ, worked with the children to develop their individual characters by asking them questions that got ideas forming and imaginations flowing. Each child brought his or her individual character to life with colors, sounds and a script. Characters include the narrator Buffalo the Dog, Lauren the Mom, Bob the Dad, Andrew the Boy, Autumn the Girl, the helpers Sean and Charlotte, Bobo the Cat, the House, Joe the Construction Worker and Hurricane Sandy. Villain Sandy damaged the house, but the children were quick to add that she was only doing her job as a storm. The children unanimously titled the cartoon, “Storm Sandy: Staying Afloat.” Following the creation and recording of the children’s voices, the group also wrote and sang an original theme song.

Small Factory’s animators are in the process of creating the final cut of the cartoon. Visit shortly for news on the date, time and location for the cartoon’s red carpet premiere. Family, friends and the community are invited to attend. “Storm Sandy: Staying Afloat” will be available on Contact Jennifer Smiga at [email protected] or 201-892-9403 with any questions.

In an ironic twist of fate, in August 2011 the New York City Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) contracted Small Factory Productions to create cartoons based on the principles of “Ready Schools” to teach school children about preparing for emergencies. Over the course of two weeks, staff from OEM and Small Factory helped children in grades 3-5 at the Police Athletic League in the Rockaways to create original cartoon characters, scripts and songs for two cartoons entitled “Ready, Set, Prepare” and “Emergency Experts.” Both debuted at OEM’s “Partners in Preparedness” reception on September 26, 2011 at the American Museum of Natural History. To view the videos, visit

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...