Andy’s Airplanes: Interview with John Pierre Francia
Posted on February 8, 2008 at 8:30 am
I spoke to producer/creater John Pierre Francia, who was inspired by his experience as a flight instructor to create a new DVD series about a boy who flies a different airplane to a new place every week, learning about geography, history, science and culture, and making new friends.
Andyâ€™s Airplanes is a show and a company centered around a 8-year-old little boy. He is a sweet, loving character with a thirst for adventure and learning and he is kind. Everyone knows and loves Andy because he is interested in the places and people he finds. Most shows have the rude kid. We donâ€™t have the kid with the bad attitude. Though we were told to have more conflict, we believe thereâ€™s enough natural conflict, in the logistical challenges he faces. It is enough to see him learn and have adventures. His best friend is Yaygrr, a black-footed ferret. He loves Andy and heâ€™s the pratfall character, the one gets into trouble when he eats too much at the luau. Every time heâ€™s on screen the kids light up.
In Episode 1, Andy flies to the USS Ronald Reagan and learns about aircraft carriers. He participates in a simulated dogfight. He loses pretty quickly to Angel, the admiralâ€™s daughter, and they quickly become friends. Andy is not bothered by being beaten or by a strong girl. In another episode, Andy learns about Polynesian culture and volcanoes and meets Akele and teaches her how to fly. The series has very strong girl characters and there will be recurring roles. Andy might see Angel when he goes to other cities.
Each episiode ends with real kids from the place Andy goes. Our core audience is 2-8 but older kids love the real kids part.
We have a big reading and learning agenda for the series. Kids will learn true aviation principles. We will teach kids about navigation, and that will give them some strong math and science skills. Microsoft is creating a flight simulator plug-in for kids and it will be narrated, so they can fly Andyâ€™s plane.