Here is what they say -
Well, the day has come and Faces iMake – ABC has been released on the Appstore today.
Soon we will be writing about the process that led to this great app but in the meantime,
Here are the Faces iMake ALPHABET
iMagine Machine has an opening for a freelance publicist and social media marketing expert. The position will take about 10 hours per week but more when we are launching a new app. We are looking for someone who is US-based and can work from home.
What we need:
You are someone who really understands social media, the blogging world, and you know how to secure a story. You have good media contacts in the technology and publishing worlds and you also have a passion for education, kids and cool new ways that technology can inspire kids, teachers and parents. Ideally you have some experience in the educational field and have contacts in this field or you are passionate about teaching and education.
You will need to be able to write well, know how to pitch a story, prepare copy and press releases and create blogs and good web content that will get noticed.
- Plan and execute a marketing strategy for new apps working with the iMagine Machine team.
- Create and distribute press releases and follow up with contacts to work to secure coverage.
- Write and edit blog posts for iMagine Machine
- Create exciting social media and distribute it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
Deadline for applications is 25th of January but we’d love to hear from you as soon as possible. Please send us a letter telling us a little bit about yourself, why you’d be good for the role, CV and any other media you think might demonstrate your abilities to – Andrea@imaginemachine.com
The creator of WorryWoos, Andi Green sat down with iMagine Machine’s Andrea Dinnick to talk about monsters, apps, worries and how Worry Woos has touched so many different people:
Andrea: I know that Worry Woos started out as an exhibition that you created in a gallery and as I understand it, the concept wasn’t initially created for children. Do you remember when you first created Worry Woos, what were you personally trying to do with the exhibit?
Andi: The goal of the first exhibit was to create an installation based on the monsters that filled my sketch books for over a decade. Through the years I had labeled these monsters with different emotions and decided it was time to highlight these emotions in some way. I decided to call my series the Monsters In My Head and designed large individual light boxes with a xerox transferred story on the face of each box. What I didn’t expect was the strong response from parents and teachers who wanted to read these stories to their children and students .Based on their response, I realised the need in the children’s market for a product that expressed difficult emotions as they really are; complex yet human. And that is how The WorryWoos began.
Andrea: What’s been the biggest surprise about the Worry Woos?
Andi: The amount of letters and emails I receive from WorryWoo fans expressing their gratitude for my characters. It is so inspiring but still surprises me everytime.
Andrea: Why do you think that children are so interested in Worry Woos? What’s that special ‘magic’ that makes them so captivating for children?
Andi:It is hard to say since the response varies from child to child. Kids are drawn to the uniqueness of each WorryWoo on a personal basis. Children love their colors and expressions but it is the lyrical stories, I believe, that create the strong bond. When a child hears the emotional tale of each WorryWoo I can see them processing and connecting to their experiences. It is this connection that creates a strong bond between a child and their Woo.
Andrea: Have you had any feedback from adults who have found this helpful? Personally, it was a great reminder for me that worries really do never help any situation. What experiences have you heard from other adults?
Andi: Many adults tell me that they need a set of Woos for themselves! And I love to hear this because my original goal was to create stories that work on multiple levels. One of the most memorable letters I received was from a young lady who had just moved to NYC. She found The Lonely Little Monster in the MoMA giftstore and bought it for herself. Her email was a thank you for making her feel less lonely in the big city. I had only been in business a few months and that email made me feel so proud that I had succeeded in reaching a varied audience.
Andrea: Tell me about how the idea of an app started?
Andi: I had always thought about the app world but was never sure how to start. It was Eyal from Imagine Machine who got the process started and I am so happy he did.
Andrea: How did you hear about iMagine Machine?
Andi: I was introduced to iMagine Machine through a friend of mine. He mentioned one of the owners was a fan of the WorryWoos and was interested in creating an app. When I saw the work iMagine Machine had done I was so excited. iMagine Machine keeps the art side of the digital world alive. A lot of their work is still hand drawn and produced with a stop animation quality. It is this classic style that I truly respect and am drawn to.
Andrea: What do you think an app can offer that a book or toy can’t?
Andi: The App brings another dimension to the characters. You can interact with a plush and book. But when you hear the voice of the character, it allows you to integrate yourself into the story; that just adds to the experience.
Andrea: What are your plans for the future of Worry Woos.
Andi: My plan is to continue to grow the WorryWoo line and continue to help people embrace their inner Woo.
As we introduce FaceWorld™ it is a good time for me to do a little balance of what we have gone through with Faces iMake throughout the last almost 3 years since we started working on it.
We launched Faces iMake almost 2 and a half years ago for the iPhone and iPod. A year ago we added a much better version for the iPad. Over this period, more than 800,000 people downloaded our App and we have received countless of good press reviews and some prestigious awards such as a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Apple has embraced us and has promoted us from time to time so we definitely have felt and feel like our work and our App is valued and appreciated.
But, there were two questions that have been challenging us all this time: the first one was how to give more and more possibilities of objects, understanding that for really using the App to express something meaningful, the user needs to have tons of possibilities.
(This is what I constantly stress in my hands-on workshop: you need 100 objects to find the 1 you really want to use).
The second question and challenge was how to transform the experience from an individual one to a collective one where communication and a dialog is created through the art and where it almost becomes a real game.
In the past 6 months Eyal and I with our great team of designers and programmers have been working really hard on FaceWorld and as we are ready to introduce it to Faces iMake, I feel that these two challenges are finally addressed.
Eyal, my partner, and I started thinking about FaceWorld™ probably over one year ago.
(I have to say that the real dreamer of this and the engine behind it, is definitely Eyal, who understands much better than me the online and the Apps world.)
But, wait… what is FaceWorld™?
OK, so on the surface It is an online gallery where anyone using Faces iMake on the iPad can upload their creation to, and anyone using Faces iMake can access the gallery from their App and see what other people are doing.
But I feel that FaceWorld™ has the potential to be much more than just that.
For starters, there are (at least) 2 really great things about it: the first one is that anyone using Faces iMake can immediately download your creation, modify it in any way they want, and then upload it again in its new shape. This allows for the first time an almost instant ‘ping pong’ game of Faces iMake creations. It suddenly becomes not just an individual experience but it introduces the possibility of a game, a competition, a challenge, or in summary: a dialog.
The second cool idea is that when you download another person’s creation any object that the other person has added to their creation (remember that you can add any .png image either from the internet or photographed by you) will now be added to your own Faces iMake objects bank.
That really allows for an exponential growth of a common bank of objects. That bank will be created by that virtual community of Faces iMake users and it will be kept on FaceWorld. By downloading an image from FaceWorld you will add all its components to your own iPad. (once you save them to your Favorites folder)
The more you download, the more your bank of objects will expand.
So this is the story. As always, my work and in this case, the work we did with Eyal and our team, sends the energy out, and now, we can only wait and see how the users will respond to all this and what new energy will come back from them.
I have made a few September resolutions for the new school year. I’m waiting until the end of the summer holidays to break the news to my children. There will be no more ‘group homework’ sessions on Skype where my daughter and five of her thirteen year old friends ‘conference’ and do their homework. And I will no longer accept one word grunts as I attempt to talk to any of them while they are playing Minecraft, BBMing and watching TV at the same time. How did this happen? I’m the Mum who said ‘no thanks’ when the grandparents offered to buy the kids a Wii for Xmas. We had a strict no TV or computer game policy on weekdays and I am most famously known as the mother who yes, GAVE AWAY the Playstation after a month. I had the best of intentions when it came to managing technology for my kids.
The truth is that so much of the technology that our kids enjoy is amazing and we know that children are using their brains differently when they learn with different devices and the access to information they have is incredible. No complaints from me there. However, I think there is a dangerous by-product to some of the ways children use technology. And it’s not really ‘use’, I would argue it’s that they ‘inhabit’ technology. As they attempt to manage all of the information and social media, they are constantly doing too many things at once and this stops them from developing the ability to shut out other things and focus on one task. Doing anything well takes focus and single-mindedness whether that is persevering through a four step math problem, mastering a move in gymnastics or struggling through a complicated piano piece. In order to master anything we must focus and learning to focus takes practice.
For parents with younger children one thing that they can do is to think about the apps and computer games that their children play. Choosing apps that require the right kind of focus and creativity can help promote the thinking that kids will need to master things. Perhaps a classic storybook is better left as an old fashioned book. Does every character need to be pulsing so that the child feels the need to swipe and tap instead of following the story? They’re swiping and tapping because they might miss out on something (not too different from older kids worried about missing a tweet or instant message). Instead of following the storyline they are jumping around distracted instead of enjoying a great story. At iMagine Machine when we think about new apps we try to create ‘slow apps’. We want them to be fun and exciting and entertaining but at the same time we feel the excitement needs to come from the child. When the child has followed through on a series of problems, worked through a puzzle or created an amazing piece of art on the app – that’s where the reward comes. It’s then that we bring on the sound effects and virtual stickers and we design ways in which kids can share their accomplishments. The tapping and swiping is for navigating, creating and problem solving and not to create an all-singing, dancing, hyperactive experience.
So my advice to parents of younger children is to choose apps that are designed to keep kids engaged and not because the app is jam packed with overwhelming choices. Is the app engaging because it is trying to ‘hook’ them with unnecessary elements? Or is it engaging because of the amazing things your child can do with the app.