Fallbrook musician and songwriter Arlene Yates and Fallbrook Film Factory co-founder Ron Shattuck have teamed up to produce a “Garden of Tomorrow” video children’s series which is slated to make its debut over the Internet this fall at www.GardenOfTomorrowProductions.com.
“In a nutshell, I think of a children’s Sesame Street type of level TV production but entirely Web-based,” Shattuck said.
Garden of Tomorrow Productions, LLC, was founded in late 2012. Yates and Shattuck had discussed the possibility of an educational children’s television series, although Shattuck was committed to the international film festival and those duties didn’t conclude until April 2013. “That took a huge amount of time,” Shattuck said.
Yates and Shattuck have turned to the Fallbrook and Bonsall communities for talent and location. Hank and Patti Hornsveld may provide interested children from the Mission Theater and CAST acting, singing, and dancing classes. “Patti has always been my inspiration to do stuff like this,” Shattuck said.
“I hope to see some collaboration,” Shattuck said. “They have a lot of talented young children.”
The Shattuck family has also worked with Cassandra Lund of the North County Academy of Dance, which is also expected to provide juvenile talent for Garden of Tomorrow.
Yates and Shattuck have also been obtaining feedback from Tom Ewen of Rawhide Ranch and Don McDougal of the Grand Tradition. “These could become great shooting locations,” Shattuck said.
“The driving thing is it’s going to be absolutely wholesome, fun, and educational at the same time,” Shattuck said. “Parents will feel totally comfortable letting their children watch this.”
The 30-minute episodes will be comprised of segments lasting three, five, or eight minutes depending on the subject matter. Yates noted that the target audience will be children ages 3 through 7. “This is not for teenagers. This is for the little tots,” she said. “The attention span at that age is fairly short.
Approximately two-thirds of the segments will be filmed by the Garden of Tomorrow studio while the other third will be contributed by viewers.
Yates will provide her puppet skills as well as her music. Garden of Tomorrow will also have animals provided by Fallbrook’s Pacific Animal Productions when appropriate. “It’s going to be appealing to both boys and girls,” Shattuck said.
Yates began her performing career in the late 1960s with an all-girl band called the Jaggz and has been involved in children’s entertainment through her music and puppet shows since 1983. Her children were born in 1976 and 1978, and her five grandchildren who all live in Temecula range in age from 2 to 7.
Shattuck’s grandchildren, now ages 4 and 6, live in Orange County. His five children range in age from 36 to 14. Shattuck notes that when his children were younger he watched Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Thomas the Tank Engine with them.
Shattuck believes that current entertainment which is billed as children’s television doesn’t truly serve the needs of small children. “I saw an evolution in this whole thing,” he said. “What’s wrong with going back to basics?”
Shattuck, who is now 73, grew up watching the Howdy Doody Show and was on the set of that show as a child in Philadelphia. He also watched the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans television show and the puppet television show Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.
Yates’ childhood viewing included ventriloquist Shari Lewis and “Art Linkletter’s House Party.” “I used to love Art Linkletter’s show,” she said. “We can do a little bit of that.”
Familiarity with other children’s television shows won’t compromise the originality of Garden of Tomorrow. “We’re just going to be ourselves,” Shattuck said.
Shattuck has a background in film production and filmmaking. Shattuck and Donna Walden co-founded the Fallbrook Film Factory in 2006. Mission Theater hosted the first Fallbrook Film Festival in 2008, and after two years there it was moved to the River Village theaters to allow for more technical showings and additional screens. The 2013 Fallbrook Film Festival ran for seven days and included 70 movies.
The Fallbrook Film Factory is a non-profit venture. Garden of Tomorrow will be a commercial enterprise. Sponsorship will be incorporated into educational segments which will still include entertainment and the education associated with the product, although there will be no commercial breaks.
Yates and Shattuck also plan to make money for the show from the sale of Garden of Tomorrow merchandise such as CDs and DVDs. “It’s going to have to earn and pay its own way,” Shattuck said.
The use of the Web will allow for eventual airing on a weekly basis. The interactive Web-based format will also allow viewers to submit videos for the Garden of Tomorrow advisory committee to consider. “We will invite others to create segments and submit them,” Shattuck said.
Garden of Tomorrow will include creator credit for individuals or school classes who submit accepted segments. “Schools from anywhere can create short segments,” Shattuck said.
Shattuck added that a Web format won’t interfere with the naps of small children. “The advantage of the Web is it can be watched any time,” he said.
Yates and Shattuck will have significant local assistance. Jennifer Moosa and Milena Phillips will handle story book reading. Moosa will also teach American Sign Language. Fallbrook resident James East, who played guitar for Lionel Richie, will also contribute to Garden of Tomorrow. Fallbrook’s Teri Niebell will provide both her musical talents and her Web development and design skills. Temecula ventriloquist Kevin Johnson may contribute to some episodes. Sound engineering mixer Bob Summers, who has worked with Yates for 23 years, lives in Claremont but will also be involved in Garden of Tomorrow.
Yates’ husband, Frank Bourbonnais, owns one-third of Garden of Tomorrow Productions, LLC; Yates and Shattuck also each hold one-third of the ownership.
“We have a pretty good compatible team,” Shattuck said.
“It’s a lot of work, but we love what we do,” Yates said.
Yates and Shattuck first met in 2006. “If it wasn’t for Ronald Shattuck and Bob Summers, Garden of Tomorrow would not exist,” Yates said.
“We are going to do everything we can to help put Fallbrook on the national map,” Shattuck said.