Check out what Craig Gerber, Co-Executive Producer of Disney Junior’s animated television movie, ‘Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess’ and the animated series, ‘Sofia the First’, has to say! —>>>
Craig Gerber has also written for the Disney Fairies film franchise. His prior work includes writing screenplays for Rogue Pictures, Radar Pictures and Intrepid Films.
Gerber is also an award-winning short film director whose comedic short Hang Time won Best Narrative Short at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival and Best Digital Short at the Sedona Film Festival in 2003.
READ ON TO FIND OUT WHEN ‘SOFIA THE FIRST’ AIRS ON ASTRO!
1. How is ‘Sofia the First’ different from the other Disney princess shows?
‘Sofia the First’ is unique because it features a princess who is going through a lot of the same experiences as the children watching. Even though the setting is a fantastic storybook world, Sofia learns life lessons that modern children can relate to. She is attending a new school, trying new activities, figuring out how to get along with friends and family, and discovering how to be a better person.
2. Sofia had to leave her old life as a commoner and move into the palace and that deals with the touchy issue of re-marriage and how children deal with it. What kind of problems did Sofia have and how did she overcome them?
Sofia initially has problems getting along with her stepsister who isn’t used to sharing things and Sofia also has to deal with the rules of this new world that she’s in. She lived in the village and now she’s in a castle and there are all these things that are expected of her, including the certain way she is supposed to act, a new school she has to attend. Her biggest challenge is to figure out how she’ll overcome all these challenges without losing sight of the type of person she is, in her heart. We have several episodes that focus on the challenges that arise in blended families. There’s one episode where they’re supposed to be with their mothers, and for Sofia it will be a new experience as she suddenly has to share her mother with her brother and sister. That’s one example of how we address the idea of remarriage.
3. Let’s talk about Amber; would you say that Amber is a typical, evil step-sister as in most classic fairy-tales?
No, I actually don’t think that Amber is evil at all. I think Amber has flaws and she often does not do the right thing but she’s a character, if you will look at it from her point of view…she was the only princess in the kingdom and suddenly in comes a new princess and she has to share all the attention, and her family and her things with a new sister. It is a lot to handle for anyone. We wanted to create a character that makes the wrong choices sometimes but at the end of the day, understands (as with Amber) what the right choice should be.
4. Ever since the series debuted in the US, how have parents reacted? Do they like it? What kind of feedback have you gotten from them?
The feedback has been incredible. I think it has done very well on the rating. I have been told that for the first quarter of the year, ‘Sofia the First’ has been the No. 1 series with kids age 2 to 5 and girls age 2 to 5 watching, but do you know how I can tell if there’s been a great response? My children are in preschool. I have two boys—ages 3 and 5. One day I showed up in preschool and everybody wanted to talk to me, even the parents of boys.
MAKE A DATE WITH YOUR KIDS TO WATCH DISNEY CHANNEL AND DISNEY JUNIOR’S ‘SOFIA THE FIRST’. READ ON TO FIND OUT WHEN!
5. That’s a good sign that boys are watching it too.
What’s exciting to me personally, is that my boys have enjoyed watching the show so we watch it together. It’s fun to observe their reactions. My boys especially like the songs—which they insist on hearing in the car on every drive. As a result, I am in the world of Sofia whether I am at work or at home. But that’s okay because Enchancia is a pretty fun place to be.
One of the reasons that I wanted to create the show in the first place was to create a show that parents would enjoy watching with their young children and at least in my particular instance I have achieved that.
6. How is ‘Sofia the First’ an inspiration to kids?
Well, we try after each episode, to get across a message that we hope would be inspiring to young viewers. That message changes—in one episode, the message is about not giving up and sticking with something even if the others don’t think you should do it. Some episodes are about being a good sport when it comes to playing games and others are about not judging others or by how they look and so. But there are also an overall message that the character Sofia delivers and that message is really one which we hope conveys that she is a good role model for children since she is not afraid to try new things, is clever and courageous and will stand up for others when they won’t stand up for themselves.
7. Is the show best watched with parents?
When children watch our show with their parents, it provides a great opportunity for children to discuss what they’ve seen and come away with a greater understanding of that episode’s message. We also try to create stories that are engaging enough for parents to enjoy with their children. We occasionally throw in family-friendly jokes that are geared towards the parents—so there is something in each episode for all ages.
READ ON FOR DETAILS ON WHEN ‘SOFIA THE FIRST’ IS AIRING!
8. Some experts opine that TV is bad for children. As a father and someone from the TV industry, particularly working on TV content for children’s programs, what are your thoughts on this?
Each parent must decide for themselves how much television they think their children should watch. As a father and a producer, I feel it is my job to create a show that enlightens as well as entertains, for my own children, as well as others, so that a parent can feel good about letting their children watch ‘Sofia the First,’ knowing that each story contains a strong, positive “life lesson.”
CATCH ‘SOFIA THE FIRST’ WITH YOUR FAMILY FROM JULY 20th ONWARDS!
8.30 AM AND 3.30 PM
DISNEY CHANNEL (ASTRO Channel 615)
In September 2013 on
DISNEY JUNIOR (ASTRO Channel 613)
Synopsis: This music-filled animated television movie is set in the storybook world of Enchancia where the life of an average girl, Sofia, suddenly changes when her mother marries the king and she is whisked off to live in a castle with her mom, new step-father, King Roland II, and step-siblings, Amber and James. Sofia soon discovers that looking like a princess isn’t all that difficult, but possessing the characteristics of a true princess – honesty, loyalty, courage, independence, compassion and grace – is what makes one truly royal.