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Hop To It Productions creates projects that have the potential to extend on multiple platforms, with strong international appeal & merchandising potential. more...
Our News Blog
2016 was a great summer of filming in Toronto’s Gerrard India Bazaar!
The Village of Dreams team led by Hop To It partner and director Nina Beveridge had a memorable summer filming in Toronto’s Gerrard India Bazaar. We are grateful for the cooperation we had from everyone in the Bazaar and in particular from our main characters and their families.
For almost 40 years South Asian culture has been the economic engine for businesses in the Gerrard India Bazaar (formerly known as “Little India”). Our goal was to explore the spirit of entrepreneurialism there, focusing on the first generation of Canadian-born South Asians and how they balance being Canadian and at the same time retain their cultural heritage. Our film follows several families who own and operate the businesses in the Bazaar, seen from the perspective of the children whose parents came to Canada in the 70’s and 80’s, worked hard and established roots.
We filmed with Chandan Singh & family (Chandan Fashion), Gulshan Allibhai & family (Lahore Tikka House), Sumaiyah Shah & family (Forever Young Beauty Salon), Harleen Khorana & family (Kala Kendar), Ronak and Raju Diwan (Baldev Paan), Ameet Ram & family (Regency Restaurant), Ritesh Das & ensemble (Toronto Table Ensemble), Hubert Dmello and staff (Udupi Palace), Neelu Sabarwhal & family (Moti Mahal) and the Multani family (Milan Saree Emporium).
Some of the scenes we filmed included a spectacular fashion show, beautiful bridal decor in the making, a bridal make-over, sizzling kitchen scenes, lots of retail shop activity, paan making, festival crowds and lots of bazaar activity, a wine and cheese tasting, and most importantly, gatherings with family and friends. We filmed a number of scenes at many other businesses in the Bazaar not mentioned above, both South Asian and non-South Asian. Over the next year, leading up to Canada’s 150th birthday, we will be creating a series of mini-documentaries for our YouTube channel and website community. All the businesses that we filmed will be represented online.
We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone in the Bazaar who helped us and filmed with us throughout 2016.
We are so happy with Development on New Pre-school Project
Penny P Pug is a passion project for pre-schoolers I have been working on for many years in different forms, inspired by my daughters and my dogs.
Now, with the support of the OMDC IDM Fund, The Pet Network, The Bell Fund, and an amazing team, I have been able to bring to life this adorable puppy character based very loosely on my own little rescue puppy – Kilo the Pug.
Penny P Pug Character
Penny P Pug is an adorable 4-year-old girl in a pug puppy body. She has many mannerisms and physical attributes of a puppy but incorporates human behaviors and thoughts.
Penny P Pug is curious, friendly, loveable, and full of fun. Just like my Kilo the Pug, she enjoys discovering things, performing and playing games, and she wants to be big (except when snuggled on my lap). She loves her family and treats. Penny and her Pals are full of energy and unbridled enthusiasm, except when they are asleep in a heap snoring loudly of course. Their antics are always endearing, and often hilarious- pugs are always snorting and snoring.
Penny P tries hard, but she is not always a model of perfect puppy behavior. Paralleling the world of preschoolers, Penny sometimes has trouble with focus and patience. She makes mistakes and occasionally doesn’t really like sharing or taking turns or following instructions. Her exuberance gets her into some pretty messy, muddy scrapes and she often gets distracted. Penny P Pug is a role model for kids learning to process new and exciting, sometimes overwhelming sights, sounds and feelings.
Penny P Pug World
Each new day is an adventure, as Penny explores the world around her with her adopted older brother Digger the Dachshund starting with their suburban back yard. Their world will expand to puppy school, the park, the library, and a few other locations. Their Pug Mom is in the background setting the stage for adventures and available if they are ever really barking up the wrong tree.
The stories are shared in multiple ways, including a picture book and demo iPad app that keep the kids entertained.
The first story is a really fun Pirate Treasure Hunt. Mom has left out a map and three clues around the garden and buried a treasure for Penny P and Digger to find.
Mindfulness and Storylines
Many kids starting pre-school have trouble with focus and mindfulness. Part of improving focus is reducing or controlling stress and frustration, and learning through play and role models. Penny P Pug is given the challenges and tools to help with this in each story and in games. The kids liked and started to anticipate and repeat the catch phrase ”Let’s take a Paws and think things through, Then we’ll know just what to do….
Focus Group and Other Research Feedback
July marked a huge milestone for Penny P Pug. We shared the characters, the first story, the song and one of the first games, with excited kids ages 4 to 6 and friends.
We received lots of praise from the kids about the illustrations and characters of Penny P and Digger and the adventures Penny P took them on.
Kids seem to just love anything on an iPad, so bringing technology and story-telling together was a really engaging experience. Any parent knows that pre-schoolers can get distracted very easily, so it was great to see Penny P’s story hold their unwavering attention most of the time.
Several parts of the story involve solving clues and following instructions and a map, and the little ones were so smart trying to figure them out. They gave us valuable insight on how they think and play.
Some great lines from the kids that day included “I want to play it again!”, “Wow! I like the crocodiles and when Penny P picked up the hose and sprayed herself ” and “I liked when they found the treasure”.
Everyone had so much fun reading the story aloud and playing the related splash to 20 and maze games . We did crafts and ate snacks together while immersed in Penny P’s world of fun and imagination.
We have finished the first phase of development on the iPad Apps and will be looking for production funding.
We have a wonderful draft of the picture book that we will be testing further. We also have 5 more stories in the pipeline- a scavenger hunt, meeting new friends in the garden, an ill-fated play date and trips to the park and library.
We are working on development of the animated TV series.
We have a demo website with games, songs, blog posts for moms and various activities for kids ready.
Backseat Barkers up for Best Pet Blog Video Award
Hop to It is very excited to announce that the pilot for our comedy series Backseat Barkers has been selected as a finalist for a prestigious award in the US.
Backseat Barkers is up for the “BlogPaws Best Pet Blog Video Award” at the 2016 Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards. We are up against three other great pet videos in the finals. The winner will be announced at the BlogPaws Conference June 22-26, 2016 in Phoenix. Susan Nation can’t wait to walk the red carpet at the event on Saturday the 24th as a nominee.
The BlogPaws 2016 Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards
“BlogPaws is the pre-eminent pet blogger influencer group in the US and globally, shaping social media excellence, influence, and education one amazing pet parent at a time.”
The 2016 Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards acknowledge pet bloggers and microbloggers for their digital expertise, passion, and artistry.
We are very proud to have been recognized among so many fantastic, talented peers. See Fishstick’s celebrity interview above with Pet Guide.
Backseat Barkers is a comedy video series in development under the Talent Hounds Pet umbrella. It follows a young millennial couple Sophie and Hugh and their two polar opposite pets, a greedy rescue Pug, and an athletic well-trained Border Collie (The Odd couple). The show follows this new blended family as the embark on a road trip across Ontario.
Inspired by modern relationships, rescues and traveling with dogs, Backseat Barkers is built around the comedic tension between the ensemble cast including the talking dogs (we hear their thoughts). Sophie and Hugh are madly in love and ready to compromise. The dogs, not so much.
The show also highlights different dog breed traits, promotes research before getting a pet, promotes Ontario attractions, adoption and tips when traveling with pets.
Filming at Woofstock Toronto 2016
Catch Backseat Barkers filming at major tourist attraction Woofstock 2016 held at Woodbine Park in Toronto on May 29th, 2016. Come see Fishstick at the Pug Races, or attend any of the fun events, suitable for all ages of humans and dogs.
Viral stars Doug The Pug and Crusoe The Celebrity Dachshund and other celebrities will be in attendance as well.
Hop To It already has several sponsors including Bullwrinkles Dog Treats, Dog Lovers Days and the Royal York Hotel for Woofstock signed up. They are looking for one or two more and recommendations on the best Ontario tourist attractions to visit on their road trip.
New Penny P Pug Pre-school Property.
Susan Nation is pleased to announce that Hop To It was one of the companies funded for concept development in a highly competitive October 2015 OMDC IDM Fund Round. The funding will allow early development and testing on the iPad App for the Penny P Pug Pre-school IP.
The Penny P Pug Project also received TV and Digital Development Funding from The Pet Network and the Bell New Media Fund.
Susan is delighted to be working with a dream team of writers, editors, educational experts, developers, artists and consultants on the project.
Penny P Pug is a curious adorable little Pug Puppy with a short attention span (similar to many 4 year-olds). She loves life, treats, games and most of all, she loves her big brother Digger the Dachshund (like a 6-year-old). They have some wonderful adventures in their garden, starting with an exciting Pirate Treasure Hunt.
Penny P has “things to see and things to do, things to smell and things to chew”. Many of the stories are inspired by Susan’s own children and rescue Kilo the Pug who is a bit of a pirate.