Why me? Why am I different? Why does no-one else have eczema?
Sound familiar? Short questions, but ones we hear regularly from the families we work with. Eczema can be such an isolating condition, especially for children who don’t know anyone else with the condition.
Thinking of ways to make a difference, to reduce that sense of isolation, is what I love to do. To do that, I flick the switch on the creative part of my brain, and I just leave it running! These mental gymnastics can get me into trouble, but that’s the thing about creative thinking, you can use it to solve problems and issues too.
I’d already commissioned and been involved in the making of an animation – I’d worked with an animator, and even written scripts so I was excited when the chance came up to do it all again, I mean, how hard could it be?
Turns out, it was a lot harder than I thought. I struggled to get back into the script writing zone and found myself rehashing familiar themes which just didn’t feel right. This new animation needed to be different, it was for children age 3-10 and I wanted it to be fun, interactive, engaging and relatable. So, thank goodness for light bulb moments, even if they do sometimes come in the middle of the night, like mine did! When the bulb lit up for me, I had to grab my phone to write down the lyrics of a song that pinged into my head – I couldn’t risk going back to sleep and forgetting it all.
My idea quickly took shape. I wanted to hear children’s voices, sharing their ideas. I was told that this wouldn’t be easy, but I was determined because I knew what was needed to make it special for the children we support. I even decided not to stop at one child narrator and ended up with six!
The whole experience from start to finish was utterly amazing. Having the children involved meant I could capture and share the really important and relevant messages for other children with eczema. Even better, my junior production team were involved in all the decisions about content and characters. Their narration was fab too, even though I made them record the same bit over and over again. For that I apologise. But it was all coming together, and I couldn’t wait to see the whole thing being brought to life by the animator.
Ping! At last, there it was the email I had been waiting for, my first look at the animation. To say I was excited is an understatement. Any doubts I had didn’t last long – I found myself smiling throughout and singing along. I couldn’t wait to show the families involved.
We couldn’t quite stretch to a red carpet, but we have a premier for our special animation. It was joyous to watch the children’s faces light up as they heard their own voices. It’s a moment I won’t forget. The families were so excited, they wanted to share it with everyone. So much so that what once started off as an exclusive animation for our members exceeded my expectations and has been shared far and wide.
Just goes to show that with a bit of creative thinking, some wonderful children and a lightbulb moment, anything is possible.