Kranky Kids® Home Page

About Us

Here is some of the history and people involved in Kranky Kids. It is only with the help of others that we are able to continue. Thank you.

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FAQ for Kranky Kids
Basic History
California Crew
Theater 2007 Crew
New Hampshire Crew

FAQ for Kranky Kids

What is Kranky Kids?

Kranky Kids is a proactive educational resource.

What does that mean?

It means our resources keep evolving. Some resources are developed from enrichment programs. Other resources are developed from working with students during individual after-school programs that then become audience-approved productions.

How do you know that audiences have approved of the productions?

Because they liked them, said so, and asked for more – which is how Kranky Kids started in the first place.

What sort of after-school programs?

Radio, theater, and video. We do live radio shows, create podcasts, do live theater and make short videos.

Is there a fee for any Kranky Kids after-school program?

No. There is no charge to the students, parents or school for any Kranky Kids after-school programs. The only requirement is that all participating students must have a basic Performer's Release signed by a parent/guardian turned in on the first day of any program. All Kranky Kids productions are for audiences of all ages and are school friendly. No material developed in a Kranky Kids program has been or will be used in an un-friendly way. (For example, we do not show a student's last name or age on the website.)

What sort of enrichment programs?

Our enrichment programs immerse students in a particular subject, such as Medieval Weapons and Heraldry; Italian Culture, Language and Food; or Music and Pop Culture of the Fifties.

Is there a fee for any Kranky Kids enrichment program?

Yes, but charged to the school, not directly to any student. Cost to the school is dependent on the subject, research time, and the length of teaching time requested by the school district.

What are the various free resources available on the Kranky Kids website?

• My Daily Cow (cattle encyclopedia)
• The Cow Wall (A-Z cattle breed picture reference)
• Hawaiian and Surfer Slang Dictionary
• Godzilla Kaiju/Monster List, Image Wall and Movie list
• over 100 Cheat Sheets for 20 different software programs
• over 70 original drama scripts filled with facts
• How-To Documentaries
• some music
• and more!

Who uses Kranky Kids resources?

Educators, students, parents and anyone else who comes to the Kranky Kids website.

How do you know this?

They tell me and we look at Google Stats from time to time. Educators also ask permission to use Kranky Kids scripts for their school productions.

Is there anything that truly makes Kranky Kids unique when working with students?

Two things. First, we try to have as many different age groups as possible working together. Life is not organized by grade levels.

Second, they can be fired. Our after-school programs are free but they are not babysitting sessions. Any student who is continually disruptive during any program or disrespectful to their fellow students can be fired from the program – just like in the real world.

Is there anything else we should know about Kranky Kids?

Yes. Before each after-school program we feed the students.

Why?

Because they're hungry. All children are hungry. They're growing. We feed them. Then they're less cranky and have more fun. It has to be fun, or it isn't Kranky Kids.

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Basic History

Hi -

Kranky Kids blossomed from a little seed planted by some very persistent students and their families. Here's the story of that little seed.

A mother asked me to do an after-school program at her daughter's elementary school. I thought, "Hmm, what could I do? Oh! I have audio recording equipment. We could do a fake radio show and I'll give each of the kids a tape of what we've done after I've edited it on my system!" (Students tell me that the best part about Kranky Kids is getting a CD or DVD copy of what they've created during the program.)

Four students signed up. The first day they stood in a circle and we came up with a plan. We decided to create a show based on the idea that you don't want to be yourself - you want to be the person next to you. Well, since they were little kids and still basically boring little humans (because they hadn't lived very long to do anything of much interest yet), we decided that they should each adopt an identity of someone they admired. These were their choices:

Maya Angelou - for creative license
Cruella DeVille - for her hair, those cheekbones, and a fast car
Michaelangelo - for lying down on the job
Amelia Earhart - for being able to disappear and yet still remain visible

Then it came down to understanding why one person wanted to be the other person.

Michaelangelo didn't want to lie on his back and paint a ceiling all day, he wanted to be Amelia Earhart and fly in the skies. Amelia, however, was lonely up there in the sky and wanted to be Cruella with a busy social life. But Cruella hated herself and wanted to be the well-liked Maya. And Maya just wanted to quietly paint like Michaelangelo because she'd run out of words to say.

As the story progresses, all the characters get confused as to who wants to be who and why they each want to be the other person and what in the world is going on!?!? (They all had to do it in song, too!)

In the end, we finally decide that they should each just remain being themselves – and that was the lesson of that Kranky Kids session. Consider yourself as yourself and be happy with that because that's who you're going to be anyway.

After that the students kept demanding more and more because not only were we learning so many things together – we were having FUN! - Lishka

Lishka DeVoss - Founder of Kranky Kids®

My name is Lishka DeVoss and in 1995 I started an after-school program called Kranky Kids. It has since become much more by providing free educational resources of all sorts.

I have lived all over the US and I also have attended a wide variety of educational institutions (see my background) – although the only one I "graduated" from was butler school in England. (And yes, I worked as a butler for several years.)

I am the main educator, writer, director, editor and art department for Kranky Kids. I spend a great deal of time doing research. I adore referential humor that is educational and I teach from that perspective.

I like to laugh. A lot.

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California Crew

Adam Wilt - Consulting / Coding / Camerawork

Adam was a video systems and software engineer. He has worked for Abekas, Pinnacle, and Louth Automation (now Accom, Avid, and Harris, respectively); CBS and ABC; Omneon Video Network; and Meets The Eye. He has also written for DV Magazine but now writes for ProVideo Coalition; maintains a website (www.adamwilt.com); teaches video tech to a wide variety of groups; and speaks at industry events like NAB, IBC, and DV Expo. He's also on the Advisory Board of the Digital Cinema Society (www.digitalcinemasociety.com). He doesn't sleep much.

Griffin Lamachy - Production Manager / Talent

Griffin Lamachy is the Producer of Festival News Crew, a screenwriter, and has a knack at animating fruits and veggies. He presently resides in San Jose, the former agricultural center of the country.

Aaron Umetani - Videographer

Aaron Umetani is an aspiring young filmmaker who graduated from Cogswell College's Motion Picture program in 2003. While going to school in Silicon Valley, he designed websites, animated graphics, and shot video for various clients including 3Com Corporation and Hewlett Packard. As an assistant to a portrait photographer, he learned traditional photography and development techniques. He's also worked as a production photographer, production assistant, dolly grip, boom-operator, and a driver.

He has worked as a videographer for the Christopher Coppola sponsored Duke City Shoot-Out Film Festival and the Cinequest Film Festival. He also finished principal photography on a self-produced documentary about privateer race car teams in the US Touring Car Championship.

He currently works as a freelance videographer, photographer, web designer, and grip/electric and is based in Los Angeles.

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New Hampshire Crew

Flynn Donovan - Director of Photography

Flynn Donovan has been working as a professional freelance cinematographer for over 30 years on five continents. He has filmed in the Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sweden, Europe, Central and South America. He was raised in South America and speaks fluent Spanish.

He has worked with European directors, primarily Swedish free lance film director Torgny Anderberg. Most of their principal projects have been for Save The Children and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent. Volvo has also been a valuable client. Their films have won the following awards:

Gold Medal – Public Service Award, Houston Film Festival (29 minute industrial documentary)
Swedish PR Award – Best Overall Documentary (documentary featuring an Amazon hospital)
First Prize – Best Children's Picture, Iran Film Festival (110 minute dramatic feature)
Blue Ribbon – New York Film Festival (documentary featuring the Boston Common on the occasion of the Nation's Bicentennial)

He has also worked as director of photography on three low budget dramatic feature films shot in South America for European distribution.

Based with his family in New Hampshire, Flynn is presently concentrating on making short films about artists he admires and respects.

Scott McComsey - Parent of 3 Kranky Kids / Humorist / Occasional Videographer

"I was hitchhiking cross country and after about a mile into my trip this woman with a name I never heard of before picks me up in a fancy SAAB station wagon and asks me to help her film 15 wild kids. So I did and settled in that there town and have been living there quite happily ever since."

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