How to engage and empower Gen Alpha with a new

mission-based IP

Can you share how the Future Chicken brand came about?

Future Chicken emerged from a collaboration between myself and Annabel Slaight, (Founding Chair of Ontario Water Centre and co-founder of OWL and CHICKADEE magazines), driven by a shared desire to leverage evidenced-based positivity, innovation, and engaging storytelling to foster a global movement of kids empowered to change the planet. We ‘hatched’ a strategy that married my entertainment experience with Annabel’s expertise in education, driven by a shared desire to leverage evidenced-based positivity, innovation, and engaging storytelling to foster a global movement of youth empowerment to change the planet.”

We aimed to create an ensemble of characters, eco-champions – that kids could relate to because when kids connect with characters, they want to be like them and can be empowered by them. In our case, Potato the Chicken comes from the future to the present to tell kids about the positive things happening, making a meaningful impact on the climate with the goal of inspiring them to see the possibilities.

How do you envision Future Chicken influencing kids’ content?

From the 2023 Kids Industries “Global Family Report,” we know that families have access to an average of 6.1 screens* and kids can consume more content than ever before – which highlighted the need to transition away from traditional show formats and go to where kids are today. With that in mind, Future Chicken isn’t just a series, it’s a groundbreaking multi-platform initiative that harnesses cutting-edge technology to engage kids across video, gaming, learning, and audio realms.

Given the 360-experience that kids expect, when creating the content, it was essential to tailor the strategy to account for the platforms where our audience spends most time. It’s the reason why Future Chicken launched not just with a broadcast series, but an ambitious program and YouTube channel of shortform content, a podcast, a website, and, notably, a Roblox game.

To pull this off, the Wind Sun Sky team has developed several different pipelines that use multiple animation styles, including Flash, 3D CGI, and game engine technology. The result is a fresh, varied visual experience that will connect and engage kids in new ways. Our North Star, however, is to maintain connection with nature and conservation throughout, from a mixed media style that includes nature footage elements to the inclusion of ideas and climate action in the real world.

Can you shed light on the collaboration that helped bring Future Chicken to life?

We are at the intersection of storytelling and technology, and nothing inspires me more than to push our limits and try new things. Luckily, I have a team alongside me that supports this mantra.

Future Chicken would not have gotten to this place without the collaboration of a dedicated team of talented creatives and individuals. We collaborate at numerous levels through our non-profit partner the OWC, from the learning committee to the talented writers who balance entertainment and education in every script, to podcast producers and technical teams working on our mixed media series where our animated Chicken interviews human eco-champions in real-time using live animation.

There are also the directors and animators whose skills range from 2D Flash to 3D CGI, and of course our producers who balance it all, having a nimble mindset with the ability to pivot production schedules and processes. And let’s not forget our innovative diverse pipelines and the many people behind the scenes who are constantly supporting us as we push the boundaries.

all the future chicken characters holding up the earth

What was the most exciting aspect of working on this project?

Developing an original IP is always a fun, creative process; however, it’s even more exciting when you can see the potential to impact kids’ lives and address the eco-anxiety that we know they are feeling, youth empowerment. The initial research completed by our partners during the planning phase of Future Chicken galvanized us to find a unique way to make children feel both entertained by Future Chicken content, yet also empowered and inspired. Finding the balance was key, and that was a huge motivator for all involved. Additionally, because we own the IP, we can shape the process from the beginning, taking a test and learn approach to determine what works and to allow everyone’s expertise to be used to maximum effect.

a mocap actor in front of their future chicken avatar

How do you see the brand developing?

Youth empowerment is at the core of our vision, and we aim to further amplify its impact through our various initiatives.

We have BIG plans for the Future Chicken brand, and at Wind Sun Sky, we recognize the importance of embracing new and evolving platforms in a fast-paced digital world. Not only will we continue with our ambitious YouTube shortform strategy, but we will be making a second season of the Future Chicken Today Show, more podcasts, another Roblox experience, an app, and perhaps most exciting of all, we’re already in development with a Future Chicken CGI longform series!

We’re ambitious; the Future Chicken mission is a multi-year endeavor, and we are planning for more as we go into 2024 and beyond.

What hurdles did your team face during development?

The pace at which we produce is fast, really fast, especially for animation! We were initially funded for our first phase as of March 1st, 2023, and on November 5, 2023, we managed to launch on 3 platforms just 7 months later! I don’t know of any studio or project that has ever done anything like this before.

The challenge in working at this pace is ensuring that all the many needs are addressed and the universe creatively aligned. As we tested the materials and got feedback from kids, we made changes using their insights as a driver in our decision-making process. As a result, there was a lot of pivoting which at times could have a ripple effect on the material in progress. However, as our team is highly nimble and understands the importance of the mission, everyone continues to give 150% and found ways to make sure the changes didn’t derail the process! What is most amazing is that the team is almost always thinking about ways to further refine and adapt processes, speed up the animation pipelines and find inventive ideas for our shortform content.

We have begun a very long marathon with the next steps focused on processing the feedback we will start to receive from our audience of kids and caregivers and use it to give them more of what they love. As well, we’re always searching for new guests for Future Chicken to interview in forthcoming episodes, strategizing next steps on Roblox, and refining how all our platforms and content can complement each other and much more. Future Chicken isn’t going anywhere, so stay tuned for more exciting news in the coming months!

Visit the Future Chicken YouTube Channel and the Official Website for more information