Filmmaker William VanDerKloot was watching kids’ videos with his children. He was disappointed with what he saw… and what he didn’t. With a few notable exceptions, most children’s videos were poorly done and overly simplistic.
“It seemed as if very little effort was put into the research or production of those products,” said VanDerKloot. “Many looked like amateur home videos.”
There is something that happens when you become a parent, says VanDerKloot. “You begin to look at the world through the eyes of a child. Suddenly the normal becomes the extraordinary and you see things in a whole new way.”
Then he got an idea…. A Peabody award-winning director/producer, VanDerKloot decided to produce one himself. The first subject came to him while driving past the Atlanta airport in a car full of children. As they drove down I-75, a giant plane took off overhead. Immediately VanDerKloot was bombarded with questions from the kids, “What kind of plane is that?” “How fast is it going?” “How many passengers are in it?” THE BIG PLANE TRIP the first video in The Big Adventure Series®, was born.
But VanDerKloot did not want to make a simplistic video “just for kids — THE BIG PLANE TRIP, and each subsequent video in the series, is constructed with various levels of information so that an entire family, from the youngest to the oldest, can enjoy and learn something new with every viewing.
The Big Adventure Series® shows how things work with a child’s sense of wonder. And who better to critique an adventure-in-progress than kids themselves. The team at Little Mammoth holds a number of screenings for children’s groups while videos are in their rough edit stage. Utilizing the input, the videos are modified. The result are productions that have received national acclaim from the critics, and most importantly, from families and children.
This hard work has paid off. The BIG Adventure Series®, which is now eighteen titles strong, has received dozens of awards and citations from such organizations as Parent’s Choice, Kids First!, Video Librarian, CINE, and International Monitor Awards.
The Big Adventure Series® continues to expand. Little Mammoth crews have recently filmed at the two busiest airports in the world — Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson and London’s Heathrow — to film our latest project, The NEW BIG PLANE TRIP. This video takes young audiences from Atlanta to London on a Delta Air Lines jet. We explore the ‘hidden world’ behind the ticket, and explain all the activities that happen behind-the-scenes. Included is a special child’s tour of London!
Bill VanDerKloot's career spans four decades and includes short films, broadcast commercials, television documentaries and theatrical features. Over the years he has traveled the world creating films on a range of topics from public sculpture to political history; from southern blues to environmental science. He has won over one hundred international awards, including Emmy Awards and the George Foster Peabody Award.
He produced the Atlanta Olympic Film, Time and Dreams, which helped win the bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. VanDerKloot's productions include special video installations for the Carter Presidential Museum and Library, the Columbus Museum, and the Special Collections Library at the University of Georgia.
Bill has directed hundreds of commercial and branded content projects for such clients as CNN, Delta Air Lines, Cox Enterprises, Coca-Cola, McKesson, Chick-fil-A, US Marine Corps, and Porsche, to name just a few. His work has been shown on such venues as PBS, National Geographic, Turner Broadcasting, CNN, HBO, Showtime, as well as iTunes, amazon, and Netflix.
VanDerKloot was the founding director of the Atlanta Film Festival and has written about filmmaking for such publications as American Cinematographer. He was board member and past president of the Georgia Production Partnership (GPP), an industry association responsible for creating Georgia's wildly successful film tax incentives.
VanDerKloot has screened his films and lectured around the country at such institutions as University of Florida, Georgia State University, New York Churchillians, Coalition for Quality Children's Programming, and the National WWII Museum.