When my son, Pierce, was about 2 years old, he suddenly became very interested in trucks – all kinds of trucks, from Pickups to Dump Trucks. As we would drive around town, Pierce would call out the names of the trucks he would see, “Hey, Daddy, there’s a Car Carrier!” Soon his twin sister, Kassidy, joined in and the two of them made it a competition to see who could spot and name trucks the fastest.
Since Pierce enjoyed this game so much, I decided to see if I could find any good DVDs about trucks. I did some research on the Internet, then identified and ordered a couple of videos that seemed to be very popular. One was distributed by a major studio. So I was excited to see how Kassidy and Pierce would react when the videos arrived.
As expected, they were thrilled when I had them open up the package. Pierce was especially happy, pointing out the Fire Engine and Garbage Truck on the cover. He was eager to watch the show, so we immediately put the DVD in our player.
To my surprise, both Pierce and Kassidy quickly lost interest. Before we even got halfway through the show, they asked me if they could turn it off and watch something else. Apparently, from their point of view at the time (they were only two), the production focused too much on people and not enough on trucks.
This gave me an idea. My first job out of college was at a video production company. Later I had started a computer training and publishing business where I produced a series of computer training videos. So I had experience with video production. I also had some first-hand knowledge of trucks. When I was growing up, my grandfather owned a lumber yard, and my dad was a General Contractor. I learned to drive stick on a small Dump Truck when I was sixteen and worked on job sites driving a small tractor. (Once, when we were building our own house, I almost knocked down the front wall. I let down the loader bucket too fast and it crashed down on top of the block wall.) My next door neighbor when I was a teenager owned a sand and gravel business. So I had some connections to people who could give me access to trucks.
Based on these considerations, I decided to create a video specifically designed for young kids, that would feature real trucks at work. Since Kassidy and Pierce and their friends all enjoyed naming and counting things so much, I decided to call the show “Twenty Trucks”. Pierce and Kassidy helped me make my list of potential trucks and then we set out to get the video.
As it turns out, getting all of the video clips for Twenty Trucks was more difficult than I had initially envisioned. It was a lot of work. However, with help from all kinds of people, I was able to get some great footage. The people who own Big Foot, the Monster Trucks, sent me a professional tape of several of their trucks doing donuts, wheelies, and some spectacular jumps, just like they do at the Monster Truck Jams. The City of Scottsdale, AZ, coordinated with me to allow us to shoot video of their Street Sweepers, Bucket Trucks and Garbage Trucks. Allstate Towing invited me to their shop and an employee even volunteered to allow his classic red Ford Mustang to be towed on a Flatbed. Glacier National Park sent me some very cool footage of Snow Blowers and Snow Plows. Many others helped out, providing video clips or allowing us to photograph their trucks at work.
Once I had all the footage I needed, I asked my brother Rob, who is a composer, to write a song for Twenty Trucks. “Can You Name Twenty Trucks?” briefly introduces the trucks. Then the video spends 2-3 minutes explaining more about each truck and showing them at work. The song repeats again to end the show, reinforcing the numbers from 1 to 20 and the truck names.
Next, I contacted the Ford/Robert Black Agency to find professional voice talent to narrate the production. I auditioned a good group of actors and chose the two that I liked the best. (Of course, Pierce and Kassidy helped make this decision, too.) I flew to LA to direct the recording of the voice-over and then completed the editing myself.
It has taken time and more hard work to build up the sales and marketing effort for Twenty Trucks. Since the release of the DVD, we have developed good relationships with Amazon, a core group of toy stores and resellers and one very good distributor. We have also received some very nice reviews in magazines such as Booklist (the official publication of the American Library Association) and the School Library Journal (click here to read these reviews). The feedback from parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and from kids themselves has also been very important (you can read some of this feedback by clicking here). We have even had several emails asking for us to produce a sequel to Twenty Trucks. One mom sent us a list her son had made suggesting more than twenty more trucks he would like to see in our next video.
Because of these requests, and because we enjoyed making Twenty Trucks so much, we followed it up a fun "sequel" called Truck Tunes, which we know you'll love. It features 10 cool new songs about 10 more trucks. Everyone will love dancing and singing along as they watch more live truck action. There's a Soundtrack CD available as well to jam out to in the car.
The ever-popular Twenty Trucks T-shirt is also exclusively available here on our website. In fact, you can get both DVDs: Twenty Trucks and Truck Tunes, the Truck Tunes Soundtrack CD and the Twenty Trucks T-shirt, all in one amazingly priced package (click here to order).
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