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Kids Video Series Gets A Lesson In Music

The newest DVD in the “Tot-a-Doodle-Do!” series produced by Heidi Heller Niehart, founder of San Diego-based Children’s Creative Programming Partnership LLC, is just a “peekaboo” away.

On Sept. 24, Niehart and her co-producer, Penny Cohen, will debut their third DVD for children titled “Episode 3: Music,” which teaches children ages 2 to 7 about different instruments, beats and rhythms.

Children also learn “good manners” from a re-occurring character in the DVD series named “Molly Manners.”

In this particular episode, Molly, who is a doll, talks about the difference between loud and quiet, Niehart said.

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As in the previous two episodes, children also get to meet a human friend, in this case two musicians, educating them about their daily work.

“I started this show because I didn’t like a lot of the programming I wanted my children to watch,” said Niehart, who founded the company in April 2004.

So far, the company remains small with three employees and about 250 customers, mostly repeat local clients, who purchased the DVDs on Amazon.com or on the company Web site at www.totadoodledo.com.

But Niehart already thinks big: She is exploring ways to get the attention of producers of children’s programming for her show and is approaching toy store owners and other retailers about stocking the DVDs.

“We hope to attract sponsors to get the shows onto network programming like Nickelodeon to take the show to as many children as we can reach,” Niehart said.

The company budgeted $5,000 to market the latest DVD via direct e-mailing, advertising and Web sites, she said.

Production cost per episode is between $5,000 and $7,500 and takes two to three months.

Niehart is already making plans for next year.

“I have ideas for about 20 episodes,” she said.

The first two episodes, “Friends and Family” and “The Body,” feature six segments, including craft projects, dancing and social behavioral instruction, a continuing theme in sequential episodes.

The next episode scheduled to be filmed in January, Niehart revealed, will focus on transportation.

“We will have an airline pilot as our friend, an imaginary station where kids can imagine themselves in different (modes of) transportation. We will sing transportation songs and learn how to behave on car trips, the bus and train.”

The fifth episode will focus on animals. Children will meet a dog trainer, sing a song “please take me to the zoo” and learn how to be nice to animals at home and in the zoo, she said.

Niehart declined to give revenues.

The first and second DVDs have been selling for $14.95 each on the company’s Web site.

Niehart will introduce the new DVD from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Westfield UTC Mall (Nordstrom wing) on Sept. 24.

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SCORE Workshops:

SCORE wants to help San Diego’s small-business owners improve their computer skills.

On Sept. 10, the local chapter of the nonprofit organization will hold a workshop designed to teach small businesses the basics of computerized bookkeeping using QuickBooks.

The workshop, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., seeks to familiarize participants with the popular accounting software QuickBooks and its vast applications: Client invoicing, tracking payables and receivables, entering and paying vendor bills, tracking inventory and reconciling and preparing financial statements.

The second all-day workshop, planned for Sept. 15, seeks to teach small business owners how to market their products on the Internet.

Attendees will learn about updating the look and feel of their Web site, search engines, advanced online advertising, building Web site traffic and increasing growth opportunities.

Both workshops cost $64 per pre-registered attendee and $74 per person at the door.

The workshops will be held at the Mission Valley campus of Point Loma Nazarene University. For information, go to www.score-sandiego.org.


Contact Marion Webb with ideas for the small-business column via e-mail at marionw@sdbj.com. Call her at (858) 277-6359, Ext. 3108.

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