Sean McKoy and ‘Unskrptd’ Documentaries
By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – At 31, Sean McKoy is living his dream. The Temple University graduate is a television producer, owns his own production company (Reel McKoy Media), and travels the world telling visual stories.
The dream began taking form a few years ago, when this father of three noticed a big void.
“There’s not enough positive programming on television,” McKoy recalls noticing. “It’s no disrespect to reality TV, but young people are so engaged, so connected to technology, I saw a need to actually help them learn something.”
So instead of becoming part of the problem, McKoy became the solution with the creation of “Unskrptd,” a grassroots, online docu-series that focuses on community groups around the world that are making positive impacts.
The series started out as webisodes, but it is expanding to longer and more frequent segments. Reel McKoy is even working to create animated episodes.
“We’re trying to change minds through visuals,” says McKoy. “We want to be the next version of ’60 Minutes’ but cater to a younger generation.”
Because McKoy is based in Philadelphia, several of his shows have been about programs in the City of Brotherly Love. Like the one on the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, which runs an ice hockey rink in West Philadelphia.
“I couldn’t believe that was West Philadelphia and hockey was impacting these kids for life,” says McKoy. “It wasn’t even about hockey — it was about discipline and keeping kids off the street. When I hear stories like that, that’s ‘Unskrptd.’ ”
As the self-proclaimed “Kings of Edu-tainment,” McKoy says Unskrptd shows have been picked up by CNN and the Comcast Network.
But it’s not about the money. Reel McKoy Media makes its dollars selling videos to corporate clients and creates “Unskrptd” as a separate endeavor. McKoy says the series is solely supported by sponsors and through the use of an internship partnership with BigPictureAlliance.org.
“I allow kids from their program to intern on all of our shows as PAs (production assistants) and more,” says McKoy.
But creating positive, educational programming for the 18 to 34 year old demographic isn’t as easy as it seems.
“New shows are hard to pitch to sponsors,” says McKoy, “and when you have a younger generation it gets really tricky. Most education shows have demographics that are 60 or older.”
Reel McKoy works to draw in younger people by using catchy songs, flashy visuals, and interesting topics that affect millennials — topics such as childhood obesity and the environment.
McKoy says he’s hoping “edutainment” catches on.
“We are trying to fix the broken minds of our generation through positive content,” says McKoy.
For more on Reel McKoy Media or Unskrptd, go to unskrptd.tumblr.com/.
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