Thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name’s Xander Black and I founded Good Knight Studios. In my day job… I work as the Executive Creative Director of a digital ad agency… in my spare time I do a lot of photography (mostly personal but occasionally a brand like Marimekko will pick up photos of my daughter and ask to use them). I’m a single dad and my daughter is very much the focus of all my spare time.
How did the idea for your app come about?
Long time friend and iOS programmer Jason Elder, was in Sydney (he lives in London as did I for many years). He had planned a 3 month trek through Nepal and India which was cancelled as his traveling companion had to unexpectedly return to London. So with a bit of idle time on his hands I asked if he wanted to work on an app project together. He was keen although at the time we had no idea what the project would be. After a week of pondering possibilities (and chatting to my daughter), I came back to him with a rough concept for ‘My Naughty Shadow’. I did some test art and verses… he wrote a programming proof of concept and we were away.
And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
About 3 months for app development – this wasn’t a full-time job for anyone but working time in amongst everyone’s busy schedules and other delays. After completion it took another month and a half to get registered properly with Apple and register the business etc. There were a lot of dependencies between the apple registration, business registration and third parties. Any delays (particularly from the third parties) would draw out the process.
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
I was lucky I didn’t have to hire a developer. That was Jason as mentioned who has a stake in the project. But I hired other seasoned pro’s including a VO artist (East Enders/Jack the Giant Slayer actor – Don McCorkindale), Music composer (advertising and sonic branding composer – Jacob Staley) and animator (Simon Rippingale).
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
There’s a lot of obstacles we came across (particularly technical hurdles)… the hardest thing during development was finding the right animator. We had a couple of false starts due to people being over committed or losing interest in the project which was both expensive and disheartening. It also delayed the project by over a month.
Simon Rippingale had recently directed animation short “A Cautionary Tail” with Cate Blanchett and David Wenham so someone of his profile was overkill for our project… but I’m glad we were able to get him on board. He did an awesome job and was amazingly professional and enthusiastic through the whole process. Hopefully we’ll do another one together.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
Yes if this one does okay. My daughter is keen to see another app… perhaps a bit more game like rather than story driven as she’s aged beyond simple interactions (they grow so fast).
What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
Very positive from parents, kids and other industry professionals. We’ve also been shortlisted for awards (still pending) and been listed in a “top 6 book apps” by one writer. The reviews have also been very positive. There’s only been one issue raised so far – I used a lovely hand written font which mixed uppercase and lowercase letters… the incorrect use of letters detracted from the educational aspect of the app in some people’s views.
I’m not 100% sure I entirely agree with that assessment but would probably engage an early childhood education consultant to review any future releases of this nature. I’m also keen to look at other language versions, my daughter is bilingual (english/french) so that’s an obvious avenue for me to expand on this book.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
Well it really has to be a labor of love and something you’re completely committed to make happen. There are so many obstacles you’ll encounter… technical, administrative, unexpected costs, rights management, legals etc. With the other pressures in your life you’ll have so much incentive to put it in the “too hard basket” and walk away. I actually love doing these sorts of projects, it’s my thing… and even so it was really difficult going at times… but I’d given my daughter my word I’d do it… so in the end we found a way.
Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company. We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!
My Naughty Shadow - Interactive Children's Bookby GOOD KNIGHT STUDIOS PTY LTD
Category: Books, Family, Games
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878, iPadMini5-iPadMini5, iPadMini5Cellular-iPadMini5Cellular, iPadAir3-iPadAir3, iPadAir3Cellular-iPadAir3Cellular
Size: 49.12 MB