Age 38: CFO and Executive Producer, Brain Powered Concepts
Three guys with day jobs — and a vision. That’s Paul Yacovone and his business partners, Eric Stevens and Fred Pokryzwa, who hope to eventually dedicate all their time to a sweet idea. That idea is the Berries, a children’s TV show they formulated after launching their production company, Brain Powered Concepts.
To date, they’ve created a pilot DVD, Friends Like You and Me, containing three episodes of high-spirited, musical, educational fun starring Straw, Blue, and Raz — and their cousin, Cran — played by four young, Boston-area actresses. The three partners are long-time friends, all with children, and Brain Powered Concepts originated with a conversation one evening about the TV shows their kids watched, and what was missing.
“We were looking for something different, something that has really positive role models, and I think we hit that,” Yacovone said. “We didn’t think there was a live-action show based in the U.S. quite like this. We love music, our kids love music, and we wanted a show that’s interested in music.” So, as it turns out, did others.
In 2006, Friends Like You and Me, for which Yacovone and company hired some well-regarded producers, screenwriters and composers, won the Seal of Approval from the National Parenting Center — the same accolate afforded to much higher-profile ventures, such as High School Musical and the recent film version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. “Kids love the show,” said Yacovone said, “and we want to get to national television and really begin to grow this brand. Word of mouth has been great for us, but now we want to take it to the level of a franchise.”
Working in marketing for Lego had already exposed Yacovone to the world of children’s entertainment, but he gets his best feedback at home, from his two daughters, ages 5 and 8. “They give me a feel for what they’re into, and that was very helpful when we made the show,” he said.
He tries to help them right back, volunteering with their Brownie troop; his wife, Tammie, is a troop leader. “It’s tough to juggle everything in life, so you have to prioritize,” he said. “You can’t be all things to everybody — but everyone can offer something.” And that’s some berry good advice.