The Story of Playful Planet
Soon after Karen and Bryan met in 2000, they knew that beyond having found a life partner in each other, they had also found a potential business partner whose desire to do good in the world matched their own. They created Big Life Entertainment with the mission to: …”create uplifting media to both entertain and empower people.” Together they developed a number of potential television series and documentary films, but were sidetracked in their efforts by the arrival of a daughter in early 2005. Little did they know that Lily was to be the muse for the most recent and most exciting venture to date, Playful Planet.
While attending a young girls’ birthday party in the summer of ’07, Karen was talking with Ahmed, Lily’s “kids yoga” teacher and noticed how many moms seemed very interested in sharing this healthy pastime with their children but not all of them were geographically able to attend Ahmed’s classes. When the proverbial “light bulb” clicked on, it wasn’t long before the ideas started cascading in and Playful Planet was born.
Beginning with “Storyland Yoga” featuring Ahmed Fahmy, all of the Playful Planet programs are a unique experience to connect the health and well-being of the child with the health and well-being of the planet.
As the vision has grown, so too has the realization that much of the work that is to be done under the Playful Planet banner is philanthropic in nature. The topics are timely and necessary and are meaningful on a global level. Thus was Playful Planet born.
Karen Duggan – Playful Planet Founder
Karen is inspired by her 5-year-old daughter Lily’s excitement for the small things: blades of grass, clogs of dirt, animals of all kind. Through Lily’s eyes, Karen is reminded that we can all live like that, truly taking in life’s simple things: family, friends, and nature. This message is at the heart of Playful Planet, which encourages family time and connecting kids with nature; with the end goal of ensuring that our kids inherit a healthy planet.
As the Creator of Playful Planet, Karen has produced Storyland Yoga. Playful Planet’s first video connects kids with nature through yoga and storytelling. This was not the first time Karen worked in the entertainment industry, however. Prior to Playful Planet, she developed and produced a pilot for a reality TV series, worked in post-production on NBC’s hit Fear Factor, and was executive producer of a feature documentary.
Before jumping into the entertainment world, Karen’s career was unique and multi-faceted. She has held positions as the Corporate Senior Manager in a growing publicly- traded restaurant (Grill Concepts, Inc. – Nasdaq: GRIL) and the Business Development Manager for a South African multiplex Cinema company (Ster-Kinekor) as it expanded into Europe. Karen also worked for many years in sales and marketing – first for a publisher and then for a medical equipment manufacturer.
Karen is known by business associates for her skills in managing others and keeping projects on track; she is known by friends for her interest in health and nutrition, her concern for the planet, and her love of being a mother. This mixture of talent and passion is what inspired and helps Playful Planet continue to grow.
Bryan Duggan – Playful Planet Chief Creative Officer
As Chief Creative Officer of Playful Planet, Bryan draws on his 30 years of experience in the media and entertainment industries to make the Playful Planet vision a reality. A writer, producer, and director, he wrote and directed Playful Planet’s first video, Storyland Yoga.
Bryan began his career as Head of the Documentary Unit for Westinghouse Broadcasting in Boston. When he moved to LA, he worked for the first network reality TV show, Real People, where he shot, edited, and wrote segments for the hit series. Before the series ended, Bryan had emerged as a Director of Photography in the avant-garde arena that eventually led to the birth of MTV. In the early 80’s, Bryan photographed over 50 music videos for a diverse range of artists, including Bruce Hornsby, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Elfman, and even George Thorogood’s (Bad To The Bone).
Bryan has also directed commercials for clients such as McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Pepsi-Mountain Dew. He has completed seven feature films as a Director of Photography, including an HBO premiere movie; Rubin and Ed with Crispin Glover; and Cold Feet with Keith Carradine and Tom Waits. In addition, Bryan has lensed six seasons of Emmy-nominated, People’s Choice award winner, and National Geographic’s #1 hit series, the Dog Whisperer starring Cesar Millan. And, most recently, Bryan completed a feature-length documentary, Twine.
Bryan is known by business associates for his pragmatic and detail-oriented approach combined with a healthy sense of humor and a love of nature; he is known by friends for his love of being a father and husband, his ability to live in the moment, and his drive to leave the world a better place for the children. He brings all these qualities into play – quite literally – at Playful Planet.