Richard Clark has written ten middle grade and chapter books, one of which, My Best Friend Is a Secret Agent, was published worldwide in September, 2021, by Wattpad Books. It is currently in development with Nelvana/Corus Ent. and Wattpad Studios as an animated TV series. Richard has also worked extensively as a screenwriter and TV story editor, both in Toronto and Los Angeles. A graduate of UCLA and AFI, his credits include writing or story-editing over 150 produced TV scripts for shows broadcast on the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, BBC, Netflix, CBC, CTV and many other domestic and foreign networks. He’s also written several TV movies for Lifetime and Showtime Networks, and worked as a director and editor. In 2010 he was nominated for both a Gemini Award (now Canadian Screen Award) and a Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award, and in 2012 another WGC award. In addition, Richard has taught screenwriting at Humber College and Sheridan College in Toronto, and he wrote Scratch & Sniff, an interactive book app for kids. Richard lives near Toronto with his wife and their 15-year-old twins… and he’s lived to tell the tale.
I have given many workshop-style in-person and virtual presentations to schools and libraries in Canada. Kids seem to love learning about how I wrote and Rich Murray illustrated My Best Friend Is a Secret Agent, which is similar in content and style to the popular Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (but 100% Canadian!). The book is very fun and entertaining, as is my presentation, perfect to get young children interested in reading.
Both my virtual/live and in-person presentations involve an introduction to the book (first in a series) as well as to myself and the illustrator, sharing some fun visuals from the book (both stills and video) and from our creative influences. Then I do a funny Top Ten List followed by a reading which is accompanied by onscreen illustrations. After that, I explain how I wrote the book, and I give students a writing exercise so they can write their very own Secret Agent story. Finally, I play a video of Rich Murray showing the kids how he created the illustrations, and I give the students a colouring page to illustrate a scene from the stories they created. I also offer a selection of illustrations from the book which the students can colour.
Since my presentation is for grades 2-5, I made sure that the educational components are just as fun as the book itself. The kids always love coming up with their own stories and illustrations!