Faut il aller en France pour apprendre le français?
(Do you have to go to France to learn French?)
Dewi is not easily motivated. He’s not even bothered to change his hoodie, but he’d go to the ends of the earth for his dog, Ryan. So, when Ryan gets kidnapped and taken to France, it’s time for Dewi to confront his deepest fear: the French language.
North American Pitch:
Dewi is not having a nice day. After learning that he failed French, Dewi’s dog “Ryan” gets kidnapped and taken to France. Now, the Welsh speaking teen finds himself lost in francophonie.
Along the way, Dewi learns French from a strange cast of characters, including a pirate, mime and frog, as he orders food, changes clothes, and tracks his dog.
It’s not that Dewi doesn’t pay attention in class, it’s just that he finds his headphones more interesting than his homework or whatever garbled sounds are coming out of the teacher’s mouth.
Dewi has chores to do, but couldn’t be bothered. And so, his inactivity is rewarded with a big fat F*. (*or Zero, considering the new national curriculum.)
Then, it seems as if the universe is out to get him. French is everywhere. A strange narrator wants to bring Dewi to France, where he can learn the language. Finally, the one thing that can get Dewi out of bed, his dog Ryan, is kidnapped and taken to France. (At least, that’s what our detectives have strung together from the clues.)
Alors, ce garçon vient en France, bien sûr! Là-bas, he meets all kinds of weird creatures, but not son chien.
The end of the story depends on the viewers at home. Sure, we have plans that could help reunite Dewi with his dog, we know places he could go, more strange characters he could ask. But, sans argent, he’ll be sent back to Wales, or perhaps Patagonia, sans chien.
Officially, Bonjour Dewi was created “to help French teachers introduce the language to primary school and early secondary school children.” It seems to work as a teaching aid.
Bonjour Dewi has been tested in two schools, and is very successful with children. Even adult French learners have said it was helpful, but it hasn’t been widely seen.
The original series was never completed, and the quality was below our original aim. Perhaps if we redo it, with more money, we’ll spread the word a little better and more people can help Dewi find Ryan.
However, it still is popular with a small loyal audience, and some of them have requested more episodes.
Most importantly, when the series is finally finished, we’ll be able to see whether Dewi finds Ryan. Will you help Dewi find his dog?
I always wanted to learn French. Then I could be a fashion designer, or Cyrano de Bergerac. But, for reasons that still perplex me, they wouldn’t let me study a second language in school.
Then, I moved to Belgium without speaking a word of either French or Dutch. I didn’t understand the teachers, not even how they said my name.
This intensive immersion was enough to eventually gain a degree in French and Film. I lived in France for a year, and even started a PGCE. Teaching was okay, but I ended up living in Britain for 23 years, doing other things.
Anyway, after quitting teaching, I promised myself never to quit anything again. (Well, no full-time, serious pursuits.) So, I’ve stuck out even the worst jobs.
Eventually, while studying for an MA in Media Production, I met a cartoon named Dewi. We decided that even if I didn’t like working in a school, I could still help kids learn French. And, help Dewi find his dog.
Dewi was in an even worse situation than I was. Not only doesn’t he speak French, he only speaks Welsh. He’s alone, searching a strange land for his poor dog.
With no money, we created these informational videos, to show the world how Dewi struggles to retrieve his dog.
These have been tested in schools, where they helped kids learn French. Dewi and I have improved our language skills along the way.
I guess I am a kind of teacher after all.
We’ve had positive comments from teachers and learners. Unfortunately, it costs money to find a dog in Francophonie, especially if you’re a cartoon boy stranded in a land where you hardly speak the language.
What I do Want?
My usual motivation is to entertain as many people as possible, and get paid enough not to have to do it.
This time, however, there is something more serious. Dewi and I are looking for a cartoon dog named Ryan. “Il faut” help Dewi find his dog, before it’s too late. We have a plan, we have laid it out as a script, creating designs for him to follow. But, at the moment, it’s very hard for Dewi to get around. His arms and legs are stiff. His voice is slightly muffled. He needs to improve his French, and find reliable transport.
With money, better sound recording facilities, and the help of talented artists, we can help Dewi find his dog. Then, Dewi and Ryan can help children all over Wales (and all over the world) learn French! We can loosen up those arms, improve the sound in his ears, introduce Dewi to interesting characters that can deal with his attention span, and teach Dewi enough French to navigate his way through France (and perhaps even Switzeland and Belgium) and rescue Ryan!
If you would like to help Dewi, email me on vasco.desousa at ptara.com or vasco at vascodesousa.com
In the meantime, I hope some of the kids who help Dewi on his quest will learn French too, so they won’t be as lost if their own cartoon dogs get kidnapped.
Dewi’s quest will be updated at: http://bonjourdewi.com/