Dana Chan

Meet Our Neighbors: Dana Chan

Get to know Dana Chan, Story Editor for Alma’s Way, our new animated series.

Tell us about yourself and how your career led you to work in children’s television.

I’m a third generation New Yorker, born and raised in Flushing, Queens. I grew up within a one-mile radius of most of my extended family, so there was a lot of loud, rambunctious family time. But being with them is where I learned about the importance and impact of storytelling and shared experiences. Nothing can silence a dinner of 18 like a good story that will make you cry or laugh until your stomach hurts.

My love of children’s television started when I saw my younger cousins pretending to be their favorite characters. Watching them explore the world through fantasy led me to a Master’s Degree in Child Development. And from there I got a job as the Research and Executive Assistant for the show Dora the Explorer. The first time I went to on-site story testing and witnessed a preschooler dance and sing along with the screen, I knew I was exactly where I belonged.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

I grew up with one tv in the house and no cable. Being the youngest, I watched whatever anyone else was watching. My favorites ranged from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to MacGyver (the original version), but the show that stood out the most was Captain Planet. At the time, there wasn’t another animated series that had a character that looked like me, so I studied Gi’s every move and lived fantastically through her adventures of saving the planet. Of course, whenever my friends and I would play Planeteers, I always insisted on being “Water!”

Describe your role on Alma’s Way.

As the Story Editor, I get to spend my day diving into the amazing mind and life of Alma and all the characters that make up her world! One of the most fun parts of my job is getting to listen to the stories of Creator/EP, Sonia Manzano. Many of our story ideas and episodic themes come from experiences in Sonia’s actual life! I also work closely with our Head Writer/Co-EP, Jorge Aguirre, and the wonderful and talented writers that help tell Alma’s stories. Together we come up with story ideas, which then get written into scripts. In my role, I make sure every detail stays true to Sonia’s vision and to the voice and world of Alma.

What is your favorite episode of Alma’s Way?

This is a hard one! There’s something in every story that makes me smile and laugh. If I haaave to choose…the stories that make New York City come to life and make the city feel like its own character in the series are so special to me. Stories like “Lost in the Bronx” and “Singing on the 6 Train” showcase so many of the things I love about New York City, and they make me excited to share Alma’s experience of growing up in the Bronx with kids everywhere.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I will take any opportunity I can to be outdoors. I love to camp, hike, climb, and snowboard. If it involves trees, water, mountains, or fresh air – I’m in! Recently, I also started to play tennis and have been taking advantage of the public courts in my neighborhood.