Animation 11 2008

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               T H E   B U S I N E S S ,   T E C H N O LO G Y   &   A R T   O F   A N I M AT I O N   A N D   V F X


        Hits and Misses

        HBO’s New
        Grown-Up Toon

  $5.95 U.S.
                            1 1>        The Wild, Wild World of
  0    74470 82258      5
                                   Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  w w w . a n i m a t i o n m a g a z i n e . n e t

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                                                                                                                                                                                         CONTENTS WWW.ANIMATIONMAGAZINE.NET
    Volume 22, Issue 10, Number 189, November 2008

                                  20                                                   26                                          31                                   78
                                                  CG-animated Tinker Bell finally earns her    new shorts series from Gamania, adds        for a movie featuring talking dogs, a
    Frame-by-Frame                                wings. [by Jake Friedman]                   a Zen touch to classic fables. [by Ramin    rat and an iguana, you need to do a lot
    6 November Animation Planner ...                                                          Zahed]                                      more than muzzle replacement.
    Books We Love ... In Remembrance of           Television                                  56 HBO’s Big Laughs for the Small           [by Barbara Robertson]
    Bill Melendez … Tezuka Tribute ... Nick       31 These Little Piggies Went Everywhere!    Screen. The Life and Times of Tim offers    80 It Takes an Electric Village! Director
    picks up FanBoy.                              National Geographic Kids and Mercury        a new grown-up toon for those who are       Gil Kenan and vfx supervisor Eric Durst
                                                  Filmworks combine sparkling animation       older than rug-rats, but are not quite      join forces with vfx houses BUF and Luma
    Games                                         and plenty of heart to bring Holly          family guys! [by Mercedes Milligan]         Pictures to bring City of Ember to life. [by
    18 More E for All. Game on for second         Hobbie’s Toot & Puddle to the small         58 Mouse House Says Good-bye to             Ron Magid]
    annual interactive entertainment expo.        screen. [by Mercedes Milligan]              Toon Disney. Disney XD eyes the boys’       84 Tech Reviews [by Todd Sheridan
    [by Ryan Ball]                                35 Best Fiends Forever. Amy Winfrey’s       action market. [by Ryan Ball]               Perry]
    19 Gaming Evolves with Spore. Gamers          popular Making Fiends series makes a        60 Padded Cel. A Merger Preparedness
    get creative with the hot new game            triumphant transition from the web to       Primer. [by Robby London]                   Opportunities
    from EA and Sims creator Will Wright. [by     Nicktoons this month. [by Ramin Zahed]      62 Fresh Riviera Wrap: 2008 Edition.        87 The German Pursuit of Perfection.
    Ryan Ball]                                    38 A Globetrotting Mouse. Geronimo          News and views about the MIPCOM             How Baden-Württemberg’s
                                                  Stilton is poised to make a graceful leap   audiovisual content market, held Oct.       Filmakademie has become
    Features                                      to the small screen. [by Ramin Zahed]       13-17, in Cannes, France.                   phenomenal at honing the talents of its
    20 The Return Call of the Wild. The           40 Japan’s Dentsu Looks to the West.        68 Inspidea Goes for Sushi. The             animation students in six short years. [by
    creative team behind the Madagascar           The epic anime series, Deltora Quest, is    Malyasian Studio joins forces with          Ellen Wolff]
    sequel faced many visual and narrative        one of Dentsu L.A.’s first new adventures.   SIP Animation for a fun show about          90 It’s Who You Know. One Plus Hub
    challenges as the film brings the Central      [by Ramin Zahed]                            competitive fish.                            highlights the importance of networking.
    Park Zoo animals to the plains of Africa.     42 Mondo TV’s Angel Friends Spread          70 Hitting All the Right Intergalactic      [by Jill Gilbert]
    [by Ramin Zahed]                              Their Wings. Meet the new girl power        Notes. The man behind the score of the      92 3D Pete. This year’s hot movie tie-in
                                                  team from the Italian toon house.           new Star Wars: The Clone Wars series        toys! [by Mike Fisher]
    Home Entertainment                            44 Big Storms in Modern China. How 21st     writes about the show’s exotic music.       94 A Day In the Life. We pay a visit
    24 The Samurai Critic. Reviews of the         century animation models are reviving       [by Kevin Kiner]                            to the creative team at Animax
    new anime DVDs. [by Charles Solomon]          classic tales and characters in the fast-   72 International Espionage, Kiddie Style.   Entertainment in L.A.
    25 Late-in-the-Year Liaisons on DVD.          changing country. [by Alex S. Dai]          Marathon Media’s new 2D show The
    Homer, Princess Aurora, Robot Chicken
    and a clan of feisty rabbits flirt with your
                                                  47 Cultural Revolution, Take Two. An
                                                  American expert looks at Chinese
                                                                                              Amazing Spiez! targets the young boy
                                                                                                                                           Cover: DreamWorks
                                                                                                                                           Animation’s Madagascar: Escape
    wallet this month. [by Mercedes Milligan]     animation’s winding road home. [by
                                                                                                                                            2 Africa offers more eye-popping
    26 A Revealing Anime Flashback.               Kevin Geiger]                               Licensing                                    visuals and dramatic situations—and
    Digital Meme’s four-disc DVD offers           50 Broad Comedy. Breakthrough               74 Objects of Our Affection. News from
                                                                                                                                            lemurs and penguins to boot.
    a wonderful look at the early years

                                                  Animation and Canwest’s Producing           the world of toys and merchandising.
    of animation in Japan. [by Charles            Parker takes an animated look at the life
                                                                                                                                            MIPCOM Cover: Taffy
    Solomon]                                      of a daytime chat show producer. [by        VFX                                           Entertainment brings the new
    28 A Modern Fairy Tale. It took years of      Ramin Zahed]                                78 Wagging the Dogs, the Rat and the
    development and tinkering, but Disney’s       54 Gentle Gems. Mig Said..., a poetic       Iguana. When you create the effects
                                                                                                                                           animated series Twisted Whiskers to                    7
                                                                                                                                            the French TV market.


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                                                                                                                                                                      ANIMATION MAGAZINE
                                                                    am writing this month’s letter from the beautiful Canadian city of                                                           November 2008

                                                                    Ottawa, where I had the great opportunity to attend the exciting
                                                                                                                                                                                        Vol. 22, Issue 10, No. 189
                                                                 Animation Festival and TV Conference. Never underestimate the                                                 
                                                                  ability of these and other toon-themed events to recharge your
                                                                  batteries and fuel your enthusiasm for the limitless possibilities of our                                          President Jean Thoren
                                                                  favorite art form and medium.                                                                                       Publisher Jodi Bluth
                                                                     First up, a big brava/shout-out to conference director Azarin                                                  Accounting Jan Bayouth
                                                                  Sohrabkhani, who put together a two-day program packed with
                                                                                                                                                                                   Webmaster Eric Brandenberg
                                             informative seminars, panels and presentations. Having Nickelodeon Animation
                                             president Brown Johnson and Robot Chicken co-creators Seth Green and Matthew                                                EDITORIAL
                                             Senreich as keynote speakers was a huge coup. I still can’t believe they managed to                                             Editor-in-Chief Ramin Zahed

                                             deliver inspiring speeches at 8:30 in the morning each day!
                                                                                                                                                                         Web and Gaming Editor Ryan Ball
                                                Johnson kicked things off by talking Robot Chicken
                                                                                                                                                                   Contributing Editors Chris Grove, Ron Magid,
                                             about Nickelodeon’s early days and how
                                             the toon renaissance of the ’90s began
                                                                                                                                                                                  Barbara Robertson
                                             with three smart shows—Doug, Rugrats                                                                                       Editorial Assistant Mercedes Milligan
                                             and Ren & Stimpy!—which all debuted                                                                                       Animation Art Advisor Ron Barbagallo
                                             on the same day in August of 1991. She                                                                                  Digital Reviews Editor Todd Sheridan Perry
                                             also reminisced about one of her favorite                                                                                               Contributors
                                             meetings in which Stephen Hillenburg                                                                                     Alex S. Dai, Mike Fisher, Jake Friedman,
                                             (wearing a Hawaiian shirt) showed up with                                                                                  Kevin Geiger, Jill Gilbert, Kevin Kiner,
                                             an aquarium tank, played ukelele and                                                                                   Robby London, Charles Solomon, Ellen Wolff
                                             pitched this show about a porous sponge.
                                            “The consumer division wasn’t as thrilled about the concept of the show, but they’ve                                                          ADVERTISING SALES
                                                              come around since then,” she joked. She also touched upon the great                                             
                                                              responsibility to fuel the animation process and to give freedom to artistic                                                         Sheri Shelton
                                                              minds to roam. “You need to feel creative to be creative,” she noted.
                                                                 Green and Senreich were equally appreciative of the support they                                     PRODUCTION ________________
                                                              get from the team at Cartoon Network’s [adult swim]. “We decided from                                 Art and Production Director Susanne Rector
                                                              day one never to work with people we don’t like,” said Green. He and
                                                              Senreich talked about their amazement at the fact that they’re in the                                      CIRCULATION ________________
                                                              fourth season of their hit stop-motion show. “It feels amazingly impossible.                                  Circulation Director Jan Bayouth
                                         Seth Green           This was going to be our second job, our hobby, something that would                                       Circulation Administrator Alexis Beebe
                                                             never bring us money,” added Green. “Each season takes about six
                                                             months of pure intensive labor, but we’re able to do this because we work                                                           TO ADVERTISE:
                                                             with people who trust us to take chances and who share our goals to                                                              Phone: 818-991-2884
                                                                                                                                                                                                Fax: 818-991-3773
                                                             accomplish things.”                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                      Email: ______________
                                                                They gave props to their staff of 102 employees (including the “unpaid                                                Website:
                                                             interns!” and their team of “unspoiled and unbitter writers”). “We got
                                                                                                                                                                                                     List Rental
                                                             David Hasselhoff to sing in a sketch called Beastmaster: The Musical. We                                                         Quantum List Marketing
                                                             got Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise … Scarlett Johansson and Hulk Hogan                                                                 480-860-6036
                                        Brown Johnson                                                                                                                                         ANIMATION MAGAZINE
                                                           … We got Charlize Theron to guest on the show—and we paid her scale!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                           (USPS 015-877/ISSN 1041-617X)
                                                             We get to play with toys all day and get paid for it! How great is that?”
                                                Pretty darn great, guys! Here’s to many more seasons of the insanely funny show. Oh,                                                          Published monthly by:
                                             and incidentally, the Season 3 DVD comes out on October 7!                                                                                        Animation Magazine
                                                                                                                                                                                        30941 West Agoura Road, Suite 102
                                                                                                                                                                                            Westlake Village, CA 91361

                                                                                                                                                                       Periodicals postage paid at Thousand Oaks Post Office, CA,
                                                                                                                                                                                      and additional mailing offices.
                                                                                                                   Ramin Zahed
                                                                                                                                                                                         SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO:
                                                                                                                                                                                            ANIMATION MAGAZINE
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                                                         “                                         ”
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                                                             Quote of the Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                     TO SUBSCRIBE:
                                                           “$9.99: The title also happens to be the price of a                                                     For the U.S., the rate is $55 for 12 issues or $90 for 24 issues. Rates for Canada
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                                                         book that promises to reveal the meaning of life, an                                                       foreign airmail. Foreign rates are US$85 for 12 issues or US$140 for 24 issues
                                                         answer of interest to a mild-mannered 20-something                                                        delivered by foreign airmail. Please allow six to eight weeks for initial delivery.
                                                                                                                                                                      Also available in a digital version for $36 for 12 issues or $60 for 24 issues.
                                                         guy who lives at home with his blustery father. Both of
                                                         whom are stop-motion animated creations, part of a                                                                                        Animation Magazine
                                                                                                                                                                                                © 2008 Animation Magazine

                                                         vivid universe of characters in search of contentment. Using the droll, wise stories of Etgar                      Prior written approval must be obtained to duplicate any and all contents.
                                                                                                                                                                   The copyrights and trademarks of images featured herein are the property of their respective
                                                         Keret as her guide, inventive Israeli filmmaker Tatia Rosenthal concocts an artful film                                owners. Animation Magazine acknowledges the creators and copyright
                                                                                                                                                                     holders of the materials mentioned herein, and does not seek to infringe on those rights.
                                                         that’s enchanted, enchanting and meaningful, too.”                                                                                         Printed in the U.S.A.
                                                                                —Entertainment Weekly’s critic Lisa Schwarzbaum on Tatia Rosenthal’s $9.99,
                                                                                                                      a hit at the recent Toronto Film Festival.


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                                                                                                                The Animation Planner

                                                        1  Hailed as the Sundance            4  It’s going to be a rough month   4-9      Brush up your German     6-14      Rio is perhaps          7  The folks at DreamWorks
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Animation are hoping for
                                                        of the game animation                on your wallet—just check out       for the Int’l Short Film          the perfect city to host the
                                                        set, the annual Machinima            the titles out on DVD today:        Festival in Berlin this week      International Festival of         another big holiday hit with

                                                        Filmfestival takes place             Popeye the Sailor: 1941-1943,       (
                                                                                                                                 _________                         Erotic Animation (www.fiae.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Madagascar: Escape 2
                                                        in New York                                 Vol. 3; Batman: The                                                            Africa, in which Alex the Lion
                                                        City today                                  Complete Animated Series;                                                                        (Ben Stiller) and friends find
                                                        (www.festival.                              Futurama: Bender’s Game;                                                                                          themselves
                                                        ________                                    Chowder, Vol. 1; Home                                                                                             missing the
                                                                                                    Movies: 10th Anniversary                                                                                          comforts of
                                                                                                    Set and Fraggle Rock:                                                                                             their New York
                                                                                                    The Complete Series!                                                                                              City zoo again.

                                                        10-16       Learn to do it in         11  If you’d like to get some early holiday shopping                11-13      Hey,
                                                                                                                                                                  mates, it’s time to fly to Sydney
                                                                                                                                                                                                     14   Daniel Craig is back to
                                                                                                                                                                                                     do his thing as
                                                        Portuguese at the Cinanima            done, just check out the new DVDs on sale today:
                                                        Festival in Espinho, Portugal,        Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological                            for the Australian Effects         Agent 007 in
                                                        this week (          Donald, Vol. 4, 1951-1961 and Mickey Mouse                          and Animation Awards (www.
                                                                                                                                                                                           ___       the oddly titled
                                                                                              Club Presents Annette 1957-1958; Naruto the                             Quantum of
                                                                                                         Movie: Guardians of the Crescent                                                            Solace feature,
                                                                                                         Moon Kingdom; Harry Potter, Years                                                           directed by
                                                                                                         1-5 and Firefly: The Complete Series                                                         Marc Forster.
                                                                                                         on Blu-ray.

                                                        14-16       Yes, more excitement     18   We have a big smile on
                                                                                             our face as Disney/Pixar’s
                                                                                                                                 18-20        Check out visions   19-23       Take in the            21-23        You can meet Brian
                                                        is brewing Down Under, as                                                for our future at the 6Sight     views at the 3DX Film and          O’Halloran (Clerks)
                                                        the AnimfxNZ kicks off in            WALL•E comes out on DVD             Future of Imaging confab         Entertainment Tech Festival        and the cast and
                                                        Wellington, New Zealand today        and Blu-ray today. Also             in Monterey, Calif. (www.
                                                                                                                                                     ___          in Singapore. Special guests       crew of Aqua Teen
                                                        (                  demanding our attention are
                                                                                                                                 _________                        include James Cameron, Jeffrey     Hunger Force at
                                                                                                      the new SpongeBob                                           Katzenberg and Jim Gianopulos      this year’s Atlanta
                                                                                                      SquarePants: Season                                         (             SuperCon (www.
                                                                                                      5, Vol. 2                                                                                      atlantasupercon.
                                                                                                      and Doctor                                                                                     com).
                                                                                             Who: The Infinite

                                                        21    Disney will unleash its        25     It’s a bird. It’s a plane.   26    If you’re in the mood                                         27    Today is the opening day
                                                                                                                                                                                                     of the Anilogue Int’l Animation
                                                        much-anticipate new animated         It’s the Superman: Doomsday         for holiday post-apocalyptic
                                                                feature, Bolt, in theaters   movie, which arrives on shiny       tales of doom, you may want                                         Festival,
                                                                today. Directed by Byron     Blu-ray today.                      to check out Viggo Mortensen                                        which runs
                                                                Howard and Chris Miller,                                         and Charlize Theron in The                                          through Dec.
                                                                the pic features the                                             Road. Fans of more escapist                                         3 in Budapest,
                                                        voices of John Travolta and                                              fare may opt for the latest                                         Hungary (www.

                                                        Susie Essman. Teenage girls                                              offering from lean, mean                                  
                                                        will be rushing to see the screen                                        fighting machine Jason

                                                        adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s                                          Statham in Transporter 3.
                                                        bloodsuckers’ tale Twilight.
                                                        To get your company’s events and products listed in this monthly calendar, please e-mail _________________________


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                                                                                                                                Books We Love

                                                                                                                                                         Catmull, but when an extended clip was screened at Comic-Con last July, fans gave it
                                                        100 Days of Monsters
                                                                                                                                                         two paws up. In late October, the companion art book penned by the knowledgeable
                                                        By Stefan G. Bucher
                                                                                                                                                         Mark Cotta Vaz arrives in stores, a few weeks before the movie’s opening. Cotta Vaz
                                                        [How Books, $19.99]
                                                                                                                                                         has taken us on similar rides before—his credits include books about the art of Finding
                                                        I t all started in May of 2006, when designer Stefan Bucher
                                                          decided to draw an ink-blot monster every day for 100
                                                        days and post a video of himself drawing the creature
                                                                                                                                                         Nemo, The Incredibles, Star Wars and The Polar Express—and definitely knows his
                                                                                                                                                         subject matter. As we’ve come to expect from Chronicle Books, there is no shortage
                                                                                                                                                         of concept art, storyboard sketches and full-color illustrations—over 250 pieces are
                                                        online. That’s how the popular site was born, and soon millions of fans
                                                                                                                                                         included in this glossy hardcover. The movie’s talented helmers Chris Williams and Byron
                                                        were submitting their own back stories about the sketches and as of a few months ago,
                                                                                                                                                         Howard provide the book’s intro, and there’s a foreword by everyone’s favorite chief
                                                        over 1,600,000 videos had been downloaded. Those of us who’d like to have a record of
                                                                                                                                                         creative officer, John Lasseter. Now all moviegoers will need are an open mind and the
                                                        this creative endeavor in our hands are doing a happy dance about the Monsters book
                                                                                                                                                         power to stop comparing every animated movie to WALL•E!
                                                        and tie-in DVD. “I wanted to create a time capsule of this odd little lark that developed

                                                        a life of its own,” writes Bucher in the intro. “I didn’t plan any of this, but I’m so glad it
                                                        happened. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, and I’ve always been happy              Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland
                                                        when I got another drawing done. But after all these years, these monsters are the first          Illustrated by Mary Blair, written by Jon Scieszka
                                                        drawings that are fun while I’m drawing them!” And believe us when we tell you that this         [Disney Press, $16.99]
                                                        book is definitely just as fun to look at or give to someone who appreciates much-needed
                                                        splashes of creativity in this world.                                                            T    he past couple years certainly had their share of
                                                                                                                                                              horrible low points in art and culture, but any period that sees the release of
                                                                                                                                                         not one, but two books illustrated by the amazing Mary Blair can’t be all that bad.
                                                                                                                                                         It’s a delight to see Jon Scieszka’s (The Stinky Cheese Man, Time Warp Trio) clever
                                                        The Art of Bolt
                                                                                                                                                         retelling of the Lewis Carroll story accompanied by the drawings of Blair (1911-1978),
                                                        By Mark Cotta Vaz
                                                                                                                                                         who is credited with color stylings on Disney’s Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and
                                                        [Chronicle Books, $40]
                                                                                                                                                         Peter Pan and continues to influence new generations of animators and illustrators.
                                                        A     lthough Disney’s Bolt will be under much scrutiny
                                                              since it’s the first non-Pixar CG-animated project from the studio under John
                                                        Lasseter’s leadership, family audiences will simply go to the theaters to take in an
                                                                                                                                                         There’s only one problem about revisiting Wonderland through the eyes of the
                                                                                                                                                         uniquely talented Ms. Blair—you wish more volumes of her artwork could become
                                                                                                                                                         available to us every year. If the 64 pages of this book leave you hungry for more,
                                                        entertaining story about a white German Shepherd star who has to adjust to life in the
                                                                                                                                                         don’t forget to check out John Canemaker’s definitive book about the artist, The
                                                        real world, accompanied by a nervous cat named Mittens and a hamster called Rhino.
                                                                                                                                                         Art and Flair of Mary Blair (Disney Editions, $40), which was published in 2003. ■
                                                        The project has had a troubled history—fans were dismayed when the toon’s original
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 —Ramin Zahed
                                                        director Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch) left Disney after clashing with Lasseter and Ed




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                                                        In Memoriam:
                                                        Bill Melendez (1917-2008)

                                                        I  t’s the end of an era, Charlie Brown. Last month, the animation world mourned the
                                                           loss of Bill Melendez, the talented animator, director and producer who gave us those
                                                        unforgettable Peanuts TV specials. Melendez, who had a remarkable 70-year career as
                                                        an animator and worked on Disney classics such as Dumbo, Bambi, Pinocchio, Fantasia
                                                        and Bambi and Warner Bros. characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig,
                                                        died at the age of 91 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif.
                                                          Born in Sonora, Mexico, Melendez and his family moved to Arizona in 1928 and then
                                                        to Los Angeles in the 1930s. Melendez trained at the Chouinard Art Studio (now CalArts)

                                                        and was a former faculty member of the Cinema Arts Dept. at USC. Melendez left
                                                        Warner Bros. for UPA in 1948, where as a director and producer he worked on hundreds
                                                        of commercials and shorts, including the Oscar-winning Gerald McBoing Boing.
                                                          In 1959, he directed the first animated version of Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts
                                                        characters for a series of Ford Falcon commercials. In 1964, he founded Bill Melendez
                                                                                         Productions, where he delivered his best-loved project, the Emmy-winning holiday classic A
                                                                                         Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), co-produced with partner Lee Mendelson for CBS. In addition
                                                                                         to the Peanuts collection (which included over 63 half-hour specials, five one-hour specials,
                                                                                         four features and over 372 commercials ), Melendez also directed Garfield on the Town,
                                                                                         Cathy, Babar Comes to America and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. He was also the
                                                                                         voice of Snoopy, Woodstock and Spike throughout the years.
                                                                                           Melendez received 17 Emmy nomination and eight wins, as well as an Oscar nomination for
                                                                                         co-writing the score for A Boy Named Charlie Brown with Vince Guaraldi and two Peabody
                                                        awards. His son Steven will continue his legacy and lead Bill Melendez Productions. Melendez is survived by his wife of
                                                        68 years, Helen; two sons; six grandchildren; and 11 great grandchildren. Donations may be made in his name to the
                                                        Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles.




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                                                                                                                                       FRAME-BY-FRAME WWW.ANIMATIONMAGAZINE.NET
        Nick Greenlights Fanboy                                 Revisiting Astro Boy’s Father

        I t’s official: After a successful sneak peek at
          Comic-Con this year, Eric Robles’ original
                                                                I  f you are lucky
                                                                   enough to
                                                                be in Japan
        Fanboy and Chum Chum series has been picked
                                                                this month for
        up by Nickelodeon for an early 2009 debut.
                                                                the Tokyo Film
        The show, which began its life as one of Fred
                                                                Festival, make
        Seibert’s Random! Cartoons shorts, follows the
                                                                sure you take
                                                                in a wonderful
                                              of Fanboy, a

                                                                planned for
                                                                the “father
                                                                of manga
                                                                and anime,” the late Osamu Tezuka. After creating some of the
                                              Hornsby) and
                                                                most successful Japanese comic books of the post-war era, he
                                              his imaginative
                                                                transferred his talents to the world of TV animation. In 1963, Astro
                                              sidekick Chum
                                                                Boy became the first domestic animated TV series in Japan, and
                                              Chum (Nika
                                                                its was followed by many other hits including Kimba the White Lion.
                                                                The festival celebration includes the 1979 anime, Marine Express,
                                              The cabler has
                                                                which has an environmental theme, as well as selected episodes
                                              ordered 26
                                                                of Astro Boy, Princess Knight and New Jungle Emperor, Go Ahead
        episodes of the CG-animated show, which is exec
                                                                Leo!. On the feature side, audiences will get a chance to see
        produced by Robles, Seibert and Steve Tompkins.
                                                                The Fantastic Adventures of Unico (1981) and Unico in the Island
        The series voice cast also includes Jamie Kennedy,
                                                                of Magic (1983), and the live-action/animated projects Phoenix:
        Josh Duhamel and Estelle Harris. We’re sure
                                                                Dawn (1978) and Phoenix 2772 (1980). Let’s hope this event
        many of us will recognize some part of ourselves
                                                                becomes a traveling show so that we all get to experience some
        reflected in the new show’s main characters!
                                                                of Tezuka’s rarely seen classics on the big screen. ■





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                                                                                                                                                        was the desire to see more of the best game
                                                                                                                                                        companies and best titles represented at the
                                                                                                                                                        show,” she says. “That’s one of the reasons
                                                                                                                                                        that we’re thrilled to have Microsoft on-board
                                                                                                                                                        at this year’s E for All. We also heard last year

                                                                                                                                                        that attendees wanted more flexibility and
                                                                                                                                                        savings in ticket prices, so we’ve changed
                                                                                                                                                        our pricing structure to meet those needs.”
                                                                                                                                                           Dolaher and her team are also excited
                                                                                                                                                        about a new partnership with Target, which
                                                                                                                                                        will be the official retailer at E for All. The ar-
                                                                                                                                                        rangement will allow expo attendees to not
                                                                                                                                                        only try the newest games and gear, but also
                                                                                                                                                        purchase them on the spot and take them
                                                                                                                                                           Another major attraction at this year’s
                                                                                                                                                        show is the World Cyber Games USA 2008 Na-
                                                                                                                                                        tional Final. Two-hundred of America’s best

                                                                                        More E for All                                                  players will be competing for a chance to
                                                                                                                                                        make Team USA and represent the U.S. at the
                                                                                                                                                        WCG 2008 Grand Final in November. The
                                                                                   Game on for second annual interactive                                competition will also include the Samsung
                                                                                        entertainment expo. by Ryan Ball                                Mobile Challenge tournament, a women’s
                                                                                                                                                        gaming invitational tournament, an old-

                                                                hen it was announced that the             Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel is back as        school pinball competition, various walk-up
                                                                2007 Electronic Entertainment Expo     the face of the second edition of E for All.     video gaming contests and more.
                                                                (E3) would be closed to the public,    Holder of 12 world championship titles in five       Those interested in careers in making
                                                     it looked like Game Over for enthusiasts who      different games, Wendel is living every hard-    games can attend the Game Developers
                                                     had come out every year to check out all the      core gamer’s fantasy of playing games and        Conference (GDC) Game Career Seminar.
                                                     hottest upcoming games, get some hands-                                                            “The seminar helps jumpstart the careers of
                                                     on time with new consoles and meet fellow                                                          passionate gamers who want to work in the
                                                     gamers from around the world (and blow                                                             video game development industry,” notes
                                                     them up). The discontent was short-lived,                                                          Dolaher. It’s an important program that helps
                                                     however, as the Entertainment for All Expo (E                                                      newcomers and industry insiders alike uncov-
                                                     for All) emerged to fill the void, giving button                                                    er opportunities, inspire new ideas and further
                                                     mashers an occasion to once again gather                                                           their careers.”
                                                     in Los Angeles and revel in gamer geekdom.                                                            According to Dolaher, the exploding casu-
                                                     The second annual edition takes place Oct.                                                         al gaming sector will also be heavily repre-
                                                     3-5 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.                                                          sented in this year’s expo. “Our show floor will
                                                         Produced by IDG World Expo, E For All is a                                                     reflect this broadening of the industry’s audi-
                                                     celebration of video games and the people                                                          ence, featuring a diverse group of compa-
                                                     who play them. Bringing together consumers,                                                        nies offering everything from games for chil-
                                                     members of the media, publishers, develop-                                                         dren to games for the most devoted gamer,”
                                                     ers and retailers, the event features exhibits                                                     she says. “Additionally, we are in the process
                                                     from leading interactive entertainment com-                                                        of solidifying some new programs on the
                                                     panies and allows consumers to test and buy                                                        show floor that will cater to new and casual
                                                     the newest video games and gadgets. Other         making big bucks doing it. He’ll be on the       gamers, which will be made public shortly.”
                                                     highlights include professional game tourna-      show floor interacting with his fans, challeng-   Companies presenting games will be vying
                                                     ments, educational seminars and celebrity         ing fellow gamers in head-to-head exhibi-        for the E For All People’s Choice awards,
                                                     appearances.                                      tions, conducting hands-on gaming demon-         which are reserved for the games that fare
                                                         One of this year’s biggest developments is    strations, signing autographs and sharing his    the best in public voting. Results will be re-
                                                     the participation of Microsoft Corp., which       vision for the future of pro gaming.             leased after the show and will help in identify-
                                                     sat out last year’s show. The company behind          Mary Dolaher, CEO of IDG World Expo, tells   ing which titles will be the hottest sellers this
                                                     the Xbox 360 and many of today’s bestselling      us feedback from last year’s event has           holiday season. ■

                                                     games will be bringing its latest wares in        helped greatly in making the show even bet-       For more information on E For All
                                                     hopes of winning the approval of the interna-     ter this time around. “Perhaps one of the big-    2008 go to
18                                                   tional gaming community.                          gest things that we received feedback on


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                                   Gaming Evolves                                                              were a kid, but the Creature Creator gave
                                                                                                               them a way to express themselves and be

                                       with Spore                                                              creative, which is a wonderful thing.”
                                                                                                                  Spore builds on principles introduced in

                                                                                                               previous Maxis games, but also represents a
                                                                                                               leap into all-new territory. Hecker explains,
       Gamers get creative with the hot new game from EA and                                                   “We tried to keep a lot of the same qualities
                            Sims creator Will Wright. by Ryan Ball                                             that made people like The Sims, like having
                                                                                                               non-combat ways of resolving conflict and

                  s the ongoing debate over creation-       leave it to the folks at Maxis to figure it out.    not having the experience be so directed
                  ism and evolution becomes a hot-          The company has written a couple detailed          that the player can’t make up their own sto-
                  button issue in the current U.S. presi-   technical papers on the subject and recently       ries. That said, it’s clearly a lot of different
       dential debate, a new online sensation from          presented its animation system at SIG-             technology from a Sims or SimCity game,
       Eletronic Arts and the creator of the Sims fran-     GRAPH.                                             that’s for sure.”
       chise shows that the two disciplines don’t              “The animator describes what they’re try-          In addition to making creatures, players
       have to be mutually exclusive. Spore is a            ing to accomplish with a given motion to the       can use editing tools to revise the design of
       “massively single-player” game that allows           system, in a way that the system can apply to      buildings and vehicles found in the universe.
       gamers to create a new species of creature
       and steer its evolution to ensure survival in an
       ever-changing virtual universe. Will the title
       help Bible literalists and followers of Darwin fi-
       nally find some middle ground? It’s doubtful.
       But it is a great way to exercise creativity and
       kill some time online.
            Developed by Will Wright’s Maxis studio,
       Spore features the unique Creature Creator,
       which allows players to model their own 3D
       creatures using provided body parts and
       easy-to-use editing tools. Life forms can be as
       simple or as complex as the user wants to
       make them, and gamers are proving that the
       sky is the limit. The game debuted just weeks
       ago, but the Creature Creator was released
       months earlier, allowing people around the
       world to play with the tools and upload their
       creations. By the second day of availability,
       roughly 250,000 unique creatures had been
       generated. More than three million had been
       created by the time the game shipped. Each
       new species designed becomes part of the             the creature later,” Hecker explains. “So the      Hecker thinks the creativity involved will help
       game and contributes to the growth of the            animator tells the system, ‘I want to select a     Maxis capture an even bigger chunk of the
       Spore world.                                         right-hand side grasper and move it to pick a      exploding casual games market.
            “There are lots of games that let you make      piece of fruit,’ and the system takes that de-         “The lesson of Web 2.0 firms like YouTube
       your own character, since Dungeons & Drag-           scription and figures out how to apply it to the    and MySpace is that everybody likes to cre-
       ons came out back in the ‘70s, in fact,” notes       player’s creature [taking into account] how        ate things and put them up for others to see,
       Chris Hecker, technology fellow at Maxis.            big the motion should be, where the fruit is on    so hopefully we will tap into that,” he says.
       “Most games don’t take it as far as we have,         the tree, etc.”                                    “Since we now have 11 million creations in
       though. Spore lets players stick an arbitrary           The Creature Creator was five years in de-       the database, I think we’re well on our way.
       number of arms and legs and heads on their           velopment as Maxis worked to find a way to          Figuring out how to use all this amazing data
       character, which takes it to a whole new level       put professional-quality character modeling        is a really fun challenge!”
       in terms of the game needing to deal with            capabilities in the hands of untrained artists.        Spore is now available for Windows PC
       the combinatorics.”                                     “The biggest thing for me is that it’s really   and Nintendo DS. Spore Origins is also on the
            Combinatorics is a fancy way of saying          helped people unleash their creative side,”        market for mobile devices. The Creature Cre-

       there are some crazy-ass looking creatures           Hecker notes. “You can find a lot of forum          ator is a separate application that retails for
       and the animation system has to drive each           posts on the Internet where people talk about      $9.99. For more information, go to ___  www.
       unique variation. It seems impossible, but           how they hadn’t drawn anything since they ■                                              19


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                                                                                                                                                     Katzenberg, McGrath and Darnell (who
                                                             The creative team behind the Madagascar sequel faced many
                                                                                                                                                     co-wrote and directed the first outing)
                                                            visual and narrative challenges as the film brings the Central Park                       and co-writer Etan Cohen (King of the Hill,
                                                         zoo animals to the plains of Africa. (Yes, the crafty penguins and the                      Tropic Thunder) decided to explore how
                                                           party-loving lemurs are also back for the ride.) by Ramin Zahed                           Alex was taken from the Savannah by

                                                                                                                                                     poachers as a young cub and depict his
                                                                 ow do you follow up a ram-         Africa finds Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty   reunion with the parents he never got to
                                                                 bunctious movie about a group      the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe       know.
                                                                 of New York City animals who       (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo              “Part of the emotional impact of the
                                                      have to fend for themselves in the jungles    (Jada Pinkett Smith) lost in the awe-inspir-     movie comes from Alex’s relationship with
                                                      of Madagascar? You do what they used          ing plains of Africa after a disastrous flight    his dad [voiced by the late Bernie Mac],
                                                      to with the old Bob Hope and Bing Crosby      aboard an old crashed plane fixed by the          who is an alpha lion,” says McGrath. “His
                                                      movies: Take the likeable characters and      penguins!                                        father has a certain idea of what a male
                                                      put them in new surroundings, where              “We kind of had a story in mind before        lion should be like, and Alex is a song-and-
                                                      they’ll be bombarded with more chal-          the first movie came out,” says Tom               dance guy, and his dad doesn’t really see
                                                      lenging and hilarious situations.             McGrath, who also voices Skipper, the            his gifts. Then we also have the love story
                                                         Directed by Eric Darnell (Antz, Mada-      penguin. “We had it in the back of our           between Melman and Gloria, which was
                                                      gascar) and Tom McGrath (Madagas-             minds that they’d go to mainland Africa.         a residual from the first movie. We really
                                                      car), the sequel to the 2005 summer           They are such fun characters that we             feel that emotionally, this one is a lot stron-
                                                      blockbuster, which made close to $533         knew we could take them to different             ger than the first movie.”
                                                      million worldwide, has certainly upped        places and through deeper emotional

                                                      the ante, both in terms of its inspired CG-   experiences.”                                                   Being There
                                                      animated visuals and its emotionally re-         After they got the go-ahead from                Once the sequel’s location was decid-
20                                                    warding storyline. Madagascar: Escape 2       DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey                 ed, Katzenberg took the directors and the


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                                                                                                                                                      FEATURES WWW.ANIMATIONMAGAZINE.NET
                             Director Eric Darnell

                                Tom McGrath

                                 Art Director
                               Shannon Jeffries

                                                         Return of the Beasts 2.0: Led by directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, Madagascar:
                                                         Escape 2 Africa ups the ante with CG-animated set pieces involving various
                                                         collections of animals and stunning African landscapes. The star-studded voice cast
                                                         includes familiar voices from the first movie (Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer,
                                                         Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen and Andy Richter) as well as new additions
                             Production Designer
                                                         such as Cedric the Entertainer, the late Bernie Mac and music by
                              Kendal Cronkhite

       heads of the film’s department on a trip to       what it looks like. We took the design con-   to do that?”
       the continent so they could all get a good       ceits that were a big part of the original       The film’s accomplished vfx crew
       feel for the unique landscape and flora           movie and tried to create an Africa that      helped create the majestic skies, the mil-
       and fauna. “We visited Kenya and seven           they’d recognize.”                            lions of blades of grass and the difficult
       different wildlife parks in eight days,” says       McGrath says they used over 15,000         scenes featuring herds of animals using
       McGrath. “There have been so many                photos and numerous hours of video foot-      the studio’s proprietary digital software.
       movies made in Africa, but once you see          age as blueprints for their CG adventure.     “We pushed the limits of technology, try-
       it yourself, it’s a completely different expe-   “When you get to Africa, you realize just     ing to get the light to shine through the
       rience. For example, part of the plot re-        how big the place is,” he says, “Two-thirds   clouds to get a unique translucent behav-
       volves around the importance of the wa-          of what you see when you’re there is sky.     ior,” says returning vfx supervisor Philippe
       tering hole and how water is such a valu-        And we just realized that it has to be a      Gluckman, “This brought us some really
       able resource for all the animals. That          huge part of our set … How are we going       amazing images that either were used di-
       came out of our trip.”                                                                                  rectly, where the clouds are actu-
           The new setting opened a                                                                            ally 3D elements, or were used as
       world of possibilities to Darnell                                                                       the basis for the painters to start
       and McGrath, who met eight                                                                              with. And it gave us looks that
       years ago at DreamWorks. “A lot                                                                         were really fascinating.” A team
       of people weren’t aware of                                                                              of matte painters then helped in-
       Madagascar … Some didn’t                                                                                corporate these expensive CG
       even know what it looked like.                                                                          clouds into the frames.
       So, we could create this fantasy                                                                           One of the key scenes in the

       world,” says Darnell. “But Africa is                                                                    movie is the plane crash in the first
       so different … Even if you haven’t                                                                      act. Aided by Oscar-winning cin-
       been there, you have an idea of                                                                         ematographer Guillermo Navarro              21


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                                                      (Pan’s Labyrinth, Stuart Little), the filmmak-
                                                      ers plotted the sequence by strapping
                                                      animators and layout artists on an upside-
                                                      down couch and shooting them with a
                                                      shaky camera. The vfx team spent a lot of
                                                      time creating subtle touches such as
                                                      blowing curtains, wind blowing through
    WWW.ANIMATIONMAGAZINE.NET   ___________________

                                                      the animals’ manes, or pieces of the
                                                      plane’s body being peeled away as it
                                                      crashes down to Earth. Each shot in the
                                                      crash sequence involved 15 to 30 effects
                                                      elements, and the artists would spend
                                                      about six weeks polishing each one them.
                                                      Because of the project’s visual fireworks
                                                      and mind-boggling attention to detail,
                                                      the render time for Escape 2 Africa
                                                      clocked in at 30 million hours—a huge
                                                      bump over the 12 million hours it took to             The retro look also played                                ues to improve and be-
                                                      complete Madagascar.                               an integral part in art director                              come more user-friendly.
                                                                                                         Shannon Jeffries’ overall vi-                                    People are getting so
                                                                   Different Stripes                     sion. “We looked at a lot of                                       much better in using
                                                         For production designer Kendal Cronkh-          design work from the ’60s                                           the medium to tell
                                                      ite (Antz, James and the Giant Peach)              and also looked at African                                           their stories. Today,
                                                      who also worked on the first movie, the             patterns,” she says. “I                                              we’re seeing more
                                                      complex setting provided an opportunity            came to realize that a lot                                            traditional animators
                                                      to experiment more with the color pal-             of ’60s design was based                                              who were reluctant
                                                      ettes and the region’s distinctive visual          on African patterns, tex-                                            to come to computer
                                                      style. “We used a child’s point of view as         tures, masks and art.                                               animation       bringing
                                                      the basis for our saturated colors in the first     Some of the images look                                            their decades of expe-
                                                      movie,” she notes. “I wanted to go for a           quite abstract.”                                                 rience to CG and using
                                                      more sophisticated look—you have a sim-               Jeffries says it’s in-                                      it in rewarding ways. The
                                                      plified landscape—and you put one tree              credible to see how                                           technology has also
                                                      out there and your eye immediately focus           much more sophisticat-                                     reached a point where, as
                                                      on that. The challenge was to keep the             ed the CG animation has become in              an animator, you can pretty much cre-
                                                      filmgoers eyes on the intimate emotions             the three years since the first movie came   ate whatever you dream up.”
                                                      on the characters’ faces and not have              out. “We were able to do so much more         McGrath says he’s pretty jazzed about
                                                      the scope of the film overwhelm those de-           with the details,” she adds.                the vital role animation is playing in the
                                                      tails.”                                            “We found ways of al-                       movie market these days. “We are seeing
                                                         Cronkhite picks out her favorite scene          lowing each of the                          that animation is moving beyond the
                                                      in the movie: “It’s a monochromatic, dusty         main characters to                          genres it was associated with traditionally.
                                                      sequence in the Savannah,” she responds.           stand out in                                You can’t compare Beowulf to Madagas-
                                                      “There’s a point where their home set              huge crowds                                         car.” More important, he simply
                                                      changes overnight and it turns into a very         of animals.”                                               wants audiences to leave
                                                      different, dustier and dry place. It’s a              “Technolo-                                               theaters with experiences
                                                      much scarier place than Madagascar.                gy has changed                                              that they can identify with.
                                                      There’s also a very cool volcano sacrifice          so much in re-                                             “We still want people to
                                                      sequence—which has this organic                    cent      years,”                                         laugh—that’s          our     main
                                                      Guggenheim museum, retro feel to it.”              notes Darnell.                                            goal—but we also want to
                                                         Cronkhite, who draws traditionally as           “We have ac-                                              move them a little!” Now, just
                                                      well as working in Photoshop and Maya,             cess to so much                                            cue up the lemur song! ■
                                                      says the process was hugely helped by              more process-
                                                      having a pre-viz artist deliver some of the        ing power                                                        Paramount releases
                                                      sets early in the process. “This is very helpful   and       the                                                    DreamWorks Anima-
                                                      as you see how each world is connected             software                                                         tion’s Madagascar:

                                                      to the other, and it also allows the filmmak-       contin-                                                          Escape 2 Africa on
                                                      ers to understand the movements and the                                                                                 November 7.
22                                                    scene dynamics better,” she believes


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                                                              The Samurai Critic:
                                                              Reviews of the Latest Anime Releases on DVD and Blu-ray
                                                                                                                                                             by Charles Solomon

                                                             Planetes: Complete Collection                          Gurren Lagann 02 and 03                          parodies. But Gurren Lagann is so much fun, it
                                                                                                                                                                     seems churlish to cavil about minor problems
                                                                 [Bandai: $49.98, 6 discs]                         [Bandai: $29.98, 2 discs each]
                                                                                                                                                                     like a nonsensical plot. A Gurren Lagann fea-

                                                          U    nlike most sci-fi shows, Planetes (2001-
                                                               04) deals with a real scientific problem:
                                                          space junk. There are about 15,000 objects
                                                                                                                                   T   he freewheeling fanta-
                                                                                                                                       sy-adventure       Gurren
                                                                                                                                    Lagann (known as Tengen
                                                                                                                                                                     ture will be released in Japan this fall.

                                                                                                                                                                             Yu Yu Hakusho:
                                                          four inches or larger orbiting the Earth at                               Toppa Gurren Lagann in              Season One and Two Box Sets
                                                          speeds approaching eight km per second,                                   Japan, which translates as              [FUNimation: $34.98,

                                                          including bolts, tools and metal fragments.                               “Heaven Shattering Crim-
                                                                                                                                                                               4 discs each]
                                                          All this floating crud poses a hazard to navi-                             son Face”) became the
                                                          gation, and it’s the job of the Debris Section
                                                          on Space Station ISPV-7 to clean it up
                                                          (echoes of WALL•E?). While it’s an impor-
                                                                                                                                    anime sleeper hit of 2008,
                                                                                                                                    but the producers faced
                                                                                                                                    the challenge of keeping
                                                                                                                                                                     Y    usuke Urameshi, who looks like Johnny
                                                                                                                                                                          Depp in the 1990 John Waters movie Cry-
                                                                                                                                                                     Baby, takes pride in just one thing: being the
                                                          tant job, it’s not a prestigious one, as perky but   the insanity rolling after the death of the hero      toughest kid in Sarayashiki Junior High. The
                                                          klutzy Ai Tanabe learns when she                               (Kamina) at the end of Episode #8.          hero of Yu Yu Hakusho lives to pound people
                                                          joins the crew in 2075. The Debris                             Simon is crushed by the death of his        into mochi, especially his archrival Kuwabara.
                                                          Section is staffed with under-ap-                              friend and hero. The rest of the crew,      Acting on a rare, kindly impulse, Yusuke gets
                                                          preciated and underpaid misfits.                                especially his latent love interest, Nia,   killed saving a younger boy from being hit by
                                                          Ai immediately begins arguing                                  join to bring Simon out of his funk.        a car. Koenma, the son of the ruler of the Spir-
                                                          with her instructor, veteran astro-                            Evoking Kamina’s rallying cry, “Reject-     it World, decides to give him a second
                                                          naut and junkman Hachirota                                     ing common sense to make the im-            chance. As a “spirit detective,” he’ll track
                                                          “Hachimaki” Hoshino (his nick-                                 possible possible is the Team Gurren        down evil beings in the human world. Enough
                                                          name comes from the hachima-                                   Way,” Simon leads the continuing            good actions will cause a “spirit egg” to hatch
                                                          ki or inscribed headband he al-                                battle against Spiral King Lord Ge-         into a generous beast that will get his body
                                                          ways wears).                                         nome. Once the humans discover that the               back; if Yusuke behaves badly, he’ll create a
                                                              The premise of an over-eager, inept new-         Spiral capitol of Teppelin is actually a gigantic     soul-devouring monster.
                                                          comer joining a team of oddball grunts has           mecha, their victory is assured. But Lord Ge-             The transition from two-bit punk
                                                          been used many times in anime. But when-             nome warns Simon that if the human popula-            to Good Guy doesn’t always go
                                                          ever Planetes seems about to fall into for-          tion ever passes the one million mark, they will      smoothly, but Yusuke manages to
                                                          mula, director Gorô Taniguchi and his artists        have to face an even greater threat.                  make allies of Kuwabara and two
                                                          toss in an unexpected element. Although                  Seven years later, Simon is the ruler of Tep-     powerful demons, Kurama and
                                                                                        he’s a seasoned        pelin, renamed Kamina City. But when the hu-          Hiei. Using a combination of guts,
                                                                                        spacer with years      man population reaches 1,000,001, the threat          luck and kindness, he frees a Snow
                                                                                        of extra-vehicular     Lord Genome prophesied arrives. The universe          Maiden imprisoned by sinister capi-
                                                                                        missions under his     is divided between Spiral and Anti-Spiral forc-       talists and outfights the four “Saint
                                                                                        belt, Hachimaki        es—and the Anti-Spirals fear humanity’s grow-         Beasts,” demons associated with the
                                                                                        has to confront        ing strength (the Gurren mecha’s multiple             Chinese directional animals. The sec-
                                                                                        fears that threaten    drills reflect mankind’s Spiral nature). After         ond season focuses on the Dark Tour-
                                                                                        to end his career      thwarting a plot to smash the Moon into the           nament, a sort of supernatural Ulti-
                                                                                        after a near-fatal     Earth, Simon leads his nutty friends across the       mate Fighting match. Yusuke’s curmudgeon-
                                                                                        accident.        The   dimensions to the Anti-Spirals’ home.                 ly sensei Genkai teaches him her ultimate
                                                                                        squabbles        be-       Director Hiroyuki Imaishi and his animation       technique, the “Spirit Wave Ball.” It requires
                                                                                        tween Ai and           team at Gainax pull out all the stops in a flash-      greater levels of power and control than
                                                          Hachimaki inevitably metamorphose into               ily edited whirligig of neon colors, bizarre          Yusuke commands, and mastering it causes
                                                          romance, but the filmmakers remain true to            mecha designs and snazzy effects. As he faces         him to suffer horribly. The fate of Team Ura-
                                                          their offbeat characters and avoid a pat             increasingly dire threats, Simon grows and ma-        meshi in the Dark Tournament is never really in

                                                          ending. The extras include discussions with          tures until he resembles a slightly saner version     question, but like Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho
                                                          NASA scientists about the problem of space           of the outrageous Kamina. Ultimately, the story       provides lots of male bonding, martial arts
                                                          debris—and photos of objects that have               makes even less sense than Martian Successor          training, slapstick comedy and over-the-top
24                                                        fallen to Earth.                                     Nadesico, Dokkoida?! and other self-reflexive          fights against bizarre opponents. ■


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                                                                                                                                                         HOME ENTERTAINMENT WWW.ANIMATIONMAGAZINE.NET
              Late-in-the-Year Liaisons on DVD
                                      Homer, Princess Aurora, Robot Chicken and a clan of feisty rabbits flirt
                                                            with your wallet this month. by Mercedes Milligan
                                                                                                          ect’s first director until his death in 1977,
            The Simpsons—The
                                                                                                          and his (and Faith’s) work remains—notably
         Complete Eleventh Season
                                                                                                          in the “fable” scene. The film is augmented
               [Fox, $49.98]
                                                                                                          by the talented voicework of John Hurt,
         One of the most highly scrutinized seasons                                                       Richard Briers, Nigel Hawthorne and Joss
       of The Simpsons, Season 11 rolled out of the                                                       Ackland as the ominous Black Rabbit. A
       pipeline the same year Futurama                  beauty and quality of this mid-century mas-       worthy addition to any DVD library; Frith be
       launched—taking boffo crew Matt Groen-           terpeice make it a true toon classic. In-         praised.

                       ing, David X. Cohen, Josh        spired by Tchaikovksy’s Sleeping Beauty           [Release date: Oct. 7]
                       Weinstein and Bill Oakley with   Ballet, the film’s score by George Bruns
                       it. Fans wondered if new         (performed by the Berlin Symphony Or-                 Robot Chicken: Season
                       head Mike Scully could keep      chestra) received an Oscar nomination.                        Three
                       the show as fresh and funny         The set features the restored and en-                 [Turner, $29.98]
                       as ever after 10 years on the    hanced film, plus a virtual tour of Aurora’s         The latest season of Seth Green’s stop-mo
                       air, and there was much          castle, interactive dance game, making-of         farce fest has hit DVD shelves, much to the
                       Comic Book Guy-esque wrin-       featurette and plenty more. The Mouse will        delight of crass pop-culture humorists ev-
                       kling of noses. But Scully ex-   also release this Edition as a Blu-ray set,       erywhere. Desecrating everything from
                       ceeded expectations, bring-      which comes with a bonus DVD of the film,          politics and religion to 80s nostalgia and
       ing us now-classic episodes like Beyond          so you can enjoy Princess Aurora’s adven-         modern ce-
       Blunderdome (guest starring Mel Gibson),         tures at home on your PS3 or tucked in to         lebs, Robot
       E-I-E-I-D’oh! (can you say “Tomacco?”)           the kids’ portable DVD player ($34.99).           Chicken is
       and the series shifting Alone Again, Natura-     [Release date: Oct. 7]                            consistently
       Diddily, which killed off Maude Flanders in a                                                      unpredict-
       tragic NASCAR mishap.
                                                           Watership Down—Deluxe                          able, with
           This four-disc set packs all 22 episodes
                                                                    Edition                               plenty     of
       from the Season into a limited edition
                                                               [Warner, $19.98]                           “Oh-no-
       “Krusty Head” box, and is loaded with spe-          Growing up as a tomboy, I was less than        they-didn’t”
       cial features: Intro from creator Matt Groen-    enthused the day my aunt handed me                l a u g h s
       ing, episode commentary, deleted scenes,         Richard Adams’ Watership Down—about a             packed in
       animatics, boards/sketches and The Many          million pages long, covered by a pastoral         to every skit-
       Faces of Krusty and A Star in Hollywood          illustration of bunnies… Despite her prompt-      filled    epi-
       Boulevard featurettes. A worthy release, no      ing (“It’s not really about rabbits”) I didn’t    sode. This third installment features clay
       matter what your Simpsons Elitist friends        crack Watership open for years, but I’ve          cameos by Smokey the Bear, Nicole Richie,
       say.                                             since read it again. And again. And it            Jesus and Hermey the Elf, to name a few.
       [Release date: Oct. 7]                           warms my heart to see this beautiful ani-            Season Three comes on a two-disc set of
                                                        mated adaptation released in its re-mas-          the 20 regular episodes. The epic Star Wars
           Sleeping Beauty Two Disc
                                                        tered glory to bring Adams’ dark, imagina-        special was previously released as a stand-
               Platinum Edition
                                                        tive, inspiring story to another generation.      alone DVD, but we’re sure it’s already sit-
                [Disney, $29.99]
                                                           Written, directed and produced by Martin       ting on your shelf—right?!
          Disney continues its Platinum Edition roll    Rosen—who went on to helm the TV series           [Release date: Oct. 7] ■
       out with this gorgeous 1959 feature, based       (1999) and another animated Adams story,
       on the fairytale by Charles Perrault. Direct-    The Plague Dogs (1982)—Watership be-               Let’s Go Smurfin’ Now:
       ed by a team of toon legends—Clyde                                       came the sixth most
       Geronimi, Les Clark, Eric Larson and Wolf-                               popular film of 1979 in     Turner releases
       gang Reitherman—and featuring elabo-                                       the U.K., and was re-    The       Smurfs:
       rate backgrounds and lush design by Win-                                     cently named one       Season One,
                                                                                                           Vol. Two on

       sor McCay Award-winner Eyvind Earle (Pe-                                     of the Top 100
       ter Pan), Sleeping Beauty was the last Dis-                                  Greatest Cartoons      DVD Oct. 7.
       ney film to use hand-inked cels. One of the                                  by Channel 4. John      Don’t be blue,
       studio’s most lavish animated features, the                               Hubley was the proj-      it’s only $26.98!                                        25


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                                                                                                                                                          the pole vault for Japan at the Berlin Olym-

                                                                     A Revealing Anime                                                                    pics, although he cheats. In contrast, the
                                                                                                                                                          Monkey in Swim, Monkey, Swim (Oyoge-ya

                                                                             Flashback                                                                    Oyoge, 1939) gives back the trophy he
                                                                                                                                                          won by riding on the back of a kappa. But
                                                                                                                                                          Swim, Monkey, Swim was produced at a
                                                                                                                                                          time when the Japanese government was
                                                              Digital Meme’s four-disc DVD offers a wonderful look at                                     trying to improve the physical condition of
                                                                               the early years of animation in Japan.                                     the men who were being conscripted into
                                                                                                                         by Charles Solomon               the military.
                                                                                                                                                             Particularly revealing is Kindai Eigasha’s

                                                               n the 1960s, Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy      ling, The Duckling Saves the Day (Ahiru no      Gulliver’s Great Activities (Gulliver Funtoki,
                                                               began what we now call “anime,” but        Otegara, undated), Walt Disney’s work           1950), made at a time when the Japanese
                                                               Japan boasted an indigenous anima-         seem to have had a minimal impact on the        media were monitored and censored by
                                                          tion industry decades earlier, as an impor-     Japanese animators. The shorts of the Fleis-    the Occupation forces under Douglas

                                                          tant new DVD compilation titled Japanese        cher Studio and the early Harmon-Ising car-     MacArthur. The design for Gulliver and the
                                                          Anime Classic Collection demonstrates.          toons exercised a greater influence. The ti-     other visuals are obviously modeled on the
                                                              Oten Shimokawa is usually credited with     tle character’s movements in Taro’s Mon-        1939 Fleischer feature, but the content has
                                                          making the first Japanese animated film,          ster Hunt (Furudera no Obake-sodo) and          been significantly altered. The Lilliputians
                                                          the drawn-on-film Mukuzo Imokawa the                                                                 free Gulliver as soon as they tie him up. In
                                                          Doorman (1917), and recently discov-                                                                return, he rebuilds levees after a flood,
                                                          ered fragments suggest artists may have                                                             extinguishes a forest fire and helps cre-
                                                          been experimenting with frame-by-frame                                                              ate and sell “Domestic Goods and Ex-
                                                          filmmaking in Kyoto more than a decade                                                               port Goods.” At the end of the film, the
                                                          earlier. The Classic Collection focuses on                                                          Lilliputians ask Gulliver to “stay with us
                                                          the work of the first Japanese studios from                                                          forever!” It’s a textbook example of the
                                                          1928 to 1940.                                                                                       image of the Occupation the Allies
                                                              Rather than the slapstick gags that                                                             wanted to project.
                                                          typify American animation from the 20s                                                                   The Anime Classic Collection includes
                                                          and 30s, Japanese filmmakers concen-                                                                 only one real example of a WWII Imperial
                                                          trated on storytelling. Not surprisingly,                                                           propaganda film. In Sankichi the Mon-
                                                          most of the stories are adapted from Jap-                                                           key: Air Combat (Osaru no Sankichi:
                                                          anese folk tales. Momotaro, the hero                                                                Bokusen, 1942), a peaceful monkey
                                                          born from a giant peach, makes an ap-                                                               kingdom defeats an air raid launched
                                                          pearance in Momotaro the Undefeated                                                                 by a squadron of bears; “Protect Our
                                                          (Nihon-ichi Momotaro, 1928), conquering                                                             Skies!” The same monkey character had
                                                          a castle full of demons with his loyal ani-                                                         previously appeared in The Assault
                                                          mal friends. Samurai—or little boys aspiring    Taro’s Early Training Days (Hinomaru Taro:      Troops of Sankichi the Monkey (1935), a styl-
                                                          to be samurai—fight an array of traditional      Musha Shyugo no Maki, both 1936) recall         ized depiction of the Sino-Japanese War in
                                                          monsters that includes tengu (mountain          Bosko and Buddy in the early Leon Schle-        which monkeys seize a fortress defended
                                                          goblins), kappa (water imps) and oni (de-       singer films, although they move even more       by ineffectual Chinese pandas. Audiences
                                                          mons). The bizarre-looking ghosts that          stiffly.                                         are still awaiting a video release of San-
                                                          range from floating heads to hopping, one-           Despite the international popularity of     kichi’s complete adventures, as well as the
                                                          eyed umbrella creatures echo the imagery        Felix the Cat and the early Mickey Mouse,       first Japanese animated features, Momot-
                                                          in old paintings and woodblock prints.          rubber hose animation never really caught       aro, the Brave Soldier (Momotaro no Umi-
                                                              While there’s a certain amount of physi-    on with the Japanese artists. They contin-      washi, 1943) and Momotaro, Divine Sailor
                                                          cal comedy in the shorts, there’s also car-     ued using outline figures long after their       (Momotaro—Umi no Shinpei, 1944)
                                                          toon violence that feels more serious than      Western counterparts had switched to               This intriguing anthology suggests just
                                                          its Western equivalent. Unlike their counter-   more flexible, solid black characters. The       how rich early Japanese animation was.
                                                          parts in American animated films, when a         outline style makes many of the films look       Every serious student of animation history
                                                          Japanese monster gets clobbered, it dies        older than they are, a problem compound-        will want—and should have—the Japanese
                                                          and it stays dead.                              ed by the fact that the animation is often      Anime Classic Collection. The four-disc set
                                                              Although many of these films display         quite limited.                                  is available online from Digital Meme:

                                                          American influences, the cultural cross-pol-         Some of the most interesting films present   ¥12,800, about $110 at the current ex-
                                                          lination takes surprising forms. Except for a   propaganda messages. In Mabo’s Big              change rate. ■
                                                          few Mickey Mouse clones and a blatant           Race (Mabo no Daikyoso, 1936) the title           Website:
26                                                        copy of the first version of The Ugly Duck-      character wins a long distance race and          our_products/dvds


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                                                                                                                                                                    “He really knows Disney

                                                                  A Modern Fairy Tale                                                                               magic, and he’s the
                                                                                                                                                                    most artist-friendly boss
                                                                                                                                                                    I’ve ever worked for,”
                                                              It took years of development and tinkering, but Disney’s                                              says Raymond. “John
                                                                                                                                                                    loved the final film—
                                                               new CG-animated Tinker Bell finally earns her wings this
                                                                                                                                                                    he’s seen it every step
                                                                                             month. by Jake Friedman                                                of the way.”                          Bradley
                                                                                                                                                                        Another Disney lumi-             Raymond

                                                                    isney’s new direct-to-DVD movie, Tin-      and having him over your shoulder helping            nary, Andreas Deja,
                                                                    ker Bell, was a long time coming. Af-      you with that was an incredible process.”            gave further artistic support to Raymond’s
                                                                    ter all, Peter Pan’s feisty companion is       Raymond and screenwriter Jeff Howard             design team. “Redesigning the character in
                                                          almost as much of a Disney icon as the               worked together to create an engaging                CG wasn’t easy. We wanted her silhouette
                                                          Mouse himself. To synchronize the push of the        story that would win Lasseter’s approval.            to look and feel like Tinker Bell, so we had An-
                                                          new fairy franchise, the creative folks over at      “Jeff and I thought, ‘What would be the best         dreas look at it,” says Raymond. “He gave us

                                                          Disney had the daunting task of taking the           way to set up that world with a story that           a very detailed chalk talk on some key ele-
                                                          emblematic pixie and turning her into a              would be entertaining?’ It just felt natural to      ments in her design. He had talked with Marc
                                                          movie star. The end result may make the              tell Tinker Bell’s origin story, to take a charac-   Davis numerous time about his design of Tin-
                                                          most creative minds at Disney not only filled         ter we know and love and follow her through          ker Bell, so it was almost like having Marc
                                                          with happy thoughts, but also downright              her world.” J. M. Barrie’s original Peter Pan        there showing us how to draw her.”
                                                          proud of their work.                                 story was used canonically for fairy lore (a             To give Tink’s home a fairy feel, art director
                                                             “It’s such a great project,” says Tinker Bell     fairy is born from a baby’s first laugh). “We         Fred Warter was relied upon to create some-
                                                          director Brad Raymond (Pocahontas II, The            pitched the story to John a number of times,         thing unique. “The different settings are part
                                                          Lion King 1 1/2), who has become an expert           and at each pitch he added to it and made            of the magic of relating to these characters,”
                                                          in delivering DVD sequels to the studio’s ani-       it better,” offers Raymond.                          says Raymond. “When we start off in London,
                                                          mated releases. “It’s about Tinker Bell’s origins        A few of Lasseter’s tricks of the trade found    it’s a little more realistic. Pixie Hollow, though,
                                                          in Never Land, what makes Tinker Bell who            their way into the Tinker Bell movie. “He really     is in the mountains of Never Land. We want-
                                                          she is and finding her place in her world.”           understands the importance of relate-ability         ed to keep that same style, and the moun-
                                                                                                                                                                    tains in the distance are the rounded moun-
                                                          One Pixie’s Beginning: Mae Whitman voices the titular fairy in Disney’s new CG-animated movie,
                                                                                                                                                                    tains from Never Land, but we wanted it to
                                                          Tinker Bell. The all-star cast includes Anjelica Huston, Kristen Chenoweth, America Ferrera, Raven-
                                                                                                         Symoné, Lucy Liu, Jesse McCartney and Rob Paulsen.         stand on its own. We used art nouveau styles
                                                                                                                                                                    to give it a slightly more stylistic world. There
                                                                                                                                                                    are a lot of curves and straights in the lines,
                                                                                                                                                                    echoing Mary Blair’s concept sketches of Pe-
                                                                                                                                                                    ter Pan.” Warter also created a color script
                                                                                                                                                                    for the film, which gives visual cues that fol-
                                                                                                                                                                    low Tinker Bell’s journey.
                                                                                                                                                                        The film was written and designed at the
                                                                                                                                                                    DisneyToon Studios in Burbank and animated
                                                                                                                                                                    by India’s Prana Studios, using a Maya plat-
                                                                                                                                                                    form. The production team took a few trips
                                                                                                                                                                    overseas, but mostly relied on video confer-
                                                                                                                                                                    encing to compromise with the thirteen-hour
                                                                                                                                                                    time difference. Raymond estimates around
                                                                                                                                                                    500 people in total worked together to meet
                                                             Not surprisingly, Disney’s chief creative of-     and how the audience’s world connects to             their 20-month production schedule.
                                                          ficer, John Lasseter, has played a big role in        the world you’re showing,” says Raymond.                 “It was a little daunting to tackle the film,”
                                                          guiding the project along and mentoring              “There’s the magic of nature like snowflakes          concludes Raymond, “but with John Lasseter
                                                          Raymond throughtout the production pro-              and the leaves changing, and it was John             and a great crew throughout the process, it
                                                          cess. “The first thing John said when he came         who said, ‘What if fairies are the ones that         was a chance of a lifetime. It was an incred-
                                                          in is that he loves seeing worlds created,”          bring that to our world?’ He also helps us un-       ible honor to see her origin story, and it makes
                                                          says Raymond, “and of course he’s done               derstand that everything—the story, the cos-         it a bit easier when you have a great char-
                                                          that time and time again in the Pixar movies.        tumes, the props—all has to connect with             acter to start with.” ■

                                                          It was his idea to jump in using the book In         that world.” Raymond points out that may              Tinker Bell will be released on
                                                          the Realm of the Never Fairies [Disney Press]        be something as simple as a fairy vehicle: A          DVD ($29.99) and Blu-ray ($34.99)
                                                          as inspiration and build the world from there.       miniature wooden cart was redesigned out              October 28 by Walt Disney Home
28                                                        It was a lot of fun creating such a rich world,      of a hollow gourd, with acorns for wheels.            Entertainment.


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                                                                                                               on top of it, to work

               These Little Piggies                                                                            with such wonderful
                                                                                                               partners as Mercury.”

                Went Everywhere!                                                                                  NGKE had acquired
                                                                                                               the book rights for Toot
                                                                                                               & Puddle years ago,
                                                                                                               and in 2006 produced
              National Geographic Kids and Mercury Filmworks                                                   an animated holiday

                                                                                                                                           Clint Eland
        combine sparkling animation and plenty of heart to bring                                               special with another
               Holly Hobbie’s Toot & Puddle to the small screen.                                               company. The success
                                                                                                               of the special con-
                                                                       by Mercedes Milligan
                                                                                                               firmed for Sorensen
                                                                                                               and her colleagues

             or those who struggled through              needed to properly ‘characterize’ the                 that the piggies had
             childhood without Holly Hobbie’s            cast was too subtle and detailed for stan-            plenty of toon appeal.
             delightful Toot & Puddle picture            dard digital techniques.” First-time direc-              Eland and Sorensen
       books, help is on the way! The new ani-           tor Larocque spent countless hours exper-             are eager to praise
                                                                                                                                         Tara Sorensen
       mated preschool series from National              imenting with the software, and with the              each side’s contribu-
       Geographic Kids Entertainment, which              help of Mercury’s in-house team was able              tions to the project—“I think the anima-
       airs on Noggin this fall, is the perfect intro-   to develop a technique which allowed                  tion is absolutely stunning!” gushes So-
       duction to the two adventurous porcine            for a traditional, “illustrated” look with the        rensen, a lifelong fan of the property—
       pals. Though Toot and Puddle have no              speed and             perfected quality of            and the show is clearly the result of a
       trouble charming fans of all ages, what           digital                 2D. “From a produc-           perfect partnership. “National Geo-
       truly sets their new TV incarnation                                       tion perspective, this        graphic understands how the commer-
       apart is the gor-                                                       technique takes the             cial and creative imperatives need to
       geous anima-                                                         same amount of time                work together in order to produce a pro-
       tion, courtesy                                                      and costs the same                  gram that is loved universally in all coun-
       of Canada’s                                                       amount of money [about                tries, and that has the potential to de-
       Mercury Film-                                                   $300,000 per half hour] as a            velop into a broader preschool fran-
       works.                                                       show using a more standard                 chise.” Eland says, “In this respect we
          Most of Mercury’s                                                            technique, but          needed their input and steerage—Not
       design legwork came                                                                the produc-          just their marketing muscle!” Sorensen
       straight from the                                                                  tion value is        and NGKE’s president of kids program-
       books: “Holly’s art                                                               much higher,”
       leaps off the page                                                           Eland          explains.
       and does an incredi-                                                    Naturally, he adds, this
       ble job of describing                                                              technique is a
       each character both                                                                     bit of a se-
       physically and emotionally,” says                                                       cret.
       Mercury founder and exec pro-                                                               “I’m just
       ducer Clint Eland (Wilbur, Ruby                                                 thrilled to see a
       Gloom), “So it was only a matter                                             beautifully        stun-
       of distilling it to a cleaner de-                                              ning final prod-
       sign that would support ani-                                                      uct,” says VP of
       mation.” However, distilling                                                       development          ming and production, Donna Friedman
       the illustrations affected                                                            for National      Meir, were happy to oblige.
       their expressiveness, but                                                               Geograph-          An important aspect of the develop-
       with some trial and error                                                              ic Kids Ent.     ment process was the involvement of
       the studio was able to recap-                                                       Tara Sorensen       Toot & Puddle’s creators, husband-and-
       ture the emotionality of the books                                (Mama Mirabelle’s Home                wife team Douglas and Holly Hobbie. “As
       in the animation.                                                 Movies), who also served as           the creators of this property, Holly and
          “We already use a more pow-                                    an exec producer on the               Doug have lived with these pigs longer
       erful 2D system in Toon Boom                                      show, “I’ve been following            than any of us,” explains Sorensen, “It

       Animation’s Harmony product,”                                      these books for 10 years             was key to have them involved as we
       Eland explains, “But the direc-                                     and it’s really a dream             took these porperties from books to tele-
       tor, Christian Larocque, felt                                        come true to finally get            vision.” Though the couple was not famil-
       that the level of animation                                           them produced. And,               iar with animation production, they soon              31


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                                                       became accustomed to the process.
                                                       “As we hit our stride on the series, the
                                                       Hobbies reached a certain comfort level
                                                       with us and their notes trailed off,” So-
                                                       rensen adds, “Holly and Doug have been
                                                       extremely complimentary on the final
                                                       product, and I’m thrilled.”
                                                          The Hobbies didn’t just give their bless-

                                                       ing, they also provided artistic guidance
                                                       for Eland’s Ottawa-based crew: “The
                                                       production team went to visit Douglas
                                                       and Holly Hobbie at their farm in rural
                                                       Massachusetts. They spent a day talking
                                                       about the look and feel of the series and
                                                       absorbing the country-craftsman atmo-
                                                       sphere of their home, which was Holly’s
                                                       artistic inspiration,” he says. These rustic
                                                       inspirations are evident in the colorful,
                                                       homey quality of the series’ sets, whether     building the stories up from the charac-          only did we [at National Geographic]
                                                       in Toot and Puddle’s cozy kitchen or the       ters themselves and the dynamics of               want to expose preschoolers to the
                                                       wooded pond where the piglets meet             their friendship.                                 world around them, but we needed to
                                                       up with the other creatures of Wood-              Despite the deep involvement of all            make it accessible to them. I don’t
                                                       cock Pocket. Even the exotic locales the       parties, the show itself came together at a       know of any other preschool shows on
                                                       friends explore are imbued with warmth         remarkable pace: “From the time we had            television that open up the world to the
                                                       and familiarity.                               an agreement with National Geographic             preschool set in this way.”
                                                          The show’s visuals aren’t the only as-      to option the television rights to the books         One of the key lessons of Toot & Puddle
                                                                                                                                                        is understanding and accepting the di-
                                                                                                                                                        versity we encounter in the real world. But
                                                                                                                                                        instead of the learn-by-rote call and an-
                                                                                                                                                        swer sessions or chastising lessons about
                                                                                                                                                        hurt feelings one tends to find in kids’
                                                                                                                                                        edutainment, this series uses enthusiasm
                                                                                                                                                        and positivity about the new and different
                                                                                                                                                        to carry its message. While Toot may trek
                                                                                                                                                        through the mysterious jungle and join in
                                                                                                                                                        with a tribal drum circle, Puddle is inspired
                                                                                                                                                        by these strange adventures to create his
                                                                                                                                                        own drum out of a backyard rain barrel—
                                                                                                                                                        taking the exotic away from something to
                                                                                                                                                        be tolerated and turning it into something
                                                                                                                                                        that parallels children’s everyday lives,
                                                                                                                                                        without preaching.
                                                                                                                                                           But above all, Toot & Puddle is about
                                                                                                                                                        adventure. “For National Geographic, this
                                                                                                                                                        property was right on mission for us,” says
                                                                                                                                                        Sorensen, “We always talk about NGKE’s
                                                       pect filled with inspiration. “Every panel      to production was around four to six              formal mission of ‘Exciting kids to explore
                                                       in the books felt like fodder for a new        months,” marvels Eland, “In my experi-            their world,’ whether it’s as small as their
                                                       story,” Sorensen enthuses, “And, consid-       ence, this is very fast.” The fact that all the   backyard or as big as the universe.” ■
                                                       ering the world is their playground, we        partners were familier with the books as
                                                                                                                                                         Toot & Puddle makes it U.S. debut
                                                       had a hard time narrowing down the             well as the holiday special (which served
                                                                                                                                                         November 16 with back-to-back
                                                       stories. We also wanted to make sure           as sort of a “back door” pilot) meant there
                                                                                                                                                         episodes on Noggin, and currently
                                                       that Puddle’s adventures at home were          was little room for second-guessing.
                                                                                                                                                         airs on Canada’s Treehouse Tues-
                                                       as exciting as Toot’s adventures abroad.”        “Our stories focus on great friendships

                                                                                                                                                         days at 10:30 a.m. For more infor-
                                                       Writer Stu Krieger, whose credits include      and great adventures, and I think these
                                                                                                                                                         mation, see
                                                       The Land Before Time and Disney’s Ze-          adventures set us apart form other pre-
32                                                     non television features, put emphasis on       school fare,” observes Sorensen, “Not


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                           Best Fiends Forever
          It took almost four years, but Amy Winfrey’s popular Making Fiends
          series makes a triumphant transition from the web to NickToons this
                                                      month. by Ramin Zahed

                ver the past decade, media       months of waiting after the Nick devel-     the movie and cre-
                visionaries have been predict-   opment folks discovered her site and        ated two other web
                ing that home-made animat-       introduced it first on the cabler’s online   toons called Muffin
       ed projects will be able to make the      channel, TurboNick.                         Films and Big Bunny
       leap from the web to television. This       “I didn’t even think I could be an ani-   before diving into the
       month, thanks to L.A.-based artist Amy    mator when I was going to school at         world of Vendetta,
       Winfrey and her ever-growing family of    UCLA,” says Winfrey, who started out        Charlotte and their
       Flash-animated monsters, we’ll see the    as a pre-med major and segued into          menagerie of mon-
                                                                                                                          Amy Winfrey
       hype become a reality as her whimsi-      Toon Town after taking animation            sters. After creating
       cal web toon, Making Fiends, evolves      courses. “I was taking an interactive       Making Fiends, she paid her bills by sell-
       into a TV show on NickToons.              class at UCLA and that led to a short I     ing tie-in shirts and DVDs on her web-
          Fans of Winfrey’s show are already     created [The Bad Planet] which won a        site.
       familiar with Vendetta, the diabolical    Student Academy Award in 2000. I had             She got the call from the execs at
       green girl who conjures up an assort-     also done something on traffic cones,        Nickelodeon in February of 2004, right
       ment of “fiends” to torment her class-     and I was getting all kinds of e-mails      as she and her husband Peter Merry-
       mate, a cheerful girl named Charlotte,    about it from people around the world.      man were about to leave for their hon-
       and to wreak havoc at school. Six half-   Before that, I never really considered I    eymoon in Greece. (Nick’s then-devel-
       hour episodes of the show have been       could pursue animation as a living. I       opment exec Peter Gal learned about
       produced to date, and the team is         took the animation class just as a lark!”   Making Fiends through The X’s show
       preparing seven more, according to         Winfrey, who has the habit of drawing      runner Dave Marshall, whose teenage
       Winfrey. It may all seem like an over-    her various fiends on tiny sketchbooks       daughter was a big fan of the series.)
       night success, but it took the 32-year-   wherever she goes, worked on the first           “I was doing well on my own, but I
       old animator a lot of hard work and       seven episodes of South Park as well as     was getting tired of animating every-
                                                                                                            thing myself,” says Winfrey.
                                                                                                            “Four and a half years lat-
                                                                                                            er, I have to say it wasn’t a
                                                                                                            bad development pro-
                                                                                                            cess.” Of course, she had
                                                                                                            to make a few adjust-
                                                                                                            ments. Among the things
                                                                                                            she was told: “Don’t men-
                                                                                                            tion Hitler” and “Don’t hit
                                                                                                            people on the head.”
                                                                                                            They also didn’t like a
                                                                                                            school sign that said “A is
                                                                                                            for          Alimony”—she
                                                                                                            changed that to “A is for
                                                                                                                The format of the Nick
                                                                                                            show allows for three sev-
                                                                                                            en-minute episodes. “It
                                                                                                            adds another level of cra-

                                                                                                            ziness and makes each
                                                                                                            episode more action-
                                                                                                            packed,” notes Winfrey. “I
                                                                                                            can tell more elaborate                35


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                                                       stories. The backgrounds are a little      For now, she is happy to see Making
                                                       more elaborate, too. When I was doing      Fiends win a whole new audience on
                                                       the show for the web, I would use tiny     NickToons. “I am very happy with the
                                                       texture and made the files small. Now       fact that I was able to make a show on
                                                       the backgrounds are more complex           my own and then get contacted by a
                                                       and the characters have become             TV studio—and they allowed me to
                                                       cleaner, too.”                             keep almost everything about my show
                                                          As Nick’s VP of current series anima-   the same! That couldn’t have hap-
     WWW.ANIMATIONMAGAZINE.NET   ___________________

                                                       tion Roland Poindexter points out,         pened 10 years ago. I can’t imagine
                                                       “Transitioning from web show to TV
                                                       show was a simple matter of refining
                                                       the character models, sharpening the
                                                       color palette and working with Amy
                                                       and her talented writing staff to ex-
                                                       pand on all of the great ideas and sto-
                                                       ries that she produced for her web-
                                                          Helping out with the animation pro-
                                                       duction of the show are Cyber Chicken
                                                       in Korea and DQ studios in India, which
                                                       are also working in Flash. “We were
                                                       working at a crazy pace, and I had to
                                                       learn how to tell people what I wanted,
                                                       because before I wouldn’t even do
                                                       storyboards. We had about 30 people
                                                       working on it in some capacity.”

                                                             Monsters Among Us
                                                           Many of the animation team also
                                                       helped out with the voices. Winfrey’s
                                                       husband co-wrote and did voices for
                                                       the show as did supervising director
                                                       Dave Wasson (Time Squad, The Buzz on
                                                       Maggie) and Winfrey’s
                                                       friend, character design-
                                                       er Aglaia Mortcheva,
                                                       who provides the Bulgari-
                                                       an-accented voice of
                                                           Winfrey, who also sings
                                                       and writes lyrics, is quite
                                                       thrilled about the contri-
                                                       butions of the show’s
                                                       composer, Ego Plum. “I                                                going to a      chandising rights, what kind of advice
                                                       first met him at the Student                                           studio and      does she have for all the future Amy
                                                       Academy Award cere-                                                   pitching        Winfreys hoping to build popular toons
                                                       mony. He brings a lot of                                              them      an    on their computers at night? “Keep
                                                       interesting ideas, using toy                                          idea    that    making your films!” she says. “People
                                                       instruments and out-of-tune stuff and      goes like this, ‘There’s this green girl   get bogged down by their first film.
                                                       samples. He enjoys things that aren’t      and this blue girl … and one of them is    Keep making them even if they don’t
                                                       perfect … everything is slightly off!”     going to be voiced by a friend of mine     look perfect. Just keep doing it to get
                                                           After seeing her web baby take off     who isn’t a professional actress, and,     the experience.” ■
                                                       on TV this month, Winfrey will be work-    oh, I do the other character!’ I don’t

                                                                                                                                              Making Fiends premieres on Nick-
                                                       ing on another imaginative web cre-        think that would go through the usual
                                                                                                                                              Toons on Oct. 4 at 11:30 a.m. and
                                                       ation—this one is called Squid and Frog    development process!”
                                                                                                                                              airs Sat. and Sundays at that time.
36                                                     and will be a puppet-based project.           So, besides hanging on to the mer-


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                                                                                                                                                   been very satisfying,” says exec producer

                                                            A Globetrotting                                                                        Caterina Vacchi, who is also Atlantyca En-
                                                                                                                                                   tertainment’s animation division director.

                                                        Mouse of Exceptional                                                                       “Geronimo and his friends are very recog-
                                                                                                                                                   nizable, and at the same time, they’re suit-
                                                                                                                                                   able for TV audiences. Geronimo is thinner

                                                                     Talents                                                                       and athletic and he chooses to wear con-
                                                                                                                                                   tact lenses! Benjamin looks older in the

                                                                                                                                                   show. He’s a brilliant young boy and you
                                                        Journalist, adventurer and children’s publishing sensation                                 can see this quality reflected in his design.”
                                                                                                                                                      The casting of veteran Canadian
                                                       Geronimo Stilton is poised to make a graceful leap to the                                   voice actor Brian Drummond as Geron-
                                                       small screen thanks to the efforts of an international team                                 imo helped Vasilovich and his team get
                                                                         of producers and artists. by Ramin Zahed                                  a clear idea of what the animated
                                                                                                                                                   mouse would look like. “We auditioned
                                                                                                                                                   a number of actors, but he really nailed
                                                                                                                                                   the voice,” says Vasilovich. “He had to
                                                                                                                                                   have a likeable voice, but he also had
                                                                                                                                                   to sound like the fun uncle, someone
                                                                                                                                                   with whom kids would like to go on ad-
                                                                                                                                                   ventures. That really sparked the imagi-
                                                                                                                                                   nation of the artists and sped up the
                                                                                                                                                   development process.”
                                                                                                                                                      Vasilovich says our hero is a bit fussy
                                                                                                                                                   when it comes to technology and relies

                                                           t’s always a thrill to sense the influ-   and who has also worked on Disney              on his nephew Benjamin to deal with
                                                           ence of an old animation or comic-       features such as The Fox and the Hound,        21st century gizmos. “Although Geroni-
                                                           book master on a new animated            The Black Cauldron and The Great               mo owns his own media empire, he runs
                                                       series. That’s certainly true for the new    Mouse Detective. “It’s always a bit of a       his paper with integrity, unlike his rival
                                                       26-part show Geronimo Stilton, which is      challenge when you’re adapting a               from across the street who crosses the
                                                       based on a popular series of books first      popular franchise,” says Vasilovich. “You      line. But the great thing about the show
                                                       published in Italy by Edizioni Piemme in     want to maintain the integrity of what         is that we’re not just around the news-
                                                       2000 and picked up by Scholastic in the      the kids loved about the books in the          paper office. Thanks to his adventures,
                                                       U.S. in 2004. Produced by Italy’s Atlan-
                                                                                                      “When I first saw the books’ illustrations, they
                                                       tyca Entertainment and France’s Moon-
                                                       Scoop Productions (with the participa-         really sparked something in terms of creativity
                                                       tion of Italy’s RAI and France’s M6),          and design … One of their stand-out qualities
                                                       Geronimo is a wonderful throwback to
                                                                                                      is that there are a lot of sketches and graphics
                                                       the adventures of Donald Duck, Uncle
                                                       Scrooge and the nephews immortal-              within the text.”
                                                       ized by the late Disney comics artist Carl                 —Guy Vasilovich, Geronimo Stilton’s animation director
                                                          The brainchild of Italian author Elisa-   first place, but you also need to modify        we find ourselves in a jungle, in China-
                                                       betta Dami, the hero of the series is a      the books’ illustrations for the charac-       town, up in the mountains where he has
                                                       journalist mouse who lives in New Mouse      ters to make them more animatable              a Kung Fu-type encounter.”
                                                       City on Mouse Island. When he’s not          and add a more contemporary look.”                The Stilton universe certainly has the
                                                       working at The Rodent’s Gazette,                As Atlantyca Entertainment’s pro-           right balance of comedy and adven-
                                                       Geronimo is getting into all kinds of wild   ducer Karen K. Miller (Baby Blues, The         ture elements. “The market is swamped
                                                       adventures with his clever nine-year-old     Simpsons Movie) explains, “Geronimo            with shows that are either comedies or
                                                       nephew, Benjamin. The “autobiograph-         Stilton is a global property, but has a lo-
                                                       ical” books are all written from Geroni-     cal appeal and we have been re-
                                                       mo’s point of view.                          spectful of that. We have the chal-
                                                          Overseeing the show’s animation at        lenge of keeping the integrity of the
                                                       Woodland Hills-based Mike Young Pro-         character and the property intact,

                                                       ductions is Guy Vasilovich, the Emmy-        which I think Guy and his team have
                                                       nominated animation director whose           done a wonderful job of doing.”
38                                                     credits include Growing Up Creepie              “The results of the character design have


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       boys’ adventures,” says Vasilovich.
       “Yet, it’s always difficult to do a good
       show that has just the right amount of
       comedy and adventure. The key is to
       create the characters with the kind of
       personalities that the viewer wants to
       be involved with their plights and go
       along on a rollercoaster ride. When I

       first saw the illustrations, they really
       sparked something in terms of creativi-
       ty and design … One of the books’
       stand-out qualities is that there are a
       lot of sketches and graphics within the
       text—and we’ve incorporated that in
       the animation.”
          The issue of communication between
       the many production partners and ani-
       mation facilities was a huge challenge
       for the team. “Mike Young Productions     in Woodland Hills, Calif.; Atlantyca in Mi-     years ago, and he is already famous in
                                                 lan, Italy; MoonScoop in Paris, France;         the eyes of children globally. They are
                                                 Enarmonia Animation Studio in Turin, Ita-       truly in love with him and his quirky
                                                 ly; Toon City in Manila, Philippines and        characteristics. Reading the books,
                                                 DQ Entertainment in Hyderabad, India            children become immersed in who he
                                                 are all involved with the show,” says           is [the stories are ‘written’ by Geroni-
                                                 Vasilovich, “and our recording studio is        mo], imagining how he walks, runs,
                                                 in Vancouver! So we’re on the phone             talks and acts. We are working very
                                                 and Skyping each other constantly.” He          hard to be sure we meet the expecta-
                                                 also notes that some days he communi-           tions of Geronimo’s fans. Through every
                                                 cates more with people in Europe than           single phase of production, we find
                                                 he does in his own city. “All of our part-      ourselves asking, ‘Would he really act
                                                 ners are very excited about this proper-        or talk that way?’ Putting ourselves in a
                                                  ty and there seems to be this great syn-       mouse’s shoes is indeed a very enter-
                                                  ergy among us, and that’s very rare            taining challenge!”
                                                  when you’re working on international               Vasilovich echoes his Italian col-
                                                  productions.”                                  league’s feelings. “I’m always attracted
                                                     Staying true to the gentle tone of the      to shows that are creative and artist-
                                                  books, the animation style is 2D, al-          driven,” he says. “There are ways to
                                                  though the artists do everything digi-         make a show based on an existing
                                                  tally and take advantage of the many           character fun. I hope that studios em-
                                                  perks of Toon Boom’s Storyboard Pro.           brace that a little more. Sometimes in
                                                  “We wanted to maintain the classic             this business, people forget that we’re
                                                  quality of the books, so we chose to           trying to entertain our audience—which
                                                  not do it in CG because the charac-            is the kids. People are just trying to
                                                  ters would look too stiff and couldn’t         please a network and everyone is giv-
                                                  have the nuance of emotions for a 22-          ing notes. What’s funny to a kid is not
                                                  minute format.”                                always predictable. You can look back
                                                                   After all is said and         at the shows you liked when you were a
                                                               done, you can really              kid. You certainly knew which shows
                                                               judge whether a TV series         were authentic and which weren’t and
                                                               is successful by its ability to   you certainly knew why you liked them.
                                                               recreate that range of            It’s so important not to forget that fun
                                                               emotions for its main char-       factor and to try and put yourself in the
                                                               acters. As Atlantyca’s su-        mindset of the kids!” ■

                                                               pervising producer, Nic-
                                                                                                  Geronimo Stilton is expected to
                                                               coló Sacchi, explains, “The
                                                                                                  make its global TV debut fall of
                                                               Geronimo books were
                                                               launched less than eight                                                               39


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                                                                       Japan’s Dentsu

                                                                                                                                               books written by Aus-
                                                                                                                                               tralian author Emily
                                                                                                                                               Rodda, Deltora Quest

                                                                     Looks to the West                                                         is a 65-episode 2D se-
                                                                                                                                               ries. The books, which
                                                                                                                                               have sold over 10 mil-
                                                             The epic anime series, Deltora Quest, is one of Dentsu                            lion copies world-
                                                                                                                                               wide, center on an

                                                                       L.A.’s first new adventures. by Ramin Zahed                                                           Marc Harrington
                                                                                                                                               epic quest for a mag-
                                                                                                                                               ical belt in a mythical land. The multi-

                                                           n the past few years, many compa-       sensibilities. Our goal is to develop and   layered storyline involves a young hero-
                                                           nies involved in the distribution of    pre-produce with North American part-       ic lead (Lief), a wise companion and
                                                           Japanese anime properties have          ners and then work with Dentsu’s TV di-     protector (Barda), a young heroine who
                                                       been hit hard by the growing trend of       vision in Tokyo to finalize character de-    communicates with trees and animals
                                                       fans putting up pirated content online      sign and complete animation. Our two        (Jasmine) and a group of evil charac-
                                                       for the public. However, the newly          target markets are boys’ action and         ters led by the Shadow Lord. Directed
                                                       launched DCI Los Angeles (a division of     males 17 to 25, where Japanese ani-         by Mitsuru Hongo, the series has devel-
                                                       Japan’s advertising giant Dentsu)           mation has traditionally experienced        oped a strong following since its debut
                                                       hopes to bridge the gap between the         the most success.”                          on the Saturday morning block of TV To-
                                                       East and the West by developing, co-            DCI-L.A. will be funding 50             kyo Network’s TV Aichi channel and
                                                       producing, distributing and licensing       percent or more of                           webcaster Bandai Channel Kids in 2007.
                                                       original animated content.                  any new project,                                   Japan’s Oriental Light and Magic
                                                          “Although Japanese animation has         depending                                            produced the animation for the
                                                       achieved significant global success,         on how the                                          show.
                                                       many productions we currently see in        licensing,                                            “Clearly, there is a universal ap-
                                                       development do not have broad ap-           ancillary and                                 peal built in to the property,” notes
                                                       peal outside of Japan,” says Yuma           distrib rights are     divid-                   Harrington. “The stories have reso-
                                                       Sakata, senior VP of DCI-L.A. “Working      ed between partners. Ac-                          nated with fans, and the animation
                                                       with Western partners in pre-produc-        cording to Harrington, the                          is top-notch ... the three-dimen-
                                                       tion, and then with production teams in     company is working with                              sional bad guys give it an extra
                                                                                                                                                      layer of intrigue and intensity!”
                                                                                                                                                  Harrington, who was the former head
                                                                                                                                               of business development at the now-
                                                                                                                                               defunct Geneon, comes up with the
                                                                                                                                               perfect analogy of what DCI-L.A. is do-
                                                                                                                                               ing: He compares it to making Califor-
                                                                                                                                               nia rolls. “It’s about being able to take
                                                                                                                                               a classic Japanese creation [like sushi],
                                                                                                                                               incorporate some American ideas, and
                                                                                                                                               then present it to both markets success-
                                                                                                                                               fully,” he offers. “Historically, much of
                                                                                                                                               the animation created in Japan has
                                                                                                                                               been very successful worldwide, but
                                                                                                                                               some of the storytelling elements do
                                                                                                                                               not translate well around the world. We
                                                                                                                                               would like to infuse the incredible tech-
                                                                                                                                               niques and visual style of Japanese
                                                                                                                                               animation with some ‘Western’ ideas
                                                       Japan for animation, we can create          an approximate budget of $7 million         and story traditions to create a blend
                                                       content that can appeal to a wider au-      for new projects. DCI-L.A. is also han-     that will truly appeal to a global audi-
                                                       dience.”                                    dling distribution and merchandising        ence. California rolls are now a popular
                                                          The new company aims to produce          rights for Decode’s Chop Socky Chooks,      ‘mainstay’ in sushi restaurants world-
                                                       two series a year, with plans of deliver-   which airs on Cartoon Network, and          wide—even in Tokyo!” ■
                                                       ing the first one in mid-2009. As Marc       distributing the English-language ver-

                                                                                                                                                For more info about Deltora Quest,
                                                       Harringon, DCI-L.A.’s VP of business de-    sion of the anime import, Deltora
                                                                                                                                                visit or ____
                                                       velopment explains, “We’re focusing         Quest.
40                                                     on Japanese animation with ‘Western’           Based on a a hugely popular series of


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                                                                                                                                                          they are old enough to understand pop
                                                        Mondo TV’s Angel Friends                                                                          culture. Their views on the world and
                                                                                                                                                          their tastes are much more refined than

                                                             Spread Their Wings                                                                           younger kids, and they can appreciate
                                                                                                                                                          different levels of humor.”
                                                                                                                                                             According to Matteo Corradi, Mondo

                                                           taly’s Mondo TV has been one of the key     trouble for the angels and their humans!           TV’s international sales manager and
                                                           players in the European animation scene        The show’s creator says she was heavily         board member, the studio produces at
                                                           for over two decades. Now the Rome-         influenced by classic Disney animated               least four series and movies every year for
                                                       based studio has started an aggressive push     features and Japanese manga. “When I               the preschool-to-tween market. “Sales are
                                                       in Europe and hopes to expand its plans         was a child, I used to watch all the Disney        generated by the firm’s international sales
                                                       in the U.S. in the next couple of years. The    movies and series, but that era was also           team, operating from a network of Mondo TV
                                                       latest addition to the studio’s big catalog     the golden age of manga and Japanese               offices in major markets. We are an integrated
                                                       of colorful toons is Angel Friends, a 52 x 13   cartoons in Italy,” says Ferri. “Now, I see that   entertainment and education company, a
                                                       production created by Simona Ferri.             both sources of inspiration are evident in         leading commercial animation studio in Italy
                                                          “The first ideas for the show came            the new series.”                                   and one of the largest in Europe.”
                                                       together in 2005, while Simona [Ferri] got a       Just last month, Mondo TV signed a                 Corradi believes that the animation
                                                       lot of positive feedback about them at the      production deal with Play Entertainment            industry is on the cusp of a big comeback in
                                                       Bologna Book Fair last year,” says Mondo        to produce the toon. “Between 20 and 30            Italy. He adds, “However, Mondo TV never
                                                       TV’s spokesperson Micheline Azoury. “A          graphic artists are assigned to the project        stopped producing two to four series and
                                                       demo pilot was presented at MIPTV in the        at the company’s Rome headquarters and             movies every year for the Italian market
                                                       spring, where it was received as the next       another 500 animators are working on it at         as well as international broadcasters.”
                                                       big branded kids’ show.”                        Korean Graphics, its large animation lab in        Among Mondo’s latest projects is a 6.4
                                                          Targeting the in-demand tween audience       Korea,” notes Azoury. Other partners include       million euro (roughly $9 million) series
                                                       of six to 13, Angel Friends centers on five      Mondo Home Entertainment, Mediaset and             based on Rudyard Kipling’s Kim (26 x 26),
                                                       main characters: Gabi, Urié, Raf, Dolce         Starbright for Italy and Suk (market analysis      co-produced with Italy’s RAI TV.
                                                       and Ang-Li, all popular residents of Angie      programs for “Kids” target).                          We’re sure international audiences will
                                                       Town. In order to accomplish their goals of        What prompted the studio to greenlight          be watching closely as the impeccably
                                                       becoming 100 percent angels, they have          the production was frequent requests               dressed Angel Friends battle the devils
                                                       to go through a residency period on Earth,      from family and children’s TV channels for         and earn their wings on the global stage
                                                       where they help five humans in their daily       shows that target the “tween” audience.            in the fall of 2009. ■

                                                       lives. But, wouldn’t you know it, five devils-   “We see them as very distinct viewers,”             For more info about Angel Friends
                                                       in-training are also going through the same     says Azoury. “They’re part of their families        and Mondo TV, visit
                                                       “internship” period, causing all kinds of       and still like to be with their parents, but


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                                                                                                                                                                playing the role of an organizer who brings

                                                                                            Big Storms in                                                       resources together, like it did for The Storm Rider,
                                                                                                                                                                instead of simply being the producer of a film.

                                                                                            Modern China                                                           As the second largest TV broadcaster in
                                                                                                                                                                China, SMG benefits from having a professional
                                                                                                                                                                marketing team and already-established
                                                                                                                                                                relationships with distributors and cinemas—
                                                            How 21st-century animation models are reviving classic                                              something traditional animation firms don’t

                                                                tales and characters in the fast-changing country.                                              have and need access to.
                                                                                                                                      by Alex S. Dai               “We got together a good story, a famous
                                                                                                                                                                director, experienced animated film production

                                                             his year’s box-office success of Kung          with distributors will help The Storm Rider get      companies and SMG’s advertising network
                                                             Fu Panda and The Storm Rider has              shown on many more screens abroad and at             across the Internet, printed publications and TV
                                                             demonstrated that there’s a market for        home, Wang says.                                     channels to serve the whole process, right from
                                                       animated films in China, and Chinese local              The film hasn’t been screened abroad yet,          pre-production till distribution,” Wang explains.
                                                       filmmakers have begun adopting marketing             but it is set to hit screens in Japan and in South
                                                       strategies that can help them tap into this         East Asia later this year, according to the group.
                                                                                                                                                                    Bringing Merchandising to the
                                                       market.                                             Wang claims that the early talks with buyers
                                                           By the end of August, The Storm Rider took      and distributors were important to sparking
                                                                                                                                                                   This year, the Chinese industry began to
                                                       in over 30 million yuan ($4.4 million) at the box   investor interest.
                                                                                                                                                                embrace merchandising and other promotional
                                                       office, while DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda                 “Usually, when filmmakers start talking to
                                                                                                                                                                tie-ins to a significant degree, using movie-
                                                       earned nearly 186 million yuan ($27 million),       buyers, most of the film is already done, which
                                                                                                                                                                related toys and trading cards both to generate
                                                       becoming the first animated film to pass the          makes the risk even higher because all the
                                                                                                                                                                additional revenues and to increase awareness.
                                                       100 million yuan mark. The new marketing
                                                       strategies include distribution partnerships
                                                       with foreign companies, new merchandising
                                                       techniques and mining old animation vaults
                                                       for popular themes and characters. A new
                                                       openness to partnerships with foreign partners
                                                       is helping Chinese filmmakers find international
                                                       distribution, improve revenues and bring in
                                                       new material.
                                                           “The strong performance of The Storm
                                                       Rider is all thanks to this new marketing and
                                                       distribution business model,” Wang Lei, deputy
                                                       director of the film and TV drama center at the
                                                       Shanghai Media Group (SMG), tells Animation
                                                           Adapted from a well-known Hong Kong
                                                       comic book by Ma Rongcheng, The Storm Rider
                                                       was targeted at a global audience—especially
                                                       the Asia market for which it was conceived,
                                                       says Wang. Long before the film was finished,         money has been spent and they can’t make
                                                                                                                                                                SMG began selling Storm Rider related toys and
                                                       SMG began talking to overseas and domestic          any changes,” he explains. “We hope that
                                                                                                                                                                cards months before the movie was screened,
                                                       distributors and cinemas about the story and        The Storm Rider model will create a successful
                                                                                                                                                                in order to attract teenagers from across the
                                                       held test screenings for them, he adds.             example for taking our animated films to the
                                                           According to SMG, which co-produced the         international market.”
                                                                                                                                                                   “In addition to the income angle, the real
                                                       movie with Shenzhen-based Puzzle Animation             SMG also says that the company has several
                                                                                                                                                                purpose was to establish a popular base for
                                                       Studio, the movie broke the domestic                other animation projects in the works and is
                                                                                                                                                                the film’s story and its characters,” SMG’s Wang
                                                       animated film record previously held by Lotus        looking forward to talking with global investors
                                                                                                                                                                says. “Selling film-themed toys and products
                                                       Lantern, which earned just 24 million yuan ($3.5    and production companies at the MIPCOM
                                                                                                                                                                can’t be considered as an innovation in other
                                                       million) in 1999.                                   2008 confab in Cannes this October, the largest
                                                                                                                                                                countries, but making tie-in sales before the
                                                           Although The Storm Rider set new records in     international audiovisual content trade show.
                                                                                                                                                                screening of a film rather than after is a new
                                                       China, its backers plan to replicate that success   “We will bring our film ideas to the conference

                                                                                                                                                                marketing technique in China.”
                                                       throughout the rest of Asia and elsewhere in        and pitch them to leading global production
                                                                                                                                                                   Besides toys, SMG also organized a “Stamping
                                                       the world—which, if successful, will be a major     companies,” Wang says.
                                                                                                                                                                Relay” promotion, which Wang says is very
44                                                     break-through for Chinese film. These early talks       Wang also says that SMG hopes to continue
                                                                                                                                                                popular in Japan. Children collect different


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       cartoon stamps at participating cinemas and         re-mastered 10-minute TV episodes, which                 However, Zhou says the studio doesn’t just
       get a gift by collecting a certain number of        originally aired 22 years ago in China.              intend to keep recycling old footage, and
       stamps. This is the first time that such a program       “AlthoughCalabash Brothers became popular        will also make original films based on these
       is being conducted in China, says Wang, who         20 years ago, they still form a vivid memory for     series in the future. “There are lots of successful
       hopes that children would be more involved in       people born in the 1970s and ’80s,” according to     examples in Japan and other developed
       the film’s story via such promotional strategies,    Zhou Jun, deputy director at Shanghai Animation      markets where popular TV animation series
       rather than just watching the film.                  Film Studio. In addition to Calabash Brothers, the   have made the transition to the big screen,
           However, Wang refuses to indulge the            studio has over 400 animated television series in    like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Zhou

       financial aspects of such initiatives,                                                its vaults, with    says. “And because these characters are well
       adding that currently, merchandising                                                    about      660   known, you really don’t need to worry about a
       deals are being done for the sole aim                                                   hours of total   lack of audience.”
       of promotion only. “Merchandising will be                                               footage.             According to SMG’s Wang, the group is
       extended to more forms in the future, such as                                                            looking for local stories and characters that
       costumes, publications and video products,”                                                                 could be even more popular in China than
       Wang adds.                                                                                                  The Storm Rider. He cites the example of
                                                                                                                   Red Cliff, the historic drama which earned
                    Mining Old Footage                                                                              285 million yuan at the box office in China
          Chinese animation companies have begun                                                                    this summer. “Almost every Chinese person
       mining their vaults to find characters and                                                                     knows the story of Red Cliff, and there had
       stories with pre-existing audiences, name                                                                     to be people who would have wanted to
       recognition and proven appeal: Weeks                                                                        watch a movie about it in theaters,” Wang
       before The Storm Rider was                                                                                  adds. Red Cliff is based on the famous Battle
       released, another Chinese                                                                                      of Red Cliff and other events which marked
       animated film, Shanghai                                                                                             the end of the Han Dynasty.
       Animation Film Studio’s The                                                                                            Foreign companies have long been
       Calabash Brothers, earned over 10 million                                                                           mining Chinese tales for their stories—
       yuan at the box office in China, due in part to                                                                 such as Disney’s Mulan. More recently, Walt
       an audience already familiar with the subject                                                            Disney Company co-produced an animated
                                                            “Usually, when filmmakers start talking to buyers, most of the film is
          The Calabash Brothers tells the story of
       seven boy heroes and their scorpion and snake        already done, which makes the risk even higher because all the
       enemies. The word “calabash” refers to a gourd       money has been spent and they can’t make any changes. We
       shaped like a figure eight, common to China.          hope that the Storm Rider model will create a successful example
          Unlike The Storm Rider, which was adapted         for taking our animated films to the international market.”
       from a popular comic book, Calabash Brothers
                                                                                                          —Shanghai Media Group’s deputy director Wang Lei
       was made up of 13 unchanged, but digitally

    2007 Chinese TV Animation Production                                                                        film in 2007 (its first in China) with China Film
                                                                                                                Group called The Magic Gourd, based on a
    Top Toon Players Snapshot                                                                                   popular children’s story. Screened in June 2007,
                                                                                                                The Magic Gourd earned 20.65 million yuan ($3
                                                                                                                million) at the box office in China.
      Rank           Company Name                                 No. of          Total Minutes
                                                                                                                   Jo Yan, senior VP of sales, co-productions
                                                                  Animated Series Produced
                                                                                                                and acquisitions for Walt Disney Studios Motion
      1              Hunan Greatdreams Cartoon                    12                      15,148                Pictures Asia Pacific, believes that The Magic
                     Media Ltd.                                                                                 Gourd reinvigorated a popular Chinese tale
      2              Hunan SunChime Cartoon Group                 16                      10,014                by giving it a contemporary look and feel.
      3              Wuxi TV Station                              8                       6,116                 Incorporating recognizable Chinese elements
      4              CCTV                                         13                      5,669                 into filmmaking will be key to tapping the
                                                                                                                local audience successfully in the future, Yan
      5              Guangdong Creative Power                     7                       4,950
                                                                                                                   However, as this year’s experience
      6              Chongqing CMay Animation                     7                       3,734                 demonstrates, good business practices are
                     Production Co.

                                                                                                                already proving to be the key to market success
      7              Zhejiang Zhongnan Cartoon                    4                       3,718                 in China. ■
      8              Shanghai Media Group                         5                       2,782                 Alex Dai is a Shanghai-based journalist who
    Source: The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT)                                      covers entertainment and sports.                               45


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       Timeless Images: Set on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, Ai Yi Mei

       Xun Animation’s upcoming feaure Road to Home features                                                             addressing universal
       painterly landscapes and universal themes.                                                                        themes, taking the
                                                                                                                         friendship of a young
                                                                                                                         girl and a wolf cub
                                                                                                                         as its throughline in a
                                                                                                                         manner that is both
                                                                                                                         epic in scope and
                                                                                                                         intimate in tone. Di-

                                                                                                          Lijun Sun
                                                                                                                         rected by Lijun Sun
                                                                                                                         with creator Wen
                                                                                                                         Feng from a screen-
                                                                                                                         play by Yi Yan, Road
                                                                                                                         to Home features
                                                                                                                         lush painterly land-

               Cultural Revolution,                                                                                      scapes and engag-
                                                                                                                         ing characters—in-
                                                                                                                          cluding a pair of

                          Take Two                                                                       Wen Feng
                                                                                                    sheep twins, Gugu and Lulu, who are

                                                                                                    sure to be spinning off to a TV set near
                    An American expert looks at Chinese animation’s                                 you.
                                winding road home. by Kevin Geiger                                     Yet for all their promise, original Chi-
                                                                                                    nese films like Road to Home have a
                                                                                                    tough row to hoe as they attempt to

                  hen is a nation of more than      es from Chuck Jones to Genndy Tarta-            speak to their countrymen and appeal
                  1.3 billion people a “scrappy     kovsky—has entered the world stage,             to international audiences while also
                  underdog?” When it is China       eager to reclaim lost creative territory        navigating China’s state approval pro-
       seeking to reclaim the animation lega-       with films that are in turn thrilling, hilari-   cess. Although attitudes are evolving, this
       cy pioneered by the Wan Brothers in          ous, gorgeous and thoughtful. Among             remains a reality of filmmaking in China. It
       the early 20th century. Shanghaied by        the original animated properties cur-           has been my pleasure to advise the Road
       Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution and         rently in development in China, one             to Home team for the better part of this
       then crushed by the juggernaut of            receiving serious buzz on the mainland          year, and I have been impressed with
       Japanese anime, the Chinese anima-           and elsewhere is Beijing-based Ai Yi            how skillfully they walk this line. Road to
       tion industry has been reeling for de-       Mei Xun Animation Company’s Road                Home has garnered significant interest in
       cades (pun intended) in a punch-             to Home, China’s first environmentally           Taiwan and the U.S. at the same time
       drunk, outsource-fueled haze of stifled       themed animated feature film. Set on             that an official from China’s Ministry of
       creativity. Until now.                       the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, Road to            Culture referred to it as “the best [Chi-
          A new generation of Chinese ani-          Home portrays the unique cultural               nese animated] film in development that
       mation filmmakers—versed in influenc-          characteristics of Western China while          I’ve seen.” No small feat, that.




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                                                                                                                                                                                                   © Copyright 2007 Road to Home
     WWW.ANIMATIONMAGAZINE.NET   ___________________

                                                           The concept of balance extends to           compelling economics of the Chinese          China Now by N. Mark Lam and John
                                                       mainland studios such as Xing Xing Digi-        animation industry (and even, ironical-      Graham. While not attendant to ani-
                                                       tal, where Western-educated president           ly, China’s protectionist ban on foreign     mation in particular, it contains veil-lift-
                                                       Lifeng Wang, renowned creative direc-           animation during primetime broadcast         ing insights regarding the practical
                                                       tor Becky Bristow and executive produc-         hours) open doors to small and mid-          consequences of cultural differences
                                                       er Steve Katz meld Chinese and U.S. ar-         level creators in the West who are will-     between the Chinese and American
                                                       tistic and business sensibilities into a true   ing to collaborate with their friends in     negotiating styles.
                                                       East/West hybrid. It even extends across        the East.                                       • The social capital of guanxi (liter-
                                                       the Formosa Strait to Taiwan, where up-            As with any business opportunity,         ally “relationships”) is fundamental to
                                                       and-coming production companies                 however, there are a few things to           Chinese business: Nothing happens in
                                                       such as SOFA Studio, creators of the            keep in mind for best results:               China without it. The emphasis on rela-
                                                       popular MuMuHug series, hope to lever-             • Chinese co-productions are sub-         tionships means that prospective West-
                                                       age friendlier political relations between      ject to state approval, with specific re-     ern co-production partners must make
                                                       Taipei and Beijing to benefit animation          quirements regarding the business            themselves familiar to the Chinese be-
                                                       creators and consumers on both shores.          structure of the enterprise and a critical   fore any serious business can be con-
                                                       Within the next five years, I anticipate         eye on the content (though based on          ducted. While cultivating the proper
                                                       that we will see an outpouring of high-         my experience, this approval is no more      guanxi in China takes time and money,
                                                       quality, original content from mainland         restrictive or arbitrary than that of your   the long-term payoff is well worth the
                                                       China, facilitated by closer relationships      typical Hollywood animation studio).         investment. The barriers and risks of do-
                                                       with established Taiwanese studios and             • The quantity and quality of the Chi-    ing business in China are greatly mini-
                                                       co-produced by American and Euro-               nese animation workforce continues to        mized with the right guanxi.
                                                       pean animation concerns of all shapes           rise, and China’s “animation industry            As demonstrated by the opening
                                                       and sizes.                                      bases” can provide attractive facility       ceremony of the 2008 Olympics, the
                                                           So what does the resurgence of orig-        arrangements to co-pro partners. Nev-        Chinese are not at a loss for how to
                                                       inal animated content in China mean             ertheless, despite financial players such     make a profound visual impression.
                                                       to you, the Animation Magazine read-            as Standard Chartered Bank of Hong           We have much onscreen magic to
                                                       er? Well, if you’re an animation fan, it        Kong (one of the first banks in Asia to       look forward to from this waking
                                                       means that you have some fresh voic-            provide film and TV financing), Chinese        dragon. ■
                                                       es and perspectives to look forward to.         animation studios are not generally          Kevin Geiger is presi-
                                                       If you’re an animation artist, it means         flush with cash. As a content creator         dent and CEO of Ani-
                                                       not job losses but job opportunities—           collaborating with a Chinese studio,         mation Options LLC
                                                       the chance to assume an impactful               you’re expected to wrap your great           (www.animationop-
                                                       leadership position within companies            ideas in some funding.              He is a
                                                       eager for your expertise. And if you’re            • The Chinese are tough negotiators.      12-year veteran of
                                                       an animation producer, it means excit-          I could expound on this at length (and       Disney Feature Ani-

                                                       ing new co-production opportunities in          probably will, at some point), but in the    mation and guest re-
                                                                                                                                                                               Kevin Geiger
                                                       the country that sports one out of ev-          meantime I recommend anyone con-             searcher and profes-
48                                                     ery five consumers on Earth. In fact, the        templating business in China to read         sor at Beijing Film Academy.


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                                                                                                                                                    age 18-35. “This was
                                                                                                                                                    a great eye-opener,
                                                                                                                                                    because every time
                                                                                                                                                    I’ve talked about an-
                                                                                                                                                    imation with broad-
                                                                                                                                                    casters,     their re-
                                                                                                                                                    sponse is that women
                                                                                                                                                    don’t watch anima-

                                                                                                                                                                               Kevin Gillis
                                                                                                                                                    tion … and we found
                                                                                                                                                    out that this wasn’t
                                                                                                                                                    true at all.”

                                                                                                                                                     Not Your Usual
                                                                                                                                                     Office Comedy
                                                                                                                                                       So why use anima-
                                                                                                                                                    tion to stage a
                                                                                                                                                    grown-up       sitcom?     Kim Cattrall

                                                                                     Broad Comedy                                                   Co-creator Gillis be-
                                                                                                                                                    lieves that the animated universe al-
                                                                                                                                                    lows for much wider satiric possibilities
                                                                                                                                                    and surreal options. “You can really
                                                                Breakthrough Animation and Canwest’s new sitcom                                     take situations to wonderfully absurd
                                                               takes an animated look at the life of a daytime chat                                 levels,” he notes. “I can think of many
                                                                                   show producer. by Ramin Zahed                                    instances where we couldn’t have
                                                                                                                                                    done it without animation. For exam-

                                                               reakthrough Animation and              es that grew up with animation,” says         ple, Parker’s pet dog Massimo talks
                                                               Canwest have some great news           Kevin Gillis, Breakthrough Animation’s        [only in her mind]—to her, the dog rep-
                                                               for fans of larger-than-life actress   managing partner and exec producer.           resents the perfect man. He cooks for
                                                       Kim Cattrall who’ve been experienc-            “The show’s co-creator Laura Kosterski’s      her, offers her great massages, has a
                                                       ing life-stopping withdrawal symptoms          concept was exactly what we were              glass of wine ready for her after a long
                                                       after taking in several screenings of the      looking for. It spoofs the women’s talk       day at work. In one episode, Dee gets
                                                       Sex and the City movie this past sum-          show format—which is kind of an un-           shot down by a passing fighter jet after
                                                       mer. The talented actress is coming            chartered territory in animation. We also     trying out an ‘inflatable helium butt’
                                                       back to the small screen—in animated           get to tackle subjects that are appeal-       (she wanted a J.Lo posterior!). There’s
                                                       form—as a self-absorbed, high mainte-          ing to female audiences—like books,           no way you can do those storylines in a
                                                       nance star of a daytime chat show in a         relationships, health, diets, fitness, etc.”   live-action sitcom.”
                                                       new primetime toon called Producing               As Gillis and company began re-               As shows such as Family Guy and
                                                       Parker. This is the first adult program-        searching their target audience, they         South Park have proved in recent
                                                       ming venture for Breakthrough Anima-           made a surprising discovery: Half of the      years, you can also deliver satiric jabs
                                                       tion, which has had an increasing pres-        audience of primetime animated                in animation which you wouldn’t be
                                                       ence in kids TV with popular shows such        shows like The Simpsons are women,            able to get away with in a regular
                                                       as Atomic Betty, Captain Flamingo,
                                                       Miss BG and Jimmy Two Shoes, which
                                                       has been picked up by Disney.
                                                          The new 13 x 30 sitcom centers on
                                                       the misadventures of an overworked
                                                       TV producer named Parker Kovak
                                                       (voiced by up-and-coming actress
                                                       Kristin Booth) who has to deal with the
                                                       daily demands of TV hostess Dee (Cat-
                                                       trall) and the behind-the-scene she-
                                                       nanigans of the production. (Think of it
                                                       as an animated Sex and the City-
                                                       meets-The View!)

                                                          “About two years ago, we decided
                                                       to develop a show that would fill the
50                                                     demand for grown-up fare for audienc-


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                                                                                                                                         Martini Shot:
                                                                                                                                              The cre-
                                                                                                                                           ative team

                                 sitcom. “In one epi-                                                                                        at Break-     realize was
                                 sode, Dee is dating                                                                                           through     that in this
                                 an ex-senator who                                                                                          Animation      show,      the
                                 has his own workout                                                                                         picked a      characters
                                                                                                                                            color pal-
                                 regimen tapes and                                                                                                         are far, far
                                                                                                                                             ette and
                                 speaks with a Ger-                                                                                        contempo-       more expres-
                                 man accent,” says                                                                                        rary designs     sive than in
                                 Gillis. “He likes to go                                                                                 that appeal       kids’ anima-

                                 on these ‘extreme                                                                                       to young ur-      tion.”
                                                                                                                                          ban female
                                 Afghan diets’ and                                                                                                            Gillis and
                                 visit Third World spas                                                                                                    company set
                                 where people get                                                                                                          up a mini stu-
                                 held up for their or-                                                                                                     dio at Break-
                                 gans. We really are                                                                                                       through’s
                                 touching on subjects                                                                                                      headquar-
                                 that you’d see on The View, Oprah or          booth to have a fuss-free blast, record-     ters in Toronto, and along with Mercury
                                 The Ellen DeGeneres Show!”                    ing scenes that bring Dee to life,” de-      Filmworks in Ottawa and PASI studio in
                                    Obviously, landing the always in-de-       clares Cattrall. “It’s bliss!”               the Philippines, are delivering the Flash-
                                 mand Kim Cattrall to voice the self-in-          “Kim is an unbelievable comedic           based animation.
                                 volved talk show host was a huge coup         actress,” notes Gillis. “She has this huge       Gillis gives lot of credit to producing
                                 for the producers. Gillis says the fact       range of voices. She could seduce you        partner Canwest, who allowed them
                                 that, like the producers and creative         with her voice and she can also scorch       to take extra chances with the subject
                                 team, the actress was Canadian                you when she gets mad. The actress           matter. “We were lucky to get our or-
                                 helped a lot! “One night, my wife and I       who plays Parker—Kristin Booth (MVP,         der of 13 episodes with Canwest,” he
                                 were watching Sex and the City, and           Young People F**king), is also a won-        says. “Of course, if we had a 26 [order],
                                 she says to me, ‘Somebody like Kim            derful up-and-coming actress. Togeth-        it would allow us to spend more time
                                 would be great for the show!’” he re-         er they have really brought these char-      unveiling our characters’ arcs and to
                                 calls. “We knew she was Canadian, so          acters to life beautifully.”                 get a broader sense of the world. But I
                                 we sent her the script. She’s developed                                                    have to tell you, they were so great to
                                 an enormous following and it’s appro-                   Samantha Sings!                    work with. They’d tell us, ‘Let your imag-
                                 priate that she should play such an im-           Cattrall fans will be delirious when     ination go wilder … go wild, we’ll pull
                                 portant role in this first primetime ani-      they discover that she’ll also be dis-       you back!’ It’s so refreshing to hear
                                 mated series designed for women.”             playing her singing talents on the show.     that, especially after you’ve worked
                                    Cattrall, who played a huge role in        “When we were courting her for the           on several children’s shows before!”
                                 making the Sex and the City movie             first episode, I could hear her doing a          As exec producer and co-creator of
                                 one of the biggest box-office hits of          throat exercise,” explains Gillis. “I no-    the show, Gillis is also glowing about
                                 2008, tells Animation Magazine that           ticed that she has great pitch, so I         another fringe benefit of Producing
                                 she loves portraying the pushy chat           asked her if she’d be interested in do-      Parker—sitting in a room full of women
                                 show host in the series. “Dee is devilishly   ing a song for the show, and she             writers all day! “I know more secrets
                                 delicious to inhabit,” says the Emmy-         agreed. The show’s musical approach          about the female psyche than I ever
                                 winning actress. “Her appetite and            is quite different. It’s sophisticated, a    thought I could,” he says. “At the end
                                 ego outsize her voluminous hair and           combination of Broadway musical              of the day, I go home and tell my wife
                                 bosom. She is a guilty pleasure to per-       mixed with jazz and salsa—you can say        these things, and she can’t believe the
                                 form. Move over, Oprah!”                      it’s exotically erotic!”                     stuff we discuss. I think guys are going
                                    Another bonus of playing an animat-            Young women who tune in may also         to really enjoy watching the show with
                                 ed role is that you don’t have to worry       be struck by the toon’s color palette and    their wives and girlfriends. Nothing is
                                 about many of the tedious aspects of          wonderful contemporary design. Ac-           sacred—we tell it and we make fun of
                                 being in front of the camera! “After 35       cording to Gillis, the art department        it all! I think it’s going to catch audi-
                                 years of waking up before the rooster         looked into the kinds of colors and artis-   ences unaware and they’re going to
                                 crows for early pre-pre-dawn hair/            tic styles that appealed to the target de-   engage with it very personally. They’ll
                                 makeup call times on films and TV, I rel-      mographic. “We did a lot of research         see themselves reflected in the char-
                                 ish getting up much later than the sun        looking at everything—online dating          acters and, hopefully, have fun laugh-
                                 with bed head! I lazily brush my teeth,       sites, magazines, furniture, book covers.    ing at themselves!” ■
                                 reach for the wash cloth and complete         We wanted the show to look very cos-

                                                                                                                             Producing Parker is scheduled to
                                 my entire morning skin regime, then lei-      mopolitan—very New York, but with
                                                                                                                             premiere on Canwest’s E! Channel
                                 surely pick out my jeans and t-shirt for      warm-looking skies. There’s always some-
                                                                                                                             (Canada) in January 2009.
52                               the day and head to the recording             thing happening. One thing I came to


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                                                                                                                        creator and creative thinker. He put to-
                                                                                                                        gether his own development group
                                                                                                                        within the company to come up with
                                                                                                                        new concepts for various media.”
                                                                                                                           One of these concepts was originally
                                                                                                                        a game idea which became Hero:
                                                                                                                        108, a comedy-action series in pro-
                                                                                                                        duction from Gamania Creative, Mike

                                                                                                                        Young Productions and Cartoon Net-
                                                                                                                        work Europe. Mig Said is obviously quite
                                                                                                                        different in tone, style and content.
                                                                                                                           “The Flash-animated series has a few
                                                                                                                        recurring characters—such as Oscar
                                                                                                                        the wolf—but for the most part, each
                                                                                                                        episode is wholly unique with a gor-
                                                                                                                        geous painterly look and completely
                                                                                                                        new music,” notes Street. “Everyone
                                                                                                                        who sees these little treasures—wheth-
                                                                                                                        er young or old—seems to fall in love
                                                                                                                        with them. They are like little lullaby
                                                                                                                        poems—little pieces of art that make
                                                                                                                        you feel better about the world.”
                                                                                                                           European animation studio Millim-
                                                                                                                        ages (Skyland, 64 Zoo Lane, Louie),

                                                                      Gentle Gems                                       which has its distribution arm in London,
                                                                                                                        has picked up the series for global sales
                                                                                                                        and will be launching the series at MIP-
                                                                                                                        COM this month. “Look for beautiful
                                        Mig Said..., a poetic new shorts series from Gamania,                           Mig Said maquettes and giveaways at
                                          adds a Zen touch to classic fables. by Ramin Zahed                            the Millimages booth,” advizes Street.
                                                                                                                        The shorts currently air on Nick Jr. U.K.,

                                     t’s not every day that we see a col-      enjoy the sunset together under a        accompanied by narration from ev-
                                     lection of poetic, painterly shorts ar-   tree.                                    eryone’s favorite pirate spirit Bill Nighy
                                     riving on the market. Usually, the           “Gamania Digital Entertainment is     (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s
                                 shorts that make it to the                                                                      End). Mig Said also airs on Car-
                                 small screen are of the super-                                                                  toon Network Japan, without
                                 hyper Itchy and Scratchy va-                                                                    Nighy’s narration.
                                 riety. That’s why it’s a kick to                                                                   According to Street, Millim-
                                 see Mig Said, a wonderful                                                                       ages originally believed it
                                 44-episode series of one-                                                                       might be hard to place these
                                 and two-minute shorts cre-                                                                      shorts, but buyers have shown
                                 ated by Taiwan’s Gamania                                                                        great interest and surpassed
                                 Studio, arriving on the mar-                                                                    initial expectations. “The very
                                 ket this fall.                                                                                  reason that Millimages ulti-
                                    Created by Gamania’s in-                                                                     mately picked up the shorts—
                                 house development group,                                                                        they simply couldn’t resist
                                 Gamania Creative Center,                                                                        them—is why buyers are jump-
                                 the preschool show is the                                                                       ing onboard to make a deal
                                 brainchild of acclaimed Tai-                                                                    for the shorts,” she adds. “Be-
                                 wanese illustrator Mig Jou.                                                                     cause shorts are difficult to pro-
                                 His goal was to create a se-                                                                    gram, they have to be truly
                                 ries of moral fairy tales with unique         the largest Asian publisher of massive   exceptional, something a channel just
                                 twists. For instance, in Mig’s interpreta-    multi-player online games outside of     can’t live without.” We also hope we
                                 tion of Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and       Korea,” says Rita Street, president of   won’t have to live without Mig Said in

                                 the Hare (titled The New Race of Turtle       Radar Cartoons, which acts as Gama-      the U.S. much longer! ■
                                 and the Hare), the rabbit helps the tur-      nia’s producer’s rep. “The founder of     For more info, visit www.millimages.
54                               tle finish the race with him and the two       the company, Albert Liu, is a game        com.


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                                                                                                                                     on our staff to un-learn a lot of what they

                                 HBO’s Big Laughs for                                                                                know how to do,” Dildarian says, “We’re ask-
                                                                                                                                     ing people to draw like a five-year-old, or to

                                    the Small Screen                                                                                 animate like a very inexperienced animator.
                                                                                                                                     It’s easier said than done.”
                                                                                                                                         The comic, who lists sardonic maestros
                                                                                                                                     Larry David and Ricky Gervais as inspira-
                                         The Life and Times of Tim offers a new grown-up toon                                        tions, joins the animation scene after a

                                             for those who are older than rug-rats, but are not                                      highly successful career in the ad business.
                                                         quite family guys! by Mercedes Milligan                                     After winning a few dozen Clio awards and
                                                                                                                                     writing memorable campaigns like the

                                      n our industry, one often hears anima-     a bum, you can’t help but root for him.             “Budweiser Lizards,” he decided to step
                                      tion artists lamenting toons created by       “I haven’t seen a good animated come-            down from that hectic world and focus on
                                      (gasp) non-animators. In the past few      dy where the storylines are relevant to             more personal projects. But his three-year
                                 years, we’ve seen a renewed focus on            young people’s lives,” explains Dildarian,          journey to TV echoed the hard-luck frustra-
                                 buzzwords like “artist-driven” and the less     “All the best animated shows seem to cen-           tions of his protagonist.
                                 determined “artist-friendly”—but as HBO’s       ter around families, or over-the-top situa-            “I spent a year making the original short
                                 new late-night comedy series The Life &         tions. I just wanted to create a show that’s        films [Hooker was followed by three more
                                 Times of Tim proves with its auteurist sensi-   more grounded in reality.” (Yes, living in          which comprised the pilot] and writing a
                                 bilities, sometimes, a lot of funny and very    Manhattan is that much different from your          pilot script, then another year producing it
                                 little pretty can make productive bedfel-       life!) This down-to-Earth mentality applies         as a pilot for Fox,” Dildarian elaborates. Af-
                                 lows.                                           seamlessly to the look of the show. Dildarian       ter a couple of false starts at Fox, the pilot
                                     Created, written and exec produced by       describes his process—or lack thereof:              was shopped around, attracting funding
                                 Steve Dildarian (who also voices the titular         “I just draw the characters and back-          from Media Rights Capital (which is also on-
                                 character), The Life & Times of Tim may         ground to the best of my ability, and this is       board Mike Judge’s upcoming The Goode
                                 seem familiar to indie animation fans. That’s   what it looks like. I couldn’t have drawn it        Family) and eventually landing at HBO—
                                                                                                                                     which, happily for their audience, snapped
                                                                                                                                     it up the very next day after Dildarian went
                                                                                                                                     in for the pitch meeting. “A lot of the
                                                                                                                                     groundwork had been done [at that
                                                                                                                                     point],” says Dildarian, “The pitch was really
                                                                                                                                     just so they could hear my vision for the
                                                                                                                                     show, but I have a feeling they knew they
                                                                                                                                     liked it before I walked in the room.”
                                                                                                                                         A year later, Dildarian has 10 half-hour
                                                                                                                                     episodes under his belt. Each episode is, in
                                                                                                                                     a way, a self-contained short film, leaving
                                                                                                                                     the hapless Tim open to limitless possible fi-
                                                                                                                                     ascos, without any long-term consequenc-
                                                                                                                                     es. And much as the short-subject format-
                                                                                                                                     ting of the series stays true to its origins, so
                                                                                                                                     does the wonky animation; “The on-air ver-
                                                                                                                                     sion is certainly better looking than the first
                                 because the show was spawned from Dil-          better if I wanted to,” he says, adding, “Peo-      short we did, but the overall style has re-
                                 darian’s award-winning Angry Unpaid             ple seemed to like the unpolished look of           mained the same.”
                                 Hooker short, which was featured in the         the show and the limited animation. I always           Though at first glance the static, limited-
                                 fourth edition of The Animation Show. The       assumed we’d need to spruce it up some-             ness of Tim makes it seem an unworthy fit for
                                 series follows the comic-tragic misadven-       where along the way, but we never did.”             animation, the unpolished quality gives the
                                 tures of a 20something New Yorker, who               Dildarian developed this look when he          show an underlying sense of “Gosh darn it,
                                 can’t catch a break from the bizarre events     made Hooker, after a limited budget lead            I’m trying!” which perfectly echoes the
                                 and characters that turn his every day into     him to take his live-action plot and turn it into   struggles of our underdog hero. After all,
                                 a hilarious ordeal, and ruin his attempts to    a crash course in animation using Apple’s           the mark of a true artist is knowing when
                                 appear normal for the sake of his exasper-      iMovie. Ironically, the “naïve charm” of the        enough … is enough. ■
                                 ated girlfriend (voiced by Dildarian’s friend   stilted animation (art created in Photoshop

                                                                                                                                      HBO airs The Life & Times of Tim Sun-
                                 and former colleague, Mary Jane Otto).          and animated with After Effects and Final
                                                                                                                                      days at 11 p.m. For more info, visit
                                 Whether he’s being menaced by a pimp or         Cut Pro) proved to be the biggest produc-
56                               coerced into pressing rape charges against      tion challenge. “[We had to] teach people


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                                 Mouse House Says Good-
                                    bye to Toon Disney
                                                                Disney XD eyes the boys’ action market.

                                                                                                                 by Ryan Ball

                                       he phenomenal success of live-action            Mongoose & Luther (working title) is a doc-
                                       programs such as Disney Channel’s            umentary-style single camera show about two
                                       Hannah Montana, High School Musi-            best friends who set their sights on becoming
                                 cal, Camp Rock and iCarly is changing the          world famous skateboarders. The creators
                                 cable television landscape by inspiring di-        and exec producers are Matt Dearborn and
                                 versification in channels that were once            Tom Burkhard (both of Disney Channel’s Even
                                 solely dedicated to animation. First Cartoon       Stevens). Filmed in HD, the series is a produc-
                                 Network began airing Out of Jimmy’s Head,          tion of Turtle Rock Prods., Inc.
                                 then snagged its highest ratings ever with the        Toon fans may be less than thrilled with
                                 live-action movie Ben 10: Race Against Time.       the re-branding, but animation will still have
                                 Now Disney is re-branding its Toon Disney and      a strong presence on the network. New ani-
                                 Jetix television and online platforms in the
                                 U.S. as Disney XD. Debuting in February of
                                 2009 across television, web, mobile and
                                 VOD platforms, the 24-hour, advertiser-
                                 supported network will feature a mix of
                                 live-action and animated programming
                                 for kids six to 14.
                                     Whereas Disney Channel’s live-action
                                 programming is largely targeted to girls,
                                 Disney XD’s new offerings will be aimed
                                 squarely at boys. In addition to action-ad-
                                 venture and comedy series and movies,
                                 the network will offer sports-themed shows
                                 developed with ESPN. These will include
                                 original productions and newly packaged X          The New Boys’ Club: Set to launch in February, Disney
                                 Games content.                                     XD will feature familiar titles such as Phineas and Ferb
                                                                                        and Batman: The Animated Series and new titles
                                     “Disney Channel is a huge business serv-
                                                                                                         such as Toei Animation’s RoboDz.
                                 ing kids all around the world, and it’s espe-
                                 cially successful with girls, and our goal with    mated properties include the short-form series      a n d
                                 Disney XD is to have that same success ratio       Hero and Not (working title), produced in Italy     p r o -
                                 with boys,” says Rich Ross, president of Disney    by Studio Bozzetto & Co. SRL, and RoboDz,           g r a m -
                                 Channels Worldwide. “Disney XD will showcase       a CG-animated and live-action short form            ming blocks
                                 great stories and empowering characters with       comedy series co-produced by Toei Anima-            in all other
                                 Disney’s brand credibility and a cool creative     tion Company Ltd. and Walt Disney Television        parts of the world will
                                 factor that will set it apart from the pack.”      International Japan. Other featured series          be decided on a case-by-case basis.
                                     The new live-action programs will include      will include the Disney Channel hit animated           The House of Mouse is hoping Disney XD will
                                 Aaron Stone, an original, single camera ad-        comedy Phineas and Ferb, and the super-             eventually reach the same heights as sibling
                                 venture series about a teenager who is en-         hero cartoons Batman: The Animated Series,          network Disney Channel. Hannah Montana,
                                 listed to become the real-life version of a leg-   Superman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man           High School Musical and other live-action hits
                                 endary, crime fighting online game character.       and Iron Man.                                       such as The Wizards of Waverly Place and The
                                 The series is exec produced by Bruce Kalish           Disney XD, the seventh brand in the kid-driv-    Cheetah Girls propelled the outlet to the very
                                 (Disney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jackson)         en TV and radio business of The Walt Disney         top of the cable ratings chart in 2007, drawing

                                 and Suzanne French (Overruled!, Life with          Co., will reach nearly 70 million U.S. households   an average of 2.69 million total viewers. That’s
                                 Derek), and produced in HD by Shaftesbury          via its basic cable affiliates. The fate of the 19   the biggest total audience for any cable net-
58                               Films, Inc.                                        Jetix channels and six Toon Disney channels         work on record. ■


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                                  Oscar image courtesy of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences

                               Welcome to
               Animation Magazine’s 2008 Award Season Issues.
               Award Season Preview Issue                                                                    Issue #191 - February
               Editorial Focus: An early preview of the award season contend-                                Editorial Focus: Visual Effects
               ers of 2008, in the animated feature, animated shorts and visual                              Editorial Due: Dec. 1
               effects categories.                                                                           Ad Sales Close: Dec. 18
               Editorial Due: Oct. 1                                                                         On Newsstands: Jan. 5
               Ad Sales Close: Oct. 18                                                                       (Nominations announced Jan. 22)
               On Newsstands: Nov. 1
                                                                                                             Issue #192 - March
               Issue #190 – December/January                                                                 Editorial Focus: Animated Shorts and Artist Profiles
               Editorial Focus: Feature Film Contenders                                                      Editorial Due: Jan. 4
               Editorial Due: Nov. 3                                                                         Ad Sales Close: Jan. 22
               Ad Sales Close: Nov. 20                                                                       On Newsstands: Feb. 5
               On Newsstands: Dec. 3
                                                                                                             (Nomination polls close Feb. 17)
                                                                                                             (Note: In conjunction with this announcement, we will hold at
                                                                                                             the printer for nomination ads.)

   Call 818-991-2884 Ext. 104 or                                                 ____________________________________________


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                                                          The Padded Cel
                                                                                                                 by Robby London

                                                       A Merger Preparedeness Primer:

                                                     Seven Things You Can Do to Be Ready

                                    t could happen at any time; in a        the word “murder?” “Merger” implies a             goal is to find ways to differentiate your
                                    booming economy or its current          happy marriage but the truth is there             special talents from those of anyone
                                    antithesis—which apparently is          will always be a perp … and a corpse.             similar in the new parent company. To
                                 called a “fundamentally sound”             And you may not grasp which one you               give one wholly random example, they
                                 economy. It can happen as suddenly         are until you happen to be enjoying a             probably already have a creative
                                 as … a moose-hunting former small          “sick day” at the beach and notice a              executive who is overpaid to
                                 town mayor becoming president of           tag on your toe!                                  underperform.
                                 the U.S. Or a story editor being              Reconnoiter: Ignorance may be bliss,                Waive: If the conquerors are
                                 capriciously fired by a network. Or         but knowledge is power. Keep your                 generous enough to offer a severance
                                 receiving your first AARP solicitation in                       ears to the ground            package, be prepared to waive all
                                 the mail. Or falling into a coma induced                               at    work.           rights in order to get it, including such
                                 by lame metaphors.                                                         Scour             things as the right to sell sushi on eBay,
                                   Yes, the company for which you                                            your             the right to reproduce and the right to
                                 work could be suddenly … acquired!                                                           be lactose intolerant. And if you work
                                 And your job eliminated. And since                                                                in an “at will” state like California, be
                                 there is absolutely nothing you can                                                                   prepared to see your at-will-ass
                                 do to prevent it, the only thing you                                                                    “waived” goodbye … with
                                 can do is be prepared. That is our                                                                       nothing.
                                 mission this month: to prepare                                                                              Energy: Energy is a scarce
                                 you. And we shall be vigilant in                                                                         resource. And in a brutal job
                                 not allowing this vital mission                                                                         market, you will need every drop
                                 to be compromised by the                                                                           of it to sabotage and assassinate
                                 cheap temptation to                                                                                 your former trusted colleagues who
                                 entertain you—oh no,                                                                                were laid off too and are
                                 that would be too easy!                                                                            competing for the same jobs you
                                   Here, then, are seven steps                                                                      are. So, whatever you do, do NOT
                                 to becoming prepared for                                                                          waste an iota of your precious
                                 that sudden, unexpected                                                                      energy on doing a good job now!
                                                                             Illustration by Mercedes Milligan

                                 announcement on a carefree                                                                        Despair: Okay, let’s face it. There is
                                 summer’s day:                                                                                 little you can do to protect yourself from
                                   Save: There are many things you’d                                                            the dark side of capitalism which results
                                 be wise to save. First, of course, is                                                         in the few getting richer and the many
                                 money. But also save copies of                                                               getting fired. Our list may be worthless—
                                 your best work (or anyone’s best work                                                        but at least credit us with respecting our
                                 that you can pass off as your o w n ) .                                                      pledge not to entertain you.
                                 Save your vacation days so you’re                                                                 Still, we would be remiss not to point
                                 maxed out at any given time—that’s         I.T. person’s desk for a                          out the handy acronym to help you
                                 why god invented sick days and             list of executive passwords to see what’s         remember these precious seven steps.
                                 downloadable doctor’s notes. Save all      really going on. Use those sick days to           All you really need remember about
                                 the office supplies you can “liberate.”     make field trips to the marina to see if           mergers is this: be prepared at all times
                                 And save your integrity for when you       your CEO just bought a new yacht.                 to be S.C.R.E.W.E.D! ■
                                 can’t find another job in the animation     Eavesdrop in the executive suite, using           Robby London is an Emmy-winning
                                 industry and end up becoming a             that surefire Scooby-Doo trick of                  writer and exec producer. His numerous
                                 teacher.                                   disguising yourself as a potted plant.            TV credits include Sonic the Hedgehog,

                                   Cynical: Sadly, it always pays to be         Educate: As soon as a merger is               Sabrina: the Animated Series, Madeline
                                 cynical. Let’s start with the word         announced, educate your new bosses                and Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd
60                               “merger.” Ever notice the similarity to    about exactly what it is you do. Your             Century.


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              The Handeyeman®
           Discovers Planet Earth

                     “Ham” is the Handeyeman®
                    astronomer who lives on another
                       planet and discovers Earth.
                      His discovery causes him, his
                     family, and his colleagues big
                     problems as they try to control
                    how the news of the earthlings
                    will be released to the world of

                                          30 page style guide for TV series,
                                          comic book, feature film, video games
                                          or toys on Handeyeman® and how
                                          handeyepeople™ do things.

                                          John O. Graybill, Creator

                                          (951) 313-9052, (619) 287-8857
                                                                             © 2008 Automatic Document Corporation. All rights reserved.


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                                     Fresh Riviera Wrap: 2008 Edition
                                                                      News and views about the MIPCOM audiovisual content market,
                                                                                                 held Oct. 13-17, in Cannes, France.

                                 Of Teeny Vikings and Evil Gopherlords                                                           Around the World With
                                                                                                                                 Unusual Designs
                                 W      e recently had a chance to sit down and chat with one of our favorite guys in
                                        the TV animation business, Frank Saperstein, senior VP of animation and children’s
                                 programming at Blueprint Media. It looks like he he has a lot of really interesting projects
                                 for 2009. In addition to his Flash-animated adult series Dating Guy (co-produced with
                                                                                                                                 A     lmost 135 years ago, French fantasy
                                                                                                                                       master Jules Verne wrote the exciting
                                                                                                                                 adventure Around the World in 80 Days.
                                 the team at marblemedia), which we covered in our last TV market issue, he told us
                                                                                                                                 Since then, numerous adaptations of the
                                 about two very eccentric toons which sound like a lot of fun!
                                                                                                                                 work have been produced for cinema and
                                   The first one is called Kid Chipmunk, which is created by Stephen Holman and
                                                                                                                                 TV. David Niven and Pierce Brosnan have
                                 Josephine Huang (Kablam!). “It’s a wild, game-inspired
                                                                                                                                 both played the Englishman hero Phileas
                                 adventure series about four young kids named Kid
                                                                                                                                 Fogg and Jackie Chan and Eric Idle have
                                 Chipmunk, Pigeon Girl, Beaver Boy and Raccoon Suzie,”
                                                                                                                                 starred as his valet Passepartout in different
                                 says Saperstein, with a big smile on his face. “They were
                                 kidnapped right after birth, raised by animals in the wild
                                                                                                                                    We recently got word that Toronto-based
                                 and have become vigilant superheroes who battle
                                                                                                                                 Comet Entertainment (Santa Vs. Claus,
                                 the evil Gopherlord and his mutant army in all kinds of
                                                                                                                                 Wrappy: Sex Police) has signed a deal
                                 environmental battles!” (Frank, you had us at the Kid
                                                                                              Kid Chipmunk                       with Spanish studio Somuga—which has
                                 Chipmunk alone!)
                                                                                                                                 a big licensing and
                                   Also on the Blueprint plate is Eric the Tiny, created by Russell Marcus (Brandy & Mr.
                                                                                                                                 merchandising arm
                                 Whiskers, Married with Children). This one is about—wait for it, wait for it—the world’s
                                                                                                                                 in San Sebastian—to
                                 smallest, meanest, most righteous Viking. “Every day he has to go fight and pillage,
                                                                                                                                 produce a new 80-
                                 but he also has a totally dysfunctional family—one gay son, one really dumb son and
                                                                                                                                 minute Flash-animated
                                 a promiscuous daughter and wife who’s the village medic!” explains Saperstein. Or
                                                                                                                                 movie inspired by the
                                 as the show’s official description synopsis reads, “His family parallels our world today
                                 … if we bowled with human heads, used teeth as currency and chained our mentally
                                                                                                                                    “This will be a
                                 challenged relatives in the basement.” Nuf said!
                                                                                                                                 completely exciting
                                                                                                                                 new adventure, perfect
                                                                                                                                 for the 21st century
                                 One More Reason to Love Italia!                                                                 with a really unique
                                                                                                                                 look and fantastic

                                 N    ext time you’re in Italy, forget about those overrated tourist attractions such as
                                      Rome’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, Florence’s Uffizi Gallery and Venice’s Bridge of
                                 Sighs. The creative team at Italy’s animation studio Gruppo Alcuni have taken a page
                                                                                                                                 characters,” says
                                                                                                                                 Comet Entertainment’s
                                                                                                                                 CEO Raquel Benitez. “Around the World in
                                 out of the Disney book and opened the doors to The Talking Tree Park, a new family
                                                                                                                                 80 Days, Free! centers on the famous bet
                                 attraction in the beautiful city of Treviso.
                                                                                                                                 between two friends [they’re renamed
                                                           “Set in a historic location, the park is a spacious green
                                                                                                                                 Sheepskin and Kebab in this version] over
                                                        destination which inspires fun, learning and interactive
                                                                                                                                 whether it’s possible for Sheepskin to travel
                                                        experiences,” says Laura Gambino, Gruppo Alcuni’s head
                                                                                                                                 around the world for free. What happens is
                                                        of sales. “We believe the park is truly unique in both Italy and
                                                                                                                                 that the cities Phileas Fogg passed through
                                                                                                                                 about 200 years ago are now emblematic
                                                           Upon entering the park, young visitors can find their way to
                                                                                                                                 centers, full of different obstacles!” And yes,
                                                        an ancient cedraia (a citrus free greenhouse). Their fantastic
                                                                                                                                 the secret child of the late Lady Diana and
                                                                   voyage will lead them to a place where they can
                                                                                                                                 Dodi Al-Fayed plays a part in this scenario!
                                                                   witness the birth of cinema, learn about the process of
                                                                                                                                    We have a feeling we’ll be following these
                                                                   animation and discover how new technologies allow
                                                                                                                                 new eccentric-looking characters to the far
                                                                   live-action actors to interact with animated characters

                                                                                                                                 corners of the world. You can check out the
                                                                   from Gruppo Alcuni’s favorite shows such as Pet Pals
                                                                                                                                 designs and some of Somuga’s t-shirt and
                                                                   and Leonardo.
                                                                                                                                 toy designs at and learn
62                                                                     “The Talking Tree Park is the ideal location for school
                                                                                                                                 more at
                                                                   excursions or for family outings,” says Gambino. After all,
                                 how many times will you get the chance to hang out with the Pet Pal characters in real
                                 life—fantastico, no?


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     Animasia Serves Alphabet Soup and Soccer Fever

     K    uala Lumpur-based animation studio Animasia is bringing two very different shows
          to the MIPCOM market this month. The first one is a colorful preschool series about              This Cat Is Ready for His
     the 26 letters of the alphabet who live within the walls of Capital Castle! The 26 x 22 show         Comeback!
     is called ABC Monsters and is produced at Animasia’s studio using Flash software in High
                                            Def. The colorful toon was the winner of Malyasia’s
                                            I.P. Challenge, which was organized by the country’s
                                            Multimedia Development Corporation.
                                                                                                          N     ow that Garfield the cat has two CG-
                                                                                                                animated movies under his fat belt, it’s
                                                                                                          time for his charming rival from the ’80s to
                                               Animasia’s managing director and the show’s exec           step into the limelight. Created by George

                                            producer Edmund Chan tells us that the show targets                                              Gately in
                                            four- to six-year-olds in English-speaking territories, but                                      1973, the
                                            skews a bit older for non-English regions. “The concept                                          black-and-
                                            is fresh and creative as we face these 26 letters in                                             orange cat
     our daily life,” says Chan. He says the show is currently in production, and Animasia has                                               Heathcliff
     secured interest from Malaysian, Middle Eastern and European TV networks.                                                               has been
        With eyes on the sport’s huge fan base all around the world, Animasia is also bringing                                               a popular
     a 13-part soccer-themed toon to the market. Supa Strikas is another HD, Flash-animated                                                  staple of the
     series which is centered on the world’s greatest players, united in the spirit of adventure.                                            funny pages
     “The story’s magic lies in the variety of content, character and locale … and of course,                                                in newspapers
     in the blazing action both on and off the field,” says Oliver Power, exec producer of Strika                                             around
     Entertainment. He also notes that the show is based on a popular Supa Strikas multi-                 the world. In addition, he starred in two
     platform project which includes several print formats, website and animated shorts for               different TV series (produced by Ruby-Spears
     broadcast TV. “Our target audience is boys, seven to 11, but we expect people of all ages            Productions and DIC) and had the distinct
     to enjoy this universal action-adventure series.”                                                    honor of being voiced by the legendary Mel
        Fans can expect to start screaming                                                                Blanc.
     “Goooooooaaaal!” as early as November,                                                                   Last month, FitzRoy Media CEO Hamp
     when the show hits leading TV stations across                                                        Hampton announced that his company
     Asia, Latin America and Malaysia.                                                                    has teamed up with Gately’s nephew Peter
        Chan says the growth of new media has                                                             Gallagher, who now writes and draws the
     helped producers in the region maximize their                                                        comic strip, to develop new animated
     revenue potential. “The Asian market itself is                                                       projects based on the popular feline. Los
     an interesting area where countries such as China, India and Indonesia are becoming                  Angeles-based studio Renegade Animation
     more mature with higher purchasing power and give us more opportunities to push                      is also involved in the project.
     for merchandise volumes,” says the producer. “Besides Malaysia will also be a new                       “We want to emphasize that Heathcliff is
     destination for high quality animation productions as we have strong training institutions           the original streetwise cat,” says Gallagher,
     and universities delivering quality talent every year. Year in and year out, we have a               in a phone interview. “We want to update
     strong, knowledgeable work force which can support the continuous flow of projects from               him, so that a whole new audience will be
     abroad.”                                                                                             introduced to him. It’s funny how people
     To learn more about these and the studio’s other projects, visit            sometimes confuse him with Garfield, but
                                                                                                          there is a difference—Heathcliff actually
                                                                                                          came out first, several years before Garfield.”
  Mouse’s Tale Captures Cartoon D’Or                                                                         Gallagher, who took over the strip after the
                                                                                                          passing of this uncle, says Heathcliff is a great

 T   hose talented French animation students
     have done it again. Benjamin Renner, a
 graduate of France’s La Poudrière, received
                                                                                                          character to write about. “He has a girlfriend,
                                                                                                          and he always gets into trouble with her.
                                                                                                          Throughout the years, the strip’s humor and
 Cartoon Forum’s Cartoon d’Or Award for his
                                                                                                          personality have remained constant.”
 graduation project, A Mouse’s Tale (La Queue
                                                                                                              Gallagher says he still enjoys creating
 de la Souris) last month.
                                                                                                          the strip the old fashioned way. “Very little
    Renner’s four-minute short uses drawings
                                                                                                          is done on the computer,” says the artist,
 and cut-out animation to tell the story of a lion
                                                                                                          who works from his home in Glenridge, New
 who captures a mouse and is about to devour
                                                                                                          Jersey. “Coming up with ideas day after
 it when the mouse proposes a deal. Renner
                                                                                                          day is the toughest part of the job. It never
 made the film while he was attending La
                                                                                                          gets easier. But I have to tell you, I’ve always
 Poudrière, an animation film-directing school in France, where he directed several shorts. The

                                                                                                          loved to draw. I remember how I missed
 24-year-old is now working at France’s Les Armateurs studio, where he is lead animator on the
                                                                                                          a couple of days drawing when I was a
 upcoming movie Ernest and Celestine.
                                                                                                          kid, and I almost developed an allergic
    The Cartoon d’Or 2008 jury was composed of directors Enzo D’Alo from Italy, Raul Garcia
 from Spain and Michael Coldewey from Germany. Cartoon d’Or is part of the annual Cartoon
                                                                                                          reaction!” Now that sounds like a perfect                                 63
                                                                                                          plot for a Heathcliff episode!
 Forum event, which was held at Ludwisgsburg in September. For further information, visit ___


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                                 FatKat Unleashes Kooky Crime-Fighters                                          Yummy and ZeFronk Land on
                                                                                                                OddBot’s Menu

                                 B    ewildered attendees of the Ottawa Animation Festival’s opening
                                      night screening got a sneak peek at FatKat Animation studio’s
                                 offbeat new series SpaceKnights. Actors dressed up as the toon’s
                                 goofy crime-fighting characters got a few
                                                                                                                I  t’s been a very busy summer for the talented group of
                                                                                                                   animators, artists and producers at Los Angeles-based
                                                                                                                studio OddBot. They wrote to tell us that they’ve been
                                 laughs when they interrupted festival director                                 working on a new animated interstitial series for Playhouse
                                 Chris Robinson’s introductory speech. Based                                    Disney, called Tasty Time with ZeFronk. Slated for a
                                 in New Brunswick, Canada, FatKat is gearing                                    November debut on the cabler, the show is about a French
                                 up heavily for the new Flash-animated toon,

                                                                                                                wiener dog who hosts a cooking show with his assistant, a
                                 which is an off-the-wall parody of programs                                    bird named Sue. The appetizing toon offers kids and their
                                 such as Voltron, Transformers and Mighty                  Gene Fowler
                                                                                                                parents/caregivers great recipes for healthy treats that
                                 Morphin Power Rangers.                                                         they can make at home. “ZeFronk encourages kids to
                                    “The SpaceKnights are a group of slightly outdated superheroes              be actively involved with creating healthy meals in the
                                 who drive 1994 Honda Accords that have been given special                      kitchen,” says OddBot president and creative director
                                 abilities,” says company president Gene Fowler, who co-created the             Chris Hamilton. “The unique style of the show is a mixture
                                 show with Buddy Bolton (My Adventures with Cloe). “When they’re                of Flash animation with actual pictures of the ingredients.
                                 together, they can transform into a variety of giant robots, from a            After we prepared and photographed the food at the
                                 pterodactyl, to a giant T-Rex, to a Saber Tooth Tiger.”                                                        final
                                                                                                                studio, we had to sample the final dishes--no sense in
                                    According to the always-energetic Mr. Fowler, about 120                     wasting food! I have to say, everything tasted great!”
                                 employees are working at the studio on the project, which is one of                 OddBot is also working on American Greetings and
                                 Teletoon’s Detour Pilot Projects. “I think fans of those old shows are         DQ Entertainment’s Maryoku Yummy, the 52 x 11-minute
                                 going to get a kick out of the toon, which is going to answer pressing         preschool show about a magical creature that tries very
                                 questions like ‘Where do you get funding for giant robots?’ and ‘Why           hard to make children’s wishes come true. “It was such
                                                                              does it seem like every alien     a pleasure working with show’s creator Jeffrey Conrad
                                                                              travels billions of light years   and his team at American Greetings,” adds Hamilton.
                                                                              across the depth of space,        “They are so creative, highly
                                                                              all the way to Earth, only to     supportive, and reacted
                                                                              want a fist fight!?’”               positively to our ideas. This
                                                                                 FatKat, which also works       made building the whimsical,
                                                                              on Animation Collective’s         unique, and colorful world of
                                                                              Nicktoons series Three            Maryoku Yummy inspiring. Plus
                                                                              Delivery, will be taking          the characters look like cute
                                                                              SpaceKnights to MIPCOM,           little marshmallows with dot
                                                                              so watch out for four             eyes - and who doesn’t like
                                 wild and crazy guys in funny costumes on the Riviera this month.               marshmallows?”
                                 (Although it might be hard to tell them apart from all the other slightly           To learn more about OddBot’s wide variety of
                                 insane market attendees!)                                                      animation production services and its feature, broadcast,
                                 For more info about this fun toon studio, visit              cable and web projects, visit

                                 Lincoln Butterfield Offers Fantastic Foursome

                                                       R   obert Hughes and his maddeningly creative team at the new indie toon
                                                           studio Lincoln Butterfield Animation have lined up quite a lineup for the
                                                      market this year. Hughes (an animation director on Phineas & Ferb and Angry
                                                      Beavers) has joined forces with Porchlight Entertainment to deliver Tan, an
                                                      action comedy about a group of egg friends (Tan, Foo Young, Tamago and
                                                      Curry) that have recently graduated from the Lo Fat Martial Arts Academy
                                                      and Cooking School and face many adventures and challenges without
                                                      letting go of their eggscelent optimism.
                                                        Also part of the new Butterfield catalog is NIT: The Neighborhood
                                                      Investigation Team, a show created by Hughes and designed by Mitch
                                                      Schauer; and an adult toon called Venture Probe, about the voyages of
                                                      Captain Craig Taylor and his incompetent crew aboard a corporate-class sales cruiser. Wrapping
                                                      up the studio’s offerings is a curious number called When in Rome, which is said to be inspired by

                                 the two acclaimed I, Claudius novels by Robert Graves. The show follows two helpless cousins who weave in and out of
                                 the treacherous Roman Empire. Created and written by Robert Hughes and designed by Frank Furlong, the property is
64                               available both as a comic book and animated series. May the sweetness, insanity and decadence bring Butterfield much


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         FatCat Swims in the CrocPond

         I t’s been almost eight years since FatCat Animation
           Studio (not to be confused with FatKat Studio in
                                         Canada) opened its doors in
                                         Tempe, Arizona. By keeping
                                         the flames of traditional

                                         animation alive, the studio
                                         is carving a niche in the
                                         competitive toon market.
                                         “We currently have a number
                    Rindin the Puffer
                                         of projects in the works which
         include family programming from our Gathering Place
         series, CrocPond Short Films and a joint project with
         California’s Beati Productions to develop and produce
         children’s interstitials for Max on Snax, which promotes
         healthy eating habits for children,” says Len Simon, the
         studio’s co-founder and animation director.
            FatCat, which began life as a spin-off of the
         old Fox studio in Arizona and is now a subsidiary
         of San Francisco-based Crocodiles not Waterlilies
         Entertainment, is producing 30 short films based on
         CrocPond’s stories and kid-friendly characters and
         universe. “One of the award-winning shorts (Rindin the
         Puffer) is being been screened at film festivals worldwide
                                           and gaining attention
                                            from audiences and the
                                           entertainment industry.
                                           We’re also producing
                                        Dex’s Gym and Babysitting
                                           Bolper. This awareness is
                                            building momentum on our
                                              main focus, which is the
                                               CrocPond feature film.”
                                                Simon says the studio,
                                              which currently has a staff
                                        of just under 50, takes great
                                     pride in being one of the few U.S.
                            animation studios which is still following
         the 2D route, “Our animators keep true to the traditional
         art form; still animating the way it was done over 50
         years ago—drawing with pencil on paper. However, we
         also understand the need to evolve, and in doing so we
         utilize today’s digital technologies such as Toon Boom’s
         USAnimation, Photoshop, 3ds Max, After Effects and Final
         Cut Pro HD, among others.”
            Simons says he believes that there are still a lot of           __________________
         animation fans who prefer 2D to CG. “Based on recent
         reports, over 51 percent of animators would like to work
         on 2D classic animated films,” he adds. “These types of
         figures speak volumes and reaffirm that we are headed
         in the right direction. We simply focus on the strength of

         our people, their storytelling skills and their creativity.”
         To learn more, go to and


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                                 Chloé van den Berg                                                                  Cartoon
                                 Entertainment Rights Plc
                                 Executive Director, International                                                   Forum’s
                                                                                                                     Top 10 Toons:
                                 Years in the biz: Coming up on 20 years
                                 Hometown: London                                                                    The following shows registered the
                                 Favorite animated show of 2008: Soon to be                                          most attendance at last month’s

                                 launched brand new Postman Pat® SDS,                                                Cartoon Forum in Germany:
                                 followed closely by Pixar’s WALL•E.
                                 Recently acquired titles: Shelldon®, CGI-                                             1.    Mouk’s World Tour
                                 animated (26 x 30) series produced by                                                       (Millimages)
                                 Shellhut Entertainment.
                                                                                                                       2.    Pok & Mok (Alphanim/
                                 Things I look for in a show: Today a show has to work across multiple
                                                                                                                             Vivement Lundi!)
                                 platforms and needs to standout from the crowd, but what remains
                                 essential is the story and characters have to be strong and engage                    3.    Mr. Baby (Xilam Animation)
                                 with the audience.                                                                    4.    Plankton Invasion
                                 My dream vacation: Havelock, Beach No.7, The Andaman Islands.                               (Tinkertee/Nexus Factory/
                                 The book that changed my life: The Lonely Planet.                                           TeamTO)
                                 Favorite performer: Currently, Jack Johnson.                                          5.    Badly Drawn Roy (Jam
                                 Shows I always TiVo: The Gadget Show, Heroes, Gray’s Anatomy, The                           Media)
                                 Tonight Show.                                                                         6.    Gaston (Normaal
                                 The gizmo I can’t live without: Sad to say, the                                             Animation)
                                                                                                                       7.    Dr. Brumm (TRIKK 17
                                 What I love about my job: The people, the
                                                                                                                             Animationsraum GmbH)
                                 content and that its an environment that is
                                 constantly evolving.                                                                  8.    The Three Robbers
                                 The most annoying trend of the year: Blaming                                                (Animation-X, Les
                                 all of the world’s ills on the credit crunch—most                                           Armateurs)
                                 definitely over used?!?                                                                9.    Claude (Folimage)
                                 Do you have any unusual hobbies/talents:                                             10.    Huhu (Studio Baestarts)
                                 Nothing that I’m willing to put in print…                                           Source: Cartoon Forum press office

                                   Richard Rowe
                                   Turner Broadcasting
                                   Acquisitions Executive

                                   Years in the biz: 7
                                   Hometown: London
                                   Favorite animated show of 2008: Whilst South Park continues to be
                                   produced; it will always be my favorite.
                                   Recently acquired titles: Hi-5 UK, Pink Panther, The Garfield Show, Blue
                                   Water High Season 2 and The Latest Buzz Season 3.
                                   Things I look for in a show: It does depend what channel I am buying
                                   for, but generally speaking: Endearing characters and the ability to provoke
                                   emotion … usually a smile!
                                   What I hate to see in a show: The cutting of corners.
                                   My dream vacation: Living with bears in Alaska.
                                   The movie that changed my life: Super Size Me. This piece of gastro art not only
                                   showed how possible it is to live solely on McDonalds, but also if you eat under nine
                                   Big Mac meals a day it isn’t that bad for you, either.
                                   Favorite performer: Larry David in The Producers.
                                   Shows I always TiVo: Match of the Day, Dragons Den, Peep Show, Soccer AM,                         The Garfield Show

                                   The gizmos I can’t live without: Xbox 360, PS3, Tom Tom.
66                                 What I love about my job: There aren’t many jobs that beat getting paid to watch TV.
                                   The most annoying trend of the year: Converse trainers and skintight jeans.
                                   Do you have any unusual hobbies/talents?: This isn’t the place to list them!


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          Total Drama, The Musical?                                                     Mater Gets Own Show on Disney

                                                                                        (Sort of!)
         C     anada’s TELETOON has ordered more episodes of Fresh
               TV’s animated series Total Drama Island and Stoked. The
         third season of the mock reality show Drama takes a musical                                                         M     ater, the
                                                                                                                                   rusty tow
         spin as Total Drama, the Musical plays on such popular live-                                                        truck which
         action tween sensations as High School Musical and Camp                                                             befriended
         Rock. The network commissioned another 26 episodes of the                                                           Lightning

         upcoming Stoked, an animated sitcom about teens who

                                                                                                                             McQueen in the
         come together one summer to work at Surfer’s Paradise                                                               2006 Pixar feature
         Resort, bringing the total order to 52 installments. The show will                                                  Cars will star in his
         premiere on TELETOON in the spring of 2009.                                                                         own animated
                                     Created by Fresh TV partners Tom                                                        three-part short
                                  McGillis and Jennifer Pertsch, Total                  series. Pixar’s Cars Toons will premiere on Disney
                                  Drama, the Musical takes 15 lucky                     Channel, Toon Disney and ABC Family beginning
                                  contestants all over the globe to                     Monday, Oct. 27. This news follows the recent
                                  compete in challenges and break                       announcement that director Brad Lewis’ Cars 2
                                  into spontaneous musical numbers                      sequel will now be released in the summer of 2011.
                                  in each episode. TELETOON has also                      These three short animated vignettes are
                                  committed to a new season, dubbed                     directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by
                                  Total Drama Action, which is distributed              Pixar animators Victor Navone and Rob Gibbs and
         internationally by Cake Entertainment (King Arthur’s Disasters,                produced by Kori Rae. Mater, who is voiced by Larry
         Skunk Fu!) It definitely sounds like the Toronto-based family                   the Cable Guy, rescues McQueen from a burning
         entertainment outfit has carved a really nice niche in the                      building, becomes a famous daredevil and tries his
         market for itself. Check out for more info.                 hand at bulldozing in this fun trilogy.
                                                                                         Lots of vroom, vroom, vroom ahead!

         Nerd Corps Roots for Evil
                                                                                       A Brown Bear Goes Green
         A      wise man once said, “I have discovered that all human evil
                comes from this, man’s being unable to sit still in a room.” When
         it comes to Vancouver-based Nerd Corps’ latest animated show,
         League of Super Evil (yup, that’s L.O.S.E.!) it’s all about taking over the
                                                                                       T   hese days, even the animated bears are more
                                                                                           ecologically conscious than the old classic toons
                                                                                       like Yogi Bear. A good example
         world!                                                                        is Beary Boo, a new preschool
            The 26 X half-hour series is                                               show about a green-living
         quickly gaining momentum                                                      brown bear cub, which will
         in Latin America, where it                                                    be produced by Ireland’s
         will launch on Jetix, and in                                                  Caboom and distributed
         France, where it will premiere                                                by L.A.-based PorchLight
         on Canal +, Canal J and                                                       Entertainment. This deal marks
         Gulli in 2009. The series charts                                              the Irish outfit’s first distribution
         the adventures of four goofy                                                  deal of an original property in
         supervillains (Great Voltar,                                                  the U.S.
         Doktor Frogg, Reginald “Red”                                                      The preschool show follows
         Menace and Doomageddon!)                                                      the adventures Beary who joins
         who have set their sights on wreaking havoc on their neighborhood.            the Fuzzy Scouts and marches
         The bad-to-the-bone Nerd team is also working hard on developing              to the tune of conservation and
         a mega fansite where kids can enjoy interactive games, create their           living green. “We are pleased to
         own virtual villain identities and watch streaming videos.                    be working with the talented team
             “League of Super Evil is about a compelling cast of hilarious             at Caboom on Beary Boo,” says Fred Schaefer,
         goofball characters driving these fast-paced, absurd storylines,” says        PorchLight’s senior VP of animation. “With Beary Boo,
         Nerd Corps supreme commander and creative mastermind Asaph                    Caboom has created an exceptional series that
         Fipke. “It has a broad appeal in that the edgier send up of typical           combines great designs, humor and entertaining
         super hero/villain stories will resonate with older kids, while its fast-     stories with messages on conservation, recycling, and

         paced, slapstick action and silly humor will keep the younger end             other eco-conscious themes.” You can find out more
         tuned in too.” He kind of makes us want to throw a cape over our              info about the two companies at
         shoulders and start planning nefarious plots against do-gooders! For
         more info, visit
                                                                                       and                                                                        67


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                                                                                                                             any spoken words, so it appeals to

                                                                      Fishing                                                viewers all around the world. The three-
                                                                                                                             minute length of the show also makes it
                                                                                                                             suitable for various formats—from stan-

                                                               for a Tasty Hit                                               dard broadcast to specialty channels
                                                                                                                             to mobile media downloads. The pro-
                                                                                                                             ducers are hoping to wrap the financ-
                                                                       Inspidea and SIP show appetite                        ing in the near future and begin pro-

                                                                                for sushi with Ko-Bushi.                     duction by early next year and have
                                                                                                                             the show debut in 2010.
                                                                                                                                Inspidea’s managing director con-
                                                                                                                             firms that the animation scene in Ma-
                                                                                                                             laysia is going through a renaissance of
                                                                                                                             late. “There are more companies that
                                                                                                                             are getting their feet wet than before,”
                                                                                                                             he says. “This is a good because we
                                                                                                                             are getting some competition, we
                                                                                                                             think. The government is supportive of
                                                                                                                             the local entertainment industry, with
                                                                                                                             friendly policies coupled with several
                                                                                                                             incentives packages and tax breaks.”
                                                                                                                                The team at Inspidea is also working
                                                                                                                             on X3, a new spinoff of their popular
                                                                                                                             series Mustang Mama. The 26 x two-
                                                                                                                             minute package follows the extreme
                                                                                                                             sports-themed adventures of the spirit-
                                                                                                                             ed grandma, her tough grandson Toby
                                                                                                                             and Sally, her naughty pet cow!
                                                                                                                                “The challenge for Inspidea is out-


                                        o you think you’ve heard and             idea to work together with SIP
                                        seen it all when it comes to con-        Animation again. So we went
                                        cepts for animated shows for kids        looking for a project that is suit-
                                 this fall? How about a three-minute for-        able for collaboration.”
                                 mat about a shogun, two samurai,                   The team at SIP Animation,
                                 three ninjas and a dog made out of              under the direction of Stephanie
                                 tofu, who are trying to outsmart each           Kirchmeyer, liked the original concept      performing ourselves,” observes Ooi.
                                 other to become the mascot of a sushi           for the show and decided to work to-        “We want to come up with new shows
                                 bar? That’s right—bet you don’t hear            gether with Inspidea. “The project really   that are better than what we already
                                 that very often!                                felt right to both sides, so we went        have in terms of concept, design and
                                    The series is called Ko-Bushi, a co-pro-     ahead and divided our duties,” says         storytelling. We also want to improve
                                 duction between Malaysian animation             Ooi. “SIP Animation refined the concept      our animation skills so that the bar is set
                                 studio Inspidea and French toon house           and the storytelling while we tweaked       higher with each new show … Malay-
                                 SIP. As it turns out, the origins of the idea   the design of the characters and the        sia is exposed to both Eastern- and
                                 go back to 2005, when Inspidea en-              show. The end result is something we        Western-style animation. We have
                                 tered it in the Singapore Super Pitch           can proudly say was co-created.”            been this way for years! Hopefully the
                                 event. “The concept and the name of                Ooi points out that the design of the    future kids will be influenced by Malay-
                                 the project were quite different—it was         show is “drenched in a heavy dose of        sian animation.” ■
                                 more Zen, mystical and—pardon the               kawaii.” He says everything has that                                  —Ramin Zahed

                                 pun—raw,” says Inspidea’s managing              special Japanese “cute flavor,” which         For more information on these
                                 director Andrew Ooi. “After Combo Ni-           is universally admired. Another selling      shows, visit
68                               ños, we thought it might be a good              point is the fact that it doesn’t have


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                                             Visit us at MIPCOM
                                             MDA Booth 05.20 - 07.19




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                                                                                                                               about music without actually playing a

                                     Hitting All the Right                                                                     note. So the temp track is the easiest
                                                                                                                               way for them to give me strong direc-

                                      Intergalactic Notes                                                                      tion, and I use it for tempo and texture,
                                                                                                                               mood and the pacing.
                                                                                                                                    Ahsoka’s theme is probably my fa-
                                                                                                                               vorite—that really came straight out of
                                        The man behind the score of the new Star Wars: The                                     her personality. There’s a softness to it.

                                      Clone Wars series writes about working with Lucas and                                    It’s not complex in terms of chord struc-
                                                    Filoni to create the show’s exotic music.                                  ture, and it features melody notes that
                                                                                                                               aren’t part of that structure—exotic
                                                                                                       by Kevin Kiner
                                                                                                                               notes that I think fit her well.

                                          fter 20 years of scoring television   sodes, that meant a Bulgarian flavor.               After I’ve sketched it all out, I orches-
                                          series, you think you’ve heard it     George had been quite taken by the             trate the score, instrument by instru-
                                          all … until George Lucas says         sound of a Bulgarian women’s choir             ment. The music in this series is so com-
                                 he’d like to hear a Bulgarian women’s          and felt that was right for this planet. I     plex that I usually am able to write
                                 choir included in a Star Wars score.           had little experience with Bulgarian           about two minutes a day—and that’s
                                    Scoring the new Star Wars: The Clone        music, so my first task was to learn ev-        over a 12-hour day. I work out most of
                                 Wars, which begins its run on Cartoon          erything I could and figure out how to          the themes on piano and write them
                                 Network this month, is easily the most         incorporate the sound. The end result          down on paper, then I start orchestrat-
                                 difficult and, simultaneously, satisfying       was a fairly authentic piece of music,         ing with samples, one instrument at a
                                 project I’ve ever worked on. We don’t          complete with the women’s choir.               time, building a string section, then
                                 approach this as a TV show, but as               But it didn’t stop with Bulgaria. We’ve      brass and percussion.
                                 “mini-movies”—and we’ve got 44 of              used everything from South American                The whole experience is like growing
                                 them in the first two seasons.                  charangos to Chilean drums to the In-          up or giving birth—painful, but ex-
                                    The challenges are two-fold (at least):     dian bansuri flute to a Japanese shaku-         tremely rewarding. When you’ve done
                                 Creating a score in the grand tradition        hachi, and they all instill wildly different   it, you have that knowledge, and that
                                                                                                                               never leaves. Now I can write in the
                                                                                                                               style of Bulgaria, it’s part of my musical
                                                                                                                               vocabulary, and it can only make me
                                                                                                                               a better composer.
                                                                                                                                   If anyone had ever asked about my
                                                                                                                               aspirations and goals, I would have
                                                                                                                               simply said, “I want to be the next John
                                                                                                                               Williams.” His scores are the absolute
                                                                                                                               pinnacle of our craft, and to assume
                                                                                                                               that role, to follow in his footsteps and
                                                                                                                               with this wonderful material is a great
                                                                                                                               honor and very exciting. Now, every
                                                                                                                               morning I get up and get to do what
                                 of John Williams’ standard-setting Star        textures in the series’ unique, new            he did. That’s very inspiring. ■
                                 Wars music, and matching the expec-            worlds. And each comes with a differ-          Kevin Kiner is a two-time Emmy nomi-
                                 tations of executive producer George           ent bit of inspiration: The choir provided     nee and the composer for the Star
                                 Lucas and supervising director Dave Fi-        a deep, nasal, haunting sound; the             Wars: The Clone Wars feature film and
                                 loni in terms of texture, flavor and sound.     bansuri brought the score a very               TV series, as well as CSI: Miami, Star
                                 The latter part of that equation is where      woody, earthy quality; and the shaku-          Trek: Enterprise and Stargate SG-1. He
                                 Bulgarians enter the picture.                  hachi offered an emotional, almost             was nominated for an Annie Award for
                                    George decided early on that each           mournful, sound.                               his work on Harold
                                 episode would be defined by a particu-                                                         and the Purple Cray-
                                 lar ethnicity of the planet, locale or envi-        Harmonic Convergence                      on. While he admits
                                 ronment where most of the action takes             When I’m scoring the show, I listen to     he has attended the
                                 place. For the viewer, that makes the se-      a temp track that George and Dave              midnight premieres
                                 ries fascinating. For the composer, it cre-    assemble as a rough guide to what              of the final five Star
                                 ates a massive job on a weekly basis.          they want. Somebody once said that             Wars films, he swears

                                    First, I need to thoroughly explore the     talking about music is like dancing            he never donned a
                                 music of the ethnic variety for that           about architecture. Even for musicians,        costume        for   the       Kevin Kiner
70                               week’s episode, and for one of the epi-        it’s difficult to verbally express specifics     events.


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                                                                                                                            very distinct look!”

                                           International                                                                       The company is
                                                                                                                            also working on a

                                  Espionage, Kiddie Style                                                                   major new media
                                                                                                                            push for the toon.
                                                                                                                            According to Michel,
                                                                                                                            TF1 and Marathon
                                    Marathon Media eyes the boys’ action audience with a                                    are spending close

                                           spunky new 2D show called The Amazing Spiez!                                     to $300,000 per show
                                                                                                                                                         David Michel

                                                                                                                            online. “We have 10 people in house

                                        ometimes a hit animated series            mixed with a great deal of comedy.”       working on the web components of
                                        can lead to a great new spinoff           Directed by Totally Spies! veteran        the show,” he says. “We have inserted
                                        that looks nothing like its prede-        Stephane Berry, the series is a Mara-     secret codes in each episode that di-
                                 cessor. That scenario is happening this          thon Media, Canal J and Image Enter-      rect viewers to exclusive content online
                                 fall as Marathon Me-                                                                                         that continues the sto-
                                 dia’s new boys’ ac-                                                                                          ryline. We’ve made
                                 tion-comedy toon                                                                                             the site very interac-
                                 The Amazing Spiez                                                                                            tive. The episodes will
                                 tries to follow in the                                                                                       be available online
                                 footsteps (or the                                                                                            and offer completely
                                 high heels) of the                                                                                           original material.”
                                 French studio’s glob-                                                                                            One of the top TV
                                 ally successful Totally                                                                                      animation players in
                                 Spies!. “We had                                                                                              France,          Marathon
                                 been thinking about                                                                                          Media will be bringing
                                 how to expand the                                                                                            the new toon to the
                                 Totally Spies! brand                                                                                         MIPCOM             market,
                                 for a while now and                                                                                          along with some of its
                                 were looking for a                                                                                           other recent new
                                 smart and different                                                                                          shows including The
                                 way of doing it,”                                                                                            Famous         Five    and
                                 says David Michel,                                                                                           Monster Buster Club.
                                 Marathon Media’s                                                                                                Michel also has
                                 general      manager                                                                                         some good news for
                                 and co-creator of                                                                                            fans of the original To-
                                 both shows. “So, we                                                                                          tally     Spies!     series.
                                 decided to take it to                                                                                        Those           fashionista
                                 a completely differ-                                                                                         crime-fighters of Bev-
                                 ent cartoony level                                                                                           erly Hills will be stars of
                                 and age group.”                                                                                              their own theatrical
                                    Created in HD, the 52 x 26 spy com-           tainment co-production, in association    movie, which will be released in Europe
                                 edy/adventure revolves around the                with TF1 and Teletoon Canada.             in July of 2009. “When that show came
                                 escapades of four 10-year-old siblings              Unlike Totally Spies!, which had a     out eight years ago, we had nothing to
                                 (Lee, Megan, Marc and Tony Clark)                very feminine color scheme and was        lose,” he admits. “It was virgin territory
                                 who use high-tech gadgets and (yes!)             inspired by manga, the new show is        and we had a lot of fun exploring what
                                 top-of-the-line vehicles to battle the           heavily influenced by American comic       it was like to be a teenage girl and
                                 forces of evil while dealing with the            books. As Michel explains, “Our team      have this completely other lifestyle.
                                 regular headaches of school and par-             of designers have used the look of Mar-   Now we are taking that concept and
                                 ents’ supervision! Like many of Mara-            vel and DC Comics as a take-off point,    seeing how our young boys deal with
                                 thon’s hit shows, the series has a color-        but it looks different from other shows   having a secret spy life and dealing
                                 ful palette and an edgy graphic style.           we have seen.”                            with authority figures like their parents
                                    “After eight years, Totally Spies! is still      Michel describes the animation style   and teachers. It’s going to be a lot of
                                 an international reference in the spy            as enhanced 2D—shot in High-Def,          fun!” ■
                                 genre,” says Marathon Media’s presi-             with heavy compositing and treatment                                 —Ramin Zahed

                                 dent and show co-creator Vincent                 in After Effects. He notes, “We’re         For more info about the series, visit
                                 Chalvon-Demersay. “The Amazing                   French! We spend a lot of time looking
72                               Spiez has a unique, stunning visual look,        at the pictures, so you know, it has a


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                                    Objects of Our Affection                                                            The New Pig in Town

                                           News from the world of toys and merchandising
                                                                                             by Ramin Zahed             F   ans of quality children’s books know Mick
                                                                                                                            Inkpen as the creative author and illustrator
                                                                                                                        of the popular Kipper the Dog series. Now
                                                                                                                        his other hit property, Wibbly Pig, is making
                                                                                                                        the transition to children’s TV as well. A co-

                                                                                                                        production between the U.K.’s Wish Films and
                                Toy Event with a British Accent                                                         Toronto-based 9 Story Entertainment, the new
                                                                                                                        52 x 10-minute toon has signed BBC Worldwide

                                I t’s become an early fall ritual to meet up with the likes of Angelina Ballerina,
                                  Miffy, Marge Simpson and Bob the Builder at the annual Brand Licensing
                                Europe show in London. Held at the Grand Hall of London’s Olympia on Oct.
                                                                                                                        as international distributor and licensing rep.
                                                                                                                        CBeebies in the U.K. will air the new Wibbly Pig
                                                                                                                                                           series in the fall
                                1 and 2, the event attracts close to 200 exhibitors, from Hollywood studios
                                                                                                                                                           of 2009. Wibbly
                                such as Fox and Warner Bros. to licensing arms of international TV players such
                                                                                                                                                           is a gentle
                                as Nickelodeon, TV-Loonland, Aardman and Entertainment Rights. Besides
                                                                                       the usual meet-and-greet
                                                                                                                                                           age pig
                                                                                       opportunities, the show
                                                                                                                                                           who is often
                                                                                       features informative
                                                                                       sessions and a screening
                                                                                                                                                           by his toys,
                                                                                       suite where promos, sizzle
                                                                                                                                                           Pigly, Flop
                                                                                       reels and trailers can be
                                                                                                                                                           and Dimple.
                                                                                       screened for potential
                                                                                                                                                           We have a
                                                                                       partners. “According to
                                                                                                                                                           feeling Olivia,
                                                                                       auditors, 4,301 pure visitors
                                                                                                                        Piggly Winks and Peppa Pig aren’t too thrilled
                                                                                       attended Brand Licensing
                                                                                                                        about this latest addition to the crowded
                                Europe 2007, an increase of eight percent on 2006 and even higher than we
                                                                                                                        porcine preschool playground, but we’re sure
                                had originally thought,” says Helen Gardner, managing director of the event’s
                                                                                                                        Wibbly will put his own stamp on the tyke toon
                                organizer Advanstar Communications. Although the toy business has been in
                                a slump lately, we’re hoping that events like Brand Licensing will energize the
                                business in time for the holiday season. After all, nothing tickles Elmo and his
                                toy buddies better than a healthy profit margin.

                                                                                                                       Smells Like a Great Toy

                                 A Heroine with Whiskers
                                                                                                                       K    ids are going to be seeing a lot more of the
                                                                                                                            animated series Skunk Fu! in toy stores in the
                                                                                                                       months ahead. Produced by Cartoon Saloon,
                                                                                                                       Cake Entertainment and Telegael, the show’s

                                 J    ennifer and Matthew Holm’s Babymouse may
                                      be one of the few graphic novel characters who
                                 is pink, sassy and has whiskers on her face. United
                                                                                                                       toy rights have been snapped up by Zizzle from
                                                                                                                       Galleon Holdings for the U.S. market. Croco
                                                                                                                       Worldwide—a division of Galleon—will develop a
                                 Media recently picked up the merchandising                                            toy line based on the property, which is currently
                                 rights to the popular gal/mouse who has been                                          airing on Cartoon Network.
                                 winning over the hearts of young readers since
                                 2005. In each one of her Random House books,
                                 the adventurous heroine finds herself in unique
                                 situations as a skater girl, a rock star, a camp
                                 counselor, heartbreaker, etc. In this month’s
                                 Monster Mash, she is determined to have
                                 the best Halloween costume and the best
                                 ghoulish party EVER! She might even have a

                                 brush with the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
                                 We can totally see Elle Fanning (that’s Dakota’s
74                               little sister) in the movie version.


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                                Battles Ahead                                                                                   Fraggles
                                                                                                                                Continues to

                                E   ver since its debut on TV Tokyo last year, the
                                    anime series Bakugan Battle Brawlers has
                                captured the imagination of a new generation
                                of young boys. Now the toon is slowly taking
                                over the licensing world as well. Broadcast
                                                                                                                                T    he folks at Lionsgate and
                                                                                                                                     HIT Entertainment have
                                                                                                                                made holiday shopping really
                                partner Cartoon Network Enterprises has signed
                                                                                                                                simple for fans of Jim Henson

                                new licensing partners for the boys’ brand,
                                                                                                                                and his timeless HBO series
                                which means we’ll be seeing Bakugan tees, sweatshirts, backpacks, novelty stationery,
                                                                                                                                Fraggle Rock. All 96 episodes
                                lunch bags and messenger bags (courtesy of Hybrid Tees, Accessory Innovations and
                                                                                                                                of the show, which first
                                Jazwares). You’ll be seeing kids wearing Bakugan swimwear, board shorts and rash
                                                                                                                                began its run in 1983, will be
                                guards from B-Life and sleepware from SGI Apparel next spring. We might as well face
                                                                                                                                available on The Fraggle Rock
                                it—it’s going to be a Battle Brawler kind of a world.
                                                                                                                                Complete Series Collection:
                                                                                                                                The Ultimate DVD Set which

                                 More Expansion                             Top Toys of the Moment                              arrives in stores on November
                                                                                                                                4. You can expect a lot
                                 for the Wallace &                                                                              of Fraggle action in
                                 Gromit Empire                              T   he following new releases were doing well
                                                                                on Amazon’s best-seller list this month:        the months ahead.
                                                                                                                                The Weinstein Co. is
                                 S    ince the popularity of the
                                      characters created by the
                                 talented team at Aardman
                                                                                     Elmo Live (Fisher-Price, $69.95)
                                                                                     Star Wars Clone Trooper Voice
                                                                                                                                a live-
                                                                                     Changer Helmet (Hasbro, $36.99)
                                 Animations shows no signs of                                                                   musical
                                                                               3.    Leapster Learning Game: Star Wars          feature based
                                 slowing down, the Bristol-based
                                                                                     Jedi Math (LeapFrog, $24.99)               on the gentle
                                 studio has created a new division
                                 under the Aardman Rights banner.              4.    Transfomers Animated Voyager               puppets, with
                                 The new division is set up to market                Blitzwing (Hasbro, $58.99)                 Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked)
                                 and sell Aardman content across               5.    Bakugan Special Attack Delta               attached as director and
                                 all media and it will seek to expand                Dragonoid (Spinmaster, $18.99)             Ahmet Zappa and Brian
                                 its IP portfolio by representing third-       6.    The Dark Knight Stealth Launch             Inerfeld as exec producers.
                                 party properties. Overseeing the                    Batmobile (Mattel, $29,99)                 Oh, and let’s not forget that
                                 new division is Sean Clarke who                                                                awesome 16-month calendar
                                                                               7.    The Obama Action Figure
                                 reports directly to Miles Bullough,                                                            that can be
                                                                                     (Distributoys, $12.99)
                                 head of broadcast. “We wanted                                                                  yours for
                                                                               8.    LEGO Star Wars Republic Gunship            about $14.
                                 to create a more efficient and
                                                                                     (LEGO, $119.99)                            The lyrics to
                                 focused sales and marketing
                                 division to drive forward the                 9.    Transforming WALL•E                        the show’s
                                 exploitation of our own properties                  (MPA Sales, $36.99)                        catchy theme
                                                       as well as third        10.   Yo Gabba Gabba! Figure Set                 song—“Dance
                                                       party rights                  (Spin Master, $17.99)                      your cares away:
                                                       across multiple      Source: 9/8/08                           Worry’s for another day”—are
                                                       platforms,” say                                                          still playing in our heads.
                                                          In related
                                                       news, our
                                                       inventor and        Must-Have Item of the Month
                                                       his resourceful
                                                       pooch recently
                                                       made a smooth
                                                       transition to the
                                                                           R    abbits and magicians have had a long, troubling history
                                                                                together for more than a hundred years. But nothing has
                                                                           quite captured their twisted relationship as well as Presto, Doug
                                                       world of haute      Sweetland’s hilarious short, which played with WALL•E in theaters
                                                       couture. Shot by    all summer long. We were tickled pink to discover that Acme

                                 Giles Revell, Wallace, Gromit and         Archives ( is offering a limited
                                 Lady Tottington show off their new        collector’s 19 x 13” giclee on paper of the short’s poster, which
                                 threads in a series of splashy ads        echoes turn-of-the-century promo art traditions. This piece of
76                               for department store group Harvey         toon history will set you back about $140, but come on, this is a
                                 Nichols. Beckham and Posh were            great way to have a souvenir of the summer of 2008 invigorating
                                 reportedly green with envy.               your work space. ■


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                                                                                                                             plays Aunt Viv, Chloe’s human.

                                          Wagging the Dogs, the                                                                 “The thing that attracted me to this
                                                                                                                             project is that it’s a coming of age story

                                            Rat and the Iguana                                                               told through animals,” says Michael
                                                                                                                             McAlister, visual effects supervisor.

                                                                                                                                      Put a Muzzle on ’em
                                   When you create the digital effects for a movie featuring                                     The dogs in the film are nearly always
                                    talking dogs, a rat and an iguana, you need to do a lot                                  real, but with facial features replaced
                                       more than muzzle replacement. Just ask the team at                                    digitally to synch with the dialogue. The
                                                                                                                             rat and iguana, who play the con art-
                                                                Tippett. by Barbara Robertson
                                                                                                                             ists, are always digital. Four visual effects

                                               hen director Chris Noonan’s                                                                         studios worked on
                                               beloved feature Babe was                                                                            the film: Cinesite in
                                               released 13 years ago, the ef-                                                                      London did muzzle
                                  fects were so unique the film won a vi-                                                                           replacements        for
                                  sual effects Oscar. Before Babe, the                                                                             the dialogue shots
                                  notion of realistic talking animals                                                                              with the real dogs;
                                  seemed as possible as, well, lipstick on                                                                         Tippett Studio cre-
                                  a pig. Since then, animators and ef-                                                                             ated the rat, the
                                  fects artists have created barnyards                                                                             iguana, all the digi-
                                  filled with talking animals for feature                                                                           tal stunt dogs and
                                  films, including, most recently, the visu-                                                                        the digital crowds;
                                  al effects Oscar-winning The Golden                                                                              Svengali      created
                                  Compass. Thus, it was only a matter of
                                  time before the technique would go to          “[VFX supervisor] Mike [McAlister] wanted Manuel, the rat, to
                                  the dogs, and not just one Underdog,           be more Templeton than Stuart Little, but when he got too
                                  but a whole yapping pack of Beverly
                                                                                 real, he started to look creepy.”
                                  Hills Chihuahuas.
                                      Drew Barrymore provides the voice                                            —James W. Brown, animation supervisor at Tippett Studio
                                  for Chloe, the bejeweled Chihuahua
                                  star of the new Disney family comedy.         ously directed the two Scooby-Doo            matte paintings and environments; and
                                  George Lopez is Papi, a studly Chihua-        feature outings, the film also stars Andy     CIS composited shots. Counting all the
                                  hua pup who sounds the alarm when             Garcia as Delgado, a streetwise Ger-         muzzle replacements, the film has more

                                  ritzy little Chloe disappears while on va-    man Shepherd, Cheech Marin as a rat          than 1,000 visual effects shots.
                                  cation with the dog sitter in Mexico.         named Manuel and Paul Rodriguez as             “Fortunately, the technology is pretty
78                                Directed by Raja Gosnell, who previ-          Chico, an iguana. Jamie Lee Curtis           much established in terms of muzzle re-


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                                                                                                                                                            VISUAL EFFECTS
       placements,” McAlister says. “So, it was    general, when Manuel was in con man            and Rodriguez performing the dia-
       really fun to create the characters for     mode, he walked on two legs and ges-           logue. “Raja [Gosnell, Chihuahua’s di-
       the dogs in this movie and this story as    tured with his hands; otherwise, he was        rector] didn’t just film the dialogue,”
       contrasted with all the other talking       on all fours.                                  Brown says. “He let the camera roll so
       animal movies.”                                Three iguanas brought into the stu-         we could see them in acting mode
          Because the dogs are telling a story     dio served as reference for Chico, Tip-        and thought process mode. It was
       that humans could have acted, McAl-         pett’s second digital character. “The          awesome to sit there and diagnose
       ister concentrated on having the Cine-      main thing we saw was that they move           Cheech Marin and Paul Rodriguez.”
       site artists and animators make the lip     only when they need to,” Brown says.              The animators also filmed them-
       synch for the dogs with dialogue be-        “And, when they stop, they just stop.”         selves. In one shot, Manuel wears a

       lievable. “We went for more literal lip     When the animators moved the cor-              dog collar like a bandolier, so Tippett’s
       synch than the other talking animal         ners of Chico’s mouth too much, the            stage crew built a prop from rope and
       movies had done,” he says. “It was im-      reptile’s scales slid, which made his          cardboard that an animator wore to
       portant to be as realistic as possible to   face look rubbery. As a result, the ani-       pantomime the shot. “He moved com-
       keep the human essence of the story         mators treated his lip synch more like         pletely differently when he was carry-
       intact. If we were drawn to the mouth,      that of a puppet, and concentrated             ing this huge burden,” Brown says.
       we were doing it wrong.”                    on his eyes for expression.                       By now, audiences have seen
          However, for the rat and iguana—who         “Chico and Manuel are like an old           enough talking animals in films to be
       were always digital and never
       had to stand up next to real                                                     Funny Critters: Tippett Studio is responsible for
       examples of their species—the                                                      the smooth comedic interactions between
       artists at Tippett Studio could                                                       Chico, the iguana and Manuel, the rat!
       take more liberties. “Mike
       [McAlister] wanted Manuel,
       the rat, to be more Templeton
       than Stuart Little,” says James
       W. Brown, animation supervi-
       sor at Tippett, referring to the
       rat in Charlotte’s Web and the
       mouse in Stuart Little. “But,
       when he got too real, he start-
       ed to look creepy.”
          So, rather than change
       the model, which the model-
       ers based on a real rat, ani-
       mators moved him in cuter
       ways. “You believe he’s a rat,” says        married couple,” Brown says. “They are         willing to suspend their disbelief, but
       McAlister. “But, he’s a very adorable       best buddies and intimate with each            McAlister believes this film raises the
       rat.”                                       other. We’ve done a lot of fighting             bar a little higher. “I’m quite proud of
          For reference, Brown and his crew of     characters, but those characters don’t         our animation and compositing
       16 animators watched wood rats in a         interact as closely. Chico and Manuel          teams,” he says. “I like to think we
       local wildlife rescue facility. “They’re    sit on each other, bump each other,            pushed the reality of the performances
       different from country rats and pack        back into each other.”                         a bit; there are a lot of scenes in which
       rats,” Brown says. “They’re kind of like       In one comedic shot, for example,           you’d have to prove to me that ani-
       Ratso in Midnight Cowboy. Always            the two con artists push each other as         mals don’t talk.”
       twitching and itching.”                     they back away from an accuser while              But, he goes on to say that reality is
          Then, to add cuteness, animators         defending themselves. “It’s a comedic          not his most important measure. Emo-
       working in Maya tilted Manuel’s head        moment when Chico [the iguana] tries           tionality is, and characters don’t have
       to make his eyes look bigger, brought       to hide behind Manuel [the rat],” Brown        to be real to generate strong feelings in
       his ears forward to give him a rounder      says. “It’s difficult to get that believable    an audience. “Sleeping Beauty and
       shape, kept his elbows close to his         interaction in CG.”                            other animated movies are emotionally
       body, and used the animation rig to                                                        rich,” he says. “We’ll see if other people
       make his mouth bigger. “We didn’t              High on Cheech and Chong                    think our characters have more emo-
       want to change the model, so we did           In addition to referencing real ani-         tionality, but I think the stuff works.” ■

       what we could with poses and atti-          mals, the animators watched Cheech              Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua
       tude,” says Brown. “Our rigs are set up     and Chong movies and films with Paul             starts yapping in U.S. theaters on
       so we can change the shapes.” In            Rodriguez as well as video of Marin             October 3.                                                         79


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                                                                                                                                                 “I went to CalArts

                                                                 It Takes an                                                                and did traditional and
                                                                                                                                            computer animation for

                                                            Electric Village!                                                               years,” Durst says. “Gil
                                                                                                                                            has an animator’s way
                                                                                                                                            of thinking that I instantly
                                                                                                                                            related to. Some people
                                               Director Gil Kenan and vfx supervisor Eric Durst join                                        do animatics just to                 Gil Kenan
                                                    forces with vfx houses BUF and Luma to bring                                            place the cameras, but
                                                               City of Ember to life. by Ron Magid                                          Gil used them to understand weight and tim-
                                                                                                                                            ing; I loved that, because that’s how I think as

                                           fter leaving his creative mark on the     huge water wheels. When the city’s once-               well. Our shared animation background re-
                                           performance-capture animated hit          powerful generator begins to fail, the great           sulted in a wonderful collaboration that’s pret-
                                           Monster House a couple of years           lamps that illuminate the city start to flicker.        ty rare on a live-action set.”
                                  ago, director Gil Kenan decided to swim in             Even though the production built the tallest           The vaguely European style Ember and the
                                  live-action waters for his sophomore effort.       soundstage in Europe—inside a former shipyard          steampunk environment beneath that powers
                                  Based on the popular fantasy novels by             in Belfast where the doomed Titanic ocean liner        the city echo Metropolis’ contrast between
                                  Jeanne DuPrau, Kenan’s adaptation of City          was constructed—the space couldn’t do justice          the workers and the masters and demanded
                                  of Ember centers on the residents of a magi-       to the scope of Kenan’s vision. Impressed by the       a postmodern blend of large sets and digital
                                  cal city/village of glittering lights powered by   unusual character and environmental work in            effects to bring both environs to life. Durst
                                                                                                                      The Last Mimzy,       “cast” two separate facilities, which brought
                                    Forces of Water:                                                                  Kenan enlisted        their distinct sensibilities to the diverse sets: BUF
                                    Vfx supervisor                                                                    vfx artist and        tackled Ember, while Luma Pictures brought
                                    Eric Durst relied                                                                 fellow animator,      the generators to life: “We chose the two com-
                                    on Venice, Calif.-                                                                Eric Durst (Bat-      panies because there’s a different feel to their
                                    based Luma                                                                        man Forever,          work. BUF is very European and brought that
                                    Pictures to deliver                                                               Spider-Man 2),        feel to Ember, while Luma did the high-tech,
                                    the Jules Verne-                                                                  to create Em-         Jules Verne-esque stuff.”
                                    esque generators                                                                  ber and a cou-            Production designer Martin Laing visualized
                                    of the mystical                                                                   ple of demand-        Ember as a small village, replete with narrow
                                    city for the                                                                      ing digital char-     alleyways that twist and turn, hinting at much
                                    movie.                                                                            acters—to the         more than you see. “We utilized several interi-
                                                                                                                      tune of some          or-exterior sets like the courtyard, where the
                                                                                                                      400 shots. The        main action takes place, then BUF built city
                                                                                                                      two        artists’   extensions and added the lighting grid for the

                                                                                                                      wavelengths           wide shots—like in the title sequence, where
                                                                                                                      were immedi-
80                                                                                                                    ately in sync.        continued on page 82


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                                                                                                                                                                         Points of Light:
                                                                                                                                                                         Under Gil Kenan’s
                                                                                                                                                                         direction, the
                                                                                                                                                                         illuminated city
                                                                                                                                                                         envisioned by
                                                                                                                                                                         author Jeanne
                                                                                                                                                                         DuPrau comes to
                                                                                                                                                                         cinematic life.

                                  City of Ember                                           everything was synthetic.”                              liantly portrayed that in the animation.”
                                                          continued from page 80              Like the haunted house of his first movie,              While in Ireland, Kenan contacted a star-
                                  we start very tight on a light bulb, then pull          Kenan wanted the generator to feel like a liv-          nosed mole expert, a biologist at Vanderbilt Uni-
                                  back to see the entire city with people walk-           ing character. “It’s the heart of the city and          versity in Nashville. Durst and Luma’s artists stud-
                                  ing around. BUF created that big opening                it’s pumping like a heart,” Durst explains.             ied the weird little creatures via reference video
                                  shot, and it’s all synthetic.”                          “There’s a spectacular shot where you see all           on YouTube. The biggest challenge was making
                                     But it’s the under-world generator that feels        these pumps and gears and you get the sense             the mole appear to sense things via the little
                                  the most futuristic in a retro, Industrial Revolution   that you’re inside an organism. Luma’s ani-             tentacles around its nose. “There’s a scene
                                  kind of way. This otherworldly creation features        mation surges and vibrates like it’s a heart            where Lina is hiding and the tentacles just touch
                                  twin turbines at either end of a turquoise river,       pumping. It’s very beautiful.”                          her hand,” Durst says. “In that shot, we really un-
                                  with massive metallic Art Deco structures hous-             Durst also “cast” the creature animation, giv-      derstand that he’s like a blind person touching
                                  ing the generator. “We had a set with part of the       ing an oversized moth to BUF and a star-nosed           the wall to ‘see’ where things are.”
                                                                                                                                                     Unlike the mole, the giant moth that BUF
                                  “Some people do animatics just to place the cam-                                                                created was not threatening, but gentle. BUF’s
                                  eras, but [director] Gil [Kenan] used them to under-                                                            challenge was imbuing the insect with a pup-
                                                                                                                                                  py-like quality. “This wasn’t some creepy bug
                                  stand weight and timing.”                                                                                       that was going to hurt the hero—it was very
                                                                                               —Eric Hurst, vfx supervisor, City of Ember         submissive like a dog that hurt its paw,” Durst
                                                                                                                                                  says. “BUF brilliantly animated that creature
                                  generator exterior and the bridge spanning the          mole (a furry creature with tentacles surround-         through its eyes and the cocking of its head,
                                  river, but that was pretty much it; Luma created        ing its nose) to Luma. Although a real star-nosed       which gave it lots of personality. They did a
                                  everything else,” Durst says. “Behind the bridge        mole measures a couple inches, this one had to          wonderful job, very subtle work.”
                                  and the buildings on the left and right was a 50-       be eight feet long. “Without trying it looks sinister      The same can be said for Durst’s entire ap-
                                  foot-high green-screen and down below was a             because it’s pretty weird,” says Durst, stressing       proach to effects for The City of Ember, where
                                  big rectangular pool we were originally going to        that Kenan’s goal was to give the monstrous             subtle extensions and understated performanc-
                                  fill with water just to have some interactive light-     creature believable motivation as it attacks Em-        es brought the environs and its unique charac-
                                  ing, but ultimately we decided to just put a            ber’s protagonists, Lina and Doon. “He comes            ters to cinematic life. ■

                                  green-screen down there. Luma did the exten-            after them, not because he’s mean, but be-               Universal releases Fox/Walden’s
                                  sions on the generator buildings, the waterwheel        cause he’s starving. He’s threatening as any             City of Ember on October 10 in U.S.
82                                turbines and extensive digital water effects—           wild animal, but it’s not personal, and Luma bril-       theaters.


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                                     Te c h R e v i e w s
                                                                        by Todd Sheridan Perry

                                                                                                          sive and node-based compositing and                However, let me preface it by saying that
                                      World Machine v.2                                                   particle/dynamics software. It may have a          this tool saved our butts in a recent job I

                                  B    uilding environments to take audiences
                                       to different worlds is not a new art. It’s
                                                                                                          steeper learning curve than its competitors,
                                                                                                          but it’s this open, complex approach that
                                                                                                                                                             was on that was shooting on film, with a
                                                                                                                                                             wide lens (and they pushed the exposure

                                  been around for centuries or longer. As                                 makes the program powerful.                        on the film, making it even grainier and
                                  long as stories have been told about far                                   It comes in three flavors: Basic, Standard       harder to track). The lens was long enough
                                  away places, there has been a need for                                  and Professional. The basic is fine for get-        to not readily detect distortion, but wide
                                  artists to create those far away places.                                ting used to it and toying around, as some         enough to really mess up the track. In fact,
                                  Backdrops turned into full sets, which turned                           of its export abilities are curtailed. The stan-   we had to stabilize around one element of
                                  into sound stages and then matte paint-                                 dard gives one all the tools necessary for         the shot to see that the image was bending
                                  ings, then miniatures. CG environments                                  creating spectacular environments. But it’s        like a bad acid trip. Monet’s magic saved
                                  were some of the first things to be played                               really the professional edition that is ready      the day.
                                  with digitally, oftentimes starting off as full                         for primetime, opening up everything to 64-            With that said (deep breath), here is the
                                  matte paintings on glass, and then digitized                            bit, multi-threaded processing, managing           laundry list: Planar tracker which combines
                                  into the computer world. Over the past                                  large data sets, ability to tile environments      2D and 3D trackers to find a plane in space;
                                  couple of decades, software has risen to                                to save on building one super-huge world           robust toolset to adjust the track; perspec-
                                  the task to create full 3D CG terrains.                                 and scripting capabilities (a must to work         tive tracking (stemming from the 2D/3D hy-
                                     World Machine 2 was developed by Ste-                                with any large pipelines).                         brid); rotoscoping compounded with the
                                  phen Schmitt’s big mathematically gifted                                Website:                     track marks and tracked planes to reduce
                                  brain up in Seattle, Wash. to accommo-                                  Price: $89 (Standard); $189 (Professional          the time for roto and the manual labor. You
                                                                                                          Per-Seat License); $1,000 (Professional Site       can also track rotating objects. There are
                                                                                 credit: Eoin Armstrong

                                                                                                          License)                                           extraction tools to replace shadows and
                                                                                                                                                             highlights on reflective surfaces where your
                                                                                                                                                             element is being tracked into—even with
                                                                                                                Imagineer Systems’                           textured backgrounds. You also get lens
                                                                                                                   monet v2.1.1                              distortion analysis tools which let you re-

                                                                                                          R    oto and tracking can be dangerous
                                                                                                               business with pitfalls at every turn. Any
                                                                                                          software that makes this journey more
                                                                                                                                                             move distortion to get better tracks or rec-
                                                                                                                                                             reate distortion in elements. Oh yes, and
                                                                                                                                                             they also throw in automated tracker re-
                                                                                                          pleasant is a welcome addition to any tool-        moval.
                                                                                                          set. Imagineer Systems’ monet is just such a          If that’s not enough for you to take a look
                                  date terrain building. This is the latest ver-                          tool. There are so many features in this ro-       at monet, I just don’t know what to say. It
                                  sion of the release after the initial World Ma-                         bust software that I’m going to forgo my           does have siblings that specialize in partic-
                                  chine came out in 2005.                                                 usual rants and rattle off a breakdown.            ular areas, like roto (motor), keying (mokey)
                                     The unique thing about WM that takes it                                                                                                                                  credit: ACHT Frankfurt
                                  beyond some of its competitors is the com-
                                  pletely procedural methodology for build-
                                  ing the terrains. It really feels like Houdini in
                                  its approach as it’s made up of nodes
                                  (called devices in WM2). So, the creation
                                  node sets everything up, and then nodes
                                  are added into the flow to modify the ter-
                                  rain. Each node can be changed after the
                                  fact to tweak and adjust the creation of
                                  the world.
                                      WM2 provides tools for customizing, cut-
                                  ting and adjusting the terrain within the
                                  flow. In addition, it offers powerful texturing

                                  tools to control the look based on the con-
                                  text of the terrain. I like the working style of
84                                the program, but I’m used to Houdini, Mas-


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                                                                                                                                                                      VISUAL EFFECTS
       and 2D tracking (mocha), but monet seem          Max to do just that                                                     gone into this little
       to wrap it all up in a tidy little bundle.       called RayFire. In its                                                  gem of a plugin.
       Website:                base form, RayFire al-                                                  Furthermore,        it
       Price: $6,500 (floating license); $5,000          lows you to choose an                                                   works with third-
       (node-locked license) [dollar price con-         object (or multiple ob-                                                 party    dynamics
       verted from British pound]                       jects) and procedurally                                                 engines,   specifi-
                                                        score it in a way that it’s                                             cally     NVidia’s
                                                        prepped for a dynam-                                                    PhysX      engine.
           Mir Vadim’s RayFire                          ics engine to take over                                                 Thinking Particles

       H      ave you every tried to pre-fracture a     the animation. That is in                                               likes RayFire ...

              3D object to prepare it for any kind of   itself a timesaver that                                                 And, I don’t see
       dynamics? If you haven’t heard of this pro-      can make or break a                                                     any reason why a
       cess, it’s a method of breaking up a 3D ob-      shot, or even a whole production.             Maya-based production couldn’t fbx mod-
       ject into a bunch of smaller ones so that           What is mind-boggling about this prod-     els over to Max for pre-scoring, and then
       the program can calculate collisions and         uct is the different methods with which you   back into Maya. Take it from me, someone
       forces during a dynamics simulation. I can       can fracture the target objects. You can      who has spent centuries of my life pre-frac-
       tell you right now that in the best of worlds,   manually sketch where you want the frac-      turing models. This product is something
       it’s time consuming and tedious, and will        ture lines, determine impact points by        that should be in any studio’s arsenal—and
       bring about the sudden urge to kick duck-        mouse clicks and fracture based on the        it’s $255 for crying out loud. So, push off
       lings. Houdini was the best at automating        pivot point of the object so the fractures    buying the tickets to Wicked, and save
       the process, but before the latest iteration     are more dense nearest the rotation/oscil-    yourself millions of dollars and a couple of
       of Houdini, it took a theoretical science        lation point. You can choose regular or ir-   ulcers.
       major to put together the recursive SOP,         regular fracturing or set it up so that the   Website:
       WOP, COP, and HOP on POPS to get it to           fractures are more dense nearest a Bomb       Price: $255 ■
       work.                                            space warp (that way the area nearest the     Todd Sheridan Perry is the co-owner
           To solve this problem, a small company—      bomb breaks into smaller pieces, while fur-   and vfx supervisor of Max Ink Produc-
       and by company I mean one man named              ther away are larger chunks).                 tions. He can be reached at ______  ducky@
       Mir Vadim—has created a plug-in for 3ds             A lot of thought (and/or experience) has

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                                                                                                                                                                   OPPORTUNITIES WWW.ANIMATIONMAGAZINE.NET
                                                                                                                         by adding, “Yes,
                                                                                        Barenbraut by Derek Roczen
                                                                                                                         together      with
                                                                                                                         [Arles, France’s]
                                                                                                                         Supinfocom.” His
                                                                                                                         school makes a
                                                                                                                         concerted effort
                                                                                                                         to advise stu-
                                                                                                                         dents       about
                                                                                                                         and to help them

                                                                                                                         submit their films.
                                                                                                                         In both 2006 and
                                                                                                                         2007,         SIG-
                                                                                                                         GRAPH’s       Jury
                                                                                                                         Prize went to Fil-
                                                                                                                         makademie stu-
                                                                                                                             Of course, the
                                                                                                                         school’s admit-
                                                                                                                         tance      process
                                                                                                                         focuses on se-
                                                                                                   lecting applicants who are primed to

              The German Pursuit                                                                   succeed. Typically 100 people apply
                                                                                                   to the six-year-old Institute’s program

                    of Perfection                                                                  each year. Haegele says, “We take 10
                                                                                                   to 15 students. They need one year of
                                                                                                   working experience to apply. We ex-
                                                                                                   pect them to know Maya, 3ds Max,
            How Baden-Württemberg’s Filmakademie has become                                        Softimage or Houdini, for example, be-
               phenomenally successful in honing the talents of its                                cause we do not teach software. Some
                            animation students in six short years.                                 people have already studied at other
                                                                                                   schools—maybe for three or four
                                                                        by Ellen Wolff

             o get a feel for the global nature   other SIGGRAPH entries, but from the
             of modern animation, one need-       five other Filmakademie pieces select-                       Testing the Talent
             ed only to walk through the “Vil-    ed by the festival this year. “I’m happy           After submitting sample films, appli-
       lage” at this summer’s SIGGRAPH con-       that we have a broad bandwidth. We               cants may then be invited to take an
       ference in L.A. In that small space on     took part in DreamWorks’ Educators               entrance exam. Those who pass must
       the exhibition floor, the multitude of      Symposium at SIGGRAPH, where                     then make a short film, and they’re
       languages being spoken provided a          schools were invited to submit tapes             given three days to do it. “You wouldn’t
       telling measure of internationalism.
       Among the attendees was Professor           “It seemed that many schools specialize in a style. But our tape
       Thomas Haegele, who directs the Insti-      had CG animation, puppet animation, hand-drawn anima-
       tute of Animation, Visual Effects and
       Digital Post-production at Filmakade-       tion and visual effects. It’s such a broad range.”
       mie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigs-                                         —Professor Thomas Haegele, director of the Institute of Animation,
       burg, Germany. In his impeccable                           Visual Effects and Digital Post-production at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.
       English, Haegele enthusiastically shared
       his optimism about Filmakademie ani-       showing what they’re doing. It seemed            believe what they can do,” says Hae-
       mations making an impact at SIG-           that many schools specialize in a style.         gele. He adds with a smile that it’s after
       GRAPH.                                     But our tape had CG animation, pup-              they’re enrolled that their ambitions
          “We had a film nominated for Best        pet animation, hand-drawn animation              grow and they need more time!
       Student Film this year,” says Haegele,     and visual effects. It’s such a broad               Students in the Institute’s program
       referring to Barenbraut by Filmakade-      range.”                                          follow the broader Filmakademie cur-

       mie’s Derek Roczen. The black and            Filmakademie students are attract-             riculum during their first year, which in-
       white “wood-cut” style of Roczen’s         ing significant attention on the festival         cludes three-month courses in direct-
       animation stood out—not only from          scene, which Haegele acknowledges                ing actors, camerawork, scriptwriting                                     87


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                                   Mindplotter by Ilija Brunck,
                                   Jan Bitzer and Tom Weber

                                  and experimental filmmaking. “It is use-    student may do the compositing on an-         students current with new develop-
                                  ful,” observes Haegele, “so that when      other student’s visual effects film, for ex-   ments like digital cinema and stereo-
                                  they light a computer scene, they will     ample. He does not have to make his           scopic 3-D.
                                  know the basics.                           own film to get a diploma.”                       The benefits of these relationships
                                     “In the second year they study ani-        What really distinguishes Filmakade-       accrue to Filmakademie in several
                                  mation basics within the Institute, and    mie, however, is its “team teaching”          ways. This year, the Institute became
                                  they can also take courses like direct-    approach, which utilizes scores of            the first overseas school selected for
                                  ing or scriptwriting. Then in the third    guest lecturers each year. “We bring in       Sony’s IPAX program. And students
                                  year, they really join the Institute, and  people from the industry for a week—          looking for internships and jobs have
                                  have a room with a workstation and all     or even a day—to talk about specific           been helped as well. Haegele remarks,
                                  the software packages available on         themes, look at student projects and          “We have graduates working at these
                                  the network. But they can also use oth-    give advice,” says Haegele. He notes          studios, so when students from Fil-
                                  er techniques, including puppet ani-       that these lecturers have come from           makademie submit their reels, the stu-
                                  mation or even sand animation if they      studios like Pixar, Digital Domain, ILM,      dios are interested. We had one intern
                                  want.” (Haegele notes that Filmakad-       DreamWorks, Sony and Framestore.              go to Digital Domain, and the experi-
                                  emie alumnus Chris Stenner earned a        “We’re lucky that we can afford to in-        ence was so successful for him he
                                  2002 Oscar nomination for Best Ani-        vite guest teachers even for a group of       didn’t come back!” ■
                                  mated Short for the stop-motion film        three or four students.” Such diversity of    Ellen Wolff is a Los Angeles-based jour-
                                  Das Rad (Rocks). Stenner then went on      lecturers enables the Institute to keep       nalist who specializes in visual effects,
                                  to animate on
                                                        The Moment by Verena Fels and
                                  Tim       Burton’s
                                                        Csaba Letay
                                  Corpse Bride.)
                                     In the summer
                                  following     their
                                  third year, Fil-
                                  makademie stu-
                                  dents begin their
                                  diploma       films,
                                  working solo or as
                                  a team. Haegele
                                  says, “That’s not
                                  really regulated.
                                  We encourage
                                  them to pitch
                                  their ideas to oth-

                                  er students, so we
                                  have big teams
88                                with most films. A


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                                                                                                                                   guests Aaron Simpson,

                                               It’s Who You Know                                                                   founder of coldhard-
                                                                                                                         , and the stu-
                                                                                                                                   dio heads of Six Point
                                         One Plus Hub highlights the importance of networking.                                     Harness, Titmouse, Ren-
                                                                                                                                   egade, OddBot and
                                                                                                             by Jill Gilbert
                                                                                                                                   Animax. And just this
                                                                                                                                   past September, Lisa              Jill Gilbert

                                           s the old cliché goes: It’s not what  studios. The night was a success, and the         Kaye, founder and
                                           you know, it’s who you know—es-       One Plus Hub was born.                            CEO of, attended to

                                           pecially in Hollywood. In an industry    In the past two-and-a-half years, the One      discuss online recruitment for creative and
                                  where job-hopping is the norm, the must-       Plus Hub has grown to over 500 members.           technical talent within the entertainment
                                  have tools are a BlackBerry full of contacts,  Every three months, animation producers,          industry.
                                  a LinkedIn profile and a packed lunch           directors, writers, executives, agents, com-          The One Plus Hub’s next event will be in
                                  schedule. In the animation community,          posers and managers in all media (films,           January 2009. Our first New York event took
                                  however, this hasn’t historically been                                                                   place October 16 and again focused
                                                                                                    Mingling with Toon Types:
                                  the case, as most animation people                                                                       on Flash animation; Aaron Simpson
                                                                                                    One Plus Hub events offer
                                  worked at a single studio for their entire                        the opportunity for animation          and I brought together three studios
                                  career.                                                           industry professionals to network      from Los Angeles and five studios
                                     That’s all over now. With emerging                             and form new partnerships.             from the New York community to
                                  delivery platforms, new technologies                              Aaron Simpson, founder of Cold         make it a truly exciting occasion. MTV
                                                                                                    Hard Flash, and teams from
                                  and the use of animation in many forms                                                                   is interested in participating in one of
                                                                                                    Six Point Harness, Renegade,
                                  of media, it is critical to know what is                          Animax, Worldwide Biggies,             my future events to coincide with the
                                  going on in the studio, the editing suite                         Curious Pictures, Augenblick           launch of their new online animation
                                  and the marketplace. And the best                                 Studios and Animation Collective site. This past May, I traveled to Tai-
                                  way to find out this information is by                             will be attending the Oct. 16          wan to connect with the exploding
                                                                                                    event at M1-5 Lounge in New
                                  meeting people who can share it.                                                                         animation community there, paving
                                                                                                    York City, beginning at 7 p.m.
                                     As an executive at DisneyToon Stu-                                                                    the way for an event in Taipei. This
                                  dios, I was keenly aware that this net-                                                                  would be a cultural “first” for Taiwan’s
                                  working need was not being met in the                                                                    growing animation industry. It’s criti-
                                  animation community. When I tried to                                                                     cal that we educate ourselves about
                                  create it, the idea was met with resis-                                                                  the business, reconnect with former
                                  tance and skepticism from my immedi-                                                                     colleagues, make new friends, and
                                  ate superior. I was even told to consult                                                                 create a sense of unity in this growing
                                  with the HR department on this issue.                                                                    industry. The One Plus Hub events are
                                  Once I left the company, however, I                                                                      fun and easy, which is a nice break
                                  decided to press forward on my own.                                                                      after slaving all day to keep our artis-
                                     In the fall of 2005, I organized a din-                                                               tic integrity stimulated and our busi-
                                  ner for eight colleagues from the animation    television series, web and mobile entertain-      ness thriving.
                                  divisions of each of the major studios. It was ment) network and discuss today’s issues              I am extremely grateful for the One Plus
                                  fun but, in all honesty, rather limited. Net-  and the future of animation locally and           Hub, and Iím looking forward to watching it
                                  working with people you already know           globally. After one of my get togethers, an       continue to grow in ways that I have yet to
                                  doesnít leave you with the same sense of       animation writer/director said to me, “It’s       discover. While the One Plus Hub’s future is
                                  excitement as meeting new people who           easy to lose track of people in this business     uncertain, there is one thing I know: Iím now
                                  are doing innovative things. Plus, sitting at  because everyone moves around so much.            connected to lots of friends and colleagues
                                  dinner hindered our ability to mingle freely.  What I love about your events is that I get to    in the animation community who will help
                                  While the intention was right, I needed a dif- reconnect with friends and artists I haven’t      me figure it out. ■
                                  ferent approach.                               seen in ages.” In order to keep the gather-       Jill Gilbert is the founder and president of
                                     Two months later, I enticed 25 people to    ings exciting, I invite special guests or focus   the animation production company, One
                                  Sonora Café for drinks. In a more casual set-  the event on a specific theme; for example,        Plus Productions. She recently produced a
                                  ting, the group was free to circulate and      REAL D, one of the leaders in stereoscopic        series of shorts called The Misadventures of
                                  connect, creating an ideal situation for new   cinema, hosted a demonstration with ste-          Bob Paparazzo for VH1 Online and Mobile.
                                  relationships to form. Some people I knew,     reoscopic 3-D animation directors Phil Mc-        Prior to founding One Plus Productions, Jill
                                  while others came from studios that I didnít   Nally (DreamWorks), Robert Neuman (Dis-           served as VP of creative affairs at Disney

                                  even know existed. The event opened my         ney) and Rob Engle (Sony). In April, a record     Toon Studios.
                                  eyes to the animation community that           175 people packed the Formosa Café as                For news, info and event dates, visit
90                                stretched far beyond the large Hollywood       we highlighted Flash animation with special


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                                                                                            _____________            _____________

  United States Postal Service                                        13. Publication Title Animation Magazine
  Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation
                                                                      14. Issue date for Circulation Data Below
  1. Publication Title Animation Magazine                             November 2008
  2.Publication Number 1041-617X                                      15. Extent and Nature of Circulation
  3. Filing Date      9/23/08                                         Average # Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months 14,572
  4. Issue Frequency Monthly                                          # Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date 9,850
  5. Number if Issues Published Annually (12)                         b. Paid and/or Requested Circulation
  6. Annual Sub Price $55.00                                          Paid/Requested Outside-County Mail Subscriptions Stated on Form
  30941 West Agoura Road Ste 102                                      4,550      3,000
  Westlake Village, CA 91361                                          Paid In-County Subscriptions
  Contact Person Jan Bayouth         818-991-2884                     Sales Through Dealers Carrier, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and
  8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters                         Other Non USPS Paid Distribution
  30941 West Agoura Road Ste 102                                      4,174      800
  Westlake Village, CA 91361                                          Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS
  9. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor   c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation        8,724    3,800
  and Managing Editor                                                 d. Non-requested distribution by Mail (1) Outside-County (2) in-
  Publisher Jodi Bluth                                                County (3) Other Classes Mailed through USPS
  30941 West Agoura Road Ste 102                                      (4) Free Distribution Outside the Mail            4,807    5000
  Westlake Village, CA 91361                                          e. Total Free Distribution
  Editor Ramin Zahed                                                  4,807      5000
  30941 West Agoura Road Ste 102                                      f. Total Distribution
  Westlake Village, CA 91361                                          13,531 8,800
  Managing Editor                                                     g. Copies Not Distributed
  10. Owner Jean Thoren                                               1,041      1,050
  30941 West Agoura Road Ste 102                                      h. Total
  Westlake Village, CA 91361                                          14,572        9,850
  11. Known Bondholders, Mortages and Other Security Holders          i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation 61.6 %        97.14 %
  X NONE                                                              16. Publication of Statement of Ownership
  12. Tax Status                                                      X Publication required. Will be printed in the Nov 2008 issue. Signa-
                                                                      ture and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager or Owner Date
  the exempt status for federal income tax purposes:
  X Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months                        Jan Bayouth, Bus. Mgr, 9.23.08


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   ____________________________              ____________________________




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                                Event                                 Date                Place                  Website
                                Anime SuperCon                        Nov. 1 to 2         Ft. Lauderdale, FL

                                APE Alternative Press Expo            Nov. 1 to 2         San Francisco, CA

                                Animacor Int’l Animation Festival     Nov. 3 to 8         Córdoba, Spain

                                Interfilm Berlin                       Nov. 4 to 9         Berlin, Germany


                                Holland Animation Festival            Nov. 5 to 9         Utrecht, Netherlands

                                American Film Market                  Nov. 5 to 12        Santa Monica, CA

                                NekoCon                               Nov. 7 to 9         Hampton, VA  

                                Wizard World Texas                    Nov. 7 to 9         Arlington, TX

                                Bradford Animation Festival           Nov. 12 to 15       Bradford, U.K.

                                AURORA                                Nov. 12 to 16       Norwich, U.K.

                                Bel Air Film Festival                 Nov. 13 to 18       Bel Air, CA  

                                2D or Not 2D Animation Festival       Nov. 14 to 15       Seattle, WA  

                                3DX Film Festival                     Nov. 19 to 23       Singapore    

                                JaniCon                               Nov. 21 to 23       Jacksonville, FL

                                Anilogue Budapest                     Nov. 27 to Dec. 3   Budapest, Hungary

                                                                    [In the Next Issue of]

                                             Disney Unleashes a Star Pooch                          Meet Despereaux, a Little Mouse with
                                             Named Bolt.                                            a Big Heart.

                                             Our Annual Toon Fans’ Holiday Gift                     The Animated Road to the Oscars.



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                                                                                                                                                             ADVERTISER INDEX
       Advertisers in Alphabetical Order
       310Studios                                                           Inspidea                                             16                                        27
       Accel Animation Studios                                                               Inside Back Cover                                       93
       Animasia                                                             Lightfoot                                        49                                    93
       Animation Development Company / Toon Zone Studios                    Lupus Films
       __________________                                               1
                                                                            _______________                                         57

       Animation Toolworks                                                  Messy Productions                                     93                                        33
       Asia Television Forum                                                Mondo TV                                            83                                          2,3
       Atlantyca                                                            Mipcom
       __________________                                             51
                                                                            ___________ ____________                                77
       Automatic Document Corporation                                       MPSC                                             61                                  86
       Big Bad Boo                                                          Motion Pictures                             12                                    11,12
       BRADIC                                                               National Geographic Television International                                                 71
                                                                            ________________________                       Back Cover
       Breakthrough Entertainment                                           Nelvana                                       29                                        53
       Cartoon Colour                                                       NYU                                          93
                                                                            ___________                                             75
       Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University                 Santo Domingo Animation (SDA)                                                 91                                  37
       Crystal Film & Animation                                             Skechers                                30    310-406-0116                                            34
       Dawsen Infotech                                                      Straandlooper                                            55                                   41
       Doolynara Inc                                                        Studio 100 Media
       www.doolynara                                                  67                                  43
       DQ Entertainment                                                     Taffy                                        55                              23
       FatKat Animation                                                     The Jim Henson Company                                        73
                                                                            _____________                            Inside Front Cover
       Full Sail                                                            Tiny Island Productions                                               89                                      69
       Global Digital Creations (GDC) Holdings Limited.                     Toon Boom                                              4,5                                        46
       Gruppo Alcuni                                                        USC
       _________________                                               6                                     93
       Hanwen Animation                                                     Vancouver Film School                                              9                                89
       Honest Entertainment                                                 Wacom
       _______________                                                17                                           15

       Imageventure                                                         ZN Animation / CHINAnimax                                           65                                      13



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                                                         T   he creative team at Animax Entertainment

                                                                                                                               The Animated

                                                         Adventures of Bob and Doug MacKenzie




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                                              _______________     __________________



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