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Butch Hartman to Launch Online Animation Channel YooToon

The word of the year for Internet content is CHANNELS. Google’s YouTube announced last fall that they’re partnering with media companies and celebrities to launch one hundred channels of original content in 2012. They’re expected to officially unveil the channels next month. But those who aren’t funded by the deep pockets of Google will be joining the fray too. Among the early animation-related channel contenders will be YooToon, which is created by Butch Hartman, creator of TV series like Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom.

Butch Hartman follows in the footsteps of Rocko’s Modern Life creator Joe Murray who launched his Kaboing TV channel last year. Cartoon Brew noted last January that Murray’s channel has struggled to gain traction with viewers. It has debuted just one new piece of content in the last seven months. Murray’s experiences highlight the challenge for established show creators wishing to translate their success in producing mainstream animation to programming an Internet channel. It remains to be seen how Hartman will cater to the tastes of Internet animation viewers who, thus far, have favored content that is vastly different in tone than normal TV fare.

Hartman’s YooToon channel has yet to officially debut, but he is promoting the channel on Facebook and Twitter, while soliciting submissions on Tumblr. Filmmakers: be sure to review YooToon’s terms carefully before submitting. The biggest red flag for any creator, amateur or experienced, should be the following language: “If my video is selected, I understand that I grant exclusive and sole ownership of my video to YOOTOON Studios upon submission.”

UPDATE: YooToon has updated its submission form since Cartoon Brew posted about the channel few hours ago. But they haven’t updated the terms, and the channel still claims ownership over the films Hartman chooses for his channel. The new “details” posted on the submission form are vague beyond reason and create more questions than answers:

YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit. We want your idea to succeed! If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos. If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series! Imagine, you could be making an online series with Butch Hartman!

(Thanks, Jace Diehl)

  • Mapache

    What? Have you seen Butch Hartman’s tacky website?
    http://butchhartman.com/ This guy needs to stay away from the internet.

    • Scarabim

      He needs to stay away from CARTOONS.

    • A Painter

      i clicked on the giraffe and almost died

      • SJ

        I kept looking for the “Make Butch STOP Drawing” button.

    Eurk !…

  • “If my video is selected, I understand that I grant exclusive and sole ownership of my video to YOOTOON Studios upon submission.”

    What if your video isn’t selected? It’s still been submitted—so is it theirs? Holy legal gray areas, Batman.

    • My understanding is if it doesn’t get selected, you’ll be able to retain the rights.

  • The Gee

    “If my video is selected, I understand that I grant exclusive and sole ownership of my video to YOOTOON Studios upon submission.”

    From the Tumblr:
    “You retain all rights to your idea, but we own the video you submit. “

    Exclusive rights….I didn’t see any mention of the company paying for that exclusivity.

    I know they may be keeping the legalese simple but they should really clarify the terms and what they mean by “owning” the video.

    Obviously, it brings up copyright issues (the idea equaling every element in the video) and the ability for the creator to just sell the video via some other method.

    Non-exclusive licensing is the way to go unless the creator is being paid handsomely.

  • The Gee wrote, “Non-exclusive licensing is the way to go unless the creator is being paid handsomely.”

    I stress this to every filmmaker I speak to who is interested in placing their finished shorts online. Obviously, if a company commissions you to produce original content, it’s a different story. But if you’ve already finished the film and want to share it online, there’s no reason you have to sign away exclusive rights.

    • The Gee

      I don’t know if you updated the post after this comment but the updated terms make it sound like any potential payout is backended.

      While it sounds great that there might be money available to finance production of more episodes somehow it sounds no different than the way it usually goes.

      I know companies like Mondo Media offer development deals and I’m sure they reject a lot of those pitches, too.

      Soooooo, can anyone define “best effort deal”?

      Is it completely back end. Is it likely payment for the first one with funding for additional ones?
      Have the slates been mentioned, like, would an order of 6 episodes be a basic order?
      Or, would they fund one additional episode to see how the audience reaction goes?

      I think those are among the possible questions anyone who is interested in this should ask. As it goes, I wish any and all involved in this the best of fortune. Obviously, that means everyone involved benefitting.

  • Taco Wiz

    This isn’t how the internet works. On television thousands of cartoon fans will watch any cartoon that airs because there are only so many channels that have animated programming.

    On the internet everyone has equal playing ground.

    I’m not sure if it’s funny or depressing, but the media companies are trying to regain control over entertainment. They don’t want to be part of a world where anyone and everyone has a chance at making it big.

    • Sarah J

      Quite true, particularly on your first statement. There are a LOT of people posting their own animated shorts online. Everyone kind of starts off the same on the internet, and the good stuff gets spread around by word of mouth. There are only so many shows airing on TV so people take what they can get.

      Also agreed on the second part. Guess they’re kind of annoyed that they don’t have totally control over entertainment now. I guess that’s why more and more online works are getting picked up by big companies.

  • If losing my video is the case, than I REALLY don’t think I wanna submit one anymore (unless it’s one I won’t miss).

  • James Madison

    It’s always good to know the legal terms.

    Thanks, Amid.

  • Anyone with the creative know how and an internet connection can sign up for a youtube acct and upload their project/property.

    I totally dig Butch’s work but the same BIG STUDIO business model has a difficult time surviving on the web. anyone remember ICEBOX?

  • You know, it would help if YooToon had content the day it debuted on YouTube. I realize the “official” debut is April 27, but all I see from YooToon right now are four mascots (including what I think is a four-fingered unicorn) clad in clashing yellow and blue.

    I’m also turned off by the heavy use of “YOO” and “TOONER” in YooToon’s promotional materials.

  • I’ve been following this for a while, and I was all for it, until he mentioned the video has to be exclusive to just his channel and nowhere else on the internet.
    It was a serious deal breaker.

  • “YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit.”

    Is this a clever grey area to confuse the use of Yoo (YooToons) and ‘you’? Hmm…

    Whenever someone approaches me to show my films the FIRST thing I ask – Is it non-exclusive? Always.

  • Chip Hayes

    Sweet! Working with Butch Hartman? Win-win!! Thanks for the heads up Cartoon Brew!

  • That logo is really awful. Yellow on white and looks like it was done in 10 minutes in Illustrator.
    Also the list of rules and prerequisites on the submission form are hilarious and nonsensical. This is going to get buried just like all the similar ideas before it.

    There is no reason to submit to this. Vague silly rules (no swearing? on YOUTUBE?), vague nonsensical rules about sound (please use licensed music? dont they know how youtube handles that stuff?), and of course the whole “we get full rights to the film if we use it and you can never do anything with it ever again” malarky. With no guarantee you’ll be getting anything out of it.

    Oh except the chance to work on an online series with Butch Hartman:

    “If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series! Imagine, you could be making an online series with Butch Hartman!”


    Why make a whole new channel for this anyway? Why not just use the Frederator channel which at least is semi-popular and thus already has an audience of people ready to watch anything submitted to it?

  • Tak

    Quick, everyone get on the band wagon it’s almost full! We’re not entirely sure what we’re doing or how & if it’ll actually work, but without you nothing is bound to happen. “Trusssst in Meeeeee

  • Sarah J

    Eh, I don’t see why people would submit their videos to this when they can just set up an account on YouTube or Blip. Unless I was guaranteed to get paid I wouldn’t submit any work if I was gonna lose all the rights to it.

    Also, I concur with Zekey, that logo is just hideous.

  • Toonio

    Whose teeth cut chains at the hardware store?
    The guy that’s rotten to the core
    It’s Butch Hartman (Boo boo de doop)

    Who only comes out at night?
    Who gives ghosts and ghouls a fright?
    Who takes away your animation rights?
    Do I even have to say it?

    Boo boo de doop!

  • Scarabim

    My goodness. Butch has a reputation for ruining his own product. Now he wants to take and ruin YOURS too! What a sweet deal! :P

  • Derik

    Screw this. Make your OWN channel…and do it anywhere you want! There’s so many blog sites and video sites now that you can sign up for free and post anything you want, why do we need some big shot to do it for us? For fame? oh wait…yeah.

    • Sarah J

      Yeah, the thing is, the internet works differently than other entertainment mediums. With the internet, as long as your work is good, you can get famous regardless of whether or not a big name is backing you.

      • Of course you can get your own animation channels. You can do that right on YouTube or Vimeo!

        As for Butch Hartman, he kinda’ lost me after DANNY PHANTOM. FAIRLY ODDPARENTS jumped the shark in 2005, and I dropped it since. He’s basically the kid-friendly version of Seth McFarlane (although, to Butch’s credit, he can draw better!), and has been a one-trick pony; the center of his shows are always the “sensitive male” romantic yuppie shtick. Wasn’t impressed with T.U.F.F. PUPPY, for that reason. It’s just like all his other shows! Stupid male lead, smart female sidekick. Yawn. (And they canceled THE MIGHTY B! for *this*!?!)

        My gripes aside, I wish Butch best of luck with YooToon, and perhaps succeed where KaboingTV failed, though I can’t see myself submitting anything there, for several reasons:

        -I just can’t trust network TV; I create a show, and they’re gonna’ cancel it as soon as Season 1 is up! Especially if it’s a really good show that has a very strong fan following. Just look at Nickelodeon. Cartoon Network is sort of headed in that same path. (Witness the quick death of SYM-BIONIC TITAN.) It’s beyond frustrating.
        -As a consequence, when it comes to my most personal work, I’m not interested in it being like every other show right now. I have completely different aesthetics, and am not anticipating some network having creative control over it. And I’m certainly not looking forward to creating a show infused with the tired Butch Hartman formula (dumb male lead/smart female sidekick).
        -If it’s a cartoon about a girl, it’ll be dropped like a brick, or at best, get canceled early. (Case in point; THE MODIFYERS.) I’m not going to bring up Lauren Faust, as I’m talking about original works, not stuff she simply worked on, like MY LITTLE PONY or SUPER BEST FRIENDS FOREVER; Faust had a very tough time trying to sell her own original work, MILKY WAY AND THE GALAXY GIRLS. Girls have to play second-banana to boys. I thought the 21st Century was about equality, not backwards chauvinist impulses!

        All I can say to fellow indie animators here and out there is to stay indie. Or go with a label you can trust. But yeah, just stay indie. Because you are not just entertainers, but artists, with something to say and express. Many of those whose works I enjoy myself! So stick to those YouTubes and Vimeos!

        It’s a different story if you’re simply an animator on movies & TV shows. Best of luck on that, and hope you get well paid for your efforts. Some might go on to do something independent! Stick to your guns.

  • Hey now

    “Imagine, you could be making an online series with Butch Hartman!”

    Forget the legalese, THAT’S the dealbreaker.

    • YouTube Partner Animator


  • Vic

    I just want to go around and anchor all those eyebrows to something.

  • my middle finger automatically went high up in the air looking at his dubious ambitions to become an internet animation mogul by stepping on the heads of poor innocent animators…LEARN ANIMATION AND PRODUCE YOUR OWN CONTENT !

    • YouTube Partner Animator

      yeah exactly–open your eyes and ears people. create, post, promote- REPEAT!

  • YouTube Partner Animator

    He OWNS the content? What a joke! in this day and age all you need is the tenacity to make your own cartoons. Post them on youtube and use social media, marketing and elbow grease and you can do it yourself. Look at any number of successful youtubers (animators) that made a name for themselves, built a fanbase and are earning money and were never even heard of before youtube. JUST DO IT!!!

  • You make something, you give it to them, they own it?

    I hope this isn’t as snide as it looks… let’s be honest, it can’t be. Guess we’ll have to watch this space

  • A Long Time Observer (of CB)

    I’m a fan of Hartman, however, I’m not comfortable submitting work I’ll lose rights to if selected. So I keep my characters…what about the short I worked on? Months of work and I can’t show case it anymore when I…win? I feel like he should know better. I also originally thought the post was about Hartman having a website with cartoons HE made. Kind of would have been nice to see.

  • Obo

    In a world with kickstarter and indiegogo, is the vague promise of getting a developmental deal in return for giving up your rights to any content really worth it.

    The entire idea of a channel doesn’t work on the internet anymore. This model of free distribution just breaks it.

  • Stephen M. Levinson

    Ugh this again? Different faces, same story… Another artist turned wanna-be business man who thinks their name means anything in the world of the internet.

    What Apple did for independent game companies with the app store, is what I think they’ll do for independent content creators with the iTV… I hope!

    • love men

      thats mean of you to say that!!!

  • In my imagination, he is a box-office success with the short films series of the imaginary “Fairly OddParents” spinoff, “Stupid and Timmy”, people regarding him as “The Next Walt Disney” with in-house animation work taking over Viacom, retiring the overseas work of Yeson.

    In the real world, he’s trying to achieve that but fails with CB animation fans who pay attention to loopholes for his new company.

  • Dario

    Butch Hartman should be arrested for bad taste to start with… then we have the license old trick. Just pathetic.

    • MultiverseMind

      If you dislike him so much, have this: you made him a little bit more famous by visiting his site and posting on it.