“Planes” Reader Reviews

This weekend is the opening of DisneyToon Studios’ Planes directed by TV animation veteran Klay Hall (King of the Hill, Father of the Pride and the D2V release Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure). The Pixar-inspired film has been poorly received by both critics and audiences; it owns a 25% critics’ grade on Rotten Tomatoes and a 62% audience grade. The film does have an A- CinemaScore grade, but I find CinemaScore’s ratings to be entirely useless since almost every family film that they report grades for has an A of some sort. According to them, audiences gave Smurfs 2 and Planes A- grades, and Turbo, Monsters University, Epic and Despicable Me 2 all received A grades. Were the audiences that CinemaScore polled truly that undiscerning about the quality of this year’s animated films? I find that hard to believe.

Numerous film critics have complained about Planes’ sloppy incessant ethnic stereotyping, among its many flaws. Justin Chang wrote in Variety that, “Planes is so overrun with broad cultural stereotypes that it should come with free ethnic-sensitivity training for especially impressionable kids.” The other common criticism is that Planes feels tired, and that it’s nothing more than a cashgrab like the toy-driven films of the dreaded 1980s animation world. Neil Genzlinger said in the NY Times: “Planes is for the most part content to imitate rather than innovate, presumably hoping to reap a respectable fraction of the box office numbers of Cars and Cars 2, which together made hundreds of millions of dollars (not to mention the ubiquitous product tie-ins).”

It’s your turn now. After you see Planes, report back here with your thoughts in the comments below. As always, this talkback is reserved for readers who have seen the film and wish to comment on it. Non-reviews will be removed.

(Planes billboard via Daily Billboard)

Artist of the Day: Dave Prosser

Dave Prosser

Dave Prosser studied illustration at Norwich School of Art and Design and animation at the Royal College of Art in London, and is part of the Moth Collective as well as the Late Night Work Club (which is due to premiere its first anthology of animated shorts very soon).

Dave Prosser

Dave Prosser

Dave’s bold work lives comfortably at the nexus of the illustration, design and animation worlds.

Dave Prosser

You can find more personal work at Dave’s Tumblr sketchlog, and also examine his commercial direction and illustration work on his portfolio website.

Dave Prosser

Dave Prosser

Dave Prosser

Dave Prosser

Dave Prosser

Why “Foodfight!” Cost $45 Million And Was Still Unwatchable

The CGI trainwreck Foodfight!, which has been a perennial favorite on Cartoon Brew, finally hits the bigtime with this New York Times article. If there’s one lesson to take away from the production of the film, it’s that people without animation experience shouldn’t be trusted to produce or direct animated features.

The NY Times descibes how businessman/producer Larry Kasanoff (pictured below) raised $45 million to make Foodfight!, and then decided to direct the film himself, despite having no prior experience directing animation. Kasanoff declined to comment to the Times, citing legal reasons, but by other accounts, the production was a torturous experience for its crew:

[Kasanoff's] approach, because he had gotten the money for it, and no one could say no to him, was very idiosyncratic,” said Kenneth Wiatrak, a layout artist on the project. “You didn’t know from day to day what would occur. Would there be a review? Would he suddenly want to change the whole thing?”

People who worked on the film said that Kasanoff’s notes were often along the lines of requesting a scene to be “more awesome” or “30 percent better.” When Kasanoff failed to deliver the film after years of delays, a completion bond company stepped in to salvage whatever pieces they could. The cobbled-together Foodfight!, which includes many shots that weren’t even completed, was released onto DVD last year.

Disney Announces New Animated CG Pic “Zootopia”

Yesterday at D23 expo, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced Zootopia (working title), a feature slated for 2016 that will be directed by Byron Howard (Bolt, Tangled) and written by Jared Bush (a writer on the TV series All of Us). The film’s set-up is standard buddy-cop comedy, in which a fox named Nick Wilde who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit teams up with rabbit cop Lt. Judy Hops. The twist is that the entire film is set in a world in which humans never existed (a la Pixar’s Cars) and animals have built everything. Entertainment Weekly elaborated on this conceit:

[Disney] also displayed concept images of Zootopia’s title city. “One of the key concepts is if you squint at any frame of film you might think you’re looking at an animal in a natural environment,” Howard said. He then showed a frame of a snow-covered Alpine mountain, which faded into an irregularly shaped white pyramid luxury hotel. Just like New York has Chinatown and Little Italy, Zootopia has distinct regional neighborhoods like Tundratown, Sahara Square, Little Rodenta (the bad part of town, populated by vermin), and Burrowborough, populated by millions of bunnies.

The Smurfs Return to Their 2D Roots in “The Legend of Smurfy Hollow”

Had enough of those new-fangled, three dimensional, CGI Smurfs? Well, Sony Pictures Animation probably had you in mind when they made a new Smurf “mini-movie” that mixes a few minutes of CG with a whole bunch of hand-drawn animation.

The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow is a Halloween tale directed by Stephan Franck (Iron Giant, Despicable Me) and produced by Mary Ellen Bauder (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania).

Selected into official competition this year at the Annecy Film Festival, the story centers around Gutsy and Brainy Smurf:

When Brainy Smurf is favored to win the annual Smurfberry Hunt for the ninth year in a row, Gutsy Smurf sets out to discover how Brainy wins every year. Gutsy’s investigation takes him into spooky Smurfy Hollow-and right into Gargamel’s trap! Can Brainy and Gutsy, with the help of Smurfette, put aside their rivalry before Gargamel captures them-or worse, they come face-to-face with the legendary ghost, the Headless Horseman?

The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow, will feature the voice talents of Alan Cumming, Fred Armisen, Anton Yelchin and Hank Azaria, all of whom reprise their roles from The Smurfs 2. It will be available on DVD on September 10.

KLIK! Announces “Fabulous Fifties” Theme for 2013 Edition

The KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival has announced the theme for their 2013 edition: The Fabulous Fifties, a major celebration of mid-century animation that will include programs such as The Nuclear Family, Cartoon Modern: The Essentials, and Contemporary Cartoon Modern. The festival will take place between November 12-17, 2013 at the futuristic-looking EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam.

KLIK! is a young event—this will be their sixth edition—and they’re quirky, fun and unafraid to push things further than the average animation festival. I’ve had the pleasure of consulting with them on the Cartoon Modern theme this year, and they’re putting together some awesome shows and events that reveal fresh insights on the Cartoon Modern movement.

More from their official announcement:

Every year KLIK! dedicates part of the festival program to an exciting theme. This year it’s The Fabulous Fifties, taking you back to perfectly happy families, the magic of home automation and cheesy toothpaste commercials. But the fifties weren’t just that – at the same time animation encountered a groundbreaking change. Animation in that era was greatly influenced by modern design, with its use of graphic, almost abstract, forms and primary colors, earning its term ‘Cartoon Modern’. This turning point in animation history gave us beloved works like The Jetsons, The Pink Panther, 101 Dalmatians and those wonderfully cheesy TV commercials, and went on to influence contemporary animation such as The Powerpuff Girls, Ren & Stimpy, Samurai Jack and even the titles of Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.

Besides the Fabulous Fifties theme, KLIK! will also have a full slate of festival programming including short competitions, animated features, panels, lectures, demos, and a special afternoon for kids.

Stop-Motion John Lasseter Competes in “Shirt-Off” in “Friendship All-Stars”

Friendship All-Stars of Friendship is a new stop-motion webseries created by Harry Chaskin, Dan Lippert and Justin Michael and executive produced by Robot Chicken’s Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, John Harvatine IV and Eric Towner.

Created for the Lexus-backed L/Studio.com, each biweekly episode focuses on a kooky pair-up of celebrities as wacky neighbors and odd couple-style roommates. The latest episode, featuring a sartorial competition between Disney-Pixar’s CCO John Lasseter and character actor Luis Guzman was, according to Chaskin, inspired by an article discovered right here on Cartoon Brew!

Access the Disney Animation Vault with New Interactive iPad App

Walt Disney Animation Studios has partnered with Touch Press, the digital book publishers behind Elements and Leonardo DaVinci: Anatomy, to create Disney Animated, a new premium iPad app that provides “unprecedented access” to the art and technology behind all 53 of Disney’s animated feature films from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the upcoming Frozen.


Disney Animated, which is available today in the iTunes app store for $13.99, contains 750 interactive illustrations, over 400 short animation clips and 350 backgrounds, concept drawings and storyboards. “The promise of Disney Animated is that it is a serious work about the history and present day practice of making animated feature films, in which the medium is finally able to speak for itself, where every image from every film is in fact a short clip, complete with sound, music, and life,” explains Theodore Gray, Touch Press COO and co-author (along with Disney’s Dave Bossert) of the new app.

Disney highlighted these app features in its press release this morning:

  • The Story of Animation: How Disney animated films are brought to life, from early concept and story development through layout and background, animation, visual effects, sound and music and final assembly — with every illustration on every page touchable and interactive, including the ability to peel back the layers of animated scenes to reveal work-in-progress animation steps and visual effects layers.

  • Interactive Workshops: Hands-on interactives allow fans to experiment with iPad versions of authentic Disney animation technologies and share their creations via email and social media. Fans can animate Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph using a straightforward but powerful 3D animation package adapted from real Disney software and control a swirling snow visual effect from the upcoming film Frozen.

  • Disney Animation History in One Place: A comprehensive timeline of all 53 animated feature films from Walt Disney Animation Studios, including animated clips of favorite characters and recently uncovered historic trailers.

  • Unprecedented Access: Disney Animated contains over 750 interactive illustrations, including more than 400 short animation clips, over 350 high-quality images from Disney’s archives, including backgrounds, concept art, character sketches, and super-zoomable storyboards, 3D rotational photography of rare artifacts like the maquette of Hyacinth, the dancing hippo from Fantasia, and a unique Color Map that displays a sophisticated color summary and thumbnail frames from every scene from every one of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 52 released feature films in a single iPad image.

Photos from “The Three Caballeros” Wrap Party, 68 Years Ago

This series of never-before-published photos was taken at the 1945 wrap party for Walt Disney’s Latin American-themed package feature The Three Caballeros. In addition to photos of Walt and Lillian Disney, there are images of some of Disney’s top artists including Mary Blair, Fred Moore, Ward Kimball, Retta Scott, and James Bodrero. Jose Carioca’s voice, José Oliveira, is in one of the images, and soon-to-become children’s book author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda) is seen in another. Also pictured is the studio’s well-liked head of personnel, Hal Adelquist, who later ended up panhandling in the Bowery.

“Smurfs 2″ Is Number One Globally Despite Soft U.S. Opening

In spite of a soft third-place opening in the United States, Sony’s Smurfs 2, directed by Raja Gosnell, managed to become the number one film globally last weekend. The film opened with just $17.5 million in U.S. theaters, but made up for it with $52.5 mil in over forty international markets. Even with the strong overseas opening, the film is unlikely to top the original Smurfs worldwide gross of $563.7 mil.

Illumination’s juggernaut Despicable Me 2 scored $10.1 mil in its fifth U.S. weekend, boosting its domestic cume to $326.4 mil. It also added $13.8 mil internationally, and after last weekend, its global gross is $716.7 mil. It is the third highest-grossing movie of the year so far, trailing only Iron Man 3 and Fast & Furious 6. Disney’s Monsters University earned $1.4 mil domestically and $11.4 mil internationally. Its global total is $613.5 million through last weekend.

In Japan, Hayao Miyazaki’s Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) held onto the top spot in its third week of release. The film grossed $5.6 mil from 454 screens, and has a Japanese box office total of $44.3 mil.

Artist of the Day: Rodney Alan Greenblat

Rodney Alan Greenblat

Rodney Alan Greenblat is a New York City-based artist who draws and paints colorful work that incorporates abstract designs and reoccurring characters.

Rodney Alan Greenblat

Rodney Alan Greenblat

Rodney’s friendly characters show up in many applications beyond his fine art work. His designs include the characters in the PaRappa the Rapper and UmJammer Lammy video games, and his Thunder Bunny book projects.

Rodney Alan Greenblat

Rodney Alan Greenblat

Rodney’s characters are especially popular in Japan where a RodneyFun line of books and products was produced. You can even eat at the Cafe Rodney.

Rodney Alan Greenblat

Rodney Alan Greenblat

Visit Rodney’s Whimsyload.com to see extensive archives of his painting, drawing, sculpture, print work, music and animation.

Rodney Alan Greenblat

Rodney Alan Greenblat

Amazon Studios Announces Four Animated Kids’ Pilots

Amazon Studios, which develops entertainment properties by way of online submissions and crowdsourcing feedback from its users, has greenlit five new pilots intended for kids ages 6-11, four of which are animated properties. If any of these concepts are chosen to go to series, they will join Annebots, Creative Galaxy and Tumbleaf, which have moved past the pilot stage and into production. Those greenlit series will stream on Amazon Prime Instant Video and the U.K.’s LOVEFILM beginning in fall 2013.

Here are the four new animated pilots:

Grid Smasher
Created by Dan Clark (Team Smithereen, Yo Gabba Gabba!)
Johnico and his team of rag-tag aliens compete to win the greatest game in the universe.

The Jo B. & G. Raff Show
Created by Josh Selig (The Wonder Pets)
Two best friends, Jo B. and G. Raff are hosts of their very own TV show, “The Jo B. & G. Raff Show.” But every day, just when their show is about to start, Jo B. realizes that G. Raff is gone!

Wishenpoof!
Created by Angela Santomero (Blues Clues, Super Why!)
Bianca is just like any other little girl…well, kind of. You see, there is one teeny little thing that makes Bianca different from other little girls: Bianca has “wish magic” – the power to make wishes come true!


Hard-Boiled Eggheads

Created by Duane Capizzi (Transformers Prime, Jackie Chan Adventures)
Miles and Kelvin are classified special agents who strike out to correct the mistakes of science – monsters born of toxic waste, mutants born of lab accidents, the occasional hostile alien.

“Sun of a Beach” by Natan Moura

The Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival is made possible by sponsor JibJab and their strong support for emerging filmmakers.


Clocking in at a brisk eighty seconds, Sun of Beach by Natan Moura is the shortest film debut in Cartoon Brew’s 2013 Student Animation Festival. Moura made the film as a graduation project at Sheridan College in Oakville, Canada.

Every year, we receive numerous student film entries that are under two minutes long, but few of these micro-shorts exhibit the storytelling and filmmaking discipline that accompanies Moura’s film. Moura understands the value of not just every second, but every frame in his film, and uses it to his advantage. He uses his precious amount of screentime to put together a complete film with a character who has an arc and a story that has a beginning, middle and end. Moura communicates his ideas with a fun, bold visual style that seamlessly combines computer animation and hand drawn techniques.

Continue reading for comments from the filmmaker:

THE IDEA

During the making of my film I came to think of it as a kind of tribute to my childhood. I moved from Brazil to Canada at a young age and being on a beach has always been a magical place for me. Over the years, playing with my two very young brothers has brought me back to my own childhood and shifted my focus to more playful and whimsical stories. Like most of my ideas, it came to me at three in the morning while doodling. The the final story eventually came together when I was able to spend time observing people on the beach while living in Los Angeles the following summer.

TOOLBOX

My film was a 2D and 3D hybrid done in Flash and Maya and composited in After Effects. I was interested in experimenting with a more graphic 3D aesthetic. I felt like a flatter environment made the story more playful by bringing the sun closer to the people on the beach. This was mostly achieved by using an almost orthographic perspective in Maya and eliminating 3D lighting all together. The lighting effects were done in After Effects where they wouldn’t ruin the flatness I was going for. I also animated the smaller characters in Flash to more easily control their design. The entire film came together as a single After Effects file with over 300 layers! How the program didn’t crash is beyond me.

LESSONS LEARNED

The most important thing I learned is how to edit a story into only the essentials. It’s not something I believe needs to be done for every story but it’s a worthy exercise. Some of the best structured stories I’ve seen are commercials, simply because they have to hold your attention and have no time for anything but the basics. When I completed my first animatic at three minutes it was clear that my idea only needed a minute and that every second had to be justified. I think it’s important to not only ask yourself how long a story needs to work effectively, but also how much of someone’s time your idea is really worth.

INSPIRATIONS

In the earlier stages of story development I rewatched the film Before Sunrise and was reminded how effective a sustained shot can be in bringing the viewer into a story. Many people I talked to discouraged me from this limitation but I thought it would add a sense of realism to my film and also help maintain a flat aesthetic. I really believe that picking limitations is the most liberating thing you can do creatively and it couldn’t have helped me more in this case. I later decided to add a single cut to emphasize the tipping point of the story.

WHERE YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS

I enjoy animating first and foremost but this early in my career I still feel there is much exploring to be done. While filmmaking was originally what attracted me to animation I see a lot of potential in new alternate forms of storytelling. I’ve recently become interested in the interactive possibilities of stories primarily in games and apps. Working at JibJab over the past couple of months brought me closer to programmers for the first time which has inspired me to think of stories from a different perspective. Being able to experiment and problem solve is what keeps things exciting for me and I hope to always have that kind of flexibility. [EDITOR'S NOTE: When Moura's film was selected for inclusion in the festival, we were not aware that he had recently been hired by the festival's sponsor JibJab.]

FILMMAKER WEBSITES

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Book Review: “It’s Kind of a Cute Story”

I’ve been remiss in not writing about one of my favorite animation-related books of recent times, It’s Kind of a Cute Story, the memoir of Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump written in collaboration with historian Jeff Heimbuch.The 192-page book does a fantastic job of capturing Crump’s colorful spirit and enthusiastic personality on the printed page. It’s a short read, but the combination of quirky stories and rare photos makes it fun to pick up and browse through over and over.

Crump began his career in 1952 like many artists at Disney did—in the lowly ranks of inbetweener. It’s a wonder he was hired in the first place. His only art education had been in high school, and he was later informed by the studio’s head of personnel that he had the worst portfolio of anyone who had ever applied for an animation job at the studio.

In his earliest days at the studio, he was paid so little that he had to work oddjobs on weekends, like making sewer manholes, just to earn enough for basic necessities. It also became clear early on that animation might not be the best creative outlet for Crump. His interests spread out in countless directions; among his artistic hobbies, he made Calder-esque hanging mobiles, painted funny pictures and sayings onto rocks, and created ‘doper’ posters.

Crump made an impression around the studio because of his eclectic and independent creative streak. In 1959, when Walt Disney was looking for artists to work on the Disneyland parks, Ward Kimball suggested Crump for the job. Crump became a key player in WED Enterprises, the division of the Disney Company that designed the parks. He made significant contributions to classic rides and shows at Disneyland including the Haunted Mansion, Enchanted Tiki Room and It’s a Small World. He concocted his own version of the Haunted Mansion, which he called the Museum of the Weird. Walt had considered including it as part of the Haunted Mansion, but his death put a halt to those plans.

At one point, Crump was the supervising art director at Disneyland where he was responsible for everything from designing trash cans to making sure the attractions were properly lit at night. The book is divided into short chapters, and Crump’s enthusiasm for even the slightest minutia of Disneyland manages to keep the reader’s interest throughout.

Crump left Disney after supervising the Fantasyland dark rides for Disney World in Orlando. He felt that the Orlando park, made after Walt’s death, was a lesser version of Disneyland, and in his own words, was no longer happy working at the company. Numerous chapters follow about Crump’s non-Disney work in the Seventies and Eighties, and this second career is oddly compelling even if the attractions aren’t as familiar as his work at Disney. These projects included working on a circus-themed park called Circus World, designing the Knott’s Bear-y Tales ride at Knott’s Berry Farm, and working on projects with an unlikely assortment of people that included casino magnate Steve Wynn, marine explorer Jacques Cousteau and the Sultan of Oman.

It’s hard to imagine a free-spirited artist like Rolly Crump finding a home at the Disney Company today. He is acutely aware of his own good fortune, and gives much of the credit for his success to Walt Disney himself. Once, when he admitted to Walt that he had gone too far on a project, Disney replied, “Rolly, you go as far out as you want. I’m the one who will bring you back.” Fittingly, Crump devotes one of the book’s final chapters to his relationship with Walt Disney. His views on Walt are as sincere and heartfelt as any I’ve read. In addition to being a solid memoir of a Disney artist, the book serves as a celebration of the creative environment that Walt Disney created at his company.

It’s Kind of a Cute Story is available in paperback for $20.60 on Amazon.

Background Painter Ron Dias Dies at 76


Background painter and stylist Ron Dias died in California on Tuesday, July 30th at the age of 76. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 15, 1937, he first decided to pursue an art career after seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the age of 6.

A graduate of the Honolulu Academy of Art and the correspondence art program Famous Artists School, he was hired at the Disney Studios in 1956 after winning a nationwide stamp contest. He explains his unlikely path into the animation world in this video interview:

Starting in the inbetween department during the production of Sleeping Beauty, this would be the beginning of a forty-plus year association with the Disney Company that included illustrating their characters for Golden Books, art directing limited edition cels for Disney Art Editions, art directing The Little Mermaid TV series and creating artwork for Disney’s interactive CD-ROMs in the 1990s.

His background art was seen in the cartoons of many major studios during the animation industry’s silver age, including Hanna-Barbera (Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear, Jonny Quest, The Man Called Flintstone), DePatie-Freleng (The Pink Panther), Warner Bros. (Return of Duck Dodgers in the 24 ½ century), UPA (Uncle Sam Magoo) and Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings. He also worked as a color stylist on The Secret of NIMH (pictured above), Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace for Don Bluth, and the Toon Town sequence in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (below).

He retired to California’s Monterey Peninsula in 1999, focusing on fine art painting and advocacy for art in the school system. He is survived by his partner of thirty-five years, Howard, as well as two sons and three grandchildren. Go here to see a portfolio of Ron Dias’s artwork.

Today in LA: “Adventure Time Super Event”

Today, La Luz de Jesus Gallery (4633 Hollywood Blvd) will host the Adventure Time Super Event, celebrating the release of The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia.

Written by Martin Olson (the voice of Lord of Evil on the series), designed by Sean Tejaratchi, and featuring original illustrations from cartoonists Renee French, Tony Millionaire, Celeste Moreno, Aisleen Romano, and Mahendra Singh, the book is the definitive guide to the who’s who and what’s what in the Land of Ooo.

This afternoon (August 3rd), join show creator Pendleton Ward, as well as Martin and Olivia Olson, Tony Millionaire, and Tom Kenny for music and snacks from 3-10 PM. For more details, visit the La Luz de Jesus website.

Artist of the Day: Sophie Diao

Sophie Diao

Sophie Diao studied animation at CalArts and now works as a “doodler” at Google after interning there during the summer of 2012. Her work for Google so far is collected here.

Sophie Diao

Sophie Diao

Sophie Diao

Sophie keeps a sketchbook diary of personal thoughts and informal drawings which she occasionally shares with her fans.

Sophie Diao

Sophie Diao

Sophie tumbles at SVFF.tumblr.com where you can also find links to her 2013 portfolio and student films.

Sophie Diao

DreamWorks Moves Forward with Big TV Animation Plans

DreamWorks Animation announced yesterday the hire of veteran Nickelodeon exec Marjorie Cohn to serve as head of television at DreamWorks Animation. Cohn left Nick last April after 26 years with the network. She joins two other former Nick TV execs at DreamWorks: the well-liked Mark Taylor, who ran Nickelodeon Animation Studio and is currently head of TV production at DreamWorks, and Peter Gal, who is heading up development.

Sources tell Cartoon Brew that DreamWorks is ramping up in a big way. They are setting up a new studio in Glendale where they plan numerous new series based on their original films as well as shows based on classic properties they acquired in the Classic Media buyout (now known as DreamWorks Classics). Among the classic properties owned by DreamWorks are Casper the Friendly Ghost, Where’s Waldo, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, Postman Pat, George of the Jungle, Rocky & Bullwinkle, and (personal fave) Roger Ramjet.

DreamWorks is aggressively recruiting showrunners and artistic talent from other studios. If they move forward with their current plan, which is to produce a massive 1,200 new episodes of content over five years, they will need to hire hundreds of crew, and they will almost instantly become one of LA’s largest corporate-run TV studios, on a par with Cartoon Network, Disney and Nick.

DreamWorks attempted to launch TV studios in both the 1990s (Invasion America, Toonsylvania) and 2000s (Father of the Pride), but neither attempt took off. This new TV initiative is different in scope and ambition. Whereas in the past, DreamWorks made deals for individual series with different networks, now the studio has signed broad-ranging content deals with both Netflix and German kids’ broadcaster Super RTL, thus allowing them to expand rapidly.

Jeffrey Katzenberg’s grand plan isn’t known yet, but between its DreamWorks Classics library and the new shows they are producing, the studio would appear to have enough content to eventually launch its own TV network. Whatever they do, there are exciting times ahead as DreamWorks will be shaking up the Los Angeles TV animation industry over the next few years.

“It’s Archie”… Or Is It?

There’s a new Archie in town, and this time he’s a rambunctious 12-year old dealing with the modern issues of today’s youth, such as finding Wi-Fi hotspots, texting and pie eating contests.

In It’s Archie, the as-yet-unsold animated series being developed by Archie Comics and French animation company Moonscoop, the kids from Riverdale are reimagined as young contemporaries in “outlandish, exuberant, off-the wall novel adventures” that include, according to the press release, “loopy, disparate elements such as mad scientists, extraterrestrials taking up residence in janitorial closets, enchanted fogs [and] pirates.”


The sleek – and not-at-all garish – re-design doesn’t stop with the look of the characters. It also transfers over to the motivations and personalities of the cast as well. “In the It’s Archie quixotic world of Riverdale, love is measured in puppy portions, exuberance is in the air and the impossible can always be solved with a dose of kid ingenuity… Upbeat, playful and four years away from their coveted driver’s licenses, these It’s Archie pre-teens are not yet affected by teenage brooding, surly attitudes, or peevish behavior.” It’s a groundbreaking combination of style and direction that is sure you leave you asking… “Is this A Pup Named Scooby-Doo?”

Season 1 of It’s Archie, which will include 52 11-minute episodes, will be making the rounds at MIP Junior and MIPCOM from October 5-10, 2013, in Cannes.