Zip Zip- ing Right Along

After 10 years, Paris-based Go-N is charged up about its new kids com­edy — and a lot more stuff com­ing down the pipe­line. By Tom McLean.

Animation Magazine - - Spotlight -

Go-N Pro­duc­tions is hardly new to the an­i­ma­tion scene — 2014 is the 10th an­niver­sary of its found­ing by Eric Gar­net and Anne de Galard — but the company’s ex­ecs still find ex­cite­ment in bring­ing new projects like the kids com­edy se­ries Zip Zip to mar­ket.

De­but­ing this fall in France and pre­sented to in­ter­na­tional buy­ers for the first time at this year’s MIP Ju­nior, Zip Zip fol­lows a trio of for­est an­i­mals who de­cide to try city life for a while by zip­ping up cos­tumes that they hope will dis­guise them as house­hold pets. Cre­ated by Aurore Da­mant from an orig­i­nal idea by Anne Ozenant, Zip Zip ex­em­pli­fies what Gar­net says the Paris-based stu­dio ex­ists to ac­com­plish.

“This is ex­actly the work we like to do, is to de­velop ideas with au­thors, writ­ers and graphic de­sign­ers,” he says. “It’s a very sim­ple, funny con­cept.”

Serv­ing as story ed­i­tor on Zip Zip is Cyn­thia True, an Amer­i­can writer with an ex­ten­sive list of an­i­ma­tion cred­its — in­clud­ing co-cre­at­ing the an­i­mated se­ries The Mighty B! True’s Amer­i­can con­nec­tions lead to about two-thirds of the first sea­son’s 52 11-minute episodes be­ing writ­ten by ex­pe­ri­enced Amer­i­can an­i­ma­tion writ­ers. And Da­mant headed to Los An­ge­les for a year to work with True on de­vel­op­ing the se­ries.

“When we soft pitched it on the mar­ket we felt there was a great re­sponse,” says Gar­net. The main in­ter­est came from France Tele­vi­sions, which is Go-N’s main in­vestor in Europe, and Su­per RTL in Ger­many.

Gar­net says Go-N is look­ing to make a splash with the se­ries all over the world. He was in Los An­ge­les this sum­mer to record six episodes in English us­ing such es­tab­lished voice ac­tors as Tom Kenny and Kari Wahlgren.

“They love the show and did such a great job and were very en­thu­si­as­tic and brought a lot of en­ergy and we had a great time,” he says.

Artis­tic Fo­cus

Gar­net and de Galard pre­vi­ously worked to­gether at An­te­films, which later be­came a part of Moon­scoop, be­fore strik­ing out on their own in 2004 to form Go-N. Gar­net says the in­tent was to fo­cus on high-qual­ity projects and bring to an­i­ma­tion the work of au­thors and artists who oth­er­wise might not have con­sid­ered do­ing so.

Be­ing a rel­a­tively small company means Gar­net and de Galard have to wear mul­ti­ple hats — Gar­net as pres­i­dent and de Galard as gen­eral man­ager — in ad­di­tion to the more cre­ative as­pects of pro­duc­ing.

Em­manuel de Franceschi is Go-N’s line pro­ducer, re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing that qual­ity is main­tained while hit­ting sched­ules and bud­gets. An­i­ma­tion on most of the company’s shows is sub­con­tracted to In­dia, China or Malaysia, though Gar­net says he hopes that the company can an­i­mate its in-de­vel­op­ment preschool show Si­mon in-house.

Go-N also is keen on a more France-cen­tric project, hav­ing ac­quired the rights to do an­i­mated se­ries based on the comic-book se­ries Ti­teuf. Hav­ing sold more than 25 mil­lion books in France, the se­ries is like a sit­com about young kids at school.

“The cre­ator of the books had done a movie a few years ago, a few se­ries, but he was not so happy, so he de­cided to find a new pro­ducer and he had seen our work,” Gar­net says. “We met him and he chose us to do the new sea­son that will go back to the roots of what he was writ­ing. And he wanted to be very in­volved in the bi­ble, in the writ­ing and we had a great con­nec­tion with him and so far it’s work­ing re­ally well.”

That se­ries is nearly fin­ished with scripts and will move soon into an­i­mat­ics and an­i­ma­tion.

In De­vel­op­ment

Go-N also has a cou­ple of shows in de­vel­op­ment. One is a preschool show called Si­mon, based on a se­ries of popular books about a young rab­bit. Gar­net says the books are very good at trans­lat­ing the kinds of things chil­dren think but don’t know how to say, ex­plain­ing their suc­cess not just in France but also in Ja­pan, China and Korea.

The other deal is with TF1 for a show based on another French comic book. The comic’s cre­ators are in­volved in, and very pas­sion­ate about, the show, which has just en­tered the de­vel­op­ment process.

Gar­net says he’s happy with what the company has ac­com­plished. “It’s hard work, but as long as we still have fun, it’s great.”

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent survey of 30,000 chil­dren and par­ents around the world con­ducted by Kidz Global on be­half of the Li­cens­ing In­dus­try Mer­chan­dis­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, Mat­tel’s fash­ion doll that started it all, Bar­bie, and con­struc­tion toy (and so much more) LEGO are the most popular li­censes with girls and boys.

Boys’ Top 10

LEGO

Dis­ney’s Cars

Thomas & Friends

Toy Story

Hot Wheels

NERF

Spi­der-Man

Star Wars

Mickey Mouse

Play­mo­bil

Bar­bie

Hello Kitty

LEGO

Peppa Pig

Min­nie Mouse

LEGO Friends

Dis­ney Princess

Mon­ster High

My Lit­tle Pony

Mickey Mouse [The study mea­sured rel­a­tive aware­ness, pop­u­lar­ity and mer­chan­dise ap­peal of ma­jor chil­dren’s brands. Source: li­cens­ing.biz]

In Septem­ber, London’s Grosvenor House Ho­tel hosted the an­nual Li­cens­ing Awards, pre­sented by Li­cens­ing Source Book Europe. Co­me­dian Miles Jupp hosted for an au­di­ence of 1,400 re­tail­ers, li­censees, li­cen­sors and sup­pli­ers. Here are some of the big win­ners: Li­censed Prod­uct Awards Toys or Games: Peppa Pig Wee­bles (Character Op­tions) Dress-Up or Par­ty­ware: Dis­ney Frozen Dress-Up

(Ru­bie’s Mas­quer­ade) Preschool Ap­parel: Padding­ton Baby­wear (Baby Gap) Chil­dren or Adult Ap­parel: The Beano Footwear Range

(Dr. Martens) Pa­per Prod­ucts or Sta­tionery: Frozen Birth­day Cards

(Moon­pig.com) Gift­ware: De­spi­ca­ble Me Back­packs (Posh Paws In­ter­na­tional) Food or Drink: Mr. Men and Lit­tle Miss Bis­cuits (Bis­cuiteers) The In­no­va­tion Award: Star Wars Home­wares (Bluw) Li­censed Prop­erty Awards Preschool: Peppa Pig Film or TV: Frozen Gaming or New Me­dia: Angry Birds Brand: Coca Cola Clas­sic: Thomas & Friends Peppa Pig Mar­ket­ing Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Award: Shaun the Sheep’s Pom­pom Pa­rade Cam­paign for Wool

Eric Gar­net and Anne de Galard

Bar­bie

Lego

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