Count­down to Re-Launch

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ITV and Pukeko Pic­tures com­bine minia­tures and CG an­i­ma­tion to pro­pel a unique look for a re­booted clas­sic in By Tom McLean.

Few who saw the iconic 1960s se­ries Thun­der­birds can for­get the ex­cite­ment that cre­ators Gerry and Sylvia An­der­son brought to the most-beloved of their “Su­per­mar­i­on­a­tion” se­ries, mak­ing the cult Bri­tish show a prime can­di­date for re­vival. But re­mak­ing a se­ries that used pup­pets in minia­ture sets and ve­hi­cles for a mod­ern au­di­ence is a chal­lenge that re­quired a great deal of pa­tience and in­ge­nu­ity on both the cre­ative and tech­ni­cal ends.

As with the orig­i­nal, ITV Stu­dios’ Thun­der­birds Are Go! tells the tale of the amaz­ing Tracy broth­ers — Scott, Vir­gil, Alan, Gor­don and John — each the pi­lot of one of five unique ad­vanced Thun­der­bird craft that are the fastest and most unique ve­hi­cles on Earth. Based in the South Pa­cific on Tracy Is­land, they to­gether work as In­ter­na­tional Res­cue, sav­ing the day when no one else can, with the help of se­cu­rity chief Tanusha “Kayo” Kyrano, engi­neer Brains and their Lon­don agent, Lady Pene­lope.

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by ITV Stu­dios and Pukeko Pic­tures, Thun­der­birds Are Go! mixes live­ac­tion and CGI in a new way that has con­nected well with au­di­ences since the 26-episode first sea­son be­gan air­ing in April in the U.K.

Giles Ridge — ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on the se­ries, along with Estelle Hughes, Richard Tay­lor and An­drew Smith — says be­ing asked by ITV man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ju­lian Bel­lamy to as­sem­ble a team to re­make the clas­sic se­ries was a “on­cein-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity.”

“It filled me with, on one hand, com­plete ex­cite­ment and, on the other, com­plete ap­pre­hen­sion, hav­ing to do what I call trad­ing the fam­ily sil­ver,” he says.

The new show needed to strike a bal­ance be­tween pleas­ing the many pas­sion­ate fans of the orig­i­nal se­ries and ap­peal­ing to its pri­mary au­di­ence of mod­ern kids — most of whom will have never heard of or seen the orig­i­nal.

Ridge says a deep look at the con­cept of the orig­i­nal re­vealed a strong ba­sic con­cept. “When you look at the DNA of Thun­der­birds — five young, as­pi­ra­tional broth­ers on a se­cret hide­away is­land with the most in­cred­i­ble craft at their dis­posal help­ing peo­ple around the world — it’s not a bad place to start.”

But pulling off a se­ries wor­thy of the orig­i­nal re­quired a di­verse skill set that sent Ridge look­ing for part­ners out­side of the typ­i­cal co-pro­duc­tion bound­aries.

“I didn’t want the pro­duc­tion to be lim­ited by hav­ing to work in cer­tain ter­ri­to­ries. I wanted to be able to choose the tal­ent where I felt that the tal­ent best served the show,” he says.

For the writ­ing, Ridge went to the United States and tapped as head writer Rob Hoegee, a vet­eran an­i­ma­tion writer and pro­ducer well versed in the boys ac­tion genre from stints on shows such as Teen Ti­tans, Gen­er­a­tor Rex and Slugterra.

“This is Thun­der­birds for a new gen­er­a­tion, re­ally, but in the grand scheme of things, we are main­tain­ing the core val­ues of the orig­i­nal show: self­less hero­ism and a fam­ily who works to­gether,” says Hoegee.

Solid Struc­ture

Ridge says the show sticks closely to the ba­sic episodic struc­ture of the orig­i­nal, start­ing with an ac­ci­dent or mishap of some kind, lead­ing into the fa­mous open­ing cred­its and a three-act struc­ture. The res­cue is planned and launched in act one; the team faces ob­sta­cles in ex­e­cut­ing the res­cue in act two; and act three is the suc­cess­ful res­cue and de­noue­ment.

“That’s what gives the ed­i­to­rial na­ture of the

show its brand,” says Ridge. “You know what kind of ex­pe­ri­ence you’re go­ing to have. That doesn’t mean you’re go­ing to end up with 26 generic kind of shows; all the sto­ries are dif­fer­ent and it is a lit­tle bit like try­ing to make 26 mini fea­ture films.”

Where the orig­i­nal se­ries’ episodes were an hour long, Thun­der­birds Are Go! has a half-hour for­mat that re­quires faster pac­ing and sim­ple, clear sto­ry­telling.

“We have to start off with a bang and get right into the ac­tion,” says Hoegee. “And we’ve found that, even in 22 min­utes, we can tell pretty good sto­ries and not re­ally feel like we’re lack­ing any­thing.”

The most ob­vi­ous change is the ab­sence of the boys’ fa­ther, Jeff Tracy, who in the orig­i­nal was a dom­i­nat­ing pres­ence as the leader of the Thun­der­birds. “We didn’t want to make the Jeff Tracy show; it had to be about the boys,” says Hoegee. The char­ac­ter is said to be miss­ing in ac­tion af­ter an un­de­fined ac­ci­dent, giv­ing the boys a loss to feel as well as forc­ing them to step up and make de­ci­sions on their own.

Another ma­jor change is the ad­di­tion of Kayo as IR’s head of se­cu­rity. The char­ac­ter is adapted from Tin-Tin, who was the main­te­nance tech and lab as­sis­tant in the orig­i­nal, bring­ing a fe­male char­ac­ter di­rectly to the fore­front of the ac­tion. “She has a bit of a dark se­cret in that her un­cle is The Hood, some­thing not known by the boys at first,” Hoegee says.

A big­ger role was carved out for Grandma Tracy, who is barely seen in the orig­i­nal, as the emo­tional head of the Tracy fam­ily. And Lady Pene­lope gets a mod­ern up­date while her trusty but­ler, Parker, stays con­stant with orig­i­nal se­ries ac­tor David Graham re­turn­ing to do his voice.

There are other el­e­ments of the orig­i­nal that were just too iconic to tam­per with, one of which be­ing the open­ing count­down se­quence that in­tro­duces the five Thun­der­bird craft, their pilots and the rest of the cast.

Ridge says the pro­duc­tion got per­mis­sion from the es­tate of ac­tor Peter Dyne­ley, who voiced the count­down and played Jeff Tracy on the 1960s show, to re-use the orig­i­nal record­ing. The theme mu­sic, com­posed by Ben and Nick Foster, also pays trib­ute to Barry Gray’s brassy orig­i­nal.

Mix­ing Up the Look

Find­ing a vis­ual style for the se­ries was another ma­jor chal­lenge. Clearly, an­i­ma­tion was go­ing to work bet­ter than pup­pets, but Ridge says they still wanted to find a unique look for the show that stands out from the pack and echoes the orig­i­nal.

“We were very keen to move away from the cus­tom­ary CGI dig­i­tal shiny look that you have on a lot ac­tion shows to­day,” he says. “There’s noth­ing wrong with that — it works for many shows very suc­cess­fully — but we wanted to cre­ate a vis­ual es­thetic on Thun­der­birds that just set it­self apart from the orig­i­nal, and that’s why we ended up ex­per­i­ment­ing with this CG and live-ac­tion mix.”

Work­ing with Tay­lor’s New Zealand-based Pukeko Pic­tures, a pipeline was set up that com­bines live-ac­tion minia­tures and CG an­i­mated char­ac­ters.

“Most of our world in Thun­der­birds — all of our vis­tas, all of our build­ings, our ex­te­ri­ors — are real mod­els,” says Ridge. “They are live­ac­tion minia­ture mod­els — and though I say minia­ture, ac­tu­ally they’re quite huge in the Weta Work­shop — and built at dif­fer­ent scales. They built two dif­fer­ent scales of Tracy Is­land and filled a huge tank with wa­ter, so all the wa­ter around Tracy Is­land is com­pletely real.”

The ve­hi­cles are cre­ated us­ing CG “skele­tons,” around which are wrapped dig­i­tal skins made from pho­to­graphs and scans of large glass pan­els painted in each craft’s iconic col­ors and phys­i­cally worn and weath­ered with dust and dirt.

“No CG as­pect is com­pletely elec­tronic,” says Ridge. “It’s all got some phys­i­cal na­ture to it and that is why the joy in it is pos­si­ble to see.”

Some of the CG ve­hi­cle work is done in New Zealand, but all of the char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion is done by CGCG in China and Tai­wan. “We chose them just be­cause of their track record for ac­tion ad­ven­ture shows for the ma­jor U.S. net­works,” says Ridge.

All of the el­e­ments come to­gether at Milk VFX in Lon­don, which does the fi­nal com­post­ing of the el­e­ments into a fi­nal prod­uct, says Ridge.

A Strong Push

The show got a ma­jor push when it launched on ITV, with a life-size replica of Thun­der­bird 4 floated down the Thames. Re­ac­tions have been mostly pos­i­tive, as have rat­ings — a sec­ond sea­son of 26 episodes al­ready has been or­dered.

The show is still rolling out in­ter­na­tion­ally, with ITV tak­ing its time to find the right part­ner in each ter­ri­tory. Ridge says the pa­tience of fans in mar­kets like the United States, where the show has yet to an­nounce a broad­cast deal, will be re­warded.

“We want to give it a plat­form that does the se­ries proud and does the se­ries jus­tice,” says Ridge. “We want to make sure the part­ner shares that same com­mit­ment and love that we have.” [


So, guys, what ex­actly is “slap­stick”? How is it dif­fer­ent from phys­i­cal com­edy?

Javier Valdez: To me, slap­stick feels like phys­i­cal com­edy, but ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing to a char­ac­ter in a way you can feel. A birth­day cake in the face leads to a plank up­side the head and a springloaded box­ing glove to the gut — the gut of not just any­one, but King Pig, when try­ing to break in to his ri­val Trump Pig’s limo.

Joe Vi­tale: In my mind, slap­stick re­quires some­one to get hit. An anvil fall­ing on your head? Slap­stick. Try­ing to move an anvil from one end of a rock­ing boat to another? Phys­i­cal com­edy. But why does a char­ac­ter need to move the anvil, fast, or else? An­swer that and you’ll have a fun car­toon.

So who is your fa­vorite Toons char­ac­ter?

Valdez: I have the most fun with the char­ac­ter of the generic pigs. They’re al­ways will­ing to do any­thing you want. We can dress them up how­ever we like. There’s a real lik­able en­thu­si­asm about them that gives us a lot of free­dom.

Vi­tale: I like Chuck. He’s so gosh-darned ea­ger to im­press. Also, I think, he’s kind of an idiot. This makes you feel for him — he just wants to pull off the im­pos­si­ble, whether he’s ca­pa­ble of it or not. And if he’s not? Doesn’t mat­ter! He’ll keep on try­ing. That may be the id­i­otic part but it’s also what makes him lov­able. Talk about vi­o­lence in car­toons. Valdez: If you’ll stop hit­ting me. Per­son­ally, I’m a fan. It’s one of those things that best ex­plores what an­i­ma­tion is ca­pa­ble of. There’s de­bate about what kids ab­sorb from car­toons, but I think, for ex­am­ple, ca­sual misog­yny is more dan­ger­ous for the young au­di­ence to take away than watch­ing a char­ac­ter take an oak log to the face and come back swing­ing.

Vi­tale: Vi­o­lence and slap­stick are dif­fer­ent. Vi­o­lence is bloody. It can be copied in real life with­out a chore­og­ra­pher or out­landish props. Slap­stick is, by de­sign, ridicu­lous and over-the-top. That’s what makes it fun. Car­toons — at least the ones make — are full of slap­stick but very lit­tle vi­o­lence. Hear that, FCC?

To butcher a John Cleese quote, a guy fall­ing in mud isn’t so funny. A judge fall­ing in mud is. How does char­ac­ter in­flu­ence phys­i­cal com­edy?

Vi­tale: That quote hits it right on the nose (speak­ing of slap­stick). If some ran­dom guy takes a tum­ble? Sure, it’s a chuckle. But if it’s a spite­ful char­ac­ter who has spent the en­tire episode com­plain­ing about how much he hates cot­tage cheese? You’ve got the per­fect ex­cuse to place him un­der­neath the flight path of a Red Cross he­li­copter de­liv­er­ing 10 met­ric tons of cot­tage cheese to a dis­as­ter area ... and it just so hap­pens the rope hold­ing the crate of cot­tage cheese is no longer un­der war­ranty. And that, ladies and gen­tle­men, is how to mine com­edy gold.

Valdez: Sym­pa­thy is a big part of it. In An­gry Birds, for ex­am­ple, we have Matilda, our nur­tur­ing and ma­ter­nal char­ac­ter (and so much more). It’s not fun watch­ing things hap­pen to her, and we have a lot more fun when she’s in com­mand and kick­ing butt. But King Pig, who to me is sort of a spoiled glut­ton, is a riot to have things hap­pen to, and we can’t wait to see what ridicu­lously ter­ri­ble thing will be­fall him next.

What’s your stance on gross-out ma­te­rial? Boogers: Too gross? Not gross enough?

Valdez: Feels dated, like, say, ’90s Nick­elodeon. Of course, when I do want to use gross-out hu­mor, I say go big or go home! Say­ing “boogers” isn’t funny, but fall­ing into a swimming pool of them? Magic.

Vi­tale: Per­son­ally, I try to stay away from bath­room hu­mor, not be­cause it’s gross but be­cause it’s lazy. It’s a cheap laugh. I like my laughs to be ex­pen­sive and paid for in in­stall­ments. Next is­sue: To save him, they had to shave him — Ba­boon’s new A Boy and His Dude short, now air­ing on Ba­boon An­i­ma­tion is a U.S.-based col­lec­tive of Os­car-nom­i­nated, multi-Emmy win­ning an­i­ma­tion writ­ers with cred­its on dozens of the most iconic an­i­mated shows world­wide.

With longevity in pub­lish­ing be­com­ing in­creas­ingly rare in the dig­i­tal age, it was clear that some­thing spe­cial was needed to celebrate this, the 250th is­sue of An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine.

Since the first is­sue in 1987, An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine has been there to chron­i­cle the growth of an­i­ma­tion from a small part of the over­all en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness to one of the most ex­cit­ing in­dus­tries in the world. And as an­i­ma­tion as an art­form and a busi­ness stands here in 2015 more suc­cess­ful and vi­brant than ever — and poised only to con­tinue to grow — it seems an apt mo­ment to celebrate.

Hence, this list of 250 of the most dy­namic and in­no­va­tive peo­ple, com­pa­nies, prod­uct­sprodu and projects was com­piled to chron­i­cle this mo­ment in the history of an­i­ma­tion — a lit­tle bit of where we’ve been, but a lot ot more about where we’re go­ing.

The list is bro­ken down into 10 cat­e­gories:

None of the lists is ranked ( ex­cept An­i­mated Box Of­fice Champs); each cat­e­gory is listed in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der and was com­piled af­ter so­lic­it­ing — and re­ceiv­ing — sug­ges­tions from our read­ers.

We re­ceived many great sug­ges­tions and gave them all due con­sid­er­a­tion. In the end, the list is one we care­fully cu­rated to of­fer an eclec­tic mix of promis­ing new­com­ers and old fa­vorites that have proven wor­thy of the recog­ni­tion. That means some of the best-known names in the busi­ness were passed over be­cause the in­dus­try al­ready is scru­ti­niz­ing their ev­ery move in fa­vor of some fresh faces and new names.

So we hope our read­ers find the lists use­ful: that they might re­mind you how deep the an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try is; that they might open your eyes to a new com­pany, ex­ec­u­tive, tal­ent or event that will help your ef­forts suc­ceed. And most of all, we hope they re­mind you how amaz­ing it is to be in­volved in an­i­ma­tion, whether it’s as a cre­ator, a busi­ness per­son or just as a fan.

Lastly, we want to thank our read­ers, who have made it pos­si­ble for us to pub­lish 250 is­sues of An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine. We ap­pre­ci­ate the trust you place in us and ex­pect the next 250 is­sues will be even more amaz­ing!

Agency: United Tal­ent Agency Fo­cus: Voice ac­tors High­lights: Balbo is well known for plac­ing many A-list stars into ma­jor an­i­ma­tion fran­chises, in­clud­ing: Alan Tudyk, Jack McBrayer, Joe Lo Truglio and Mindy Kal­ing into Wreck-It-Ralph; Tudyk into Frozen and Big Hero 6; El­iz­a­beth Banks, Nick Of­fer­man, Will Forte, Jake John­son, Co­bie Smul­ders and Kee­gan Micheal Key into The LEGO Movie; and in tele­vi­sion, plac­ing Chris Par­nell, Spencer Grammer and Sarah Chalke into Rick and Morty. Agency: United Tal­ent Agency Fo­cus: TV literary and pack­ag­ing High­lights: Be­gleiter is known for rep­re­sent­ing top names in an­i­ma­tion to help pack­age se­ries such as Bob’s Burgers and Archer. Be­gleiter rep­re­sents nu­mer­ous cre­ators and showrun­ners work­ing in an­i­ma­tion such as Adam Reed & Matt Thompson ( Archer); Jack­son Publick & Doc Ham­mer ( The Ven­ture Bros.); Dave Wil­lis ( Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squid­bil­lies, Your Pretty Face Is Go­ing to Hell); Justin Roi­land ( Rick & Morty); Seth Green & Matt Sen­re­ich ( Ro­bot Chicken, Su­perman­sion); Zeb Wells ( Su­perman­sion); Jim Dau­terive ( Bob’s Burgers) and Alex Hirsch ( Grav­ity Falls). Agency: Nat­u­ral Tal­ent Fo­cus: tal­ent High­lights: Calder is a co-owner at Nat­u­ral Tal­ent, one of the largest agen­cies rep­re­sent­ing cre­ators, pro­duc­ers, di­rec­tors, writ­ers and an­i­ma­tors. Calder be­gan her ca­reer at Uni­ver­sal Tele­vi­sion and worked her way up through the busi­ness af­fairs depart­ment, learn­ing the ins-and-outs of the an­i­ma­tion busi­ness be­fore em­bark­ing on a ca­reer as an agent. She and part­ner Donna Fel­ten launched Nat­u­ral Tal­ent in 1998. Agency: Dig­i­tal Artists Agency Fo­cus: Vi­sual­ef­fects artists High­lights: Coleman founded Dig­i­tal Artists Agency in Los An­ge­les in 1998 to rep­re­sent artists for work in fea­ture, com­mer­cial and re­lated fields. With a ros­ter of vis­ual-ef­fects tal­ent that in­cludes Academy Award, VES Award and Emmy Award win­ners, DAA con­tin­ues to be the pre-em­i­nent be­lowthe-line agency, ex­clu­sively rep­re­sent­ing vis­ual-ef­fects artists for fea­ture films, en­ter­tain­ment tele­vi­sion and tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials. Agency: Wil­liam Mor­ris En­deavor Fo­cus: Voice ac­tors High­lights: Curtis is a part­ner at WME and over­sees the agency’s voiceover depart­ment. Curtis has placed hun­dreds of ac­tors in projects and helped pack­age tal­ent for some of the most suc­cess­ful an­i­mated fran­chises of all time. Agency: Sheil Land As­so­ci­ates Fo­cus: Writ­ers in the U. K. High­lights: Fawcett heads the film, TV and stage depart­ment at Sheil Land As­so­ci­ates, a bou­tique literary agency in Lon­don rep­re­sent­ing fic­tion and non-fic­tion au­thors and screen­writ­ers. She rep­re­sents au­thors’ rights and also screen­writ­ers work­ing in all ar­eas of scripted ma­te­rial. One of her ar­eas of ex­per­tise is an­i­ma­tion; in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion of The Broth­ers McLeod and an­i­ma­tion cre­ators such as Alan Gil­bey and Dan Ber­linka. Agency: Nat­u­ral Tal­ent Fo­cus: An­i­ma­tion tal­ent High­lights: Fel­ton is the co-owner of Nat­u­ral Tal­ent, serv­ing as CEO and as a li­censed agent for the com­pany. Fel­ton be­gan her ca­reer in the do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion depart­ment at Lori­mar. She even­tu­ally worked in the busi­ness af­fairs depart­ment at Uni­ver­sal Fam­ily En­ter­tain­ment, where she de­vel­oped her work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Kelly Calder, her best friend since mid­dle school. Fel­ton and Calder founded Nat­u­ral Tal­ent in 1998. Agency: Soho Ed­i­tors Fo­cus: Ed­i­tors, mo­tion graph­ics and vis­ual-ef­fects artists, color graders, au­dio pro­fes­sion­als and di­rec­tors. High­lights: Fer­reira is tal­ent di­rec­tor at Soho Ed­i­tors, rep­re­sent­ing more than 250 of the best and bright­est tal­ent in post-pro­duc­tion. She also as­sem­bled a team of mo­tion graph­ics artists to de­liver con­tent re­lated to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil as pro­ject man­ager of the event’s in­ter­ac­tive world­wide app. Agency: Van­guarde Artists Fo­cus: Showrun­ners, writ­ers and di­rec­tors in Canada High­lights: Horowitz founded Van­guarde in 2002, and it has be­come a leader in rep­re­sent­ing Canada’s most sought-af­ter showrun­ners, screen­writ­ers and di­rec­tors. It rep­re­sents such tal­ent as the cre­ators of The League of Su­per Evil and the

tween se­ries Dark Or­a­cle, one of the co-EPs of King of the Hill, and writ­ers of such shows as The Simp­sons, In­spec­tor Gad­get and Paw Pa­trol. Agency: Gotham Group Fo­cus: Gotham rep­re­sents di­rec­tors, writ­ers, pro­duc­ers, il­lus­tra­tors and artists, as well as book and comics pub­lish­ers and an­i­ma­tion stu­dios High­lights: Since its found­ing in 1994, Gotham Group has rep­re­sented an­i­ma­tion writ­ers, di­rec­tors and artists in land­ing deals for award-win­ning fea­tures like The Boxtrolls and The Book of Life, and tele­vi­sion pro­grams like The Fairly Odd Par­ents and Star Vs. The Forces of Evil. Agency: N.S. Bien­stock, a di­vi­sion of United Tal­ent Agency Fo­cus: Li­cens­ing High­lights: A 35-year vet­eran of the li­cens­ing and an­i­ma­tion in­dus­tries, Kauf­man pro­vides li­cens­ing ser­vices to a host of char­ac­ters, celebri­ties, brands and es­tates. He has ex­pe­ri­ence in mul­ti­ple busi­ness as­pects, hav­ing pre­vi­ously been pres­i­dent of mer­chan­dis­ing at Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios; op­er­ated his own agency, To­tal Li­cens­ing Ser­vices; and worked for Nel­vana on its brands and MGA on Bratz. Agency: Cre­ative Artists Agency Fo­cus: Mo­tion pic­ture literary High­lights: For client Neil Gaiman, Levin put to­gether Co­ra­line with LAIKA for Uni­ver­sal; part­nered clients Si­mon Cow­ell and An­i­mal Logic to pro­duce the first fea­ture-film star­ring Betty Boop for Sony; and is in the process of bring­ing The Bread­win­ner to the big screen as Car­toon Saloon’s next an­i­mated fea­ture. Agency: SBV Tal­ent Fo­cus: Voice ac­tors High­lights: A vet­eran of more than 30 years in the agency busi­ness and a spe­cial­ist in an­i­ma­tion since 2000, McLean has placed clients on such shows as Archer, Fam­ily Guy, The Simp­sons, Sponge­Bob SquarePants, Star Wars Rebels, Phineas & Ferb, Ad­ven­ture Time, Ben 10, Reg­u­lar Show, Un­cle Grandpa, Turbo FAST and The Ad­ven­tures of Puss in Boots. Agency: Merid­ian Artists Fo­cus: An­i­ma­tion tal­ent in Canada High­lights: Mitchell has be­come the go-to agent for an­i­ma­tion tal­ent in Canada, well known by all of the pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, stu­dios and net­works and rep­re­sent­ing the best of the na­tion’s tal­ent. Agency: Cre­ative Artists Agency Fo­cus: Voice-over ac­tors High­lights: Formed the voice-over depart­ment at CAA in 2004, has se­cured lead voice roles for clients in such hit an­i­mated fea­ture film fran­chises as Frozen, How to Train Your Dragon, The LEGO Movie, WreckIt Ralph, Rio, The Croods, Mon­sters Univer­sity, Cars, Ho­tel Transylvania and The Smurfs. Agency: Voice­Bank Fo­cus: Voice tal­ent High­lights: Voice­Bank rep­re­sents a team of an­i­ma­tion spe­cial­ists whose voices can bring any char­ac­ter to life. Tal­ent in­cludes Marc Silk, Janet James, Tom Clarke Hill and Melissa Sin­den, and the agency has landed ac­tors roles on such projects as Post­man Pat, Thomas and Friends, Bob the Builder, Fifi & the Flow­er­tots, Dirt Girl, Tick­ety Toc, Get Squig­gling, Mud­dle Earth and Strange Hill High, as well as in com­mer­cials and games. Agency: VOX Fo­cus: Voice ac­tors High­lights: VOX is a 13-year-old tal­ent agency rep­re­sent­ing scale and celebrity voice-over ac­tors that has worked on nearly ev­ery tele­vi­sion an­i­mated se­ries and many fea­tures, in­clud­ing: Up, A Bug’s Life, Fu­tu­rama, Amer­i­can Dad, Ad­ven­ture Time, Duck Dodgers, Teen Ti­tans, Star Wars Rebels and Miles from To­mor­row­land. The agency also works with an­i­ma­tion di­rec­tors and cre­ators to de­velop their slates in fea­tures and tele­vi­sion. No­table clients in­clude Ed As­ner, J. K. Sim­mons, John DiMag­gio, Ge­orge Takei, David Hyde Pierce, Craig T. Nel­son, Yvette Ni­cole Brown, Ta­nia Gu­nadi, Diedrich Bader and Joe Alaskey. Agency: Van­guarde Artists Fo­cus: Fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment High­lights: Stul­berg be­came an agent at Van­guade in 2007, and since has cham­pi­oned fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment at the com­pany. Van­guarde was founded by Tina Horwitz in 2002 and has be­come a leader in rep­re­sent­ing Canada’s most sought af­ter showrun­ners, screen­writ­ers and di­rec­tors. Agency: An­nette van Duren Agency Fo­cus: Writ­ers, pro­duc­ers, story ed­i­tors, ex­ec­u­tives and artists High­lights: Van Duren is a vet­eran agent whose clients in­clude Elise Allen, Ann Austen, Chuck Austen, John Derevlany, Robert Hughes, Ed­ward Kay, Craig Miller, Charles- Henri Moarbes, Ce­leste Moreno, Martin Ol­son, Mark Palmer, An­gela Salt/ Stu Har­ri­son – FUN CREW, Dave Sk­war­czek and Rob Tinkler. Agency: SMA Tal­ent Fo­cus: Mu­sic High­lights: The U. K.-based SMA has rep­re­sented the top com­posers for an­i­ma­tion and vis­ual-ef­fects projects in­clud­ing Ex Machina, Planet 51, Time Ban­dits, Rarg, Tales of Friend­ship for Dis­ney; Noddy in Toy­land; An Ode to Love; Apollo; The Rain Col­lec­tor and Schrödinger’s Cat.

Live-ac­tion sets are built by Pukeko Pic­tures in New Zealand to be com­bined with CG char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion. Be­low, one of two mod­els of Tracy Is­land is prepped for shoot­ing.

Javier Valdez

Joe Vi­tale

Founded: 2003 Lo­ca­tion: Cler­mon­tFer­rand, France; Paris; Shang­hai, China; Venice, Calif. Num­ber of em­ploy­ees: 40 Cur­rent prod­ucts: Sub­stance Pain­ter, Sub­stance De­signer, Bitmap2Ma­te­rial Crown jewel: Sub­stance Pain­ter for its unique ma­te­rial paint­ing workfl

Cur­rent prod­ucts: Clarisse iFX 2.0, a ren­der­ing tool for 2D and 3D an­i­ma­tion. Crown jewel: Clarisse iFX, a fu­sion of an an­i­ma­tion pack­age, a com­posit­ing soft­ware and a 3D ren­der­ing en­gine. It has been de­signed to stream­line the work­flow of CG artists to l

Www.amer­i­can­film­mar­ Founded: 1981 Lo­ca­tion: Santa Mon­ica, Calif. Num­ber of at­ten­dees: 8,000 An­i­ma­tion or VFX re­lated con­tent: Mar­ket for the in­de­pen­dent pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion of fea­ture films, in­clud­ing an­i­mated fea­tures. Next dates: Nov. 4-1

Next dates: Rea­sons to At­tend: www.sum­mit.kid­ Lo­ca­tion: Mi­ami, Fla. Num­ber of at­ten­dees: 1,700 An­i­ma­tion or VFX re­lated con­tent: Next dates: Rea­sons to At­tend:­censing­ www.bran­dli­cens­ Founded: 1980 for Li­cens­ing Expo; 1999 fo

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