TELEVISION TBS Expands Animation Roster with Final Space
TBS has greenlit the sci-fi animated comedy Final Space, created by indie filmmaker, actor and comedian Olan Rogers and produced by Conan O’Brien’s Conaco and New Form in association with Turner’s Studio T. The series is set to debut in 2018. Written by Rogers and Emmy winner David Sacks ( The Simpsons, Regular Show, Pig Goat Banana Cricket), Final Space centers on an astronaut named Gary and his adorable but terribly destructive alien sidekick, Mooncake.
Rogers and Sacks will executive produce with O’Brien, David Kissinger, Larry Sullivan and Jeff Ross of Conaco; and Kathleen Grace, Melissa Schneider and Matt Hoklotubbe of New Form. Sacks will also serve as showrunner.
GKIDS has picked up North American distribution rights to acclaimed cartoonist Dash Shaw’s feature animation debut, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea. … Amazon Studios is developing Emily the Strange as its first feature animation project. … Cartoon Network is taking viewers back to the “Dark Ages” with the global acquisition of CG comedy series My Knight and Me, distributed by international kids’ entertainment specialist CAKE and created by renowned French studio TeamTO and Belgian producer Thuristar. … TeamTO and CAKE also will produce a fourth season of Angelo Rules. … PBS KIDS will premiere Jan. 16 One Big Ocean, the first television movie event from its preschool property Splash and Bubbles. … Genius Brands International has licensed the content distribution, licensing and merchandising rights to its digitally-launched, music-driven property SpacePOP in Southern Europe. … Amazon Studios has ordered for its Prime Video service the animated series Bug Diaries, based on a best-selling children’s book series.
Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill and Silicon Valley co-creator Mike Judge has been recognized for his contribution to the craft and help in organizing fellow wordsmiths in the animation industry by the Writers Guild of America, West, which has named him the recipient of its Animation Writers Caucus 2016 Animation Writing Award for lifetime achievement. … Genius Brands International has brought onboard children’s and family media executive Margaret Loesch as executive chairman of its Kid Genius Channel. Loesch will provide counsel to the channel’s new president, Deb Pierson — promoted from general manager — as she spearheads aggressive growth plans for the platform. … Fox Animation is developing a live-action and animation hybrid feature inspired by the Peter, Paul and Mary song “Puff the Magic Dragon.” The project will be directed by Mike Mitchell ( Trolls, Shrek Forever After) and produced by Safehouse partners Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold, and Weed Road’s Akiva Goldsman. Vanessa Morrison and Nate Hopper will oversee for Fox. … Legendary Entertainment has signed DreamWorks Animation veteran Rob Letterman to direct the live-action hybrid feature Detective Pikachu, based on the smash-hit Pokémon games and animation franchise. Nicole Perlman ( Guardians of the Galaxy) and Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch are scripting the project. … CBBC Productions has boosted its scripted production team with the appointment of Tim Searle, formerly of Tiger Aspect, to oversee its animated comedy division; and the elevation of Anna Davies, promoted to Head of Drama Development. … Songwriter and Broadway hit-maker Lin-Manuel Miranda will write original songs for the Sony Animation feature Vivo, due out Dec. 18, 2020. … The Fred Rogers Company promoted Paul Siefken to president and CEO, effective Jan. 1. … Adult Swim promoted Chris Hartley to Vice President, On-Air Production, and Ollie Green to Vice President of Animated Production. Both newly upped executives are based out of Adult Swim’s Atlanta headquarters. … Longtime Cartoon Network development executives Curtis Lelash and Tramm Wigzell have been promoted to Senior Vice President, Original Series. Lelash and Wigzell will co-lead the original series group with the aim of expanding the network’s original video and multiplatform programming portfolio. … Breakthrough Entertainment has added Suzanne Wilson as Vice President, Family Entertainment. … The Youth Media Alliance in Montreal appointed to its board of directors Laurent Guérin, Vice President, Chief Content and Digital Officer for Groupe Média TFO; and Frank Falcone, President and Executive Creative Director at Guru Studio. [
Animation has always been part of the toolbox for advertising, marketing and branding, but in the age of social media those lines are blurring.
A great example is June: Life Is Better When You Share the Ride, a new animated short directed by Oscar-winner John Kahrs that in seven minutes tells the story of an older woman who finds a new life and sense of community by becoming a driver for the ride-sharing company Lyft.
Commissioned by Lyft and featuring music from Emmy-winning composer Christophe Beck and an original song from Sir the Baptist, June debuted Dec. 14 online as a way for the company to represent and communicate its values to passengers and drivers.
“We want you to know that this is what Lyft stands for and that this is from Lyft, but we don’t want that to get in the way of an amazing story,” says John Zimmer, co-founder and CEO of Lyft.
June was spearheaded about a year ago by Lyft’s creative director, Ricardo Viramontes, who was a fan of Kahrs’ work on the Oscar-winning Disney short film Paperman, and approached Kahrs with the basic idea, inspired by the real-life stories of the company’s drivers and passengers connecting on many levels. “It seemed like more than enough to start working with,” says Kahrs.
Kahrs developed the idea to incorporate the messages the company wanted to get across, which he says was not a hard task. “They have a pretty sure idea of what they want to put out there in terms of philosophy, that idea of drivers and passengers connecting and trying to make transportation work in a different way that’s progressive,” he says. “I think those are legitimate ideas.”
He says Lyft responded very well to his pitch and gave him a free hand to proceed.
Animating the project is Chromosphere, headed by creative director Kevin Dart, whose work Kahrs admired in the Forms in Nature project. “I thought this would be a great pathway to go down, with this guy and his sense of design,” he says.
Dart’s graphic design combined with a technical capability to execute the project at a pace much quicker than Kahrs experienced at big studios such as Disney. The short’s 150 or so shots were completed in five months, and Kahrs is pleased with the result and its potential to reach viewers through a crowded fury of social media scrolls.
“People looking at this in their Facebook feed, they know it’s an ad,” he says. “So when it’s good they’re surprised, and they’re like, OK, you’re respecting me enough to make something good instead of an in-your-face infomercial thing. I think that’s hopefully going to contribute to people watching it all the way through.” [
Less portable (but significantly more portable than carrying your whole workstation around) is this nifty collaboration between The Name in notebooks and Adobe. Recently named one of Morpholio Board’s Products of the Year 2017, the Moleskine Smart Sketch Album, Creative Cloud Connected brings the freedom of hand drawing and the possibilities of digital art together.
Assembled of quality 81 lb. acid-free ivory paper, the 5” x 8 ¼” album allows you to draw on any page and capture your work with the connected app (on Apple’s App Store). On the tech wizardry side, the app uses the album’s special page markings to process and optimize your drawing as a JPG before converting it to SVG. Just sync your art to your Adobe Creative Cloud account, and you can continue working on the piece in Illustrator or Photoshop.
( Pssst: New CC users can get 20 percent off the Photography Plan or 15% off the All Apps plan with their Smart Sketch purchase.)
7The best in VFX are honored tonight at the 15th Annual VES Awards. [visualeffectssociety.com] On disc today: Chris Prynoski’s Nerdland, Justice League Dark, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Mobile Suit Gundam F91, Wolf’s Rain: The Complete Series BD, Galaxy Angel BD coll., Turn A Gundam Coll. 1 BD, Young Black Jack Complete Collection, Nichijou: My Ordinary Life - The Complete Series BD, Danganronpa S1 BD, D-Frag!: The Complete Series BD, Shaun the Sheep Seasons 3 & 4, Let’s Go PJ Masks, LEGO Ninjago: Day of the Departed, Shimmer and Shine: Friendship Divine, My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Exploring the Crystal Empire. [oscars.org/sci-tech]