The Cli­mate ‘Tip­ping Point’ for Car­toon­ists

Animation Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Mike de Seve

So what is this Tip­ping Point that those smarty-pants sci­en­tists and that Swedish teenager keep talk­ing about? Some­thing about the cli­mate and cri­sis and it’s com­ing in 11 years if we don’t end all cow farts now – but what is it ex­actly?

The tip­ping point con­cept ac­tu­ally is pretty easy to get – in fact it’s a sta­ple of car­toon­ing. It’s the point when things that seemed to be sta­ble are stress-s-s-s-ed to that fi­nal, ridicu­lous limit. They sud­denly spi­ral into ab­surd lev­els of crazy chaos, then fi­nally set­tle down into some new god-knows-what that can never be re­versed.

Like when a bunch of an­i­mals end up in a crazy re­versepyra­mid, bisons on top, shrimp on the bot­tom, and a teensy flake of that hedgehog’s dan­druff drifts down and tick­les the shrimp’s nose…

Or when the chip­munk brings that last nut up to its hole in the tree for the win­ter, the weight tip­ping it over into some more squirrels’ trees, caus­ing a nut avalanche that buries Fin­land.

Or, in the case of the cli­mate, when that very last lit­tle atom of car­bon (let’s call him Eu­gene) gets coughed out into the al­readys­trained at­mos­phere and our plan­e­tary bal­ance is sent per­ma­nently hay­wire. Kit­ten chow spik­ing to $3000 an ounce. A ham­ster elected Pope. Or, quite pos­si­bly, the mass col­lapse of species, ecosys­tems and ev­ery­thing we have ever known or loved. A mil­lion yuks.

Lucky for us, tip­ping points work the other way too. Like when Pop­eye has been pushed to his fi­nal stress point by Bluto – that’s all he can stansk and he can’t stansk no more — then pop goes the spinach can and BAM POW WHAM, he’s un­leash­ing whup-ass like the world has never seen.

Kids are de­mand­ing ac­tion on cli­mate in mas­sive num­bers, and those num­bers have been grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially. Polls show it’s one of the very top sub­jects on kids’ minds.

So why aren’t we, the kids’ me­dia in­dus­try, rush­ing to con­nect with this mas­sive kid phe­nom­e­non? We’re start­ing to.

Con­tent cre­ators are be­gin­ning to brain­storm the hell out of this is­sue to fig­ure out how to make su­per fun, su­per funny shows that can do a su­per amount of good.

Cli­mate con­ver­sa­tions that pro­duced eye­rolls last Kid­screen were, by An­necy, meet­ing en­thu­si­as­tic re­sponse from pro­duc­ers and net­work buy­ers alike.

MIP Jr.’s open­ing party this year was ded­i­cated to a new cli­mate cartoon, Sea Be­liev­ers.

This Fall, one of the big­gest net­works held a brain­storm sum­mit on cli­mate, and how to en­gi­neer con­tent that re­flects its new rel­e­vance to kids.

Right now, the topic of cli­mate and kids’ me­dia is mostly still in its con­ver­sa­tion stage. But there are many more con­ver­sa­tions than a year ago. The more we have these con­ver­sa­tions – the more you have them — the more con­nec­tions are made. The more al­liances. The more great con­tent to move for­ward from talk to ac­tion.

Al­ready, more fund­ing sources are en­gag­ing with cli­mate slates. More green shows are be­ing pitched and more net­work execs are re­cep­tive to them. Many forces are in­de­pen­dently churn­ing in dif­fer­ent cor­ners of our in­dus­try, and start­ing to churn each other. These are start­ing to turn into col­lec­tive ac­tions.

And one thing our tribe does once we de­cide to – we get stuff done. Lots of it. What’s more, those of us start­ing to en­gage with the prob­lem are hav­ing a blast. Imag­ine the whole in­dus­try go­ing from a mood of help­less­ness to one of tremen­dous em­pow­er­ment. Em­pow­er­ment be­cause we’re ac­tu­ally get­ting bril­liant, hope­ful ideas for cli­mate ac­tion— in the form of awe­somely fun and hi­lar­i­ous shows — into the hands of kids around the globe.

Then imag­ine those ideas mix­ing with kids’ own ideas — and how much change could oc­cur. If we keep it up, all signs point to, you got it: a tip­ping point of our own.

And if we’re go­ing to beat this thing, that’s ex­actly the can of whup-ass we could use right now. ◆

“Imag­ine the whole in­dus­try go­ing from a mood of help­less­ness to one of tremen­dous em­pow­er­ment.”

The Pink Pan­ther has dealt with many ‘Tip­ping Point’ is­sues through­out his ca­reer.

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