Animation Magazine

Git Along, Little Dinos!

Dino Ranch creator Matthew Fernandes tells us about the creation of his hot new Disney Junior show.


Dino Ranch creator Matthew Fernandes tells us about the creation of his hot new Disney Junior show.

Last month, a thrilling world of wide-open spaces and incredible prehistori­c creatures was unveiled on the new preschool animated series Dino Ranch. The show, which is produced by Industrial Brothers and Boat Rocker Studios, follows the Cassidy family as they tackle life on their ranch/dinosaur sanctuary in a fantastica­l “pre-westoric” world. The show’s creator Mathew Fernandes, who is also Industrial Brothers’ creative director and co-founder, tells us that the series was inspired by his own childhood, growing up in farm country.

“The one thing I learned about observing farm life was that the adults depended heavily on their family to make the farm successful,” says Fernandes, whose other big credits include Remy & Boo, Top Wing, Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologi­st and Kingdom Force. “What was interestin­g to me was that just as much as the adults counted on each other to handle important jobs, they also counted on the children to help. So, I had always been interested in doing a story about kids on a family ranch. Of course, I have always had a love of dinosaurs, so the idea of mixing the two felt really fresh and unique for this age group.”

According to Fernandes, Dino Ranch had a very speedy transition from idea to production. “At every stage people just immediatel­y understood the concept and could see the potential,” he notes. “I only created the concept a few years ago, so the process was very quick. Thankfully we have a wonderful team of artists and storytelle­rs that eagerly jumped on board.

The production work is split between our studios in Toronto with animation being done at Jam Filled out in Ottawa. We have about 75 people working on the show, and our pipeline is primarily a mixture of Maya and Arnold.”

So Many Dinosaurs!

One of the big challenges for Fernandes was matching his creative vision with the actual budget and schedule.“What made this production a challenge was the number of dinosaurs in our world interactin­g with our characters. Our dinosaurs carry so much personalit­y, so there were a lot of very unique performanc­es to manage in order to pull the scenes off. Thankfully, our team was up for the challenge and went above and beyond our creative vision for the show.”

When asked about the state of animation in 2021, Fernandes responds, “We live in confusing times and it has been challengin­g for many families at home and many businesses that have felt the effects of COVID. The animation industry has been one of the few lucky industries that has managed to continue on with production and adapt to a remote lifestyle. First and foremost, I think we have a responsibi­lity to not only entertain families at home but also to create content that can help children understand these new, complex feelings and interpret the world that is currently around them. I hope that Dino Ranch will offer parents and their preschoole­rs irresistib­le escapism to the wild frontier.”

Looking back at his early days in the business, Fernandes muses, “Dex Hamilton was the first show I ever created and so much has evolved since that time, both personally and in the animation scene. Directly after Dex, I founded Industrial Brothers with my business partner, Arthur Spanos, with a goal of making cool stuff for kids. Ten years and nine shows later, we are still trying to push the envelope, both creatively and technicall­y, to produce premium content. But it feels like, in the last few years, 3D animation has only continued to become faster, more innovative and more accessible.”

The talented animation creator hopes that his new show is something in which young audiences enjoy immersing. “With wide-open natural green spaces and big blue skies, viewers will be transporte­d to a place where they can discover the exhilarati­ng blend of dinosaurs, outdoor adventures and ranch life for themselves,” he promises. “But also, for me, Dino Ranch is about family. While we have a lot of fun with the ranchers and their dinosaurs, it all comes back to the importance of family, strength and unity in our lives.” ◆

Dino Ranch airs on Disney Junior and DisneyNOW in the U.S. You can learn more about Industrial Brothers at www.industrial­

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