The Man with the Golden Touch!
Fred Seibert’s FredFilms searches for fresh talent and distinct voices in animation.
We all know Fred Seibert as the brilliant cable TV pioneer and Emmy-winning animation producer behind such acclaimed shows as Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors, The Fairly OddParents, Castlevania, Bravest Warriors and Bee & Puppycat. Last year, Seibert launched a new production company called FredFilms, with a first-look deal with VIS Kids (a division of Paramount Global). He was kind enough to give us an update on what he’s been working on along with FredFilms’ director of development Casey Gonzalez:
Congrats on your fantastic new venture, Fred. Can you tell us what prompted you to form FredFilms?
Animation is having yet another golden age driven as always by new technologies. The rise of streaming platforms has given the unique creators I work with a whole new landscape to have their innovative voices and stories told. And the success that many projects are finding in streaming, both adult and kid-targeted series, has re-opened the eyes of executives at linear networks as well to invest in premium animation programming. With that said, I thought it marked the perfect time to set up a new production company where I can focus 100% of my energies on what I truly love to do: nurture fresh talent and emerging voices, and help bring to life amazing, cutting-edge animation.
How would you describe FredFilms and the types of projects you look for? • Creators first, character first.
What are the stories that need to be told now? FredFilms looks for projects with unforgettable protagonists that drive ambitious stories. All our projects have a stand-out creator with a strong and distinct POV, great storytelling chops, and a strong grasp on character. • Original, always. We champion emerging voices and original projects. • Your Next Favorite Cartoon. Our doors are open for anything that we can’t say ‘no’ too; we want to make your next favorite cartoon. • We love kids comedy and we always will! But we’re also looking to embrace more adult comedy, and we’re exploring more anime-adjacent projects (a la Castlevania). Right now we’re in the midst of several reimagined reboots –ah, the times we live in– and thrilled about the new Bee and PuppyCat (created by Natasha Allegri) coming to Netflix soon, and Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake in production from Cartoon Network Studios for HBO Max.
What is your take on the global animated feature scene?
The audience is expanding past all the wonderful “animation nerds.” In the same way that Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! mainstreamed American kids into international cartoons, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train and Your Name seem like they’re helping an expansion of the feature audience that the anime action pictures and Studio Ghibli releases began.
Last month, everyone was talking about the slowdown at Netflix and how it impacts other streamers…What is your prediction?
Netflix has been the great disruptor that led us all into streaming and sometimes it’s easy for everyone to take pot shots. As they stay so far ahead of the curve, it’s inevitable they’ll take some missteps here and there. Soon enough, others are going to bring about their own innovations and that will be good for our industry and great for viewers. The challenge that Netflix has in animation and all those who are following them is to create hits. In the scheme of things there are a lot of people who can create wonderful shows. Where are the people who know how to make us all pay attention? We certainly live in fascinating times!
What kind of advice do you offer young animation newbies who have the dream of creating their own shows?
The first and best advice I got when I started out was to stay focused on great characters and great stories. No matter what medium or style someone works in, it was true then, true today, and will be true tomorrow. Tell the story YOU need to tell. What experience makes a work something only you could create? What can your perspective add to a larger conversation, and how do you translate that into a compelling story? It’s tough out there. Persevere. Making good art is an essential part of seeing your show made, but it’s just one part of the process!
Your favorite animated shows and movies of all time?
You’ve got to be kidding. We could fill this page! For more info, please visit fredfilms.com