Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Animated Dilbert Resurrected

This I find interesting:

... daily Dilbert animated cartoons launched today on YouTube and on iTunes as a free, subscription podcast. They will soon be available via RSS feeds, widgets, mobile and numerous other websites. These animated shorts bring the comic strip to life in a way that is perfect for the multi-platform digital media world ...

For those keeping track, Dilbert launched as a half-hour prime-time series back in 1999. Sony had the franchise, and hopes were high when it had a solid debut on the UPN network.

The series was done in a couple of places. One was in Culver City, where Sony already had an animation studio, but the other location was at the corner of Lankershim and Magnolia Boulevards in North Hollywood. Sony was recruiting a lot of top-flight animation talent for the project, and it knew that having a studio in the east San Fernando Valley would be helpful. Few artists were keen on plowing along the 405 Freeway to Culver City.

Sony-Adelaide, the company's teevee tune arm, ended up leasing space that Disney Television Animation had recently vacated, and it was a weird feeling for me to stroll into the same rooms I'd been going through for years and see Dilbert boards and designs festooning the walls rather than Disney product. I remember thinking: This is like walking into a recurring dream where everything is sort of the same but just a little ... different.

Sadly, Dilbert lasted only two seasons before folding its tent. Sony put a lot of time, effort and money behind the show, but it just never took flight like some of the Fox prime-time half-hours did.

Now, thanks to the magic of New Media, Dilbert the (Reborn) Animated Version has a second lease on life, though from listening to it, the newer Dilbert doesn't have the same voice cast as before.


Anonymous said...

These are being produced out of Santa Monica and the animation is outsourced to Argentina.

Anonymous said...

"the animation is outsourced to Argentina"

Are you sure about that ? I read on that the animation was provided by Powerhouse Animation in Austin, Texas (which would technically be "outsourced" from the main studio in Santa Monica, CA , but still domestic animation production in the U.S.)

New Dilbert Shorts on

It seems to me that simple Flash-animation stuff like Dilbert is the sort of thing where the animation production work can easily be kept domestic since Flash based stuff can be done faster with a smaller crew. I can't see how this would be an advantage to outsource outside the U.S. (I wonder if one of the episodes they animate will be based on the outsourcing strips that Scott Adams did ? )

This brings up the question: which L.A. area studios are not outsourcing their animation outside of the U.S. these days ? Has Flash-based production really brought that much animation work back to the L.A. area specifically and the U.S. in general as was hoped ? A few years ago we were hearing encouraging news about studios like Renegade Animation in Glendale who were able to keep all or most of their animation production domestic since they went to a Flash-based production pipeline.

(I'm talking about specifically animation work , not only the pre-production vis. dev. or storyboarding parts of the job.)

Anonymous said...

My mistake, The New Yorker cartoons that the same company does are animated in Argentina

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