Thursday, October 30, 2008

Smaller Studio Walk Around

Today was my Universal Cartoon Studio day, high up in the Black Tower on Lankershim.

The main dish cooking at U.C.S. right now is Curious George. The series is now in its fourth season, and bopping right along. As one of the crew said:

"Our ratings are good, we've won some awards, and PBS seems to be happy. Maybe we can be like Sesame Street, and be on for twenty years ..."

In today's glorious economic environment, nobody is looking to jump from studio to studio chasing an extra $26.50 per week. Twenty years working on one series, or even seven years, is more than fine.

And Universal Cartoons is still working on the Curious George direct-to-video feature. This baby has been in work a while, and is now in the retake stage. Although the series is solid, I'm informed that the company isn't looking to greenlight another video George feature until this one rolls out and the suits see how it performs.

And yesterday at Warners Animation, I learned that storyboard work on Public Enemy (a Superman/Batman direct-to-video feature) is wrapping up, and work continues on Batman The Brave and the Bold:

"I've seen the first episode of The Brave and the Bold, and it looks really good. And the script's good. Second one's nice, too. I just wish that somebody at Time-Warner would crack Cartoon Network and Warners Animation on the head and get them to support each other. I walk around and see Warners characters everywhere, and I know T-W should be doing more with them. Makes me crazy that they're not."

The above is a long-time WA employee talking.

Warners, like Universal, doesn't have a lot of product in work just now. Both have items in development, but the low-hanging cupboards are mostly bare.

Warners does have a Scooby Doo direct-to-video feature poised to go into work (for you can never have too much Scooby Doo.)

Warners is now ginning up a raft of new projects; hopefully some of these will make it to series and video features and a new era of booming employment will happen at Warners.

In the meantime, there is Scooby Doo!


Anonymous said...

Sesame Street should have been cancelled a long time ago. At least before a shrill, red-haired monster made his debut. :D But seriously, all that show does is teach kids to watch TV and get bored at school when their teachers don't sing, dance and wave puppets around during the lessons. If "educational" television is such a boon, how come so many kids today are so illiterate?

Anonymous said...

Great - blame PBS for the increased amount of stupid kids.
Sesame Street actually inspired my preschoolets to read and they love school. Elmo can go $@%# himself though. This message brought to you by the letter 17.

Anonymous said...

There was a time when shows like Sesame Street and The Electric Company were pretty cool and kept a lot of NYC animators employed (nowadays I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they probably outsource their animation to other countries) .

But I have heard actual school teachers complain about that very coolness factor that the first anonymous mentioned: how does an ordinary human being in a classroom compete with the entertainment pizazz of puppets, animation, song and dance ? If kids are inculcated from early on with the expectation that they only pay attention to something that is educational as long as it is "entertaining" , then where does that leave teachers who don't have all that jazz ?

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