Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Cartoon Incubator

Though it's often overlooked, Mr. Seibert is one of the Movers and Shakers in Cartoonland.

YouTube has turned to [Fred} Seibert and his company, Frederator Studios, which operates Cartoon Hangover, to create a crop of offbeat animated shorts for the millennial generation.

"The Internet is ushering in the next golden age of animation," Seibert said. "The Internet provides an outlet for people who can't get their material seen in traditional places and opens up new creative avenues and new creative audiences, just like cable did to broadcasting."

Since its debut in 2012, Cartoon Hangover has become one of YouTube's fastest-growing channels, drawing more than 13 million unique viewers to original programs, including "Bee & PuppyCat" and its flagship series "Bravest Warriors," from Pendleton Ward, creator of the Cartoon Network hit "Adventure Time." ...

"For 15 years I've been trying to sell teenage-oriented girl animation," he said. "I've been rejected pretty roundly by people telling me that teenage girls don't watch animation, which I think is hogwash."
Seibert cites the popularity of Natasha Allegri's "Bee & PuppyCat," which has drawn more than 5 million views since the first short ran in July. More than 18,000 show fans recently raised $872,133 in a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of a dozen more episodes, he said. ...

Fred's the guy who pretty much invented modern day cartoon development for the T.V. Nobody previously had flung the development doors wide open to all comers, inviting them to pitch their ideas for shows. When Mr. Seibert launched the "open pitch" technique, nobody else was doing it. Now it's practiced widely.

He and his team zero in on the likeliest prospects. A few years ago, he developed "Adventure Time" under the Nick umbrella. When Nickelodeon upper management passed (over studio honcho Mark Taylor's urgings to turn the pilot into a series) Fred took it to Cartoon Network ... where it became a hit.

And Fred's reach and influence are ubiquitous. He flies to Burbank so regularly that he keeps clothes stored at a hotel near Warners so he doesn't have to pack and unpack (smart, eh?) He called Yours Truly a few years ago, pitching the idea of video podcasts (at the time we were doing audio only.)

He is not a man who slows down much. Or is very often denied. And he's always pushing the idea envelope. Maybe that's why he's still a continuing force in cartoons, decades after he got involved with Nickelodeon and Hanna-Barbera.


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