San Francisco-based Wild Brain has finally got its first television series off the ground. With commercials for kid-targeting clients including Coca-Cola, Nike,
Levi-Strauss and KFC under its belt, the stu-
dio is currently co-producing a tube series with Munich-based EM.TV & Merchandising.
Poochini’s Yard is a 26 x half-hour, 2-D animated show for ages six and up. Wild Brain won’t release an exact budget yet, but CEO Jeffrey Ulin says it will be less that US$400,000 an episode. It is set around the exploits of a high society dog who is suddenly orphaned and adopted by a suburban family, who treat him like a dog for the first time in his life. Distribution rights will be split, with EM.TV handling the international scene, and Wild Brain managing the U.S. The series is based on Wild Brain’s short film A Dog Cartoon, which was shopped at MIPCOM last year.
Besides Poochini’s Yard, rough series samples going to the market this year include kid properties Mr. Baby, The Wild Brain and family-oriented comedy Horse Sense.
Co-founder and exec producer Jeff Fino says the company has grown significantly from ‘humble beginnings, when we had a couple of animation desks, bought a computer, and picked up jobs here and there.’ That was four and a half years ago. Credits now include some current production on feature films The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right for Universal Studios. In August, Wild Brain got a financial vote of confidence in the form of a US$6.5-million first-round investment from Interfase Capital Partners. That money, Ulin says, will help fund development as the company moves from for-hire work into producing its own product. ‘The goal has always been to develop our own properties,’ Ulin says. ‘But you can’t do that from day one.’