Rumpus.com sticks with animated toon feature format
Coming directly on the heels of its first 45-minute Internet feature Herschel Hopper, New York Rabbit, kids webtoon hub Rumpus.com is already hard at work on movie number two. Primarily targeting surfers in the six to 12 age range, The Day I Saved America will roll out onto the web on November 20, packing some pretty heavy voice talent. Amanda Bynes, who hosts her own live-action show on Nickelodeon, will voice the lead character Harriet, a young girl who forms a posse with patriotic animal friends Verne the horse and Cincinnati the ‘balding’ eagle. Together, the trio saves George Washington from a kidnapping attempt mounted by the British after the Revolutionary War-as well as inventing such pillars of American culture as baseball, apple pie and rock `n roll along the way. In a weird gender-bending casting decision, ex-Beverly Hills, 90210 hottie Jason Priestley helps round out the cast, playing the role of first U.S. flag-maker Betsey Ross.
Rumpus.com VP of entertainment Jeff Roda says that in the months leading up to Herschel’s April 23 Internet debut, most people deemed the venture crazy; after all, kids will hardly sit still for dinner, let alone a 45-minute on-line movie. However, Roda says traffic for the first flick more than justified revisiting the format. A sneak peek of the new Flash-animated film is currently available on www.rumpus.com.
Wrestling clerks and babies with super-follicles in the teen toon pipeline
For teen webtoon aficionados, a new dedicated animation site is rolling out a slew of new webisodes before the end of the year. Locomotion.com, which officially launched on the Net in late August, is an off-shoot of the Locomotion Channel, a Spanish- and Portuguese-language animation TV channel jointly run by Cisneros Television Group and the Hearst Corporation.
The website is beefing up its programming portfolio this month with Rudo by Night, a web series centering around a night school that teaches mild-mannered grocery store clerks and the like how to be down-and-dirty wrestling stars. Created in Australia by Lili Chin and Eddie Mort (who did Hot Chunks for Nickelodeon), Rudo by Night is just the first in a whole whack of webtoons the pair has signed on to do for Locomotion.com. ‘Basically, anything that Nick would not be able to air, Mort does for us,’ says Locomotion GM Rodrigo Piza laughingly.
Next up from the duo Down Under are: Afro Baby, which is described as Shaft meets the Rugrats and stars a bad-ass baby sporting-you guessed it. . . a gigantic afro; and The Fuzz, which focuses on a plush bear who can’t stand the four-year-old girl he works for and enjoys a rather debauched after-hours social life with his buddies The Talking Sock and Mitten.
To drive viewers to the new webtoons, the Locomotion Channel will run promos for each web series during a prime-time toon that matches its tone. All of Locomotion.com’s on-line programming is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.