There's a dog in my bucket...
September 1, 2001

There’s a dog in my bucket…

The latest 2-D offering from U.K. production house Splash, Hackman: A Dog in a Bucket will have its first airing at MIPCOM next month. With a bible almost complete, the 26 x 10-minute project is in the pre-production/development stage, says Splash CEO Russel Dever, with full-blown production slated to start in early spring 2002 for a spring 2003 delivery.

Hackman is a three-year-old spaniel who lives with his owners in a Manhattan apartment. For a year now, he’s been seeing a FART–Fellow of the Association of Regression Therapies–every week to resolve deep-seeded neuroses that are the result of a faulty ‘Pet-Cop’ product. Designed to keep him from chewing and peeing when he was a pup, the Pet-Cop malfunctioned and punished Hackman at random. Understandably, Hackman grew up somewhat confused; he developed a bad skin condition and had to wear a yellow plastic head bucket to keep him from scratching. Although the itch has long since disappeared, Hackman and his bucket remain almost inseparable.

An original TV concept, the US$3-million series targets teens and young adults and comes from the mind of British cartoon strip artist Bill Houston, who Dever met through a friend of a friend. ‘Normally we target niche areas, but this looked too good to pass up,’ says Dever. Splash holds all the rights to the property and has raised 50% of the capital so far.

How Spielberg got his start?

One of many projects coming out of Vancouver, Canada-based Studio B these days, Little Ian is the latest concept from Yvon of the Yukon creator Ian Corlett. In development as 13 half hours for Canadian kidnet YTV, Studio B has signed Toronto’s Decode Entertainment to distribute the series.

‘It’s a multimedia extravaganza,’ says Blair Peters, co-founder and partner of Studio B along with Chris Bartleman. The pair describes Little Ian as based primarily in the 2-D world, but with forays into stock film footage and other animation styles.

Ian is a wannabe film director who frequently escapes into the film world à la HBO’s Dream On. He’s always sketching story ideas in his notebook, which also get animated when he’s really absorbed in the doodles (he’s not the best artist, so they’re basically just stick figures come to life).

The series is being developed for eight- to 12-year-olds, but it could easily skew up into the young teen realm, says Peters. Budgeted at roughly US$300,000 per episode, Ian is slotted to go into production this January for a fall 2002 delivery.

Astounding web comic set to hit TV

If you crossed Dr. Who and Indiana Jones, you’d wind up with Argosy Smith, the hero of Astounding Space Thrills, an Internet comic series being developed for TV by L.A.-based Wolfmill Entertainment. But perhaps the most astounding thing is that the web strip receives over 6,000 daily visits at and is shown on an additional 3,000 websites, culminating in over half a million hits each month. The concept was created by Virginia-based multimedia developer Steve Conley, and the web series has been airing for around two years.

Wolfmill isn’t sure whether AST will be rendered in 2-D or CGI, so budgets (likely for 26 half hours) weren’t clearly established at press time, but Wolfmill co-founder Craig Miller could say that per-ep price tags would run between US$250,000 and US$300,000 for 2-D, and closer to US$400,000 for CGI. Although no deals have been inked yet, ‘we’ve been in discussions with CG companies in England, Spain and France for co-production,’ says Miller, and the company is looking for a distribution partner.

The concept is Golden-Age comic meets classic sci-fi, with a good dose of humor. Rocket adventurer Argosy and his posse of misfits navigate a post-Shift universe in which all the laws of physics have been turned upside down. Attempting to maintain balance in the chaos, the gang tangles with baddies ranging from mad scientists, to alien warlords, to mutant space monkeys.

Wolfmill is hoping to have a deal signed so production can start at the end of this year, with a fall 2002 delivery in mind. Wolfmill will manage all TV rights.

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