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Art studio looks to don licensor hat

After a 17-year stint producing retail-targeted artwork for toycos and apparel manufacturers, Tim Ellis is switching into property creation gear. 'I have worked on a number of the classics--He-Man, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite--and from 1995 to 1999, I was art director for Kmart's Sesame Street apparel line,' says the founder of graphics studio Ellistrations. 'Working on these properties that had become so strong and viable for other companies, I began to think, 'maybe I should try my hand at this.''
June 1, 2002

After a 17-year stint producing retail-targeted artwork for toycos and apparel manufacturers, Tim Ellis is switching into property creation gear. ‘I have worked on a number of the classics–He-Man, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite–and from 1995 to 1999, I was art director for Kmart’s Sesame Street apparel line,’ says the founder of graphics studio Ellistrations. ‘Working on these properties that had become so strong and viable for other companies, I began to think, ‘maybe I should try my hand at this.”

A team of writers was brought onboard to boost property development, but with TV toon aspirations for five of six debut concepts, Ellis knew he’d need to attract co-production partners to handle the animation and help with financing. ‘You know how some companies will sink their entire year’s advertising budget into one 30-second spot during the Super Bowl? Well, we thought that Licensing Show was the best place to draw some attention to Ellistrations and what we’re capable of.’

The New Albany, Ohio-based company will come to market with scripts and a bible in hand for Starbase D.A.R.E. (Defense and Rescue Elite), a toon concept for boys seven to 12 set in the distant future against the backdrop of Earth Colony 3. The show focuses on the day-to-day trials of emergency personnel responding to the problems of all life forms at light speed.

Ellis expects that tech-loving boys ages five to 10 will latch onto K.I.D. Gloves, an animated series that opens with six-year-old Calvin finding a pair of K-mega Interfaced Dynamic gloves that a bungling alien has misplaced. Unable to take them off once he puts them on, the gloves give Calvin super-human strength and an array of powers that can be problematic. For example, if he scratches his head with the wrong finger, a laser might pop out and give him an extreme haircut.

Capitalizing on market heat for the fantasy genre, Dinoswords targets boys ages seven to 10. When 13-year-old Steven Santoro falls down a mysterious shaft into an ancient ziggurat, he alerts an evil alien armada to his inadvertent discovery of the powerful King Sword. With the alien force now on the hunt for Steven and the weapon, only its ancient guardians–the Dinoswords–can protect him and help him track down the rest of the missing swords.

Targeted at boys and girls ages seven to 10, The Amazing Ed-Ventures of Reed Wright and Rithmatic could fill the current broadcast need for entertaining series produced along a learning curve. A slew of rogues–including word-masher Spellbinder, plagiaristic Little Red Writing Hood and uneducated dropout The Flunky–are trying to keep kids from learning in this series concept set in an 1890s frontier town. With access to high-tech gadgetry à la Wild Wild West, it’s up to boy adventurer Reed Wright and his horse Rithmatic to save the day.

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