Although it’s earned its reputation as an adept producer of offbeat middle-grade and family-targeted fare like Yakkity Yak and Yvon of Yukon, Vancouver, Canada-based toon house Studio B Productions is ready to flex its creative muscles in other kids genres.
‘We want to broaden our horizons and build a slate that will carry us into the next few years,’ says Studio B partner Chris Bartleman, who notes that with the animation industry still struggling, the need for small- to medium-sized studios to diversify has intensified.
Signaling its first crack at the boys action genre, Class of the Titans (26 x 22 minutes) is set in a high school and centers on a group of teens who are the descendents of Greek gods. Hercules (now a dim-witted jock) and the rest of the adolescent immortals must band together to thwart ancient evil forces that are threatening humanity. Studio B is close to a Canadian broadcast sale for Titans, which, as with most of its series, will be produced at a per-episode budget of between US$250,000 and US$260,000.
If you found the fountain of youth, would you take a drink? That’s the question explored in the paranormal 2-D toon Deadly (26 x 22 minutes). Based on the same-name Australian book series by Morris Gleitzman and Paul Jennings, the show is about a mysterious blue tea plant that can reverse the aging process. The problem is that it’s leading to disastrous consequences – giraffes with two heads, parents trapped in the bodies of toddlers, etc. Tweens Sprocket and Amy are charged with rounding up the plants and stopping their six-year-old brother, who, as it turns out, is actually a middle-aged madman with designs on blowing up the planet. Produced in association with Australia’s SLR, Deadly is scheduled to head into production in 2004.
For its initial stab at preschool, Studio B has assembled a couple of properties with publishing pedigree to spare. Lassie (52 x 11 minutes), which the company is producing with New York-based Classic Media, will focus on the do-gooder pooch’s puppy days. Studio B has also optioned the rights to Pierre and Pal’ette, based on books by Lisa and Ralph Cosentino that star a mouse/artiste and his turtle chum. Designed to encourage art appreciation amongst tots, the series (39 x seven minutes) will introduce kids to history’s great artisans. Studio B is pitching Pierre and Pal’ette to Canadian broadcasters and hopes to announce a sale by MIPCOM.