Up Next: What’s developing in kids production

Mummysboy sets the stage for DreamMakers
February 1, 2004

Mummysboy sets the stage for DreamMakers

Ever wonder where dreams come from? Well, according to a new series from U.K. indie studio Mummysboy, they’re created in an amateur studio run by a dedicated crew of movie-making bedbugs. Targeting the six to nine set, DreamMakers goes behind the scenes to check out the often-chaotic process of weaving dreams that thrill somnolent audiences everywhere. In one episode, the Tooth Fairy gets kicked off the set of a dream after she cracks a smile and reveals that her seemingly pearly whites are marred by one tooth that’s black with decay. When she refuses to go to the dentist, the director auditions counting sheep with strap-on wings to take her place.

Created by Mummysboy founder Peter Dodd, the 26 x 13-minute model animation series will be digitally shot for a budget of US$4.5 million. Dodd is currently in talks with broadcasters and is negotiating a co-production deal. At press time, a pilot/trailer DVD was finished, along with a bible and scripts.

Musical robots dominate Bzots

Mixing the rebellious nature of rock ‘n’ roll with robots, B-movies and classic Japanese sci-fi, Eat Your Lunch’s Bzots is a mixed-media series aiming to teach kids ages eight and under about music and modern corporate society. The 13 x half-hour series stars three live-action assembly-line robots who escape the clutches of their narrow-minded corporate employer (Globocrud) to follow their bliss and form a band. In each ep, the trio uses the power of song and support from the citizens of Phantberg to help keep the evil corporate conglom from returning them to the assembly line.

Illinois-based Eat Your Lunch is shopping for presales and co-producers for this US$2.6-million series, which it expects to complete by Q4 2004. A CD of 14 Bzots songs and two half-hour home videos are finished, and there are plans for a live 30-minute touring show with videos, special effects and plenty of audience participation.

Icon Animation has more than three wishes for Flukey Fred

Spanish hotshop Icon Animation will revisit a classic Arabian tale in its new 52 x 11-minute Flash series Flukey Fred. Aimed at seven- to 11-year-olds, the show stars a witty 10-year-old boy who tries to avoid catastrophe after releasing party-hardy genie Ali Oli from the magic lamp that’s been his home for the last 1,000 years.

Although the genie’s spells are intended to make Fred look like a superhero to his friends, they don’t always hit the mark. In one episode, for example, a pair of magical cleats inadvertently turn Fred into a ballroom dancer, embarrassing him in front of the girl he wanted to impress with his soccer abilities. Another time, an enchanted weather map Ali Oli creates so that Fred can enjoy a sunny day at the beach during the off-season gets into the hands of an unscrupulous businessman, who uses it to sell air conditioners, winter coats and umbrellas. At the end of each ep, Fred reverses the magical SNAFUs on his own, proving that his problem-solving skills are more powerful than the genie’s paranormal tricks.

Icon, currently working on Lola & Virginia for Disney Channel Spain and preschool property Vitaminix with Digital Y Cual, is actively hunting for Flukey Fred co-production partners and presales. The US$5-million series has generated solid co-pro interest from an as-yet-unnamed pay-TV network, and Icon anticipates the production schedule to last a year and a half after the financing falls into place.

Foothill goes Gododo for the Dodo

Filled with abstract and Monty Python-esque gags, Foothill Entertainment’s new series Gododo takes a 3-D look at the life of the last Dodo bird on earth.

Without using dialogue, the show for six- to 12-year-olds tags along with its feathered protagonist on a surreal quest to follow unexplained arrows that don’t seem to lead anywhere in particular. Accompanied by his pal Ducky, Dodo seems to constantly be the butt of some great cosmic joke. For example, the pair comes across a box with a large button, which hapless Dodo presses without thinking. A large showerhead emerges and washes him in a funny light that turns him into a potted plant. After a swarm of bees appears from nowhere and strips the Dodo plant of his foliage, he emerges from the large seed pot he was planted in unscathed, unaffected and ready to follow the next arrow.

Gododo’s US$7.15-million budget is for 26 x half hours, but each episode can be split into two 11-minute interstitials. Foothill is looking for co-production partners, and based on solid interest from French and Canadian producers, the series’ delivery date is set for Q4 2005.

Playhut follows the Signz to urban safety

Giving kids the knowledge they need to make their hometowns safer and cleaner places to live is the goal of Little Signz, a co-pro from L.A.’s Kick Start Productions, Hong-Ying Studios and Playhut Entertainment.

Going after a three to seven audience, the 2-D animated series is populated by personifications of everyday street signs such as Sassy Stoppy, Captain Yield and Ziggnal. The colorful Signz each have human characteristics and personalities, and they walk viewers through safety and co-operation tactics. In ‘Teamwork,’ the pilot episode directed by Emmy-winner Robert H. Fuentes III, the Signz work together to host a safe and fun parade in the Big City.

Playhut Entertainment is shopping for additional co-producers, broadcasters and distributors, and the 26 x half-hour project is budgeted at around US$9.1 million.

BFC brings infectiously funny tween toon Sherm! to market

Going long on the gross factor to appeal to tweens in the seven to 13 age range, Berliner Film Companie is in production on a new series that will launch this month at the KidScreen Summit. The 26 x 11-minute 2-D toon stars a hapless teen whose pubescent years are further complicated when he’s saddled with five well-meaning but clueless germs during a botched lab experiment. As Sherm struggles through teenage issues like untimely pimples and the discovery of girls, his germs’ over-enthusiastic attempts to help him cope backfire comically. Their advice on how to consort with the fairer sex is bad enough (since girls love shoes and dieting, they reason that telling a date she has big, stinky feet and cottage-cheese legs should go over like gangbusters) is bad enough, but the real trouble starts when they actually pitch in.

When Sherm is afraid his date won’t find him exciting enough, the germs morph themselves together into his form and set out to show the girl how fun and daring Sherm can be. But unable to control their own excitement, the germs end up attacking the girl at camp and draining the lake to boot.

With a pool of top L.A. talent working closely with core staff in Berlin, BFC takes a global approach to the creative process that should give its projects solid international legs. Budgeted at US$400,000 per half hour, Sherm! has already been picked up by Super RTL in Germany, and BFC is working to secure additional presales. The show is on track to be completed by late 2004 or early 2005, and BFC plans to develop a Sherm! merchandise program that covers categories including interactive, publishing and toys.

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