With more than a decade in the animation trenches and one start-up year under their belts, the three founders of new U.S. studio B*Friend Animation have come up for air armed with a host of new show concepts that are ripe for partnerships.
Studio principals and long-time friends Joe Daniello (Fairly OddParents, The Lion King 1 1/2), Louie del Carmen (Kim Possible, Rugrats) and Steve Ressel (The Wild Thornberrys, Rugrats) have enough combined experience in animation, producing and directing to handle just about any project. But it wasn’t until they were teamed up by Nick on Invader Zim that the inspiration to start their own studio set in. Though B*Friend has been working as a service-based studio since it opened its doors in early 2003, the trio has spent the past year coming up with new ideas for proprietary content and recruiting talent.
One of the first properties B*Friend will have on the market is Home of the Modified (65 x 22 minutes). Geared to the six to 12 set, the
2-D/3-D toon stars 16-year-old twin sisters trying to work their way up the NASCAR circuit with no money or experience, and just a rusty bucket of a car.
In the preschool arena, CGI series Trubble Bub tells the story of a little bubble born in the sink who solves problems around the house using whatever’s on hand. Daniello says the company is considering developing Trubble Bub as five-minute shorts that can be packaged as either half-hour or hour-long segments for TV and DVD.
Rounding out the B*Friend slate is an animated comedy called Laptop and Mouse (130 x 11 minutes), about a loyal cat and his manipulative mouse friend who are always trying to oust the humans and take over the house. Daniello describes the 2-D toon as similar in tone to Ren & Stimpy, but geared to the eight to 12 demo.
B*Friend is hunting for broadcasters, co-production partners and distributors, and Daniello says the company is close to signing a co-production deal with an Indian prodco that has capital to invest, but lacks experience in the U.S. market. ‘We’re going to help them develop their studio a bit, because they need a little more guidance when it comes to doing projects in foreign markets,’ he says.