Tagging kids entertainment as fertile ground for sowing their investment dollars when they launched Head Start Entertainment in March 2003, venture capitalists Doug Warr and Dwayne Corbitt are now in a position to sit back and watch their first seeds grow.
The L.A.-based financing company was established to provide initial funding for creative concepts targeting kids, as well as to help find private investors or co-production partners once the projects move into development.
For one of the outfit’s first properties, an action-adventure toon called Z-Force that was created by L.A.’s Earthworks Entertainment, the company put in US$500,000 to put a trailer together. Once the concept could be a bit more impressively shown, Head Start was able to find a private investor to put up the US$4 million needed to finish the show. Targeting the six to 12 set, Z-Force (26 x 22 minutes) is about 12 average guys and their high-flying animal alter egos (each one based on a different sign of the Chinese zodiac). The episodes will roll out on DVD in Q4 before hitting the TV programming market early next year. Warr also anticipates launching a trading card game in Q4, and is exploring the idea of packaging it with the DVDs.
Merchandise will also be a key driver for Da Jammies, a concept that’s being co-developed by Earthworks and Walnut, California’s Toon Farm. The property will start life as a line of clothing (to be created by Nike designer Martin D. Woods) and toys (produced by Vacant, the here-today-gone-tomorrow chain of temporary urban stores). Vacant plans to roll out both product ranges in August, and DVD and TV entries will follow in Q4. A 26 x half-hour, music-themed series about two opposing teen hip-hop groups trying to hit the big time is currently in production, with guest stars from the real music world popping in from time to time. The members of hip-hop group Kansascali, for example, will star as animated characters in one episode of the 2-D animated tween series, as well as making a live appearance at the end of the show. Warr says the company plans to release a CD compilation of music from the toon, which may be packaged with the DVD.