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Head Start hits its stride

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.
June 1, 2004

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.

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