As Cartoon Network gears up to enter the live-action realm, Ramsey A. Naito has been called in as the new VP of long-form development to spearhead the endeavor. Naito’s putting her six years of experience in development and production on Nickelodeon films such as The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and Rugrats Gone Wild to work in the new post.
Naito’s overseeing the network’s first original movie Reanimated. Unveiled at CN’s Upfront presentation this past March, the animation/live-action hybrid tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who needs an emergency brain transplant following an amusement park accident. ‘It’s helping to define what live action means for us,’ Naito says. ‘We are making live action which has an animation sensibility and animation timing.’ The launch date is expected to be announced soon.
Naito hopes Reanimated will be the first of several Cartoon Network movies done in a quirky live-action style. She is now exploring various avenues to sniff out new projects including taking pitches, meeting with creators and attending book fairs. Finding long-format toon projects is also in the offing; however, Ramsey is more interested in original live-action ideas right now. She hopes to put six to eight projects into development in the coming year, from both in-house and external sources.
Naito’s keeping an open mind while taking pitches with the only requirements being that the material be funny and appropriate for CN’s boys six to 11 demo. Although she will accept packages (provided they are not unsolicited ideas), she’s primarily inviting pitches from agents, managers and studio contacts.
Since earning her Master’s of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts, Naito has been involved in animation in one form or another. She landed at Nickelodeon first after working on the South Park feature film, the adult-targeted toon Duckman and various direct-to-video projects at DreamWorks. Kids entertainment was not her intended career path, but she is glad that it found her. ‘I fell into it for sure. But it was pleasant to fall into.’