What’s Developing in Kids Production

Matt's Monsters takes on the lighter side of scary
February 1, 2008

Matt’s Monsters takes on the lighter side of scary

All monsters are pretty much scary nuisances. So that’s why one brave and adventurous family starts up the Monsters, Ghouls and Demons Agency, dedicated to corralling the world’s more frightening culprits.

Thus, Matt’s Monsters follows average kid, Matt as he pursues his unusual after-school vocation – hunting for monsters with his dad. Meanwhile, mom books calls and markets the boogeyman-busting business. Often joining Matt on his hunting expeditions are goth-influenced tomboy neighbor, Manson, and Dink, the family’s now-tame pet monster.

To keep things light, not all the monsters are particularly ghoulish, and some are downright wacky. There’s giant Swiss cheese cipher Cheesosaurus and an oversized candy-shaped specter that only comes out at Halloween to steal sweet treats, for example.

Matt also has to balance his pursuits alongside his regular school life, all the while contending with antagonists Madame Bovary and Dr. Appendix. The pair aspires to take over the world employing an army of monsters.

Co-producers Alphanim in Paris and Torino, Italy-based Lanterna Magica are literally splitting the production of the 52 x 13-minute eps right down the middle. Scripting and 2-D animation will be handled in France and Italy to accommodate broadcasters M6 and RAI, which have both invested in the show.

The story is the brainchild of Alphanim’s Jan Van Rijsselberge and the company’s producer Clément Calvet ballparks the total budget at about US$9.3 million. Production is underway, so the show should be ready for delivery by the end of 2008.

Kapow aims to hit the tween note with CJ the DJ

Hoping to appeal to the eight to 12 set, Sydney, Australia’s Kapow Pictures is crafting CJ the DJ, a hip 2-D toon about an aspiring 15-year-old DJ and her street-wise social life. CJ (aka Catherine Jones), however, isn’t starting at the top of the heap and has to work her way up the ranks of DJ stardom. And if that means she has to spin at her Granny’s 60th birthday party or drop the needle at a beagle’s bar mitzvah, so be it.

Family plays a significant role in the series. For example, in one episode, CJ helps her father’s delivery business by designing a way-cool ad for him. Friends like hip-hop artist Si are also a big part of CJ’s city life, and between going to school and performing gigs, CJ feeds her musical passion with a part-time job at a record store.

Not surprisingly, music is an important component of the show. All 52, 11-minute eps will feature a 30- to 60-second music video that can also serve as standalone webisodes or downloads. These dialogue-free clips are stylistically different from the core show, but will tie in loosely with the corresponding episode. Kapow is working with Sony to commission original music for the series and ABC Australia is also planning to release a soundtrack.

Production is underway on four episodes, while Malaysia’s Vision New Media is onboard as a co-pro partner. Budgeted at between US$6.2 million and US$8.9 million, CJ the DJ has been commissioned by ABC Australia and is slated for delivery in June 2009.

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