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Boulder builds on service rep to launch toon originals

Sometimes all it takes is one lucky break for a studio to start attracting clients from the upper echelon of the kids TV world. For Dublin, Ireland's Boulder Media, landing the service contract for Cartoon Network original Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends catapulted the company onto the global stage. It wasn't long before the studio was producing pilots for Disney and animating El Tigre for Nickelodeon. And now, Boulder is hatching its own IP.
January 6, 2009

Sometimes all it takes is one lucky break for a studio to start attracting clients from the upper echelon of the kids TV world. For Dublin, Ireland’s Boulder Media, landing the service contract for Cartoon Network original Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends catapulted the company onto the global stage. It wasn’t long before the studio was producing pilots for Disney and animating El Tigre for Nickelodeon. And now, Boulder is hatching its own IP.

Ironically, the CN contract nearly didn’t come to pass. Boulder creative director Robert Cullen explains that he didn’t work up an initial test for Foster’s, convinced that a more established CGI shop would surely get the contract. But CN saw something in Boulder’s Flash work. ‘We were really trying to push what we could do with Flash,’ says Cullen, adding that the commission bumped the studio’s staff count up from six to 28 people.

And after several years of service jobs, Boulder is now moving on to develop its own IP in-house. Furthest along the shop’s pipeline is Carter and Son, an action-adventure series for boys eight to 12 about a telepathic kid who tours the globe with his father’s magic show. Each episode revolves around a mystery, which Cullen says will be a little scarier than those that kept the Scooby sleuths busy back in the day. At press time, Boulder was on the brink of signing a US broadcaster for the project.

Next up on the slate is Ship Antics. Targeting the eight to 10 crowd, this series revolves around a crazy merchant sea captain and his crew of weird creatures – including an octopus, an abominable snowman and a little crab named Peanut – who sail together on The Wonky Lobster. Scenes from the toon often feature cross-section views of the ship to simultaneously show several characters’ quarters and all the odd and funny things they get up to there.

Also in the incubator is a show about several chinchillas that just happen to be pets of a rich Hollywood actor. The twist is that the upscale rodents end up stranded in the wilderness when their owner’s plane crashes. Being pampered diva types with little knowledge outside the world of fashion and spa life, these chinchillas have zero survival skills. Bring on the slapstick!

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