Meddlesome heroines hook tween romantics
Nothing sets tween girls atwitter quite like trying to keeping abreast of the tales of puppy love blossoming around them. Enter SOS Cupids. The 52 x 2.5-minute series of animated shorts – in which love superheroes, or superheroines rather, try to match star-crossed lovers and resolve issues of the heart – should get tween girls’ attention.
The brainchild of Milan, Italy’s Neo Network, the concept has attracted Barcelona-based Imira Entertainment as a co-financier and distributor, as well as the satellite pay-TV arm of Italy’s pubcaster, RaiSat, as a co-producer. Imira is seeking more partners for the 2-D digital HD show it’s distributing globally outside of Italy. The 52 shorts, budgeted at US$1.5 million (including online assets), should be ready to bow this fall on Smash Girls, RaiSat’s channel wholly dedicated to girls eight to 12.
The Cupids, a gaggle of pixie-like do-gooders, are in love with love and strive to help resolve everyone’s romantic dilemmas. Each fast-paced ep has the Cupids tackling a love-related problem, such as how to communicate with an illiterate romantic interest as text messaging isn’t an option, or how to pursue a parachutist when you are afraid of heights. However, as grownups know, there are no easy fixes to the problems and obstacles encountered on the path to love and, so the Cupids’ best-meaning actions often end up creating bigger misunderstandings, which in turn generates a lot of slapstick humor.
Neo Network and Imira have been busy creating content for www.soscupids.com that launched this past Valentine’s Day, naturally. The site offers casual gaming and social networking as a means of building up a multi-platform following for the property. Down the road, the online content will marry up with the television shorts by posing questions that prompt viewers to go back and forth between mediums. Cell phone content will also be part of the eventual mix. And Imira CEO Sergi Reitg says, if successful, the concept could also play out as a half-hour live-action series.
My Momtourage and Me turns pop star dreams upside down
Santa-Barbara, California-based Foothill Entertainment has put a twist on the normal-kid-cum-superstar concept with My Momtourage and Me. The live-action 26 x 22-minute comedy is firmly targeting tween girls with a narrative that revolves around a 14-year-old girl named Coco living in the shadow of her mother, Eva the Diva, who just happens to be the most famous pop star in the world. Sure Coco gets to take part in the luxe celebrity lifestyle full of trips on private jets, designer clothes and red carpets, but all she really wants is to be a normal kid with a normal life.
Managing Eva, and her empire, is her entourage. With a hint of derision, Coco refers to the network of zany micro-managing, over-the-top support staffers as the ‘Momtourage.’ However, in whisking mom and daughter from one star-studded event to the next, the Momtourage also generates a lot of the series’ comedy. Thankfully for Coco’s sanity, she also has her own entourage – a cast of down-to-earth friends that keep her real in the glitzy, phony world of celeb culture.
Foothill CEO Gregory Payne and president Jo Kavanagh-Payne say among the fantasy elements, the show has a realistic foundation borne from the typical trials and tribulations faced while growing up. After all, who hasn’t been embarrassed by their parents or felt completely alienated from the life around them?
A typical episode might find Coco waiting anxiously at school for her mom to arrive at a parent-teacher meeting. The ‘will she or won’t she show up’ tension mounts, but Mom eventually makes an appearance. Eva may be a diva, but she also wants desperately to be a good mother. And, as Payne explains, issues and challenges are always resolved at the end of each ep.
My Momtourage is in the process of being developed and Foothill has earmarked the per-episode budget at approximately US$200,000 to US$250,000. As it was conceived by Australian Kyla May (creator of Channel Nine’s G 2 G: Got to Go), Payne says finding an Australian partner would be ideal for tapping into that country’s tax credit system. The show, however, will remain set in the glitzy US celebrity hot spot of Palm Springs and maintain an American sensibility. While script concepts are on the drawing board, the team is also working on a multi-platform strategy. Eva’s musical career will play a key role and could also lend itself to a soundtrack.