Since launching in 2010 under the guidance and leadership of president and CEO Eric Rollman, content creation and brand management company Rollman Entertaiment has created, produced and delivered more than 400 episodes of kids TV (with five shows broadcast in the US) and garnered three Emmy nominations to boot.
Rollman’s decision to create his own company came after serving six-plus years as the president of Marvel Animation and a long executive stint with Saban.
“I had a lot of experience working with significant IP and brands, and as much experience on the corporate side, so it seemed like the right time to start an independent company,” says Rollman.
The company set out with the goal to manage brands in new and interesting ways while also developing original content. “We’re also unique because we’re not focused on one particular genre,” says Rollman. “I consider us to be demographically- and genre-agnostic.”
He also doesn’t position his company as a production company, per se, because the services it offers are much broader. “Production is a service we provide when it makes sense for the partner and project, but it’s not our core business of brand management.”
Rollman’s first project materialized around 2011 when his company partnered with Indian animation studio DQ Entertainment to executive produce the first-ever 3D animated feature film based on The Jungle Book. According to Rollman, a US distribution deal is close to being finalized and P&A is secured. “We have a beautiful script and artwork, so we’re hoping to put it into production this year,” he says.
Not long after the film project began, Nickelodeon reached out with a development project tied to the National Football League—animated series NFL Rush Zone. Rollman says it was the catalyst for setting up a studio in L.A. “We produced 44 eps, were nominated for an Emmy, and it continues to run on NickToons and is now rolling out internationally,” he says.
In a bid for more diversity, Rollman then partnered with Zaya Toonz on a new faith-based kids IP called Iesodo (Japanese for the way of Jesus). “The brand is an allegory for the stories and characters in the New Testament. We brought it to market through a series of seven DVDs and continue to make more,” says Rollman.
The property, through its American distributor Capital Christian Distribution, has digital deals with Netflix, iTunes and Amazon, a TV deal with Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), and licensing deals with the Christian retail tier and Walmart. Ireland’s Monster Entertainment, meanwhile, is currently handling Iesodo’s international television distribution.
Additional projects for Rollman include the January 2015 Lionsgate animated feature Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Tough Love, as well as two hit docu-reality shows, Sea Rescue and The Wildlife Docs, made with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
Rollman is also working with SeaWorld to find L&M partners in the US for international animated hit The Jungle Bunch from TAT Productions.
Rollman’s upcoming projects include a hybrid series based on the US Army’s first toy line, Lil’ Troops, and an extreme sports series called Team XYZ.
In terms of the future, Rollman says, “The biggest opportunity with any independent is the changing landscape of the world we work in. The coming of age of YouTube celebrities and programming has made us take a closer look at how our collective experience can bring value to the new generation of content creators, as well as the audiences who embrace them.”
This article first appeared in the October 2015 issue of Kidscreen.