What started as a series of doodles from One Animation’s creative director Richard Thomas has been transformed into new CG-animated slapstick series Oddbods. The dialog-free toon bowed in 2013 as 300 one-minute clips on Next Media’s nxTomo app before landing on the likes of Disney XD (US) and Télétoon+ (France). With more imminent deals, it’s looking like big things are in store for the little egg-shaped characters.
From the heart Produced in-house, Oddbods is a sketch-based series of comedic shorts targeting four- to nine-year-olds and adults that follows the misadventures of a group of seven colorful and distinct characters (Fuse, Newt, Pogo, Bubbles, Jeff, Zee and Slick).
In the development process at Singapore-based One Animation, Thomas says he was inspired by the character traits of the seven dwarves in Snow White and the underlying heart in Tom and Jerry. “I remember watching both shows obsessively as a kid. What struck me about Snow White were the personalities of the dwarves and how each one was easily identifiable through a very particular character flaw,” Thomas says.
“With Tom and Jerry it was all about interaction. One couldn’t really exist without the other, and despite their ongoing feud they were, at heart, the best of friends.”
According to Thomas, the Oddbod characters are often compared to the Minions, but he says Oddbods is a different beast. “It’s really flattering because who doesn’t love the Minions? But where Minions focuses more on the volume of characters and the ensuing chaos, we only have seven,” he says. “We find that from our characters, people always find one to root for more than the others.”
To make the series more commercially viable, the studio determined that there would be no dialog, which would make the series appeal to a broader audience. And the tone of the one-minute series ranges from sweet and innocent to slightly edgy. “At a glance, the characters look very preschool, like a plush toy,” says Thomas. “But their personalities are pretty complex, and at times they convey very adult emotions.”
Format tweaks After the one-minute episodes launched on mobile, Thomas and the team at One decided to produce an Oddbods series with longer five-minute episodes that could be sold more easily to linear broadcasters, tracked for ratings, and offer a better balance of kid- and adult-friendly content.
Canal+ kids channel Télétoon+ first aired the shorts in December 2014 on a trial basis before debuting the five-minute series in February.
To drive more eyeballs to the show, the French channel produced two online games and heavily promoted the one-minute shorts across Canalsat, YouTube and the Télétoon+ website.
A month later, the Oddbods one-minute shorts headed to Disney XD in the US. It was a significant deal for the company, says One Animation CEO Sashim Parmanand.
“As a Singapore-based indie, getting the US deal was highly instrumental to our growth and the team’s confidence in their own ability,” she says. “There are just a handful of Southeast Asian producers who have found a US broadcaster—so for us, it was very important.”
Up next At MIPTV in April, One presented the pilot for its brand-new 60 x seven-minute Oddbods series and is currently negotiating deals for broadcast, digital game extensions and toys.
“Coming out of Licensing Show in June, we have marked the toys for Latin America and the US, and we are currently in negotiations with other high-level toycos,” says Parmanand.
And despite the fact that series has done well on YouTube since launching in January, Parmanand says there are no SVOD deals currently in the works. “Discoverability is an important factor and that’s more where the linear broadcasters come into play.”