Social media savvy underpins new Cosmic, France TV Distribution co-pro

Company execs tell Kidscreen how the toon fills a gap by finding the humor in how badly kids want to be YouTube stars.
June 10, 2022

In many ways, influencer culture is made for kids TV. The big personalities, silly dances and even sillier situations are a natural fit for cartoons, and it’s where a new series from Paris-based Cosmic Productions and France TV Distribution has found its muse.

The companies have teamed up to produce a 2D-animated comedy called Andy Wants To Be Famous (52 x 11 minutes). Aimed at six- to 11-year-olds, the series centers around a boy who dreams of going viral on “Meow Tube” and becoming a social media star.

With his two friends—aspiring thespian Lizzy and cameraman Sam—Andy scours their seemingly uneventful town for something (anything!) sensational. The experiences he has are the perfect foil for teaching kids valuable insights about using social media. In one episode, for example, the gang’s lazy dog thwarts their attempts to create a viral video, but the kids decide they love him anyway.

According to Julia Schulte, SVP of international sales at France TV Distribution, “The real motivation [for the characters] is: How can I live adventures in my small world? And how can I experience the richness of my friendships through these new [social media] tools?”

“The target audience was born with and has lived with YouTube channels; they’ve always been a part of their world,” add Cosmic Productions CEO Raphaël Catheland.

Leaning into this familiarity, the series plays around with different types of shots, depicting the characters’ online profiles and then switching into a first-person view through their camera recordings, for example.

The team is currently seeking broadcasters for the series, which will be presented at Annecy next week.

Cosmic and France TV Distribution developed Andy Wants to be Famous together, and are co-producing the project with animation work provided by Caribara in Paris. Playing to its strengths, France TV Distribution will also sell the series internationally.

Scripts have been written by Fabrice Ravier and Philippe Riche (Rabbids Invasion), and Pascal David is attached as director.

Schulte notes that the series fills a demand for more creatively ambitious characters on screen. “It’s very important to broadcasters to have characters who actually create and are creative,” she explains.

“This is not so often the case. In a lot of shows, you have characters who have adventures, but a lot of things work around them, making them a bit passive at times,” she explains, highlighting how Andy shows kids actively creating their own adventures, instead of just stumbling into them.

The series will also expand France TV Distribution’s portfolio of content for six to 11s, a part of the company’s catalogue that Schulte feels has growth potential.

The distributor is currently selling preschool series Ana Pumpkin (52 x five minutes), featuring a five-year-old girl and her dog as they explore the world; and music-themed series Disco Dragon (52 x 13 minutes), which is aimed at six to nines and revolves around a dragon who hears every child’s inner soundtrack.

Catheland says Cosmic has three other series in various stages of development. Among them is Begudin (21 x 20 minutes), which will be presented at Cartoon Forum in September (the same event where Andy debuted last year).

This 2D-animated series for kids ages seven and up is an adaptation of Stan Silas’s book series of the same name, which is published by Les Éditions Paquet in France. It tells the story of a mysterious child who washes up on the shore of a coastal town and awakens magical creatures.

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