MIPCOM 2008: Something... Anything... Positive?
Suzanne Ryan, C.E.O, SLR Productions Nathan Waddington, Children's TV and Programming Consultant
I saw some really hot shows coming out of Australia this MIPCOM and was excited to hear that the animation industry in Australia is getting a lot of high-profile broadcasters and partners globally. At SLR, we had strong interest and sales on our shows, especially our upcoming project in development, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs. Seems we've managed to combine two of the most popular things for kids -- pirates and dinosaurs!
Patience is a virtue I'm told, but making 'toons is a long, slow process and time is often the one thing we don't have. Anything that speeds things up and helps get the concept from paper to screen quicker gets my vote. That's why I was surprised and impressed by the demo given by Free D Pictures of their proprietary real-time animation software at MIPCOM. Target Ent., Imira Ent., TV Loonland and Go-n Productions are amongst the first European studios to undertake animation tests and, according to Benoit Runel, "The performance of this new tool is going to change the dynamic of 3D production's typical heavy-duty procedures. It will improve the cost, cut down delivery schedule and, above all, allow closer creative control over the course of production. The flexibility of our software makes the word 'retake' sound like a piece of cake." In these gloomy economic times, that can't be bad, can it?
Suzanne Ryan, C.E.O, SLR Productions
Nathan Waddington, Children's TV and Programming Consultant
David Gurney, Rocket Scientist, Blue Rocket Productions Gene Fowler, Founder, Fatkat Jon Rutherford, Director of Sales & Acquisitions, Portfolio Entertainment Patricia Lavoie, Executive Producer, NDi Media
I thought that the October market was drab and devoid of anything really fresh and new. It seems that when times get tough, instead of exciting new programs coming out that really grab everyone's attention, we get safe and bland programming instead. Nobody is prepared to take a risk in an unstable environment. Hopefully that will change when they work out where everyone has hidden all that money and we can get on with the business.
After spending a week at MIPCOM, I realized that despite gloomy times there are still a lot of opportunities for international co-productions for Fatkat. We're a very popular studio regardless; the demand for us to execute on producers' projects this year was still quite high. With weak economics worldwide, people are looking for ways to produce their projects [and] Canada's tax credit system has put our Fatkat in a great spot.
Overall, we were very happy with the outcome of the market this year. I think the general concern leading into the week was that investing money in television programs was not going to be at the top of people's agenda due to the growing global economic concerns. However, we were pleasantly surprised that business continued as usual, and in fact, is proving to be one of our busiest, and potentially most successful, markets to date.
This was a first for me! A very large, well-established production house pitched me a massive online component to their series -- and the series exists only on paper at the moment. Perhaps people are finally realizing that the online component of a television series is not merely an adjunct that is slapped together at the last minute when the series is ready to roll out.
David Gurney, Rocket Scientist, Blue Rocket Productions
Gene Fowler, Founder, Fatkat
Jon Rutherford, Director of Sales & Acquisitions, Portfolio Entertainment
Patricia Lavoie, Executive Producer, NDi Media
Shuzo John Shiota, President/CEO, Polygon Pictures, Inc. Heather Kenyon is a consultant specializing in the development and production of animation. For five years, she worked at Cartoon Network, where she was the senior director of development, original series, leading the development of all series for children 6-11 years of age. She is also the former editor-in-chief of Animation World Network.
The lunch meeting I had with friends from the wonderful French 3D CGI animation studio, Teamto, was by far most creatively stimulating, and thus uplifting. Having traveled to three foreign cities within a period of a month -- Taipei, Ottawa and Cannes -- and having seen a ton of animation during that period -- a market, a festival and four animation juries -- I had a conviction that for 3D CGI animation to have any sort of future, we must stop trying to create like Pixar. Only Pixar can be Pixar. Rather we -- independent 3D CGI animation studios -- should look to embrace the wide and varied styles of art that other mediums, including 2D and puppet animation, have nurtured over the years. The project that Teamto has been developing, Occho Kochoi, seems like a perfect testament to my new-found conviction. It excites me that we may be able to work on it together! It was also interesting to find that many people are enamored of Japanese creativity, but are quite clueless as to how to access, or work with, them. This puts us in quite an advantageous position, as we understand both sides well. I've known this all along but am further convinced through MIPCOM that animation and karaoke transcend all differences in nationalities or upbringing, and make this world a better place.
Shuzo John Shiota, President/CEO, Polygon Pictures, Inc.
Heather Kenyon is a consultant specializing in the development and production of animation. For five years, she worked at Cartoon Network, where she was the senior director of development, original series, leading the development of all series for children 6-11 years of age. She is also the former editor-in-chief of Animation World Network.