ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.12 - MARCH 2000
Mondo Media At Play On The Internet Frontier
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Dierdre O'Malley, Director of Marketing & co-founder of Mondo Media.
While working on Microsoft's Encarta, Evershed and O'Malley got a taste of entertainment creation and began focusing their talents toward that objective. Their break came in 1993 when an order for the game Critical Path came from publisher Media Vision. Proving a financial and critical success, Mondo followed it up with a second CD-Rom adventure entitled The Daedalus Encounter. For the next few years, O'Malley recalls, "We continued to work on the art and the aesthetic of games until all of a sudden, there was the Internet...it starts formulating and we decided that was the business we wanted to be in." Their inaugural short-form animated project was for Macromedia's then titled "shockrave" site. Called Tech Sergeant, it featured an irascible character who responded to viewers' on-line software questions in an unconventional and irreverent comedic fashion, proving the creative fore-runner of the studio's individualistic style now flooding the Web under the banner "Mondo Mini Shows."
And Then There Was The Net
Securing initial capital in early 1999, Mondo began in earnest on series development and pilot production while at the same time building the infrastructure of their syndication organization. "The first show concept was The God and Devil Show," Evershed recounts. "We were looking for ideas that would rise above the noise level of the Web. We liked the show concept because it parodied celebrities and it provided a great platform for some goofy satire. It was a show that would not get picked up for TV but we instinctively felt that it would appeal to today's Web audience." Instincts clearly won out as this weekly series is now garnering extremely positive reviews running exclusively on Warner Bros. entertaindom.com.
The other two Net shows unveiled in Mondo's inceptive wave -- Like, News and Thugs on Film -- are also distinctively topical in story content and strong in personality, giving these leading series a legitimate air of immediacy by chronicling in `toons life around us. Last September, Netscape was the first to enter into a one year non-exclusive distribution deal for these two shows, airing them on its entertainment section www.netcenter.com. Following soon after, Macromedia's www.shockwave.com partnered with Mondo for these same weekly Web series, leveraging their entertainment draw for the launch of its "Toon-A-Vision" zone. In the ensuing six months, Mondo's unique on-line syndication model has been in full swing, evidenced by the plethora of additional partnerships they now have in line.
With a spot of tea, Thugs on Film's Cecil and Stubby review Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. © 1999 Mondo Media.
Christened the "Mondo Network," Evershed describes their distribution concept as "a hybrid between a TV syndicator like King World and United Media (a comics syndicator). Like King World, in that we're pre-selling advertising on our shows before partnering with our affiliates...and like United Media in that we're distributing very character-driven entertainment with lots of ancillary and merchandising potential." In addition, their production process has roots in traditional media models. Evershed likens the operation to producing "a weekly television show. Monday is spent brainstorming with the entire writing team. Wednesdays, we table read with the voice talent, and Thursdays the writers submit final polished script. VO session, animation and post is performed in the second week." Right now, almost 100% of the work takes place at their facilities in San Francisco. And with an array of powerful new shows soon to go into production, Mondo is looking to expand its in-house crew of writers, directors and animators. At the same time, they are available to outside animation independents interested in pitching original concepts for co-production or syndicator-type partnerships who have their own capabilities of episodic production in a place elsewhere.
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