ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.01 - APRIL 2000
Shockwave.Com: Fun and Games on a High-Flying Hub
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With millennium-type madness, shockwave has continued to hurtle forward with new content deals, lining up a surfeit of traditional major league talent eager to spread their wings around animated web cartoons. Beginning last December, they signed Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the South Park phenomenon, to develop a series of 39 animated shorts that will begin airing sometime this spring. The 2-3 minute stand-alone animations will be produced by Parker and Stone with their own in-house production unit. shockwave has been working closely with their artists, helping to bring them up to speed in the latest Flash animation techniques. As with other new and classic programming, the campaign surrounding Matt and Treys original concepts will include featuring them in shockwave.com games, greetings, puzzles and other creativity gear.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone bring their edgy humor and maybe their cross-dressing to Shockwave.com.
Following soon after the New Year, award-winning film director, author and animator Tim Burton (Batman, Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas) coupled with shockwave in announcing the production of 26 episodic shorts based on Burtons character Stainboy, who appears in his book, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories. Hoping to debut the series by summer if not sooner, shockwave is facilitating the series by helping to marry Burton with an outside digital studio knowledgeable in Flash formatted production. There, he can artistically create and control the shows. Burton said in a company press release that he was really excited to be making this move with shockwave, stating, "Although Ive worked with high-end CGI in several films, the interesting thing about Flash technology is how it brings computer animation down to such a personal level."
Last month resonated with another huge Hollywood A-List announcement when shockwave reported a deal with Oscar and Emmy award-winning director, producer, screenwriter James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, As Good As It Gets, executive producer of The Simpsons) and his company Gracie Films. Brooks will provide 300 minutes of original animation to air exclusively on shockwave.com, the style of which will be developed as they go along. Talking with Digital Coast Weekly, Brooks said he plans for the new offerings to be "loose" and "experimental" and is very excited by the fact shockwave doesnt want to constrict their artists with television-type formatting. Hes free to base the length of the programming solely on the needs of the story, whether thats with one-off pieces, 3 parters or 40 parts, whatever is best for the storytelling. Brooks did mention, though, he plans for everything to be under five minutes, adding "We might have a Birth of a Nation thats seven minutes long, but thatll be our epic." During the announcement, Burgess emphasized that shockwave wants all its artistic partnerships to remain passionately free and flexible. "They can make any kind of program they want of any length and they have complete artistic control. They dont have to hold any meetings before they put something out." With plans to begin airing Brooks shows sometime next fall, Burgess feels, "It will be a great day for the Internet when programming from Gracie Films premieres."
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