ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.01 - APRIL 2000

Shockwave.Com: Fun and Games on a High-Flying Hub
(continued from page 3)

David Lynch at the Independent Spirit Awards on March 25, 2000. Photo by Andy Gersh.

Another heavyweight announcement was made at the Yahoo! Internet Life Online Film Festival two weeks ago when shockwave revealed that avant-garde filmmaker David Lynch (The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) will develop an exclusive series of animated shorts entitled "Dumbland" for the site. With plans to bow in early summer, Lynch laughingly told Variety that the shows will be intentionally crude, but "sophisticatedly" so. He explained that he began his artistic pursuits as a painter and spent some time experimenting with stop-motion animation. Lynch now intends to learn the fundamentals of Marcromedia’s software, stating, "Flash animation is really something. I’m going to try to do it myself."

Joining the parade of celebrity deals is Joe Shields, who rocketed to Web prominence by way of his Internet hits "Frog in a Blender" and "Micro-Gerbil 2001." Joe Cartoon, as Shields’ is also affectionately known, signed a comprehensive deal last month which will encompass shockwave’s featuring of 13 existing animated properties from his joecartoon.com venue, as well as ten original animated concepts to be created for and debuted exclusively on the shockwave site. It wasn’t too long ago Shields was designing T-shirts for a living and he readily credits Macromedia technology with dramatically shifting his artistic direction. "Flash 4 changed my life by making it possible to create characters that can ‘come to life,’" he stated, adding that he’s excited about the chance to create for an even larger shockwave audience. Burgess is extremely pleased to be adding Shields to their line-up, saying, "Joe’s work is a fantastic example of new art forms taking advantage of the unique characteristics of the Web."

Michael Yanover, VP General Manager of Series and Show Content. Courtesy of Shockwave.com.

Shock Troops
Cutting a wide channel through both traditional and new media worlds, Burgess has deployed a modern day shock troop to search for the best material and cultivate the brightest artist relationships available. Among them is Stefanie Henning, heading up shockwave’s five person LA bureau as VP of Content Acquisition. With a varied background in production and talent representation, including a five year stint with ICM where she co-founded the agency’s new media division, Henning is scouting everywhere for shockwave’s diversified content of music, games and animations. She feels they have a decided edge in today’s competitive Internet space, citing shockwave’s strong technological infrastructure and proven capabilities in driving traffic as the deciding forces that set them ahead. On the creative side, she says, "A lot of what we’re trying to do is create a new paradigm for building entertainment and what that means is giving the creators the autonomy and the creative freedom to basically build what they want to build." Although the celebrity agreements get most of the press, Henning says, "We’re closing twice as many deals with up and coming people who we’re excited about nurturing and building new brands with online."

Michael Yanover, VP General Manager of Series and Show Content, splits his week between LA and San Francisco, managing both the creative and business sides of acquisitions and show productions. With business and law degrees under his belt, he worked with Dark Horse and later Marvel Comics before starting his own studio where he produced series for comic books and episodic television. In early 1998, recognizing the potential powers of the Web, he created an award-winning, community involved Internet site called "Temp 24-7" which brought him in contact with the Macromedia group. Excited about their future net entertainment plans, he became shockwave’s early point man in Los Angeles, bringing in branded shows for online distribution including Austin Powers, Inspector Gadget and Pink Panther. Although credited with handling the company’s first high-end talent deals, Yanover’s first love is to stay close to the artistic side of things and so he is now focusing on the creative areas dealing with the toons and their development. When asked what motivates him personally, he responds, "The most exciting thing for me is to crack the new talent…to find the new voice and to also crack not only the new voice - but the new way of telling the story on the Internet."

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Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.


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