ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.05 - AUGUST 2000
Adventurous Action Abounds on Stanlee.net
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SLM's Webisodes have been McLaughlin's first foray into full-out Flash Internet production. He's been happily riding the learning curve with design and direction on The Drifter, Accuser and a new series entitled Stoneman. He believes making the transition from 20-minute 2D broadcast series to the short Web productions has been facilitated by his early career back East. "My commercial background does tremendously help with the Flash stuff where you have to streamline your thinking," he says. Instead of feeling frustrated by the creative limitations in this new medium (e.g. less dramatic use of special effects and heavy action sequences), McLaughlin feels, "If you're a good producer or director, I think that's where you show how clever you are. You give me four minutes in Flash? We're going to roll up our sleeves and see how good we are. That's the whole attitude."
The Future Is Now
Peter Paul considers the biggest challenge SLM faces now is keeping up with the growth in the multiple directions they're going. "While we're aggregating more entertainment franchises than anybody in history, we're also building a company dealing with all the financial issues of a public company and then doing all the partnerships around the world and coming up with technologies that advance our content." And their expansion is occurring at super-speeds. On the international front, SLM announced in June a strategic alliance with FOX Latin America to both create original programming and localize existing Stan Lee content for cross-platform distribution throughout the Latin American region. New plans will also be announced this month regarding SLM associations with the leaders of anime and manga in Japan. These alliances, Paul states, "..will demonstrate our commitment to the global popular culture in partnering with these other regional genres to help them establish infrastructures that will be competitive on a global level with American productions."
© Stan Lee Media.
On the technology side, Paul is stimulated by their recent partnering with USAnimation in propelling its vector-based Toon Boom software which will permit animators to create programming that can be easily exported to Flash (also vector-based) and/or converted between all Internet, television and film mediums. He feels it will revolutionize content because, "..there will be one production that will be portable and amortized over every media platform that it's applied in." Since Stan Lee Media's intention from the starting gate has been to provide their branded, Web-based entertainment in all platforms imaginable, technology advances like these will play heavily in their future. As Tom McLaughlin says, "We're prepped and ready to fly!"
In his work positioning Stan Lee Media's velocity -- out of their 50,000 square foot, "media-genic" studio -- Paul is having fun. "Being in the middle of one of the most creative enterprises to be established on the Internet today and being at the helm of the company as it navigates uncharted waters in establishing a new medium of entertainment and communication...and joined with the unsurpassed storyteller to kids of all time in that voyage -- what's better than that?"
Lee Dannacher, currently based in New York, is a Supervising Producer and Sound Track Director of over 350 half hours of television animated series, along with numerous home video and film productions.
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