ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.7 - OCTOBER 2000

A Ride Worth Taking: MediaTrip On The Move
(continued from page 1)

Picking Up the Passengers
In July, MediaTrip scaled their site significantly by building an interactive artist community called "Show Off Your Own." Their intent in aggregating individual Web pages is to promote the free exchange of work and ideas from artists and their fans worldwide. The Netcaster will supply the tools and will support the scores of separate pages so that, in Harrison's words, "Artists will be able to share their creative vision on an interactive platform -- whether it's music, film, games, animation, acting or producing." The first examples of this new area's potential have been seen in MediaTrip's first-ever online casting calls for Revolution's films Tomcats and the just announced The New Guy. By posting their pictures, resumes and/or materials within MediaTrip's designated spots, aspiring actors, actresses and musicians will have the online chance to win featured extra rolls in Roth's current theatrical productions (plus the potential to connect with other influential industry professionals along the way). In the music arena, MediaTrip has enlisted artist mastermind George Clinton to entice musicians to upload their demos for review by him and all other viewers who want to post comments. At the end of six months, Clinton will select one artist as the grand prize winner from a pool of audience selected weekly winners -- for whom he will then produce a demo album. In these new and soon-to-be launched artist community areas, MediaTrip and Revolution Studios remind participants they will be continually looking at the most popular material within the interactive pages to find new talent and projects for additional Internet and offline production/distribution possibilities.

© 1999-2000 MediaTrip.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

Punching the Animation Tickets
Brought onboard as MediaTrip's Executive Producer of Animation last May, Texas native James Fino came directly from Fox's award winning series King of the Hill. During his four years there, he supervised all stages of production, working as liaison between Fox's creative staff and animation house Film Roman. Fino considers the depth of that experience extremely rewarding, saying, "I was involved in every single process which was exactly what I needed when I came over here to MediaTrip, to be able to get projects in and basically start them from the ground up." This is Fino's first foray into Web series and he admits, "It's definitely a different animal going from television to the Internet but a lot of the animators that I'm dealing with are also making that same transition so we're able to take the problems and irritations from the television side and try to refine them on the Internet side." After a crunch period of learning online production techniques, Fino is readily stepping up to the challenge of working with the writers and animators on adjusting their creativity to match the limitations of current Web technology. At the same time, he's nudging them to embrace the interactive features possible in all their developing works. Fino affirms that MediaTrip's goal "is to actually start involving the viewer more and more because that is the correct way of using this medium now." Whether that means creating interactive elements within or outside the narrative of a storyline, he feels, "We definitely have to engage the audience and build something more than just a 3-minute cartoon to hold them. What we're actually concentrating on doing is having the core idea of the story and then building an entire world around it so that we have an experience that the viewer can go to and, after the narrative has played out, can still hang around in that world, find out more about the characters, actually speak to other people who are watching and really build a full community around each project that we do."

Gary the Rat. © 1999-2000 MediaTrip.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

Now Boarding
Fino is presently immersed in MediaTrip's next major original animated series Gary The Rat, the debut project of a partnership deal announced last month with big time actor Kelsey Grammer and his production company Grammnet. Created by Mark and Rob Cullen and starring Grammer, the show follows the life of a high-powered Manhattan attorney who wakes up one day as a six-foot rat and finds that, while he has become even more appealing to his clients, he must consistently foil his new nemesis exterminator Johnny Bugz. Premiering later this fall, the initial 13 Webisodes have already been recorded, Fino says, in a schedule that simplifies the television model for episodic production. "We didn't want to have to bring the actors together 13 different times so we had the writers basically write all the episodes ahead of time. We were then able to table them at the same time, do notes on them...and we recorded the whole series in a single day over on the Paramount lot." MediaTrip is producing the animation with the outside independent studio 3 Birds, a team of animation artists well known for their previous 2D television work on major network shows. Simultaneously, the Netcaster will create a dynamic audience environment for the series called The Bug Cave, to be built around Gary characters and stories, that will feature the games, contests and other interactive content they feel important to all their new projects' online success.

Along with his production and development responsibilities, Fino is focusing a lot of his attention on developing the animation area of MediaTrip's new community pages. As soon as they go live with the necessary tools allowing uploads of up to 20 megs worth of material onto individual sites, Fino will reach out in earnest to animation professionals and students alike to begin streaming their work under MediaTrip's umbrella. The company plans to stage multiple events which will give the participating creators not only great exposure, but also serve as a forum where students of animation can get important feedback on their work. "I really want to create this whole mentoring-like process for students," he adds, while continuing to use the Internet and MediaTrip's unique positioning to incubate innovative projects into both on and offline hits.

 

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