Animation producers/directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman have set out to expand their DRAGONS LAIR franchise into the lands of Webtoons, next-generation video games and a feature film. Their new Web site donbluth.com will air the DRAGONS LAIR Webisodes, which will follow the not so valiant Dirk the Daring and his battles with the evil wizard, Mordrock. No release date has been set for the premiere episode. DonBluth.com will also feature animation lessons from the legendary director. In addition to the Webseries, the animation duo is in production with original game partner, Rick Dyer, on a new 3D DRAGONS LAIR game for the PC. The project is in collaboration with Blue Byte Software, and will hit stores in late spring 2001. Also on the game front, Capcom has obtained the U.S. game rights to the classic Laser Disc arcade game and has plans to bring the title to Game Boy Color, Playstation II, Dolphin and xBox in the future. The final new incarnation of LAIR will be a feature-length film. Bluth and Goldman are already in pre-production and the initial storyboards for the feature are being presented in comic book form in DON BLUTHS TOON TALK, a new animation magazine that will feature interviews with many of the personalities behind the scenes. Currently, the film is being produced independently by Goldman and Bluth and the initial plans are to release the storyboards and rough animations from the production on donbluth.com. Goldman went as far as to tell AWN that the film "may be released on the Internet and not go to the theatres. [Well] build the audience on the Internet. And then if [the fans] want the best with home theatre quality they can buy the DVD or home video." Bluth and Goldman are not ruling out theatres, however, and are currently trying to find investment partners. Goldman commented that "distribution is the most difficult thing and few people have conquered it. You get beat up by the Disney organization." Therefore, the freedom of Internet distribution is a promising option for Bluth and Goldman, who admit that Web technology isnt ready yet for the kind of production they are creating. Yet, Goldman went on to say, "We are trying to produce a product that we can have available when [the Internet] is ready and its coming sooner than you may think." From the looks of it, Bluth and Goldman have rebounded from the demise of the Fox Animation studio. When asked about Bluth and his move from the studio system, Goldman commented, "In some ways it is a blessing because its freed Dons mind. Youre not working for someone else, youre working for yourself. The main problem is you invest money to make a movie and youre at the mercy of a studio to get the money back. And they come first. They get their money first. If youre the producer and you created the characters and the story, the person to benefit is the studio, not necessarily the animation team." Were looking forward to future Bluth/Goldman productions with anticipation and hope.
Hear more from veteran animation producer Gary Goldman in Larry Laurias exclusive Animation World Magazine interview.