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Disney and (Colossal) bring Zoog Disney to TV and the Web

Zoog Disney is a new two-hour block of programming on the Disney Channel that features a companion web site signaling the network's latest attempt at converging television and the Internet. The programming block which airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. works in tandem with the web site by allowing children who watch the programs to submit suggestions, vote on outcomes, play games related to the programs, and give input to the shows. The Zoog characters, created by San Francisco-based (Colossal) Pictures, accompany the on-line content helping kids make the transition between the two mediums. "We started thinking of the Zoogs as kids' ambassadors to the technological world, each character representing an aspect of the on-line experience," says Colassal's senior creative director for the project, George Evelyn. The weekly input provided by viewers from the web site required that the Zoog characters be flexible so that their actions and dialog could be easily modified. Thus, Colossal, with the help of Mondo Media, created ten main characters and a host of "extras" designed to work both on TV and on-line. The characters are modular and interchangeable allowing them to be placed in a myriad of situations with a variety of dialog. Each character has the ability for unique animated movement and stylized lip sync. "We essentially gave Disney Channel a modular animation kit," says Evelyn. "They can mix and match characters' discrete actions - like moving left or right, talking to the camera, turning flips - and quickly assemble an endless array of scenes." The characters are modeled in 3D but look like 2D - a process coined by Colossal Chief Executive Officer, Drew Takahashi as "2 1/2D." The creative group for this project included executive creative director Drew Takahashi, executive producer Jana Canellos, art director David Delpo, character designer David Fremont, CG animation art director Pete Parisi and composer/sound designer Pete Scaturro.