Nick’s first-ever open call at San Diego Comic-Con yields animation project by Eureka, CA, comics writer.
Burbank, CA -- Taking more than 100 pitches over three days during its first-ever open call for animated projects at this year’s Comic-Con International, Nickelodeon has announced it will greenlight Cupcakery of Doom, created by Trevor Reece of Eureka, Calif., a writer for The Press Democrat newspaper’s comics blog. The very first pitch taken by Nick’s animation development team at the convention, Cupcakery is a comedic story about two nefarious friends -- a bear and a mouse -- with designs on taking over the world.
Cupcakery of Doom will be developed into an animated short and, as with all content chosen for Nickelodeon’s global Animated Shorts Program, it will have the potential to air on the network, appear on the newly relaunched www.nick.com and Nick App, or even be developed into a long-form animated TV series. In addition to Reece, the development team is continuing conversations beyond Comic-Con with a number of the creators who presented pitches.
“We loved Trevor’s clever angle and adorable characters, but overall, Cupcakery just made us laugh,” said Jenna Boyd, Senior Vice President, Animation Development, Nickelodeon. “Trevor is a life-long Nick fan who told us he actually sent in a story idea to our very own Stick Stickly when he was a kid back in the ‘90s, so we had a hunch he understood our sensibility.”
Boyd also added, “It was a grueling and gratifying three-day open call, and everyone who pitched us was talented and passionate. They had terrific ideas and stories to tell. Besides Trevor, there are some people we met whom we will have continuing relationships with, possibly to join our production teams or talk further about their concepts and ideas.”
Cupcakery of Doom follows two nefarious, eye-patch-wearing friends, Patches, a bear, and Cheesebert, a mouse, who set out to take over the world. To fund their doomsday device, the pair opens a cupcakery to raise money, only to discover how much they enjoy the daily duties of owning a shop.
“Patches and Cheesebert might not take over the world, but they will take over your hearts, which might have been their plan the whole time,” said Reece. “You always hear those stories about dreams coming true at events like Comic-Con, and I am so happy that my story is now a part of that.”
Reece is a writer and cartoonist. He currently writes reviews and features for the “Four Colors” blog at The Press Democrat. For the past 10 years, Reece has been an avid reader of comic books and anything related to them. He graduated in 2011 from Sonoma State with a Bachelor’s degree in History. His passion for art began at a young age where during school his teachers allowed him to express himself, even when he was drawing instead of doing his homework. Reece currently resides in his hometown of Eureka, Calif.
Continuing its mission to open its doors to more creative talent than ever before, Nickelodeon for the first time held an open call for original animated projects at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2014. On-site from Nickelodeon’s booth on the convention center floor, the network’s animation development team took live, in-person pitches from Thursday, July 24, to Saturday, July 26, with the goal of greenlighting a project for the network’s global Animated Shorts Program. The team’s meetings were held with Comic-Con attendees, as well as with distributors scouted during the convention.
Nickelodeon’s global Animated Shorts Program, which is designed to identify and develop original comedy-driven content for kids, was launched in 2012. The program became global its second year. Concepts are received in all animation, styles from 2D, digital 2D, stop motion, CG and mixed media. Finalists are provided with the necessary artistic and production support teams to help them complete their fully animated original, humor-based and character-driven shorts.
Most recently from the Nick’s Animated Shorts Program, the network greenlit 13-episodes of The Loud House by a graduate of the 2013 Program, first-time creator Chris Savino (Rocko’s Modern Life, The Powerpuff Girls). Inspired by his chaotic life growing up in a huge household, the series will follow 11-year-old Lincoln as he gives an inside look at what it takes to survive the bedlam of a large family -- especially as the only boy among 10 sisters.
Nickelodeon’s 11 previously announced finalists from the 2014 Program include: “Francine” by writer/comedian Katie Crown; “Meat Pie vs. the Dark Ages” by Nickelodeon director Gabe Swarr; “Shelf Life” by Nickelodeon storyboard artist Robert Iza; “Summer Memories” by writer/director Adam Yaniv; “Ice Station Zedonk” by Nickelodeon director Tom Parkinson; “Night Crew” by independent animators Caitlin Boyle and Tara Helfer; “Planet Claire” by Nickelodeon executive producers Chris Viscardi and Will McRobb; “The Outsiders” by writer Eric Bravo; “Leander, Dre and Cyppy” by Nickelodeon storyboard artist Monica Ray; “Ugly Mutt” by PUNY Entertainment’s Shadi Petosky and Dave Hagen; and “Bad News Bunny” by California State University, Fullerton, graduate Tarryn Henderson.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.