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SYFY Greenlights ‘Psycho Psalms’ Pilot for TZGZ Late-Night Animation Block

Stop-motion dark comedy project from LA’s Open The Portal follows the exploits of a 1940s D-List cartoon character suddenly transported to the present day postmodern Internet hellscape. 

SYFY is expanding its late-night animation block slate with a number of projects, including a pilot greenlight for Psycho Psalms, from LA-based creative studio Open The Portal. Directed by CalArts alums David Braun and Nicholas D'Agostino, Psycho Psalms is a stop-motion dark comedy following 1940s D-List cartoon character Timecrow and his misfit costars, as they attempt to navigate our postmodern Internet hellscape after being yanked through a portal to our present day. These offbeat characters will take you to a dark place, but they won’t leave you there. The production team is working safely and remotely, which seems quite a feat for a stop-motion show.

Barrett Slagle and Victor Sala will co-write; Jason Milov is executive producing for Open The Portal, with Jacob Robinson producing for Tractor Pants, Inc. (an animation-centric production company with an overall deal at Legendary Television Studios.). Former LAIKA development executive, Trever Stewart, is serving as supervising producer. Stewart also served as a production executive on Paramount Pictures' and Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion feature, Anomalisa.

According to Deadline, SYFY also ordered or greenlit the following projects:

  • A second season pickup of six new 15-minute episodes of Hell Den, Shout! Studios and Rafael Entertainment’s sketch comedy series that mixes original animation and cartoons re-dubbed by the comedy troupe, Dr. God, in an absurdist “brew” of social satire and parody. 
  • A series pickup for internally developed Wild Life, about a group of friends trying to survive after an apocalypse.
  • A 15-minute pilot, Plutonians (working title), about Pluto’s inhabitants who are determined to rebrand their image after the Interplanetary Federation officially deems them no longer a planet.

Open the Portal formed in 2015 with a focus on classic stop-motion animation and original music united as a singular organism. Previously having created professional work for clients like Disney, Adult Swim and Mattel, OTP’s original short films have premiered and won awards at Sundance, SXSW, AFI, LA Film Fest, and more. Open The Portal is repped by Circle of Confusion, and is currently in development on two additional animated series.

Source: Open The Portal

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.