Are Studios Missing An Opportunity With Their Cartoons?

The impetus for this post is this chart, which I found over on 9Gag the other day (just for a few minutes as I needed a quick wind-down from work!).

What’s the most interesting thing about this graph? Why it’s the slump in the teenage years of course!

What’s really interesting though, is that as far as the studios are concerned, once someone goes over that cliff at the age of 12-13, they never come back. The truth is a bit different though, and it’s perhaps something that studios could do better to market.

We’ve seen the likes of some Nicktoons getting onto DVD/Netflix, but Disney and Cartoon Network are hopelessly behind. We’ve got the PowerPuff Girls and a few single discers from the latter and nothing at all from the former (where’s Kim Possible?).

Some marketer somewhere should be able to come up with the ideal formula for when to re-release older cartoons and cash in on the nostalgia kick.

Powet.TV On The Top 5 Cartoons That “Need” Live-Action Remakes

Yes, it’s perhaps inevitable that someone decided to come up with a list of animated shows that are desperately needing to be updated with a live-action film.Why animated shows can’t simply stay animated is a concept that is apparently to mind-boggling for some, especially those in Hollywood but especially all those people who continue to buy Smurf merchandise.

Seeing as the idea will never, ever die and that I would never, ever compile a list of my own,  here’s the 5 from Zac Shipley’s list on Powet.TV with a quick blurb on why it should be so.

5. Cowboy Bebop

With SciFi so common in the summer movie season, and the popularity of good guys who are kind of bad, clinching the success of Bebop as movie wouldn’t be hard.

4. Thundercats

…the revamp produced for Cartoon Network shows how much potential the concept has.

3. Gundam

It’s popularity in Japan and the US for decades has made me wonder why it hasn’t been adapted into a huge movie series.

2. Daria

Daria was a strong female character, as was her friend Jane. Their attitude could easily be written off as overly sarcastic and hipster crap in today’s society, but in the late 90s it was a breath of fresh air when ever show about a teen was overly positive and unrealistic

1.The Venture Bros.

My most wanted since it is easily my favorite show produced in the last decade and any excuse to talk about it I’ll take.

 

The Underlying Reason Why Kaboing TV Failed To Take Off

Much debate has taken place over the last few days in regards to the current status as future of Joe Murray’s Kaboing TV project. The site’s apparent failures include:

  • lack of viewers/eyeballs
  • lack of new content
  • poor site design
  • original content not optimised for the web
  • etc.

While all of these are valid points, they do tend to focus on the practical aspects of the site. In other words, things that can be changed relatively easily. New content is not hard to come across, site design can be improved and as for the original content, well that is something that can’t be helped once it is made, but it is hardly likely to pull the entire site down, especially if it is dedicated to showcasing a wide range of films.

No, there is one thing and one thing only that really caused Kaboing TV to stutter and that is community.

Yes, community is something that is still being figured out in the webosphere. Lots of social media “experts” will tout it, plenty of marketing folks will emphasise it in their presentations but “community” is still something that is spectacularly difficult to pin down.

First of all,  is it viewers? Is it commentators? Is it creators? It is, in fact, all three.

Websites are the foundation of a successful community but their continued existence is dependent on the nature of the community as well as their level of involvement.

Let’s take for example, Cartoon Brew. It’s a website/blog that focuses on animation issues just the same as many others. So why do we keep it as our homepage and check it at least once a day? The answer is that Cartoon Brew has spawned a community with which we share a common interest (animation) but also because we have reasons to keep going back. If it isn’t for the exclusive news and videos, then it’s the comments or perhaps the comments on the comments.

If Cartoon Brew was lacking the surrounding community, then it would simply be another animation site on the web with nothing to differentiate it and it’s traffic would certainly reflect that.

So look at Kaboing TV in the same light. What was there to commend it outside of the site itself and the content? Very little I’m afraid. Kaboing TV sadly failed to grow a sustainable community that had people coming back regularly and interacting with each other.

Now of course, it’s hard to get a completely new site off the ground and Joe’s (quite logical) reasoning was that if he had some new shorts to go along with it, they would add something extra that would entice people to visit regularly at the beginning and hopefully spur the creation of the community.

Visitors are encouraged to comment, share and otherwise engage on the site, but that is the limit of what they could do. Content is curated (ostensibly to keep standards up) and favours the creator submitting their work. That’s great, but also assumes that there is a community ready and willing to devour the content. This wasn’t the case, and most people won’t put the cart before the horse.

What needed to happen was that the community would submit, approve and vote on new content themselves. The internet is full of examples where so-called crowd-sourcing has worked quite well in helping to build communities and websites. While it admittedly takes time for the numbers to grow, there is little sense in handicapping things from the start.

Kaboing TV is a fine idea and it is a concept that has promise. It’s just that someone was highly likely to fail with the first effort and unfortunately that someone was Joe Murray. The good news is that whoever chooses to follow him stands to learn from his mistakes and will hopefully create an animation site complete with a vibrant and active community to support and sustain it.

 

East Meets West Meets ELO

Mashups are often seen as being the internet generation’s creation, but the fact is, the concept has been around forever.

So it was quite amusing as I stumbled across this video. Created by Japanese animation studio Gainax, for a Japanese comic convention, DAICON IV, and blending a whole host of eastern and western influences (including ELO) into 5 minutes of animation.

ReelGirl Sums Up What Pixar’s ‘Brave’ Really Signifies

The ReelGirl blog, written by Margot Magowan, recently featured a post that discusses Pixar’s upcoming film ‘Brave’ in the context of Pixar ‘firsts’; this case being their first lead female protagonist. Margot sums it up thusly:

Wow, a female hero is as rare and remarkable as a rat who can cook.

Which is basically the truth, strictly in terms of Pixar films.

Can this be held against Pixar? I’d say not. They’ve only released a relatively small number of films, and a good chunk of them were knocked out during just one lunch! It’s a natural progression that they would get around to doing a girl-centric film eventually. Besides, The Incredibles had an actual female hero in Elastigirl. OK, granted she wasn’t the lead, but she was effectively the co-lead and equal partner in the film.

I agree with Margot in that it is a tad unfair to be crowing about a film that is supposedly a ‘first’ and that also features something that should, and has, been a given in animated films for quite a while.

Grading the Disney Princess Magazine Covers Part 4

Continuing out look at a series of magazine covers featuring the Disney princesses as created by the Petite Tiaras tumblelog, (previously parts 1, 2 and 3), we’re onto the final post.

Tiana in Vanity Fair

Yet another one by Conde Nast, Vanity Fair describes itself as:

a cultural filter, igniting the global conversation about the people and ideas that matter most. With a dedication to journalistic excellence, brilliant photography, and powerful storytelling, Vanity Fair is the first choice and often the only choice for the world’s most influential and important audience. From print to the social stream, big screen to smartphone, Vanity Fair is the essential arbiter of our times.

So VF basically proclaims that it’s the best magazine in the world. End of story. Although is Tiana the right character to grace the cover?

Perhaps focusing in on the “igniting the conversation” part of the description, Tiana herself was stirring debate long before she made it to the big screen. Notable for being the first African-American “Disney Princess”, there was much debate about how the character would turn out, and whether it was simply corporate pandering for the sake of political correctness.

All that was dispersed when the film was released, and although it didn’t light the box office on fire, Tiana was praised as a character with much integrity.

Overall, it’s a B+

Rapunzel in Teen Vogue

Although we’ve already covered Vogue, Rapunzel gets a turn in Teen Vogue:

Influence Starts Here. This simple mandate sets Teen Vogue apart. Style-conscious girls everywhere know there’s only one source for relevant fashion, beauty, and entertainment news communicated in a sophisticated tone with the power of the Vogue brand.

Confused? It’s basically marketing speak for “hook ’em when they’re young”.

Compared to Snow White, Rapunzel makes a much more appropriate character for Vogue simply because she is much closer the typical teenager of today, and as a result fits right into Teen Vogue’s target demographic.

Right from the off, it’s clear that the pink is very apt, even if the film itself used lavender instead. All of the stories seem appropriate too.

Overall: A-

Megara in Marie Claire

This magazine bills itself as:

…a compelling media destination that combines provocative features and outstanding fashion to inspire every woman who wants to think smart and look amazing.

That’s probably a bit brief, but I did have to grab it from the Facebook page.

This is perhaps the blandest cover of the lot, but that’s because Megara a a character is quite unique from the others. She’s a bit of an anti-hero in many ways and that makes any “stories” that would be relevant to her not ideal to the front of a women’s magazine.

Other than that, I think style-wise, her own unique style is something that would probably better suited to Harper’s Bazaar or even Jalouse.

So point’s for effort, but ultimately, this cover gets a B- but only because Megara herself is a tricky character to place.

Giant Creative Starts Setting Out the Goods

About a month ago I featured a short film by new Irish animation outfit Giant Creative, well since then, they’ve rolled out a whole slate of shorts. They’re a mix of films, tests and actual production work, and they’re all worth checking out.

Today though, I’m posting my favourites.

Caution, the one below contains nudity!

 

Lauren Payne Calls A Spade A Spade

Via: Technique

Lauren Payne at the Gergia Tech student newspaper “Techniquesums up the 3-D release of Beauty and the Beast and doesn’t pull a lot of punches with this quote:

The marriage of hand-drawn animation and computer-generated imagery seen in the iconic ballroom sequence undoubtedly stirs a pleasant sense of nostalgia, but it also serves as a reminder of the artistic experimentation that has more or less taken leave of Disney’s recent animated features—the fact that the Walt Disney Company has resurrected this piece of work for an additional run conjures an image of a has-been high school football star sipping whisky before a case of old trophies.

I can’t help but agree with her insofar that there is re-releasing a film on the big screen, and re-releasing a film and promoting it as a new release. Disney appears to be doing the latter with this film and the Lion King.

Why they couldn’t simply re-release them as 2-D and avoid the cost of “conversion” is beyond me.