Technicolor is a household name, but not best known for creating and producing animated series. The film technology company wants to change that with an Indian studio taking on service work and a new team looking to work up original series. TBI caught up with one of its new executives to get the low-down.
Last October Technicolor hired a trio of seasoned TV executives as it continued to build its fledgling IP unit. Under the leadership of president Tim Sarnoff, Robert Winthrop joined as VP, animation and games, joining from SD Entertainment, Suji Thomas became creative director at the company’s Indian studio and Alison Warner joined as VP, intellectual properties, sales, acquisitions and coproduction.
Based in London, former Cookie Jar executive Warner says her role involves working up new projects in various ways.
“There are a variety of ways that we can work with companies and creatives,” she explains. “We can option something and bring it to market ourselves, we can produce through our large CGI studio in Bangalore and we also have a development team that can help with scripting as projects come along.
“If three amazing preschool shows come along at once we will do them, but we’re trying not to stick to one area and will look at features, preschool, comedy and action-adventure shows.”
The company has a trio of titles it is bringing to market at MIPCOM: Pete & Pickles, Atomic Puppet, and Zigg & the ZipZaps.
An as-yet-unnamed US broadcaster has registered interest in Pete & Pickles, a TV special based on the Pullitzer Prize-winning property from cartoonist Berkeley Breathed.
“Berkeley Breathed is revered in the US and books like this usually get picked up by the big studios, but he never saw TV as the appropriate place in which to have his work adapted,” Warner says. “Our development head Fonda Snyder [who joined in 2010 alongside Jean MacCurdy] persuaded him to let us to work on it and he is writing the script.”
Technicolor is looking for partners for the CG series, which will be produced in Bangalore. “We’re not setting up a distribution company, but we can presell to key territories to get something towards the budget,” Warner says.
Atomic Puppet, meanwhile, is a boy-skewed action comedy for boys 6-to-11. The 2D show will be coproduced with Canadian studio Mercury Filmworks and not go through the Indian production outpost.
“We optioned it from Mark Drop and Jerry Leibowitz and the look we wanted wouldn’t have been right through the studio so we reached out to [Mercury Films’ president] Clint Eland,” Warner says. “It’s a good example of how we don’t have to put everything through Bangalore.”
The third show, Zigg & the ZipZaps will also bypass Bangalore and be coproduced with La Bel Anim out of France with Yowza the obligatory Canadian partner.
The 52x11mins 2D preschool show is based on IP from a French plush company. There is a bible and scripts and Technicolor is conducting some research to shore-up the idea, at the behest of an unnamed broadcaster.
The three properties on the books will be followed by more in short order, according to Warner. She says: “We have three at the moment and at least double that coming up behind that will deliberately be aimed at different age groups.”