LOS ANGELES (Feb. 16, 2004)–National Geographic Television & Film’s (NGT&F) Kids’ Programming and Production unit has teamed with noted digital animation and interactive studio ANIMAX to produce National Geographic-branded DVD extras for top children’s titles from leading home entertainment distributor Warner Home Video. Consumers can see the results of the successful collaboration in Warner’s latest made-for-video release “Aloha, Scooby-Doo!,” now in stores.
In the seven-minute DVD extra, “Hula Hullabaloola,” National Geographic’s spokeskid, Kid Y, a tapped-in character who knows how to find out anything about anything, is contacted to help a hungry, stranded Shaggy and Scooby-Doo escape a deserted island. Through a mix of animation and stunning footage from National Geographic’s film library, Kid Y tells the story behind the story of the “Aloha, Scooby-Doo!” movie, while giving the lovable characters clues to escape. Using their new knowledge about explosive volcanoes, exotic flora and fauna, and cultural traditions such as surfing, the hula and carving boats out of wood, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo eventually find their way off the island.
National Geographic’s animated Kid Y (as in “Why?”) interacts via hologram with movie characters in far-flung locales. “Hula Hullabaloola” is Kid Y’s fourth Warner DVD special-feature adventure on Warner Home Video animated movies featuring beloved Warner Bros. characters. Kid Y traveled with Tom and Jerry on a Mars-bound spacecraft in “Tom & Jerry Blast Off to Mars,” he sweated it out with Kangaroo Jack in the Australian outback in “Kangaroo Jack – G’Day U.S.A.!” and helped unlock the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster in “Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster.”
“National Geographic’s DVD Special Features give kids the inside scoop on the fictional entertainment they’ve just seen. In a funny and compelling way, by mixing animation with live-action footage from National Geographic’s extraordinary library, kids get taken on a wild ride to the real places, the real people and the real legends of their favorite stories,” said Donna Friedman Meir, president, Kids’ Programming & Production for NGT&F.
“Partnering with existing kids’ franchises in this way is a small but important part of National Geographic Kids’ Programming and Production’s overall mission and strategy of providing great entertainment for kids,” Meir added.
Although the “Hula Hullabaloola” featurette was animated using Macromedia’s Flash MX to streamline production costs, ANIMAX was sensitive to the fact that it was working with classic animation franchises. “All of our animators are traditionally trained,” said ANIMAX Executive Producer Tim Jones. “We leverage the advantages that Flash and other technologies offer us, but we also put pencil to paper to bring characters to life. With the featurettes, we animate the characters in a unique way to match Warner’s production footage and integrate it with National Geographic’s video clips to create a seamless look.”
ANIMAX credits on the Kid Y DVD extras for “Aloha, Scooby-Doo!,” “Tom & Jerry Blast Off to Mars” and “Kangaroo Jack – G’Day U.S.A.!” include Michael Bellavia and Tim Jones, producers; Allan Rosson, animation supervisor; Allan Rosson and Ed Frayna, character designers; Andres Calzada, backgrounds; Marina Petrova, Elena Petrukhan and Max Semyak, production management; and Alexander Abramov, Jezreel Carlos II, Heath Cecere, Ted Hemmaplardt, Sergey Maksimovich and Tatyana Pugachevskaya, animators. The DVD extra for “Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster” and the original Kid Y character were created with animation studio 23d.
About Warner Home Video
With operations in 89 international territories, Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video’s film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment.
ANIMAX is an award-winning character animation house that produces broadcast and interactive experiences for a host of clients. Led by writer, producer and well-known actor Dave Thomas, its teams of writers, designers and animators have produced work that has won Beldings from the L.A. Ad Club and awards from Summit Creatives, Golden Webs and the Web Marketing Association.
About National Geographic Kids’ Programming and Production
Based in Los Angeles, Kids’ Programming and Production is an independent production entity of NGT&F. Established in 2003, NGT&F’s Kids group brings the renowned National Geographic brand to children’s entertainment through the development and production of quality animated and live-action, entertainment-driven programming that excites kids to explore their world. NGT&F’s Kids group will work with all major broadcast outlets in the United States and abroad.
Kid Y is the first venture of National Geographic Kids’ Programming and Production in the DVD arena. The Kids’ group is poised to pursue similar opportunities in this space with other studios.