Wednesday, June 4, 2014

At DreamWorks Animation Television

DreamWorks Animation TV occupies multiple floors of an office tower in Glendale, a few miles away from the Flower Street lot. Today I was doing a walk-through while our organizer Steve Kaplan was holding a new member orientation in a corner conference room. ...

I've been going to DWA TV's new facility for some while now, and the work pods* are steadily filling up. Plus there are more series (some not announced) in work. The place is now much like the Mother Campus on Flower Street, with buffet lunches served in the studio and a steady throb of activity. One artist said:

"They just told me I'm being extended for two years [on my show]. We have seventy-plus episodes to do, and we're only on the third half-hour." ...

DreamWorks Dragons has left its dingy Ventura Boulevard offices and relocated to Glendale with the other DWA series. (The Wikipedia-listed shows in the building include Veggie Tales, The Croods and numerous others, some of which have not been publicly rolled out).

As Zacks reports:

... Netflix will add Dreamworks Dragons, a cartoon based on the How to Train your Dragons film series to its growing list of children’s shows in 2015.

The show will be telecast as part of the multi-year deal between DreamWorks Animation and Netflix. ... Of late, video streaming companies have recognized that kids make up a significant chunk of TV show and film viewers. To capitalize on this, Netflix had launched its exclusive Internet video streaming service for kids, Just For Kids way back in 2011. ...

Netflix, however, is reaching beyond DreamWorks and other outside suppliers to create its own NOT-for-kids animated shows:

Bojack Horseman is a 12-episode adult-oriented comedy, and Netflix’s first foray into animation. Will Arnett stars as Bojack, a “whiskey-drinking humanoid horse,” who is the former star of a legendary 1990s family-favorite sitcom called Horsin’ Around. Bojack “deals with his personal crises with human sidekick Todd (Aaron Paul), feline agent and ex-love Princess Caroline (Amy Sedaris),” and his current human ex-girlfriend (Alison Brie).

The series was created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg (The Exquisite Corpse Project) and is executive produced by Bob-Waksberg, Steven A. Cohen, Noel Bright, Will Arnett and Aaron Paul. ...

We'll see where that goes.

But back to DWA TV and its newer facility: the big Netflix orders are giving people in the biz longer-term work, and people are settling in for multi-year stays in Glendale. We'll see if things work out as planned.

* These are large octagonal work areas where a half-dozen storyboard artists, designers and CG artists labor at their tasks. As DiWalt Disney Animation Studios has changed old-style, two-artist rooms in the Hat Building into larger spaces, so has DWA TV rethought the traditional one-person cubicle.

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