US company Cartoon Network Studios will unveil a new series later this year that is going to be animated right here in Malaysia.
Christina Miller, president and general manager of Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim, was in Kuala Lumpur last month to explore possible partnerships with local animation studios – specifically on the production of this upcoming new series to be aired globally across Cartoon Network.
Miller informed that the network is constantly looking for talent and exploring to make investments in creativity and animation on a global scale.
“Malaysia is one of those places,” said Miller. “We’re attracted to talent, quite frankly. When someone is investing and trying to grow that business of animation and animators, we want to be part of that and help grow it.
“Traditionally, we have done that and it has benefited both the local market and our content. It’s a lot of credit to the dedication Malaysia has to the industry right now and us wanting to be part of that.”
Word has it the upcoming series is titled Mighty Magiswords, created by Kyle Corrozza. It revolves around a brother and sister who are warriors for hire. The siblings have magical swords and will feature their out-of-this-world adventures.
While this is the first time a Malaysian animation studio is going to work on a show for worldwide consumption, it is not the first time local companies have been employed by Cartoon Network’s arm in Asia.
Previous partnerships with this regional division has resulted in the animated series Roll No. 21 (by Animasi Studio) and telemovie Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood (co-produced by Inspidea), both of which were aired on Cartoon Network in India.
The animation for Cha-Ching: Earn, Save, Spend, Donate, the popular online music videos which teaches young audience all about money, was also done by Inspidea.
“Cartoon Network has been in the region for a long time,” said Gregory Ho, vice president of Corporate Communications and Marketing Asia Pacific for Turner International Asia Pacific. “We’re very familiar with Malaysia and the benefits we have working here, and the talents that we have. We are really really proud of that.”
One thing that Cartoon Network also takes pride in is in wanting to create a world instead of just crafting a show.
“It’s really about reaching our audience in all the ways they consume content,” Miller said. “… and by that I mean mobile game, shorts, linear- and long-form content. These are ways to interact with audience on an on-going basis.”
According to Miller, Cartoon Network’s commitment to growing talents in the animation community goes hand-in-hand with the fact that the channel currently has the greatest level of output where original content is concerned.
“We have more shows than ever before that are really successful. Whether it’s Adventure Time, The Powerpuff Girls, We Bare Bears – all these shows are in production.
“As we compound how many shows are in production, it offers opportunity to look to new places for inspiration and production capability. We are planning for success. As long as that’s the path, there is more opportunity than ever before.”
Miller attested that to make the international relationship work – whereby the creator in Burbank, California, storyboards the content while the production studio in Malaysia does the animation – there has to be a two-way communication and participation.
“The fact that we develop content more globally than ever before in different studios, it gives us a tone and a voice that is a little bit more inclusive. And I hope that the relationship that we built will influence the content and the story going forward because it’s a really strong partnership.”
The two-way street also applies to the fondness Cartoon Network has for Malaysia and how much Malaysian audiences love the channel right back.
“The great thing about Malaysia is, in 2015, we ended as No. 1. It’s good to know (our series) resonate here. One of the great things about Cartoon Network and its content is, it’s often more similarites than differences with kids, and it gets proven over and over again when we see our content travel and be well received.
“It also gives us an opportunity for us to work with the local office to see what are the contents being created and what we can learn from that content.”