No posts for 24 hours, until 12:01am, Thursday, January 19, 2012.

Here’s our friend Ralph Bakshi in a fun little vid, drawing his Wizard on the wall outside the office Sony Pictures Animation prexie Michelle Raimo-Kouyate. We went together in a few weeks ago to talk movie ideas.

Not for nothing, it’s not too late to see Ralph in person this Friday @ the San Diego ComicCon. Update: I found out that it’s Ralph’s work, but unfortunately, he won’t be there in person. Sorry about that.

Chuck Jones Gallery
July 22nd, 2011  7-10pm 
Gaslamp District
Across from the San Diego convention center
232 5th Ave
San Diego, California

Fred

Bill Plympton @ Sony’s house.

Bill Plympton @ Sony Pictures Animation

Fellow New Yorker Bill Plympton and I are in Los Angeles for the 2010 Annie Awards this weekend (Bill’s nominated, as is Frederator’s The Fairly Oddparents).  

So Eric Homan and I thought we’d bring Bill over to meet Sony Pictures Animation's Hannah Minghella and Nate Hopper to talk features. In Hannah's waiting room there's the most amazing artist wall dating back to 2002 (everyone from Andreas Dejas to Butch Hartman, and that's Phil Lord and Chris Miller in the upper left), so we asked Bill to honor us with his sketch to this wall of fame. And, of course, he most humbly compiled with “Guard Dog.”

Watch Bill sketch from fredseibert on Vimeo.

John Dilworth on the red couch.

John Dilworth @ Frederator/NY

It’s always a pleasure to hang with John Dilworth, a fantastic filmmaker and the creator of the What A Cartoon! short and series, Courage the Cowardly Dog. We had lunch a few weeks ago, after I participated in his ASIFA-East retrospective. Friday, Carrie Miller and I were thrilled to talk with him about his ideas for feature films and series.

Fred 

Progress.

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No patience? Don’t get involved in the movie business.

When we were planning Frederator Films nearly three years ago, I called my old friendAlbie Hecht for some advice.

“Plan on seven years for any of your movies that actually gets produced.”

Boy, was he right! (As usual.) At first it sounded pretty daunting. But I’m glad I asked because it’s made the last 30 months or so a lot more palatable. I’ve re-learned something that’s easier to take in hindsight than in real time: get a lot of projects going, because you never know what’ll happen. The same philosophy’s been the basis of being in the shorts biz, and it’s sure happening in features too.

But, things are going great. You know about the first picture, and our relationship withSony Pictures Animation. Now, we’ve started work on our second movie (with another of our long term creative partners) and gotten the rights to a really funny comic that will be the basis of one of our first indie features (another patented Eric Homan discovery, hopefully his lucky streak will continue). So, we’re feeling the big mo. Of course, things could go differently at any moment, but right now we’re feeling good.

No details? I’m still feeling my way as to how much to spill in the blog. I’m new to feature-ville and there are lots of folks that look at the blogosphere very differently than Frederator. So I’ll be going slowly throughout the process, but we’ll let you in on the good stuff here first, I promise.

–Fred

Sony Pictures Animation + Frederator Films.

Sony + Frederator

Carrie, Eric, Kevin and I are honored to let you about our new multi-year, first look, development arrangement with Sony Pictures Animation, just announced at Cartoon Brew and The Hollywood Reporter. So, in addition to our already active slate of indie animation features, we’ll be able to start becoming active in studio pictures as well.

I’ve known Bob Osher, the President of Digital Production Division of Sony Pictures, andAmy Pascal, Chairman of Sony Pictures, since we worked together at Turner Broadcasting. Together with their great Sony Pictures Animation team, Hannah Minghella (President of Production), Nate Hopper (Senior VP, Development) and Alexa Amin (VP, Development), we’re looking forward to bringing our unique cartoon talent incubator of big ideas to even bigger screens in the years ahead.

Here’s the press release:

…..

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For Release after 6:00AM September 11, 2009

Sony Pictures Animation and Fred Seibert’s Frederator Studios to Develop Animated Features

Culver City, Ca. September 11, 2009 – Sony Pictures Animation has set a multi-year deal with Fred Seibert and his Frederator Studios to develop animated feature films, it was announced today by Bob Osher, president of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, and Hannah Minghella, president of production for Sony Pictures Animation. Seibert, a prolific animation producer, promises to be a rich source of original ideas as Sony Pictures Animation continues to advance its development slate.

“It is hard to imagine someone more passionate about animation than Fred Seibert, “ said Bob Osher, who first worked with Seibert at Turner Entertainment, when Seibert was president of Hanna-Barbera Productions. “He is a remarkable creative resource.”

“Frederator Studios is thrilled to be working with Bob, Hannah, and their team at Sony Pictures Animation,” said Fred Seibert. “They’ve given us a unique opportunity to further develop our incubator for big animation ideas.”

“As we look to make a wide variety of animated movies, this relationship with Frederator Studios presents a wealth of fresh ideas and talent,” said Hannah Minghella. “It is exciting to be working with Fred and his creative community.”

The former president of Hanna-Barbera Productions, Seibert founded Frederator in 1998. At Hanna-Barbera he gathered dozens of creative mavericks to create original cartoons. That grand experiment has produced 138 original shorts, an Academy Award nomination, two Emmy nominations, and seven original half-hour cartoon series at Cartoon Network (including THEPOWERPUFF GIRLS, JOHNNY BRAVO, COW AND CHICKEN, I.M. WEASEL, COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG, WHAT A CARTOON! and DEXTER’S LABORATORY). Today, Frederator is regarded as one of the largest and most creative independent cartoon studios, with over 100 projects in active development and production for features, television, and the internet, and several series on the air, including THE FAIRLY ODD PARENTS, MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT, APE ESCAPE CARTOONS and WOW! WOW! WUBBZY!. Currently in production are FANBOY & CHUM CHUM, premiering on Nickelodeon in May, and ADVENTURE TIME at Cartoon Network for May 2010.

In 2006 Seibert recognized the potential of online video and launched the Next New Networks, which has so far launched 25 online micro-networks featuring short, pithy and popular content that has made it the top independent supplier of original entertainment on YouTube. Among Seibert’s earlier career highlights, as the original creative director he launched MTV: Music Television and, later, transformed Nickelodeon into a top cable network and established the Nick-at-Nite concept.

Sony Pictures Animation has recently announced other development deals, including a first look agreement with The Gotham Group and the acquisition of several properties including THE FAMILIARS, HIP HOP and a title from Platinum Studios. Sony Pictures Animation’s next movie, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, opens on September 18.

About Sony Pictures Animation:
Sony Pictures Animation exemplifies the next generation of CGI storytelling to produce a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. Sony Pictures Animation is developing a full slate of films including the mouth-watering 3D comedy CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS which opens in September 2009, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, now in pre-production and, in association with Columbia Pictures, THE SMURFS MOVIE, also in pre-production. In 2007, SURF’S UP, was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature and won two Annie Awards. The company’s first film, OPEN SEASON, was a box office success and the #2 DVD title of the year for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Its sequel, OPEN SEASON 2, released in 2009, was an international family hit. Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.

About Frederator Studios: 
Frederator Studios has been a unique incubator for big animation ideas, producing original cartoons since 1998. Over 200 short films have resulted in 16 hit series for television and the internet, including Butch Hartman’s THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, Genndy Tartakovsky’s DEXTER’S LABORATORY, and Craig McCraken’s THE POWERPUFF GIRLS. Eric Robles’ FANBOY & CHUM CHUM will debut on Nickelodeon in October 2009, and Pendleton Ward’s ADVENTURE TIME launches in May 2010 on Cartoon Network. SAMURAI JACK is in development at Paramount Pictures with Bad Robot Productions.

Movies, movies, movies.

Popcorn at the movies
I don’t want to belabor this backstory any more than I have already. Suffice it to say, Frederator’s moving headlong into commercial feature development, and we’re sure hoping we’ll succeed. It’s a big, new market for us, and I think the talented artists and writers we’ve worked with over the years will have a lot to say in the medium.

Basically, we’ve got three approaches to animated feature films that we think will work for us.

• Low budget. In the feature film world that means under $20 million.  Samurai Jack’s the first (with Paramount Pictures distributing, and Bad Robot and Frederator Films producing). We’ve got another three or four in development, and I’m sure more coming soon. As always, we like making mass appeal, popular entertainment. We think there’s a lot of big box office, reasonable priced pictures to be made.

• Studio films. These are the big, mostly CG pictures, made for a large audience at a higher budget. There have been successes out there with production budgets anywhere from $20-$150 million. Who knows what ours will be, but we love making films for the general audience the embrace.

• Hyper-low budget. We’re convinced there’s an indie market for animated movies (you probably agree; do all the Family Guy and South Park fans go to Julia Roberts’ films?). Probably $3 million and under for production, with smaller distributors, for specialized audience. Most likely comedies, PG-13 and R-rated (mainly). We’ve got a lot of developments in the works here, and now all we have to do is get some movies across the finish line.

That’s it for now, it’s how Frederator Films is trying to make it’s way in the world. Wish us luck, bring us movies, do whatever you want to do. Thanks for listening.

Fred