Introducing Kody Kapow!

Introducing


Kody Kapow “centers on 9-year-old boy who discovers that he is destined to become a martial arts superhero. Kody goes on adventures to save his village using martial arts tenets like mindfulness, patience and perseverance with the help of his cousin Mei and their Tiger friend, Goji (Jason Alexander) — a bit of a scaredy cat nevertheless entrusted to accompany Kody and Mei on their missions.”Deadline.com

Let’s look at the list here. Why do I love this?….hmmmmm.

Kung Fu Action ✅
Asian American Protagonist ✅✅✅
Kung Fu philosophy ✅
George Jason Alexander
Crazy, funny monkeys ✅✅✅
Fun and Hi-jinx appropriate for my little ones ✅✅✅✅✅!!!!

Seriously, I’m so excited to be a part of this series. This is the first project I’ve directed that I can happily show to my kids. They are 3 and 5yrs old, so I know I have to be very sensitive about how they take in animated media, let alone ANY media, but this show is designed for the little ones, teaching them problem solving skills by applying tenets of martial arts, including patience, perseverance and teamwork. Did I mention Kung-Fu action!?

“Universal Kids has also revealed July 15 as the Sprout premiere date for its Zodiak Kids-produced animated original Kody Kapow, and added Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) to its voice cast as Goji the Tiger. Set in China, the series follows a Chinese-American boy who learns he is destined to become a martial arts superhero.

Kody Kapow is created by Alexander Bar (Mike the Knight) and developed for television by Robin J. Stein and Daniel Bryan Franklin. It is executive produced by Eryk Casemiro, with animation produced by Boat Rocker-owned Jam Filled under the direction of Sam Chou.”  –Kidscreen.com

for more episodes and clips, check out kodykapow.com

ANIMATIC T.O – 100 Directors Named Sam Chou

This January, Animatic T.O. invited me to the podium.  For those who don’t know, ANIMATIC T.O. is a monthly animation lecture series and social event dedicated to education, inspiration and building community in Toronto’s animation scene.  I’m grateful of the opportunity and thankful for the full house.  What a fun opportunity to share what I’ve learned through my various directing experiences in this topsy-turvy, Animation World. Also, how often do I get invited to stand up on stand and talk about myself?  😂😂😂

The focus of this lecture was to differentiate between formats.  How does a web-series differ from a commercial? What are the production challenges in feature documentary world compared to short film?  How does one adjust to the different pace of each need? Whats it like going from indie productions to big studio projects? What does it do to the creative? Here was the posting.

100 Directors named Sam Chou

“Veteran artist and director Sam Chou talks us through the challenges of constantly switching gears.
Having tackled every form of directing in animation from long format to webisode, indie to commercial, comedy to noir and broad appeal to personal, we’ll learn how he broke into directing and what it takes to be versatile and still always deliver great work.”

$10 at the door (Cheap!)

@ Gamma Space (formerly Bento Miso)
862 Richmond Street West
(west of Strachan on the north side, down the alley)

Doors 7pm
Talk Starts 7:30pm

Facebook Event Page

 

 

First Snowfall does the Festival rounds

Sometimes you make a film and when you finish it, you wonder “Did I go too far? Will this have an audience? Did I make a film only I would enjoy watching?” Those were my thoughts after I completed the film, FIRST SNOWFALL, a short animated film centering around my childhood fantasies of wizards and warriors. After the first few festival rejection letters, I was a bit disheartened, but then the weird, little film got some momentum.

A big huge thank you to:

Cartoons and Bloody Marys: Festival of Animation – Seattle’s Premiere Animation Festival.

The 12th ATHENS ANIMFEST

Milwaukee Twisted Dreams Film Festival – Liquid Dreams: Not Your Father’s Saturday Morning Cartoons

Monster Fest Film Festival

Fantastic Planet Fantasy Film Festival

Epic ACG Festival

More news to come soon!

 

Max Steel: Team Turbo and Fusion Tek

I’m going to take you back to early 2015, when I was faced with an opportunity to work with a then, world-class CG company called ARC Productions.

(This post is not about what happen to ARC and its demise,  but rather my experiences transitioning into CG)

I had a couple of friends that had worked there for many years and the company was known to pump out some solid, feature level animation.  I was faced with a pretty huge decision, do I continue with Style5.tv, or do I take a small hiatus from my independent 2D work and dive into the CG world, the world my CG friends called the “dark side”? They would joke, “Join us in the Dark Side!”  I’d smile, shake my head and say “Never!”  Maybe I was being naive, maybe I was scared of the unknown.   But I gave it a couple of days then decided to do it.  I dove into the CG world because I knew I  had to expand my directing experiences,  and because it scared me.

The project was sold to me as an crazy, action series with tons of fights, monsters, aliens and hoards of zombies. And it would also be my 2nd experience working with Mattel.  (first one being the He-Man beta-program) I was excited. It was season 4 of the Max Steel series, and it was a huge test.

The project was a challenging one, but not the way I expected.  My 2D friends now ask me how I adapted to it, if I found it difficult and how my skills translated?  The first thing I’d say is that story-telling is story-telling, and we are just doing it in a slightly different pipeline. CG productions still start with a script, designs, boards, and animatics and only then do we notice a difference in the process.  We now have to model, rig and surface our characters, then the character animation process is more digital puppetry, rather than the 2D hand drawn, frame-per-frame battle.  What I found pretty incredible was the amount of camera choices. From truck-ins to huge sweeping crane shots, the camera direction choices seemed infinite.  Very freeing compared to what can be done in 2D. I got why so many new CG filmmakers would get overzealous and overly-consumed by their camera direction, it is because it’s literally at their finger tips.  In fact, everything is at their fingertips, from complex textures, real-world reflections, crazy FX, atmospheric lights and smoke, dust, sweat etc.  For once, everything was absolutely possible… for a price.  The price is time. The price is money.  When the series boasts epic, alien battles and hundreds of zombies, the biggest challenge was balancing the complexity of everything with the time we had.  Mattel wanted everything, and I absolutely wanted to give them everything.  That was the challenge, the never-ending balancing act, the Time, Money and Quality triangle.

When we finished season 4, I was convinced that we had produced the best season of Max Steel ever made.  I’m still really proud of it.  It was a theatrical release in South America and played in various parts of Europe.  I’m still waiting for a North American release.  Yes, I’m holding my breath. *ahem #Netflix

 

Technical breakdown of Max going Turbo.

 

HE-Man: First Snowfall – SDCC Date and Venue

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There has been lots of last-minute changes but we finally have details to this story here. (link)

It’s been a weird scramble to find out what the heck was happening with my short film HE-Man:First Snowfall, but to make a long story short…Super7 saves the day!!  Yes, Super 7 will be presenting the film on Saturday at 3pm. THEY HAVE THE POWERRRR!  (see what I did there?)

 

Here are the screening details:

  • What:

    HE-Man:First Snowfall short film to screen at Mark Taylor Autograph Session (FYI. He was the concept artists for the 80’s Filmation series!)

  • Where:

    Skeletor’s Lair pop-up shop -701 8th Avenue (corner of G Street) San Diego.  To gain access to Skeletor’s Lair, you have to go the Super7 booth #4945 to obtain a Power Token first. (link here) 

  • When:

    Saturday – July 23rd at 3:00pm PST.

A big thank you to Mattel, Val Staples, and especially Brian Flynn and the Super 7 Team.  I’m honored by your commitment and love of HE-Man and all things MOTU.

HE-Man_snowfall_intro

 

He-man-skeletor-snowfall

** UPDATE** 21/07/2016  10:13 am

The Mattel HE-Man event cancellation was attributed and dwarfed by this massive news. Link below

Mattel Expands Masters of the Universe® Partnership with Super7

 

HE-Man: First Snowfall playing at SDCC next week

WOW.

You know that feeling you get once you finish a project and you think, “I can’t wait to show this to everyone!!” ?

Well, after almost two years of waiting, I’m thrilled to finally be able to talk about THIS!

heman first sowfall_intro

 

Waitaminute….So let me preface this.  The reason I do what I do, and the reason I’m in the animation industry, may be because of the 80’s Filmation Series, HE-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  I was 6 years old at the time and I had no idea what a “Universe” was, but mine was definitely rocked.  The show featured a bizarre fantasy world with wizards and cyborgs and the main character, HE-Man, had more muscles than anatomically possible.  He was as wide as he was tall and he rode on a green tiger.  It was easily my favorite show.  One day, my dad took my one HE-man action figure, Zodac, and propped him upright.  I watched as my dad took out a pencil and etched him out on a scrap piece of paper.  It blew my little mind.  I didn’t know you could create those images.  (I still remember the feeling) From then on, I carried a pencil and paper wherever I went.

Two years ago, things came full circle and I had the opportunity to pitch Mattel a HE-Man short.  The short film I pitched was touted as a no-holds barred fight between HE-Man and Skeletor.   Not a safe, 1980’s zap-ray fight, but their very last battle, a gritty, full-contact fight we’ve been waiting 30 years to see.  And I, being the life-long fan turned  “action director” of animation, was the one to do it.  There will be sweat, there will be action, there will be blood.  (that was my last line in the pitch lol)

They were compelled enough by my treatment that I was commissioned to direct and produce it.

 

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he-man First_snowfall_1100 copy he-man First_snowfall_1056 copy

So, I’ve been sitting on this film and unable to publicly show, let alone talk about it.

And now finally, I’m happy to announce that HE-Man: First Snowfall will be playing  next week at the 2016  San Diego Comic-Con!  WOOO!  It will be playing amongst a handful ofher HE-man commisioned shorts. produced by some world-reknowned studios.  (Rumour is that Titmouse Studios and 6 Point Harness also did one but I can’t confirm) I’ve been trying to get details from Mattel regarding location and showtimes but I can’t seem to get a specific answer.  All I know is that it will be a Mattel event.

When I get more information I will share with all of you.  #moretocome #sittight  If any of you know any details of this, please fill me in. 

 

he-man first snowfall fight

 

Special thanks to Sean Branigan, Martin MacIntosh, Rich Duhaney, Ta2 Sound + Music, Mathias Horehager, Marge Dean, Kevin Sukho Lee, Mike Valiquette, Steven Bryant, Rob David, Lloyd Goldfine, Peter Escarcega, Christine Chang and Ellery Vandooyeweert.

 *UPDATE* 21/07/2016

DETAILS!!

  • What:

    HE-Man:First Snowfall short film to screen at Mark Taylor Autograph Session (FYI. He was the concept artists for the 80’s Filmation series!)

  • Where:

    Skeletor’s Lair pop-up shop -701 8th Avenue (corner of G Street) San Diego.  To gain access to Skeletor’s Lair, you have to go the Super7 booth #4945 to obtain a Power Token first. (link here) 

  • When:

    Saturday – July 23rd at 3:00pm PST.

 

A big thank you to Mattel, Val Staples, and especially Brian Flynn and the Super 7 Team.  I’m honored by your commitment and love for HE-Man and all things MOTU.

Arc Productions

A couple of weeks ago, I wrapped up a year and a half long gig at Arc Productions. That’s another reason why I’ve been quiet on the blog side.  We delivered a crazy exciting boys-action series and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it. It’s got huge monsters, super-powered fights, explosions, aliens and thousands of zombies. Seriously, it’s mental. I’m so honored to be able to work with Arc’s world-class crew. Their talent and commitment is unparalleled. Thank you all for your hard work, sweat and tears, this mountain of a project is now behind us. To the FUTURE AND BEYOND!!  ‪#‎talent‬ ‪#‎sweat‬ ‪#‎tears‬‪#‎passion‬ ‪#‎thisiswhatwedo‬

 

MORE EXCITING NEWS TO COME SOON.

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We’ve been a bit busy with stuff.

Yes. I know, long overdue update.  We’ve been busy. (I know that’s no excuse) That’s the problem running a small production company, the social media aspect is the first thing to be pushed to the side.

I’m just going to churn out a long visual, run-on-sentence of a post.

1. The Cholesterol Question

Style5.tv produced and directed the animation for this episode of the Nature of Things with David Suzuki.  You can read here of how excited I was to work on this Markham Street Films Production.  It was nominated for a 2016 Canadian Screen Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Series!

TCQ_QuickTime-7_3mbs_1280[3

 

2. City In Crisis

When I read the treatment, I knew I needed to produce and direct this.

Created by my buddies, Ellery Vandooyeweert and Kevin Pavlovic is this hilarious web-series centering around the most dangerous city in the world and the divorced, middle-aged man-child running its police department.  Style5.tv developed the IP and sold it to Bite On Mondo. The series did really well and engaged enough viewers to do another season!

CiC_13

 

3. The Wrong Block

Speaking of web-series, we turned The Wrong Block into one.  (Do you remember the short-film from way back?) Since it was also written by Ellery, we thought it’d be funny to merge the worlds and feature a cameo from City In Crisis’ Commissioner Jordan.

TheWrong_block_promo_t

4. Johnny Physical Lives

I co-directed the animation of this documentary short-film with the talented, Miranda Quesnel.  This was some heavy subject matter featuring sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and cancer.  It played at this years HOTDOCS.

“This heart-rending love letter from one brother to another uses animation to mythologize Jonathan’s fantasy life as punk singer Johnny Physical. After being hit on the head with a beer bottle, Jonathan was dealt a devastating diagnosis—and escape into rock star Johnny’s sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle becomes a vital source of energy as he fights for his life.” Angie Driscoll

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5. The Trick with the Gun

We had the pleasure of producing the animation for this documentary featuring the most dangerous magic trick  of all time.

“The Trick with the Gun (on-demand on Super Channel) is a droll, casually revealing doc about what is known as the Holy Grail of magic. Fourteen people have died attempting the Bullet Catch. Houdini never even tried. What is chronicled in the program is Canadian magician Scott Hammell’s attempt to master it and perform it.” JOHN DOYLE

The trick with the Gun style5tv

The Cholesterol Question

I grew up watching this television series on CBC called The Nature Of Things with David Suzuki. It’s a documentary series that centers around nature and the effect that humans have on it. Back in the day, the show broke a lot of boundaries as it was one of the first mainstream programs centering around proper research and scientific evidence on a number of environmental issues.

The shows host was David Suzuki, and as I was growing up he was most prominent Asian face you saw on mainstream television. He was an award-winning scientist, bad-ass environmentalist and had always presented the science in an easily understood way.

David Suzuki was a hero of mine.

This year we got to work on The Nature of Things with David Suzuki and it was an unreal experience.

The Cholesterol Question

 

In September 2013, I reconnected with Michael McNamara from Markham Street Films at a TIFF party. We chatted and he told me about the cholesterol episode for TNOT, which was at an earlier development stage. I shared our  CRIME Series with him and luckily, he really dug it. After watching it, Michael had the brilliant idea to re-frame the episode like a detective story, unveiling scientific evidence piece by piece, with film-noir inspired animation. I was more than happy to oblige.

“Cholesterol not the killer it’s touted to be, documentary says”  – TheStar.com

“A documentary about cholesterol and the medications that regulated called statins suggests that drugs are overprescribed and unnecessary for many.”

investigation_room copy

 

This was an incredible experience and I can cross one more off the list.
Thank you to the brilliant and humble Michael McNamara, who directed this episode and was the beating heart behind it. Thank you to the Markham Street Films crew, Aaron Hancox, Craig Scorgie, Rod Deogrades, Ben Tavers and Judy Holm.  It was a pleasure to work with you all.

I am so proud of this episode, I hope you all watch it tonight.

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  • Thursday Oct 30th. 2014

  • @8:00pm on CBC

more articles on The Cholesterol Question here.

“What do we really know about cholesterol? That is a mystery that filmmaker Michael McNamara aims to find out.”   – StrictlyDocs.com

 

“Get ready for a cholesterol eye-opener, Thursday at 8 p.m. on CBC-TV’s The Nature of Things. Award-winning Toronto filmmaker Michael McNamara could have many questioning their physicians and the pharmaceutical companies after catching The Cholesterol Question.”  – MontrealGazette.com