I was in the neighborhood and dropped in on my friends at STARTOON STUDIOS. They just so happen to be shooting a segment for their podcast. We chatted, we laughed, we shared silly stories and went home.
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 ✅ GeorgeJason 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
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)
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.
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
Creator progress update:The creator of Adam, Sam Chou, takes us through the steps in completing the latest #animation challenge, starting with making sure the sound is right, before sitting down for a #cartoon-drawing binge.
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:
HE-Man:First Snowfallshort film to screen at Mark Taylor Autograph Session(FYI. He was the concept artists for the 80’s Filmation series!)
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)
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.
** UPDATE** 21/07/2016 10:13 am
The Mattel HE-Man event cancellation was attributed and dwarfed by this massive news. Link below