Hoping to spin a television animation future off a computer online empire, the Seattle-based Headbone Interactive is using the lure of its proprietary technology to attract interest in a series of children’s TV projects using characters popularized on its increasingly popular Headbone Zone Web site and in a series of CD-ROM titles.

Company has just launched a fully digital animation division that company prexy and founder Susan Lammers said radically speeds up the oft-cumbersome animation production process, using the computer to create broadcast-quality toons for what she estimates to be roughly one-third the typical price.

“With half-hour episodes, we go from concept to completion at an extremely affordable cost,” Lammers said. “We don’t need to ship boards to Korea for painting. And when you integrate and put the production all under one roof, you achieve a lot more creative flexibility.”

Headbone has already produced a TV series pilot using photographic-background 2-D animation characters. Company is seeking out a strategic partner to work with producing shows over the next few years, Lammers explained. She hopes to have Headbone’s first series on the air by fall ’98 and to be ramped up producing three series by ’99.

Shows will incorporate the “hundreds” of characters and stories Headbone has developed via the World Wide Web and on CD-ROM. Headbone Zone Web site, which launched in its current form in March, is already one of the most popular kid sites on the Internet — receiving what Lammers estimates to be hundreds of thousands of visits per month.

Plenty of action

The quirky Headbone Zone offers a plethora of interactive games, contests and chat rooms aimed at kids and young teens, all infused with an educational element. Company has content relationships with numerous newspapers across the country, cross-promoting Headbone Zone in family sections of the papers’ online editions.

Lammers said the site has helped spur interest in the TV series’ ideas that have reportedly drawn inquiries from numerous broadcast and cable nets.

“We’re hoping to follow a growth path similar to properties such as ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Goosebumps,’ ” Lammers said. “We feel that television is a promising means of exploiting the franchise we’ve built.”

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