×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cartoon Network’s ‘Summer Camp Island’ Speaks to People ‘Craving Gentleness’

British animator Julia Pott presents her animated kids' show at MipJunior

British animator Julia Pott, the creator of Cartoon Network’s new children’s series “Summer Camp Island,” said it spoke “to people who are craving gentleness,” during a presentation of the show Saturday at MipJunior in Cannes, France.

Pott compared her animated series, which follows two friends at a magical sleepaway camp, to “Gilmore Girls.” “Nothing bad is ever going to happen in that show and if you really just need to be soothed you can watch it, and that is what we want with this show… anyone that wants to feel soothed, it is for them.” She added: “There is darker stuff in there but it is in a little cute package.”

Rob Sorcher, chief content officer at Cartoon Network, who led the MipJunior session, incorporating the European premiere of one of the show’s episodes, said it was “pretty rare” to come across a property that has a “fully developed world and that has a gifted and clear voice behind it.”

The series was developed out of Cartoon Network’s Artists Program, which “specializes in curating distinct and diverse artists, most of whom have never run a show,” Sorcher said. Many of the participants have never worked on a show at all, or only for a short time on one show. It started as an experimental program to bring in new voices but has “become the main pipeline of television development for [Cartoon Network], and has spawned 11 television series to date,” Sorcher explained.

Referring to the storytelling elements of “Summer Camp Island,” Pott said that “every inspiration came from my childhood,” and she paid tribute to shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” that she watched as a kid. Pott added: “A lot of kids think that there is a secret, magical layer to everything: There’s definitely a monster under your bed, you will fall into quicksand and die, there are ghosts everywhere, and magic and witches – and your parents just aren’t telling you about it. And I really like that you are in tune with the spooky and eager to believe all of that stuff.”

Pott made the jump from making short art films when she was a freelancer, such as “Belly” and “The Event” – which, she said, she made “entirely by myself alone in my pajamas in my bedroom” – to running a $30 million enterprise, according to Sorcher’s figures. This leap, which came via a period working on Cartoon Network’s multi Emmy winner “Adventure Time,” was not without its traumas. “When [“Summer Camp Island”] got picked up it was so much to take in. Being in charge of a bunch people was really overwhelming and I had a lot of panic attacks,” Pott said.

The hardest thing to deal with was her own expectations. “When you are starting to work on something that’s so big, that potentially a lot of people will see, you can’t help but beat yourself up about everything that might be going wrong, or if there is an episode that you don’t entirely love, you are like, ‘This is a disaster. This is the end of the world.’ ”

Pott said that “Adventure Time” showrunner Adam Muto gave her a good piece of advice. “Not every episode is your episode,” he told her. “You have to learn how to let it go if it is not working out. Someone will connects with this.” Pendleton Ward, creator of “Adventure Time,” also guided her. He said: “If there is one thing in the episode that you think is funny that is a victory. Just focus on that. Focus on the good stuff, and don’t destroy yourself with the stuff that you don’t think is perfect, because it is never going to be perfect – it is television.”

There was one piece of advice – from Sorcher himself – that Pott opted to ignore. He warned her against casting real children, which she wanted to do, inspired by the animated series “Peanuts.” “What is nice about our show in general is that it is very sincere and it is supposed to be as real as possible… We want it to seem like they could be real kids talking to each other, and you just can’t get that with someone pretending to be a kid,” Pott said. “And the way that they say stuff is so surprisingly funny. And they are coming from the same emotion that you are exploring because they are still there… Working with kids, there is an energy there you just don’t get from someone pretending to be a kid.”

The child who plays the part of Pajamas in the episode that was screened at MipJunior, Naomie, was just 3 years old. She was “arguable the best actress on our show,” and “rewrites stuff that she says doesn’t make sense,” Pott said.

Summer Camp Island

British animator Julia Pott, creator of Cartoon Network’s new children’s series ‘Summer Camp Island’

More TV

  • CNN Anchors Get Frenzied, Freaky on

    Inside CNN's Formal, Frenzied and Sometimes Freaky New Year's Eve

    New Year’s Eve is the night on which most CNN anchors let their hair down. Well, except for Anderson Cooper. Cooper has been CNN’s on-air host for New Year’s Eve since 2002, and his most memorable moments from the stint typically surface as he tries to rein in others who appear with him – hoping [...]

  • Halo Head Bonnie Ross Named 2019

    Halo Head Bonnie Ross Named 2019 AIAS Hall of Fame Inductee

    “I don’t think I would still be at Microsoft or in technology if I hadn’t found gaming.” Bonnie Ross, Microsoft Corporate vice president and head of 343 Industries, will be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in February 2019 for her work in video games, in helping to expand [...]

  • Ariana Grande and the Roots Perform

    Ariana Grande and the Roots Bring Out the Soul in ‘Imagine’ on ‘Fallon’ (Watch)

    The Roots are one of the most versatile bands on the planet, and when Ariana Grande brought her new single “Imagine” to “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Tuesday night, they brought out the song’s inherent soulfulness in inimitable fashion. Toward the end of the track, Grande shows off her range with some sky-scraping, Mariah-esque [...]

  • Dom Delport

    Vice Swings to Profit in the U.K., Eyes International Partnerships

    After a tumultuous period involving harassment scandals, job losses and restructuring, Vice has registered a small profit in the U.K., according to the company’s latest results. The uptick is welcome news for Vice as its new international boss, Dominique Delport, scopes out new production and partnership possibilities for the company’s content business. The U.K. was [...]

  • Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Mocks Former CBS Chief Leslie Moonves on 'Late Show'

    Leslie Moonves was known to take an active dislike of David Letterman making fun of him during that host’s tenure on CBS’ “The Late Show.” He probably isn’t enjoying being mentioned by Stephen Colbert either. Colbert used his monologue on Tuesday’s broadcast to poke fun at the former CBS Corp. CEO, who yesterday learned that [...]

  • Ruth Wilson and Idris Elba'Luther Series

    'Luther' Creator Neil Cross Working on Show's Movie Version, Idris Elba Says

    A movie version of crime series “Luther” is moving forward, with writer-creator Neil Cross working on the script, the show’s star Idris Elba confirmed at the launch of Season 5 in London. “We are really advancing on getting a movie version [of the show] up on the screen,” Elba said. “Neil is beavering away on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content