MADRID — TeamTO, one of France’s foremost CG animation companies, will make the unusual move of bringing a largely animatics sample from history of pop anthology “We are Family” onto the market at MipJunior.
Anyone who caught last month’s Cartoon Forum presentation of the projected animation series will realize why, however.
“We’ve never shown animatics at Mipcom, but this one speaks for itself,” said Corinne Kouper, SVP of production and development at TeamTO. Cartoon Forum serves up “a kids TV core industry audience”; Mipcom offers “a much larger variety of potential buyers,” she added.
Created and directed by Baptiste Jaquemet, a motion graphics artist, and produced by TeamTO, along with French music rights management company 22D, “We are Family’” is made up of five-minute episodes. They’re fun. fast and funny, driven by a lively interchange between a male and female commentators. But they’re also informed, pepper the narrative with biographical detail of change-making celebrities. Their central concept, moreover, – that new music styles don’t come out of nowhere, but a fusion of pre-existing styles – is a winning one. The series also features some of the greatest tracks of all time.
“In five minute episodes, we try to pack in a lot of information, but in a fun, exciting way. And at the same time the show’s simple enough so that it comes across nicely,” said Kouper.
“This show can deliver a teen audience to any broadcast partner. The show’s look speaks to teens in modern documentary style narration,” said Patricia de Wilde, TeamTO director of marketing and new business.
“Family audiences will also be strong given we’re covering the past 60 years or so of pop music,” she added.
Examples of fusion straddle 60 years of pop from Bossanova (Joao Gilberto melds samba and jazz) to New Wave (punkrocker Debbie Harry, a Donna Summer fan, yokes punk and disco, creating New Wave in Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”).
Similarly, French House is born as early ‘90s Daft Punk, inspired by Niles Rogers’ “Good Times” and Moroder’s Electro hit “The Chase,” take a talk box and synthesizer to create “Around the World.” Funk meets Electro and French House is born.
The episode “Rap Meets Rock,” whose animatics will be made available at the MipJunior library, turns on a young Rick Rubin, who went on to become one of the most legendary record producers of all time.
The animation narrative pictures him moving to New York U, where he launches Def Jam Records imprint out of his college dorm, aged just 19. “It’s the early 1980s,and the New York City music scene is fresh, electrifying, and crazy diverse,” says the male commentator. Rubin’s obsession is to yoke that diversity, take the energy of hip hop out to the world, persuading rappers to do covers of rock classics. Aerosmith, at that time, are at a career lull. Cut to a lovely comic scene of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry sitting on a park bench literally waiting for the nearby public phone to ring. So they agree to a rap version of the track “Walk this Way.”
Trouble is that Run DMC, the rappers Rubin approaches, love the song’s big guitar riff, but think its lyrics ridiculous (for example, “a diddle-diddle with a kiddie in the middle”) Rubin arranges a studio session. “The collaboration turns into full-armed studio warfare,” one commentator says as the episode pictures Tyler flying at one of the rappers with his mike stand, “O.K., maybe it doesn’t go quite like that,” he adds. But they definitely aren0t getting along,” adds the female commentator. They finally reach a deal on who does what. Run DMC’s version is the first rap song tp play on rock radio and relaunches Aerosmith’s career.
Rap meets Rock, It had done so before, but “Walk this Way” makes it into mainstream pop consciousness. The mashup also proved the makings of Rubin, whose signature, decades later, remains genre blending.
“Walk This Way” certainly encouraged Jaquemet, already a massive music fan, to explore not only Run DMC but the rest of the hip hop world, he recalls. This generated a new music passion and to his discovering that rap was largely based on samples of another style, funk music, which led him to discover yet another genre.
Providing an alternative to video clips, the show comes with built-in teen-relatable extensions, such as opportunities for publishing, dedicated apps, quiz shows, local or regional spin-offs, said De Wilde.
Podcast Switched on Pop’s Nile Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding are serving as consultants on the series.
“People are very fond of discovering the real stories of creative people and discovering them when they were young and unknown and how they came to be,” said Kouper.
She added: “The series can be very affecting and inspiring for young people, spark creativity in its viewers.”