Thanks to Doreen Leong for the great writeup and to The Edge. Since the netv@alue 2.0 isn't published online, I have taken the liberty in typing it out in our blog. Enjoy!
Life after Upin & Ipin
There are high expectations of the creators of the local hit television series Upin & Ipin and 3D animated feature film Geng: Pengembaraan Bermula. Many wonder if they will be able to create another successful project since leaving Les' Copaque Production Sdn Bhd, which produced the TV series and the film.
Eight of the Original team at Les' Copaque had left the comapny to set up Animonsta Studios Sdn. Bhd.
"We left Les' Copaque to seek new opportunities," managing director Nizam Razak tells email@example.com. "We bbelieve with the experience and knowledge that we have gained, we will be able to produce fresh animation products that can penetrate the universal market."
However, Nizam stresses, Animonsta was not set up to compete with his former company.
"Our objective is not to compete with Upin & Ipin. We are not fighting in terms of which character is cuter and so on. Our product is for a different and wider market segment. We also want to create more sources of revenue for our product... how to commercialise it. For instance, the main character BoBoiBoy likes to brush his teeth, which means toothpaste companies can advertise their products in the show," he explains.
Animonsta, which is a brand and content developer was set up in September this year and aims to bring new content with good value sfor the universal market. Its first product is BoBoiBoy, which relates an adventure of the main character BoBoiBoy and his friends who gain superpowers to fight aliens who invade Earth for coffee.
BoBoiBoy is a television series comprising 26 episodes of 11 minutes each. It will later be made into a full feature film for release in the cinemas.
Once completed, BoBoiBoy will be Animonsta's first intellectual property which will enable the company to capitalise on the product - if it proves to be a success.
While things appear to be going as planned, creating another successful animation series after the phenomenal success of Upin & Ipin is no easy feat.
"There is definitely pressure to deliver another successful series since audiences would have higher expectations of BoBoiBoy. But thanks to our experience and knowledge from our previous product, we wil lbe able to meet their expectations. The bigger pressure is actually from delivering t othe international audience because BoBoiBoy is designed as universal content with a local touch," Nizam says.
"We have the elements of alien, spaceship and superhero, then we inject a multiracial and diverse culture. We later want to show it to Disney in the US and to the Middle East.
"We want to design our characters in a way that local viewers can relate to while at the same time, overseas viewers will find them new and interesting," he adds.
Indeed being able to penetrate the overseas market will be a huge achievement for BoBoiBoy. But the project is still in its early stages and Nizam hopes to finalise an agreement with a local broadcasting station before targeting the global audience.
"For us it is better to secure a partnership with a local TV station first before going for the global market," he says.
He reckons that the agreement should be inked by early next year at the latest. The television series is slated to be aired on TV3 and TV9 beginning June 2010.
Research and development
In the meantime, Nizam is doing R&D via the Internet, reaching out to people on Facebook and YouTube.
"We put the BoBoiBoy character of Facebook, YouTube and blogs. Although Facebook is more for adults, at least we will get feedback from parents on whether their children like the character," he says.
Nizam explains that R&D is crucial before broadcasting the product.
"We need to understand our target audience before the product is released. We do a lot of promotions, flash games, to create the hype and test the market. Most animation companies complete the characters and then air the series... it will be a huge problem if viewers don't like them.
"We have invested RM100,000 of our own funds and this can last us six months. With that money we ca nput on a show reel. Meanwhile we are applying for funding from Multimedia Development Corp, Cradle and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation."
Nizam stresses that with funding, the company can move along in the next six months. "Right now, we need to secure sales at a local TV station and sponsorship."
"We are doing things differently. We are going for multiple TV channels, pre0promotion... this is why it is taking us some time to get the agreement with the TV station ready," he says.
He adds that companies normally produce a pilot first but even with that it can be difficult to sell. "Some companies have 10 episodes ready but cannot find a buyer."
As for Animonsta, Nizam says the team has put in actual production efforts into BoBoiBoy, such as product modelling, animation and developing the script, so that there is a ready product before the pilot is released.
Suffice it to say, Nizam's feet are planted firmly on the ground and he has no illusions that his next project will be a sure hit. If BoBoiBoy turns out well and achieves success beyond the local and regional markets, it will be a first for the company and the industry.