The Archives: January 2000
Our letter page was getting a bit large, so we thought it was time to archive the letters that we receive every week. Remember, if you agree or disagree with what someone else said, let us know!
I noticed that you guys started airing Roughnecks: Starship Trooper Chronicles recently and I have a few questions for this show.
First Question: Will TELETOON show the episodes in order? It has been shown on FOX 29 and they don't show the episodes in order!
TELETOON answers: We are airing the series in a chronological order, so here is the pattern: We air 2 new episodes per week - on Monday and Sunday; the Saturday episode is the repeat of the Monday.
Second Question: Are any of the voice actors Canadian? All of our Canadian actors need to be known and appreciated!
TELETOON answers: Unfortunately, in the promotional material provided by the company, they do not mention if the voice talent(s) is or are from Canada, but here are the names:
Third Question: Who produces this show and how much is an episode?
TELETOON answers: The series is distributed by Columbia TriStar International Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. It is based on the novel by Robert Heinlein; and the screenplay by Edward neumeier. It it a 3-D CGI animated series. To give you an idea of the cost per episode, why don't you have a look at one of our text written by the Department of Original Productions posted below.
Fourth Question: How many episodes are there?
TELETOON answers: There are 40 episodes. We presently have the broadcast rights for 20 episodes, and you will be happy to know that we will be broadcasting the following 20 in the Fall 2000.
Also, thank you very much for picking this one up! It is a GREAT show!
— Shawn G., Toronto
Just a note to tell you how much we enjoyed Kampung Boy, and were looking forward to seeing this series as an ongoing part of TELETOON's programming. It's rare to see anything that's animated that's not in some way Disneyfied or very North American. And Kampung Boy looked and sounded different, and at the same time real and up to date. Please bring this gentle, amusing and beautifully animated series back!
— Beverly & Savannah
TELETOON answers:Thank you for sharing with us your enthusiasm toward one of our series. As mentioned in our Post Office Box for previous requests on other shows, as we keep introducing new series (January, March, June and September), some programs will have to give away their time slots. Sorry ! Kampung Boy may again be part of our schedule but in the mean time, why not stay tooned for Rescue Heroes - Monday to Friday at 4:30.
I hardly think that "Redwall" is appropriate viewing for unsupervised children. This program is filled with violence and I was disgusted to find it on at 8:30am on a Sunday morning!!! If you want to put this program on...perhaps you could put it on with the "Simpsons"...it would be more appropriate for that age group...not an impressionable little 4 year old. If you will not change your choice for this time slot...I have no choice but to block that channel from my children's viewing choices.
— Someone from Stittsville, Ontario
TELETOON answers: We thank you for taking the time to share with us and our viewers your point of view on the "Redwall" series. We agree with you that it is not appropriate for younger children as we have rated the series C8 (not appropriate for children under 8 years old). The rating system was implemented in September 1997 to help viewers and parents in making more informed viewing choices. The ratings appear on the top left corner of the screen at the beginning of every program.
The Redwall television series was shown in Canada in both English and French on TELETOON and received numerous praises from parents, children and the media who believe it is the most beautiful program they've seen so far on our network.
We know that we can never have a schedule that pleases everyone completely, but we make sure that everyone finds something they really like in our programming.
Who is that little girl who has Pippi Longstocking hair style?
TELETOON answers:Thank you for inquiring about the little girl with the Pippi Longstocking hair style.
Actually, she is not related to Pippi, she was created as an on-air element for TELETOON. Her job is to promote the next program that is coming up on the network, so that you don't have to look up your tv guide all the time.
But let us give you a little background on this "rookie". She, the little girl with the Pippi hairstyle, exists in the form of a doll, 40 cm high and she weights 5 kgs. The animation is made possible by moving her ever so lightly, and by recording her position each time she is moved. This specific form of animation is called, stop motion animation. Each frame of the stop motion animation is recorded on a green backdrop, so that the background animation can be added on during the post production session. All background were created in 2d animation. It take between 3 to 4 month to create 15 second worth of animation. The TELETOON logo that comes on at the end of the animation is computer generated and was created in a 3D environment. She has a name that will be announced as soon as the legal department clears all copyright issues.
"We pre-empt this weeks Recent Mail for something completely different." Well not completely, but viewers seem to like it when we ask different TELETOON departments to contribute to this page (such as our crew in Edmonton, or the Web Guy in Toronto). Today we turn to Montréal. In order to give you a little more info on TELETOON, we've decided on a tour of the Original Productions Department.
As a condition of licence, TELETOON must invest a percentage of its revenues back into the production industry in Canada. The OP department's mandate is to fulfill that condition. By triggering original productions from across the country, TT plays a key role in fostering a vibrant national animation community that will then have the opportunity of impacting world markets through the sale of Canadian animated series. The impact is also cultural as these series garner worldwide recognition for both their producers as well as the Canadian television industry as a whole.
Who has not heard of those crazy canuck animators... On the programming side, OPs help to ensure that the schedule is always fresh and offers viewers exclusive first-run television not available on other networks. How do we access these series you may ask. It is actually not as easy it may sound at first glance. As an obvious observation, only good series are of any interest. As in any industry, there are many many levels of expertise from many many companies. I believe that current estimates are at 500 production companies across the country. So the idea is to sift through them and consider what they have to offer.
A project's value cannot be determined by a set list of criteria (as say how to select a ripe eggplant). It is a combination of pre-determined requirements (TT needs more kids programming, TT does not want any more elephant series), an educated opinion (no you cannot produce animation for 50,000.00 per half-hour, yes Mrs. Penmanship can write brilliant comedy) and a fair dose of risk (the project that looks great on paper may turn out to be a dud or vice-versa). And that is the nature of the game - that is what makes it exciting - you never know for sure. There are formulas but the science is not exact. If it was, we would all be doing Pokemon for example, or Barney, or Teletubbies. But alas - no such luck.
Every new show reinvents its own rules (even more true in animation where the rules are more elastic to begin with). Now that we've found THE show, how can we get it? The system in Canada is based on both public and private funds (contrary to the USA where public funds are not used as widely). A producer who wants to produce a series has to finance the series as well. Because broadcasters do not pay a licence fee equivalent to the total cost of the production, the difference has to be raised by the producer. In the USA, usually Original television series are paid for by the broadcaster. For example, Cartoon Network will buy say Ed, ED'n Eddy from AKA Cartoons and foot the entire cost of production. An average production budget in animation is 500,000.00 per half-hour episode for a total of 6,500,000.00 for a series of thirteen episodes. It is very expensive. However, Cartoon Network owns the show lock, stock and barrel. The producer does not retain ownership.
In Canada, the system works differently. The broadcaster pays usually approx 15% of the total production budget and never retains ownership (unless of course it is produced by the broadcaster) but only has the broadcast licence (right to broadcast)for a pre-determined amount of time. I usually go for a 4 year exclusive in English and French for an unlimited number of runs licence. With the same equation in mind, the remaining 85% is put together by the producer. This can be done through accessing private funds (Shaw, Cogeco, Maclean Hunter, Bell etc) and public funds (Telefim Canada, SODEC, OFIP, Canadian Television Fund) and distribution advances (a distribution company advances money to a production in exchange for the right to sell the property on pre-determined territories). Some larger companies will also invest their own money in the production. The result is a complex system that is triggered by one thing : the broadcast letter. This is the key to starting the financing ball rolling. Without it, th eproducer cannot finance the show.
Understanding the system is key to putting this puzzle together. And financing is just as important as the project itself. The best project in the world is worth nothing to me if it cannot be financed and produced. And the worst show in the world is worth nothing to me even if it is a great deal. The projet and its feasability are equally important. It is the ability to gage both of these elements that fuels all of my decisions.
Back to the 500 producers. There are big ones and small ones and medium ones Each company's ability to present interesting projects as well as their ability to finance-produce-distibute them efficiently are key. And you know what else is key? The people involved.
When TT gets involved, we get involved in all aspects of production in order to ensure that the quality is kept and we get delivery of the show that was pitched. You would not believe what can happen along the way. Pretty much anything can happen along the way. That is why we keep very close.
In closing, in attempting to always have a fresh and innovative approach, it is also excellent to seek new partnerships. Small upcoming companies are always of interest because they can offer truly original perspectives. These opportunities are very interesting to me but require more involvment (read time) on my part to guide them through the process or pair them with a more experienced producer who can act as the executive producers. This type of arrangement is not always easy but when it works, it works very well and contributes to building new companies that can then contribute positively to our programming needs.
The Department of Original Productions - Montréal.
Where can I obtain a copy of Gogwana or can you tell me if you plan to show it again. I think it is a fun show.
TELETOON answers: As a television network, we only have the broadcast rights, so we can not sell any of the shows we air. "Gogwana" is produced by An Aaargh! Animation Ltd. This 30 minute special should be re-scheduled in the months to come, so make sure to visit our site on a regular basis to find out when..
I really enjoy the series Sabrina the Animated series but only caught it on CTV (second season) and didn't know there was more episodes until I saw it listed on your channel. I don't know where we are in the TV series. Would you have an episode list or guide of the show showing the titles of each episode and the proper order the show goes. Could you e-mail me a copy so I can follow along as I watch them.
TELETOON writes: We have the broadcast rights for 52 episodes of the series and we air them as follow: Monday to Friday at 5:30 pm and Saturday & Sunday at 6:30 pm, all in chronological order. For example: Monday, January 24 at 5:30 pm you'll have episode 22 - The Stepmother, The Babe and on Sunday, January 30 at 6:30 pm we'll air episode 28 - Molar Molar. We hope this information helps you with your viewing habits. Enjoy!
As for an outline of the episodes, our premiere issue of CluBtoon featured Sabrina: the Animated Series. We included a synopsis of all the episodes. You can either join CluBtoon to be the first to see this kind of information, or you can wait until the CluBtoon information is moved to the Web site. When the next issue of CluBtoon appears (late this month), the scoop on Sabrina: the Animated Series will be moved to our Web site. You can look forward to a complete list of episodes with descriptions, biographies of the voice talent, and more information about the show.
We think your web site is funky -doodle weird! Don't worry that's a good thing coming from us. We like "Edgy Wedgy" and the cross words but we never could get the Ren & Stimpy game to work, but we are sure it's fun. Thank-you for making one of the only three web sites we go on.
TELETOON writes: Thanks for the compliments! The Ren & Stimpy game is a Java Applet. Some browsers are set to prevent Java Applets from operating. For example, if you're using Microsoft Explorer 5.0, you need to select Tools Internet Options Security Settings and you'll see a long list of choices, which includes a section on Java. If "Disable" is selected, you won't be able to view applets.
I've written you a number of times before, sometimes to vent, sometimes to praise, sometimes to inquire. This is one of those inquiring ones... I must admit, when your new season started, I was not impressed in the least. You got rid of a lot of my favourite shows and put a slew of (what I thought at the time were) boring, stupid, and/or just plain gross shows. Mega Babies is all of these, still, but a few of the others have grown on me, so I'm not upset anymore. :)
Actually, one of the ones that didn't impress me at first, but now I'm a fan, is Angela Anaconda. I was disappointed when I voted for my favorite shows that this show was not on the top show list. I guess people who watch TV and vote for shows never got picked on in school.... That's why I like the show -- it reminds me so much of my school days. Angela reminds me so much of myself --gawky, freckled, with a strange voice and strange friends, happy with myself and confident, until some little witch said something that didn't need to be said, and ruined the rest of the day for me. But Angela usually manages to get her own in by the end of the show, whereas I never did. That's why I like the show, I can root for Angela and boo at Ninny-wart. heehee...But I digress... The reason I even started writing was because I was wondering if anyone happened to know who the characters were?? Not the people doing the voices, but the models for the pictures that are used for the animation of the characters. Are Nanette and her friends animated with pictures of actresses that I have seen elsewhere, movies or TV? I don't know, but the credits for the show go so fast, I've never been able to find out who all the models are. Can you help me out? Do you have names for the faces? Well, I guess I'll close with praise for the effort that you people are putting in (yes, SOME of us DO notice the effort :) !), and with thanks, thanks, and more thanks for FINALLY managing to get Ninja Scroll back on the air for a night. It's one of my fave anime shows -- thank you!
TELETOON writes: Thanks for the praise - we never tire of it! Here is what Decode Entertainment Inc. had to say to your question about the faces used on Angela Anaconda: the faces used for all the characters are a combination of different kids (no one famous). For some of the adults, faces of different adults were taken, including some of the staff working on the show. The names are not disclosed because they are not recognizable to the audience.
I decided to check out the French poll just out of curiosity to see what was popular there. I noticed that you show Daria on your French affiliates. I was wondering whether you had any plans to bring the show to your English markets. It would make this viewer and many others I know extremely happy.
TELETOON writes: Since another network has the English broadcast rights it is not available to us at this point. As mentioned previously in our archives, broadcast rights can vary from a few months to 8 years...so we'll have to be patient ! In the mean time, why don't you give a try to one of our new additions such as I am Weasel, Ed, Edd'n Eddy or Archie's Weird Mysteries.