Early CG TV gets 'ReBoot'

Rainmaker to develop feature films

By Carolyn Giardina
"ReBoot" -- one of the earliest computer-animated episodic TV series -- will be redeveloped as a trilogy of feature-length films by Rainmaker Animation.

Originally produced in 1994, the series was created by MainFrame Entertainment, which was acquired by and renamed Rainmaker in 2006. "ReBoot" aired for several seasons on ABC, YTV and Cartoon Network.

"The idea is to relaunch the brand in a new way," said Rainmaker Animation executive vp Paul Gertz, who will oversee the project.

To do this, Rainmaker has entered into a strategic alliance with Zeros 2 Heroes, a Web site set to launch today(7/23) to provide a social network for comic book fans.

Essentially, five undiscovered writers identified by Rainmaker were selected to work with the animation studio's production teams to prepare a pitch for the new "ReBoot" story line. These will be posted on the Zeros 2 Heroes site Thursday, the opening day of San Diego Comic-Con International. Those who visit the site will be able to work with each production team to help refine the ideas for "ReBoot" and later vote and select a favorite pitch. The brainstorming environment is what the site calls "Think Ups."

The Zeros 2 Heroes online viewer will feature Web 2.0 applications. The audience will be able to interact with the content on a variety of levels, including tagging, rating, reviewing, blogging and chatting. They also will be able to submit their own fan art.

A Web-based comic, based on the selected story, will be published this year. Production on the features will commence at that time.

" 'ReBoot's' legions of fans have been incredibly loyal and continue to keep the property alive on dozens of fan sites," Gertz said. "We're very enthusiastic about how we're reconceiving this classic series by creating an innovative way for those fans -- who were kids when the series started -- to use new technology to help guide us."

Zeros 2 Heroes president Matt Toner sees the Internet as a democratizing medium. "It takes away gatekeepers," he said. "We want to connect the fans with the producers ... and let them determine what the next hits will be. When it comes to long-standing genre entertainment properties, the fans are the real experts."

Rainmaker Entertainment CEO Warren Franklin said "ReBoot" was MainFrame's most well-known property. " 'ReBoot' was the first (brand) that we wanted to launch; there may be other properties," he said.

Projects in production at Rainmaker Animation include the company's first computer-animated feature, "Escape From Planet Earth."

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