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Music

Birds Sing. A-Ding-A-Ding.

Even more recent news from Animation World Network: Now we hear about a new musical animated TV series for preschoolers called Do, Re & Mi, currently starting production. “Created by Jackie Tohn (Glow, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, American Idol) and Michael Scharf (Moon and The Son: An Imagined Conversation), every episode of Do, Re & Mi starts with an adventure and ends in a song, featuring original tracks performed by Kristen Bell (Princess Anna in Disney’s Frozen), Tohn, and other surprise guests… Do, Re & Mi is about three birdy best friends named Do, Re & Mi who live in a world filled with rhythm, beats and melodies. Along with their day-to-day adventures, the characters model ways for parents and young kids to talk about music and connect these ideas to their social-emotional development.” [ Fun fact: Ms. Bell actually had one line in Zootopia, as Priscilla the sloth. ] No word yet on a planned release date.

image c. 2018 Gaumont

Coming To Rock Your World… Literally!

Ah, the joys of nerdy people playing mix-and-match with their favorite media. Such is the origin of Godzilactus, a new animation project created by the team of Bryce Abood (a writer and musician) and Jeff Fuller (an artist), collectively known as Sick Bird. In essence, the mighty Godzilla discovers the helmet of Galactus while venturing through space… and he returns to Earth in search of the only thing which can fill his ravenous hunger: Hip hop beats!  Unfortunately, the ultimate beat was stolen by a robot known as Ernest Cyborg-Nine, and now Godzilactus will destroy whole cities and even whole planets in his quest to get his beat back! Any of this making any sense? No? Good. It’s all good fun created as a throw-back to the Marvel Comics motion-comics of the late 1960’s, with a lot of other fannish references tossed in. The Sick Bird guys got a lot of help from some animations veterans who worked on shows like SeaLab 2021, Saturday Night Live, and Metalocalypse. Check out the first short over on YouTube, and be prepared for more! The beat has only begun…

image c. 2016 Sick Bird

image c. 2016 Sick Bird

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Sing For All Species!

And the embarrassment of riches for anthropomorphic animal movies that is 2016… continues! Once again Cartoon Brew brings us big news: Illumination (home of the Minions and the upcoming Secret Life of Pets) have announced a new CGI film called Sing, coming to theaters in December of 2016. “Of all the animal kingdom films, Sing might be the quirkiest of the bunch. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri explained during an Annecy keynote earlier this year that conceptually ‘The starting point for the movie was, for me at least, looking at what the role of a producer is’. The producer in Sing will be a koala named Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey, who runs a vaudeville-style theater. ‘He creates wonderful entertainment out of nothing’ Meledandri said at Annecy. If a paean to producers sounds like an unusual topic for an animated film, so does the fact that the movie will have over 85 songs in it. Here’s the set-up which allows that to happen: Buster’s theater has fallen on hard times, and he comes up with an idea to save it by staging a singing competition. Eventually, five lead contestants emerge: A mouse (Seth MacFarlane) who croons as smoothly as he cons, a timid teenage elephant (Tori Kelly) with an enormous case of stage fright, an overtaxed mother (Reese Witherspoon) run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets, a young gangster gorilla (Taron Egerton) looking to break free of his family’s felonies, and a punk-rock porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo. Each animal arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life. John C. Reilly will also lend a voice as Buster’s black sheep pal Eddie.” Got all that? Whew! We’ll keep you informed as we learn more.

image c. Illumination Entertainment

image c. Illumination Entertainment

Sounds of the Forest, Getting in Tune

Three entertainment veterans have teamed up to create a new music-oriented funny animal book series for kids called The Musicritters. The first full-color book is called The New House. “Ten year old Lizzie’s world was turning upside down. Dad’s new job was taking Lizzie, her mother, and her brother Jamie far from the only home and friends that she had ever known. Little did Lizzie realize that some of the most unusual, fun and lovable new friends a kid could ever have were waiting to be discovered at her new house, right in her own backyard. Lizzie was about to meet the MusiCritters!” Namely, creatures that combine animals with musical instruments! Writer Steve Sperry is known for his songwriting work on TV shows like Fame. Illustrator Willie Ito has spent years developing characters and animation for Disney, Hanna Barbera, and Warner Brothers cartoons. And colorist Iraj Paran has worked at Hanna Barbera too — he designed their world-famous logo. The book is available at Amazon, but it’s also available as a .pdf download at several sites, including OkayBooks.org.

image c. 2015 CreateSpace

image c. 2015 CreateSpace

The Monkey’s With The Band

More Oni Press, more anthropomorphic strangeness. “Liz, Bodey, Maude, and Justine’s band, Odd Schnozz and the Odd Squad, are sure to win this year’s Battle of the Bands. But when a talking chimp, who claims to be a scientist from the mysterious organization B.L.A.N.K., interrupts their practice session, the band’s got a whole new set of problems. Now B.L.A.N.K. agents are closing in, determined to recapture the escaped chimp before he becomes a liability. Jeffrey Burandt (Americans UK), Dennis Culver (Edison Rex), and Ramon Villalobos (Young Avengers) bring you this thrilling tale of cyborg animals and punk rock teenagers.” After being serialized as an on-line comic, the Odd Schnozz and the Odd Squad graphic novel is coming this June as a full color trade paperback. Find out more at Oni’s official page on-line.

image c. 2015 Oni Press

image c. 2015 Oni Press

Rock ‘n’ Roll Cats — And Their Friends

Furry Feline Creatives (cool name!) is the creation of Cheri Ong and Alvin Ong. Part-time musicians themselves, the Ongs have started an on-line store for their original posters, plushies, and 3D works of rock ‘n’ roll cats and other cartoony animal characters. They even do custom illustrated shoes! Check out their web site at www.furry-feline.com.

image c. 2013 Furry Feline Creatives