“There are lots of Filipino kids who are incredible at drawing,” enthused Silas Hickey, Hong Kong-based Cartoon Network Asia Pacific creative director.
Hickey visited the country in March to scout for animation industry talents, and recently returned to promote various Cartoon Network projects such as “Johnny Bravo Goes to Bollywood” and “Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens.”
He was a guest speaker at Animahenasyon 2011, the annual Filipino animation festival held in November. Hickey also shared updates on his talent search at a press conference in Quezon City.
“People here can really draw,” Hickey said. “It’s interesting. Has everyone been to art schools or is it just like anyone can draw? In terms of animation, Hanna-Barbera used to be here; they had a training program. But it’s not just those people. There are studios on the outskirts of Manila, little houses and stuff… it’s really incredible.”
His first visit yielded other “really exciting” discoveries. “There are some incredible established studios in the Philippines,” Hickey said. “[There are many] very skilled animators here. We are continuing negotiations with some of these larger studios, to perhaps work on some of our Cartoon Network properties. We need to tap into that. That’s what we’re trying to do since I came here in March. We’ve had some very successful meetings, met some really wonderful people in the industry. We have plans to work with these more established studios as well as individuals.”
Hickey also talked about the Snaptoons (Short New Asia Pacific Cartoons) program, an ongoing regional project aimed at discovering new, original content. “How that works is there’ll be some sort of solicitation that goes out mainly to professionals,” Hickey said. “We’ll approach studios, animation professionals, directors and writers, and we’ll ask them to submit ideas. It’s not free; we pay them to do that. We’ll make those into ‘shorts.’ If it’s successfully received, we’ll consider making that into a telemovie or a series.”
“There’ll be a solicitation to sort a Philippine Snaptoons,” he added. “There’s something like that on the horizon. Actually, what we’re considering is to have a regional Snaptoons; we can also [include] Korea or Japan.”
Hickey observed that Filipinos have unique advantages. “The thing that’s always encouraging about the Philippines is we do get lots and lots of material [from Filipinos],” he said. “There really is a sort of understanding of western culture.”
Many successful original properties debuted in the shorts format, according to Hickey. “Johnny Bravo started as a short. It’s a great concept and there’s a lot less risk if you have that concept, rather than just launching a multimillion-dollar series.”
Hickey has advice on content-creation, specifically the parameters of irreverence: “It’s case by case; you can’t do certain things in India that’s totally fine in Australia. You have to be very sensitive, very careful that you don’t make any mistakes.”
He added that kids primarily want entertainment, so certain things must be avoided. “We don’t want to make content that comes off as sounding preachy. Kids don’t like it,” he said. “Contemporize it in some way. Really write a story and characters with export potential in mind!”
ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, caps off its 15th anniversary celebration with “ANC Chronicles,” a one-hour documentary special that revisits the biggest news stories that shaped the course of the country’s history.
Anchored by broadcast journalists Angelo Castro Jr. and Tina Monzon-Palma, it airs tonight at 7.
Angelo and Tina present the news channel’s most memorable coverages —from the scandals that rocked former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s nine-year reign to the Joseph “Erap” Estrada saga before and after his impeachment in 2000.
On Dec. 23, a yearend special highlighting its coverage of the biggest local and international news stories air at 7 p.m. anchored by Pinky Webb.
Business anchor Coco Alcuaz gives a rundown of reports and events that mattered in the business world in “Business Nightly,” a two-part yearend special. Part one airs Dec. 22 at 9 p.m. and part two airs same time on Dec. 23.
Lady Gaga concert
Five-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga’s concert, “Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden,” debuts on Dec. 18 at 9 p.m. on ETC. Replay is on Dec. 25 at 6 p.m.
Taped Feb. 21 and 22 at Madison Square Garden in her hometown New York City, the special spotlights the pop sensation on her sold-out world tour, accompanied by a 10-piece band and 10 backup dancers.
Songs featured in the concert include “The Fame,” “Telephone,” “Monster,” “Alejandro,” “Poker Face,” “Paparazzi,” “Bad Romance” and “Born This Way.”
On Dec. 19, E! presents “Pop Stars” with Britney Spears starting the marathon at 9 a.m., followed by Taylor Swift at 11 a.m. and Christina Aguilera at 1 p.m.
Miley Cyrus takes the spotlight at 2:55 p.m., followed by Usher at 3:50 p.m., Justin Bieber at 4:50 p.m. and Katy Perry at 6:45 p.m.
On Dec. 20, “True Hollywood Stories” features Michael Jackson at 9 a.m., Heath Ledger at 11 a.m., Patrick Swayze at 12 p.m. and Eva Longoria-Parker at 1 p.m.