‘Ben 10’ producer on working with ‘super talented’ Pinoy
“It’s interesting; I’d say Ben’s evolution has been keeping him almost the same—and that, in itself, is quite a struggle because he is this 10-year-old kid … we want to see him having fun with those powers,” John Fang, executive producer of Cartoon Network’s rebooted “Ben 10,” told the Inquirer via e-mail.
The animated show, first aired in 2005, is about young hero Ben Tennyson, who can transform into 10 aliens with the help of a watch-like device.
“Every time we’d think of a new version, we still want to keep the essence of that fun playfulness,” said Fang, who was previously a director and storyboard artist on various projects, including “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Generous teammates, according to the producer, are essential to getting a proper reboot, as well: “Nollan Obena is probably one of the best art directors around, and he happens to be from the Philippines. I’ve worked with him on ‘Generator Rex’ and ‘Mixels,’ and he’s super talented. He works with the team well, he helps generate the look and feel of the shows I’ve worked on. He’s one of the most talented, well-organized art directors I’ve ever come across. [We’re] very lucky.”
Being with the “Ben 10” team for several years now has also afforded Fang the opportunity to work with viewers-turned-coworkers.
“I’m working with storyboard artists who are fans of the original series. Every time we talk about ‘Ben 10,’ the impact reminds everyone of how much fun it is to be a kid.”
The animation industry continues to change, which the show constantly adapts to. “Basically, one of our biggest changes is switching from a 22-minute to an 11-minute format that allows kids to watch more episodes and get more out of them,” Fang elaborated. “We also have ‘Alien Worlds,’ about each alien and its planet.”
“Ben 10” was created by Man of Action Studios, a quartet of comic book talents who’ve worked on popular DC and Marvel titles.
On that partnership, Fang said, “We’re all cut from the same cloth. They’re incredibly successful comic book writers. I have such a love for comics—so we think very similar in those terms … it’s a collaborative effort.”
On the show’s impact on viewers from different countries, Fang said, “This project is popular throughout the world, and to know that we have such amazing fans in the Philippines is truly inspirational.”
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