Thursday, February 02, 2006

"Spawn" Steps Out Of The Shadows

"For me, there are three things I focus on when directing," said Frank Paur about the upcoming "Spawn: The Animation" feature film, based on Canadian Todd McFarlane's super-hero character.

"The first is to decipher the intent of the scene -- are we letting you in on some information about the character or is the action key? Second, I ask myself, what is the emotion I want to convey -- terror, a hint of something to come -- the mood is very important. And third is the composition of the set and positioning of characters.

"This is vital with "Spawn" because of the use of shadows. It's almost like the shadow is another character, so you have to work really hard to show what you want in so much darkness."When I worked on "Spawn" at HBO, I just took over the third season. That experience was more taking what was already set up and adding my directing knowledge to it. I wasn't involved from the ground floor like I am with this "Spawn" project."


September 21, 2005

According to Canadian artist/entrepreneur Todd McFarlane, the 'hot topic' around his office are the 3D aspects of the upcoming "Spawn: Animation" currently in production with the 3D animators at Film Roman/IDT.

McFarlane says that "2D animation is a very repetitive and time-consuming process, involving tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of hand-drawn and hand-painted characters and backgrounds. If a shot needs slight changes, it involves drawing the whole scene over.

"With 3D animation, characters, environments and props can all be computer-generated prior to laying out scenes, allowing the animator or director to take any character, place them anywhere within the environment, light it however they like and even place the camera at any angle they desire."

McFarlane says that animation "over the last 20 years just keeps getting better -- growing, evolving, breaking new ground - as animators fine-tune their craft. 3D is not only the wave of the future, it is the here and now.

"2D and 3D producers have found that amalgamating the two art forms can generate the best product with the highest entertainment value ..."


July 1, 2005

Todd McFarlane, Canadian creator of comic book phenomenon "SPAWN" continues voice casting the upcoming Film Roman "SPAWN" animated series.

"The voice of the character is extremely important as it must convey many of the subtleties that are difficult to portray in animated body language," said McFarlane.

"We had to convince our producing partners Film Roman to use live-action actors instead of voiceover actors when filling our roles".

"Our characters are from various walks of life living in lower Manhattan and anyone who knows anything about New York City knows not everyone sounds the same ... One of the main things I listen for when casting animated characters is realism ... Although you cannot see the actual person talking, you can tell if a voice sounds fake. This is one of those small nuances many people don't find important, yet are actually vital to achieving the high standards that are expected when working with any of my companies, be it toys or animation.

"In my experience, the best way to achieve realism in the voices is to use real actors especially since I am treating this project as live action as compared to traditional animation."Overall I like the actor to resemble the character they are to voice. Not so much in appearance, but in background and ethnicity. For example, if we were casting a Puerto Rican from the Bronx we'd like to find someone who has experience around this type of person, or is from there, so they can take from their own personal reference how they should sound and what slang they should use. "

March 2005

Todd McFarlane Productions and IDT Entertainment have announced a multi-faceted development, production and distribution agreement to produce animated programming and merchandise based on 'Spawn' and other TMP original intellectual properties.

Todd McFarlane Productions is known for its multiple Emmy-winning 'Spawn' franchise. IDT Entertainment, subsidiary of IDT Corporation, is a vertically integrated entertainment/animation company, producing animation and film through DPS/Film Roman, Mainframe Entertainment and DKP Effects. Video distribution is through Anchor Bay Entertainment.

The initial project is the return of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn: The Animated Series and the story of a highly decorated soldier, executed by his own men. Reborn as a creature from hell, he fights a constant battle between the forces of good and evil.

The first Spawn series aired on HBO from 1997 through 1999 and won two Emmy awards. "Spawn", one of the world's best-selling comic books with hundreds of millions sold worldwide, has also been the subject of a live-action feature film released in 1997. Distributed by New Line Cinema, the movie grossed over $100 million international.

Todd McFarlane will oversee all aspects of development and production, as executive producer. Terry Fitzgerald, senior vice president of creative development of Todd McFarlane Productions, will serve as co-executive producer and Sidney Clifton, senior vice president and head of programming and development for DPS Film Roman, will lead the creative development team on the IDT Entertainment side.

DPS Film Roman is the IDT Entertainment company known for its award-winning production work on The Simpsons, King of the Hill and other popular broadcast television programs.

"Ever since the Spawn animated series left HBO in 1999, I have been asked -- almost daily -- when the show is going to return," said McFarlane.

"I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to not only bring the show back, but also do it with the intent of making it better creatively than its first incarnation. Teaming up with IDT Entertainment’s DPS/Film Roman will allow us to take it to the next level of animation technology."

McFarlane will also create two additional animated properties. All three projects include animated broadcast television series, DVDs, feature films, video games, apparel and action figures, as well as other consumer products. McFarlane Toys, one of the world’s premiere toy manufacturers, is currently on its 25th figure line for Spawn action figures and merchandise.The McFarlane Group of companies also produces animated television, feature films and music videos. Past projects include Pearl Jam’s animated music video Do the Evolution, Korn’s mini-movie-style video for Freak on a Leash and Jodie Foster’s critically acclaimed The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. Animation and live-action projects under McFarlane and Fitzgerald have won a Grammy, two Emmys, two MTV Music Awards and a Much Music Video Music Award.

The McFarlane Group owns rights and trademarks to more than 250 intellectual properties and characters.

"Spawn" the comic book was first published in 1992, selling 1.7 million copies. The title is now distributed in 80 countries and translated into 30 languages.The character has since been developed into a run of popular McFarlane manufactured toys, a theatrical feature, and a series of 'adult' animated TV adventures.