S4 Studios has teamed with Sunwoo Ent. to produce six half-hour episodes of Wild Animal Baby, a show that blends 3D CG, Flash animation and live action to promote initiatives of the non-profit National Wildlife Federation (NWF), based in Washington, DC. The preschool series will initially be distributed on home video via the NWF website (www.nwf.org/wildanimalbaby), with negotiations underway for an external distributor.
The series is based on the NWF’s award-winning magazine, Wild Animal Baby, and features familiar characters including Sandy the Salamander, Skip the Rabbit, Izzy the Owl and Rosie the Otter. The show is intended to introduce young viewers to the natural sciences, promote literacy, demonstrate math concepts and develop motor skills by imitating real and animated animals through interactive activities, songs and games.
Directed by Larry Le Francis of S4 Studios, Wild Animal Baby is S4′s second longform project, following Cartoon Network’s The Groovenians. Each of the 12 11-minute episodes presents a mystery to the characters, whether it be a sound they don’t recognize or an animal behavior they can’t explain. With the motto ‘Let’s Explore!,’ they set out on an adventure to discover the answer and learn about the world around them.
‘The show introduces kids to the idea of deductive reasoning, which the characters use as a logic tool to complete their own adventures. The idea is that kids at home will go out, explore, touch things and wonder about them; that’s a very important part of this series,’ says Le Francis. ‘For example, in the first show, the babies have their picnic basket raided and they find some paw prints. In due time, they learn that it was a bear and explore some elementary facets of their behavior using actual bear footage that’s intercut with the animation.’
S4′s art director/storyboard director Dale Hendrickson worked closely with the Sunwoo Ent. team of Producers Jae Woo Park and Brian Doell to adapt the print characters for 3D with Maya 7.0. The project represents major step in S4′s strategy of becoming more than an animation service provider. Since its founding in 1999, the company has built a client roster that includes Cartoon Network, Rhythm & Hues’ commercial division, Flyer Ent., The Cimarron Group, Walt Disney Television Animation, Viacom, Warner Bros and Winner & Associates.
Geoffrey Kater and John Evans of S4 serve as producer production coordinator, respectively, on Wild Animal Baby. Tony Summers of the National Wildlife Federation is production exec while Sunwoo’s Jae Y. Moh serves as exec producer and Moon Ju Kang oversees the CG studio as general manager. Music and additional animation are provided by Peach Blossom Media of Singapore under the supervision of exec Producer Lingun Sung. The show is written by Adam, Seth Gross and Bradley Zweig.