Add Iggy Cool, the South American surfing iguana, to the list of fun animated characters to watch in 2006. Created originally as a logo for a hot line of surfing clothes in Maryland, the character is the star of a new DVD animated by Burbank-based TrueLight Entertainment, a full-service studio specializing in animation production, online services and marketing.
‘He’s a surfing iguana with a very small brain, but he actually solves mysteries,’ says Kevin O’Donnell, TrueLight Entertainment’s president. ‘We did the movie, which is now available online and through surf shops all around the country using Flash technology. We recently created 25-second clips of Iggy for mobile platforms, and we also have have a deal with Veoh: We’re the featured show on their skateboard.com channel.’
Formed last August by Bakers Man, a company specializing in internet-based technology, marketing, communication and digital info management, the team at Truelight has been working on several animated ventures in the past few months. Among the projects in the pipeline is a 2D-animated series produced by Marvel featuring Wolverine (with animation veteran Chuck Patton on board as writer), as well as a series of web toons for eHealthinsurance.com, and animated content for National Lampoon’s TV The Movie.
‘We invested in our own content and now it’s a matter of how to get that content pay its own way,’ says O’Donnell, a toon industry pro and creator of popular toons such as Liberty’s Kids and Super Duper Sumos. ‘It’s very interesting to observe what’s happened in Japan and Europe, where people actually use their cell-phones more for content than we do here in the U.S. We’re definitely pursuing that market aggressively this year.’
Truelight has also closed an online content deal for a show titled Uncle Sam’s Greatest Hits, which started as an audio project and then evolved into an animated venture. ‘We had a great start right out of the gate,’ notes O’Donnell. ‘This combination of technology and animation has helped us tremendously. We’re linked into a network of artists and writers. It’s such an integrated world out there. You have to demonstrate success in one area and then expand it to other arenas. It’s all about combining utilitarian and entertainment values and getting into the new platforms both as a service studio and as a content provider.’ For more info, visit www.truelightentertainment.com.