Classics inspire Mighty Mike

 

A new slapstick cartoon series for kids Mighty Mike about a dog trying to protect his house is now screening on Boomerang.

TV Tonight put these questions to creators Creators Corinne Kouper and Franz Kirchner

What was the inspiration for the series?
We were very inspired by classic cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Sylvester and Tweety as well as silent films from the Charlie Chaplin era. We also took a lot of inspiration from internet videos of animals doing hilarious things.

How would you describe the series?
The series follows the adventures of a dog called Mike. It is a comedic non-dialogue 3D animated show.

In terms of the storyline, Mike is a refined pug with sophisticated tastes. Every morning, he wakes up with one thing on his mind – how to impress the neighbour’s elegant dog Iris.

Sadly, his plans never work out as a bunch of interfering troublemaking racoons, turtles and a kitten have a surprising knack for showing up at the worst possible moments, dragging Mike into a series of unforeseen calamities.

How did you get in to animation?
[Corinne] I was working in production in the movie industry in 1995 on a Peter Ustinov-produced 26-minute Peter and the Wolf project for Canal+. It was a hybrid show which fused animation and live action, and this when I first discovered the magic of animation and the talent of CGI animators. I quickly realised my passion for the medium and have never looked back.

[Franz] I studied fine arts for four years and then I decided to enter animation school which is where I met Corinne who was a lecturer there. I then started working on a show called Angelo Rules as a first assistant director and Rabbids Invasion at Ubisoft.

How long did it take to develop the series?
We started to develop the series in 2015, this is when we first started to think about the characters and their world and really develop our ideas. The official production started in 2017 for Mighty Mike. The development process was definitely longer than the production.

What shows have you worked on before that have inspired you to do this show?
[Corinne] Oscar’s Oasis was one of the first animation comedy shows from TeamTO that I worked on. It was almost 10 years ago now and was a Korean co-production. The show was about a lizard and was non-dialogue and was definitely inspiration for Mighty Mike although now we have such incredible technology in the animation field that I was eager to explore what we could do with Mighty Mike. The technology is new and ground breaking which means we are experimenting and learning about the technology for the first time with this show.

[Franz] Just before this project, I worked on Rabbids Invasion which helped inspire this show, as well as both shows being 7 minutes, they are both non-dialogue. I acquired so much knowledge and skills working on this show which I have been able to use in Mighty Mike to make him come to life.

Does having animals mean it can be sold into more markets without a language barrier?
Yes, it definitely helps, and we also saw this with the success of Oscar’s Oasis. The emotion bought by the images transcends language and is able to break through many barriers of comedy. Everybody loves cute animals! It’s universal.

We use a special piece of software called Rumba that is being used in animation for the very first time on Mighty Mike. It allows us to experiment movements in real time and is very intuitive for our animators, so it is very exciting for us. The technology makes it possible to combine our love for cartoons, slapstick comedy while making it look authentic.

We were also able to play on the contrasts of real looking animals in situations that are completely unrealistic.

Mighty Mike airs 6:30pm weekends on Boomerang.

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