An animated cartoon that was created in Worcestershire could be aired across Europe and Asia – 30 years after it narrowly missed out on being commissioned by Fox TV in the USA.
Droitwich-based Corny Capers, the brainchild of brothers Scott and Lee Garrett, have worked with international trade advisers at the Department for International Trade (DIT) West Midlands to find out how to get the cartoon commissioned.
And now the pair is celebrating after going on to secure the services of a French production company and explore further options with an Indian investment company.
The brothers first accessed DIT services when they secured grants towards the costs of visiting MIPCOM, the entertainment festival, in Cannes, France, in October last year. While attending the event, they met representatives from Marquis Entertainment to discuss the cartoon, which was first created by their father David more than 30 years ago.
The following month, they traveled to India for a follow-up meeting with a major investment company.
The French company is working with the brothers to raise funds and finish the pilot episodes of Corny Capers and Scott and Lee are working with a top US-based scriptwriter Bill Matheny, whose credits include The Flintstones and Scooby Doo, to develop storylines.
They aim to get the first episodes ready to pitch to TV stations within the next few weeks and the pair are also due to sign a deal with an Indian production company after Nickelodeon India expressed interest in the action-chase comedy.
Naomi Steemson, the international trade adviser in the DIT’s Hereford and Worcester team, has been supporting the brothers, advising them on a range of issues, such as intellectual property rights and helping with referrals to the creative industries team at the British Embassy in Mumbai.
She said: “When businesses think about exporting, they often think about manufactured goods that they can trade, but the Corny Capers story demonstrates that we can support companies across a huge range of sectors. By helping to secure grants so that Scott and Lee could attend those two important TV conferences and advising on a variety of exporting matters, they are now well on their way to realising their 30-year family dream of getting their animation out into the world.”
The brothers’ father first pitched the cartoon, which was then called The Yolkels, in the 1980s to Hanna-Barbera, creators of Yogi Bear, The Flintstones and Scooby Doo. The studio took the concept to Fox TV and executives whittled it down to the last two for commissioning – only to select Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles.
Scott said in the past few years, he and his brother decided to update the cartoon and try once again to break the global market.
He said: “We’re excited to have already signed one production company in France and are on the cusp of signing with another in India, all thanks to the support from DIT, which supported us so we could attend the two conferences last year. We really hope that Corny Capers will be aired to audiences to a global audience in the next two years.”
Any company interested in breaking into overseas markets, and taking advantage of the global appetite for UK goods and services, should visit the new online trade hub, great.gov.uk, part of the Government’s Exporting is GREAT initiative.