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Infocus: Michael Fry launches RingTales animation shorts

Michael Fry
Michael Fry

Last May, I told you that Michael Fry (the writer behind Over the Hedge), had started a company called RingTales along with Jim Cox (the executive co-producer for the Over the Hedge movie). Their objective was to create small animated shorts from existing print cartoons that can be distributed via mobile phones, blogs/web sites, podcasts and other portable device markets. RingTales has just announced that they have negotiated an exclusive license with the New Yorker to animated and distribute animated shorts of the New Yorkers cartoon library and over the last six months have produced fifty New Yorker cartoon animations.

Creating the animation takes six to eight weeks per cartoon and each cartoon is hand drawn and the original cartoonist approves all the creative elements of the animation such as design, voices and timing. Michael mentions that they are still in talks with all the major syndicates to bring the same animation technology to several major comic strips so it might be some time before you see your favorite comic strips in animated form.

RingTales animated New Yorker cartoons

The RingTales animations are now being made available through the iTunes Music store for free three times a week. Right now there are eight shorts available at the iTunes store. Each cartoon is ad supported in what they call post-rolls – the ad comes after the video has finished.

Regarding the advertising model Michael says,

“We’re testing a number of ad formats. We particularly like short video post-rolls. In our experience, viewers are happy because they get immediate access to the content. Advertisers are happy because the content has a great payoff and viewers don’t mind the ads. In fact, we’re seeing people watch the clips multiple times – it’s an advertiser’s dream come true.”

For those that don’t have iTunes on their computer, you can see a few samples at the RingTales web site. And I’ll be posting one here on the Daily Cartoonist shortly.

Community Comments

#1 Norm Feuti
February/20/2007
@ 6:15 am

I have to say, I think this is an incredibly good idea. I can easily see this taking off in a big way.

#2 Rich
February/20/2007
@ 11:38 am

The New Yorker, Podcast and Over the Hedge all in the same article … never thought of that combination. I’ve never understood wanting to watch something on a cell phone – interesting how we are going really big screen and really small screen at the same time. Way to push the envelope though, hope it works out!

#3 Alex Hallatt
February/21/2007
@ 6:33 pm

Is this just for people who are too lazy to read? With a single panel cartoon, you are targetting folk with a seriously short attention span.

These shorts were well executed, but I don’t think any of them were better than the original cartoon. In some cases, they took away some of the cognition that makes gag cartoons fun. The mercurial instant between reading and getting it.

#4 Abner McCall
June/25/2007
@ 7:36 pm

What an incredible idea. I love Hedge. I love New Yorker. Bring on the fun.

#5 The Daily Cartoonist | News and blog about comic strips, editorial cartoons, cartoons
January/28/2008
@ 6:25 am

[…] writer) with the objective of animating print comics. In my interview with Michael a year ago, he had mentioned that he was in talks with other syndicates to animate comic strips. Unless there are others already in the pipeline ahead of Pooch Cafe, than […]

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