Television

Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears comes to India

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MUMBAI: Though not at par with summer and Diwali holidays, the winter vacation in Indian schools is an important time for kids’ channels to buck up their programming and grab some eyeballs.



Keeping that in mind, the popular kids’ channel from Turner International, Cartoon Network is bringing a brand new show. For their Sunday morning prime time slot is a new original series from the Cartoon Network Studio, We Bare Bears, starting from 29 November.  The show will be targeted at an age group of 4 to 14 years of age.



We Bare Bears adds to the list of Cartoon Network original shows like Adventure Time, Clarence, Steven Universe, Uncle Grandpaand other that have been recently launched in India.



A tale of three tech savvy bears, We Bare Bears was well received by kids when it launched on the US network earlier this year.  Will its charm also work with kids in India?  With Daniel Chong of Cars 2 and Toy Story (TV) fame as the creative, chances are that the show should strike a chord with the Indian audience in no time.



A fan of The Powerpuff Girls, before he joined Cartoon Network, Chong’s stints include working as a creative at Disney Feature Animation, Blue Sky, Nickelodeon and  Pixar.



Explaining the concept of the show, Chong says that We Bare Bears tells the story of three bears -- Grizzly, Panda, and Ice Bear -- who are trying to settle down in a human society.  “They live in the forest and trek over to the city to mingle. People don’t freak out at the sight of them, but don’t really enjoy their presence either. The show takes place in the (San Francisco) Bay Area, and it was appropriate that they would be heavily involved in tech culture. It was also a way to isolate them more from the world, as technology can sometimes do, which would be another obstacle,” shares Chong.



The idea for the show struck Chong from his experience of living in East Bay area near University of California, Berkeley in the US. “There, you see bears everywhere. So I think it just gets into your system. The whole idea for the three bears came from a time when I was in the library doodling and drawing with my girlfriend’s niece. I was trying to make her laugh by drawing really random stuff and the bears were just one of the things I drew,” Chong adds with a chuckle.



Chong explains the creative process behind We Bare Bears. “Once we settle on an idea, the writers start fleshing it out, and I check in with them periodically. We often involve all of the story artists, to pitch in ideas about how to flesh it out. We go through quite a few passes of a story before we feel that it’s ready to show to the executive team here,” says Chong.



Continuing, Chong says, “Once we are done with our notes, it goes over to the storyboard artists, normally a team of two, and they have about four weeks to prepare the whole storyboard.”



Part of the creative process that sets Cartoon Network apart is that the storyboard department is run like a features departments. “I give people a small chunk and then check in with them. Most TV shows have very few check ins. But we feel that our stories are slightly complicated and a little hard to navigate sometimes, so it’s better for us to be able to check in more often, and have a stronger hand on where everybody is going, to make sure everyone is on the same page,” Chong explains.



Once the revision and clean-up of the drawings are done, the Bears are given colour post with which the script goes to the actor for recording.



An important step that follows is animating the frames. “I’ll work really closely with the animation director and the editor to shape the piece into an eleven minute show. From there, it goes to Tony Pulham, the art director, who will basically divide it up into the different departments, such as layout, background, paint, colour, character design and props,” Chong concludes while adding that the final touch ups are done in South Korea, with the entire process taking little less than a year.

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