Wapos Bay Lives on in Digital World

By Emily Claire Afan, Playback Daily

Wapos Bay the series may be coming to an end on the small screen this fall, but the Saskatchewan team behind the children’s stop-motion animated series has plans for the franchise to live on in the digital media world.

Producers Dennis and Melanie Jackson, and Anand Ramayya recently wrapped production on the final episode, which will air as a feature-length MOW on APTN called Long Goodbyes.

Marrying the traditional art of stop-motion animation with the new interactive side was no easy task, but the team was intent on keeping the same look of the series across the board.

According to Hulomedia transmedia producer Ryan Lockwood, WaposBay.com is a “very close translation” of the series that plays on the exploration and adventure themes that have drawn kids to the series for the last five seasons on APTN. (The site received CMF funding.)

WaposBay.com launched last fall, and this coming fall, the interactive offering is Wapos Racerz! (pictured), a Mario Kart-esque style casual racing game from Toronto independent game company Phantom Compass.

“It was a challenge to do the game in stop-motion,” show creator Dennis Jackson tells Playback Daily, echoing Lockwood’s thoughts on keeping the stop-motion look consistent across Wapos products. “It would probably be easier to do it in Flash, but we were adamant to have it look like the show.”

Lockwood worked with fellow Hulo producer Brooke Burgess on the game as well, noting that animators on the MOW also contributed to the creation of Racerz!

Digital extensions of the brand slated for this fall include an interactive storybook series for mobile and tablet platforms that allows readers to flip between Cree, French and Inuktitut languages, as well as linking to videos on its YouTubechannel. On top of that, Wapos Bay episodes will soon be available for downloading on iTunes, streaming rentals and for sale on DVD on Amazon.com, IndieFlix and Netflix.

On tap next for Hulo and WBP is another stop-motion sci-fi project called Guardians, a project which Melanie Jackson says is already locked into coproduction deals with Australia and New Zealand.

Wapos Bay Feature on MBC Radio

Check out this great piece from April’s studio open house courtesy of MBC Radio. It includes an exclusive interview with Dennis Jackson (creator/writer/director/producer), as well as, Melanie Jackson (producer), Ryan Lockwood (transmedia producer) and actress Andrea Menard!

Listen here! Wapos Bay – MBC Radio

New inspiration for Wapos creators

Wapos Bay’s Trevor Cameron, who is the voice of the character Kohkom, and the character Jacob talk over the script in a set up shot.
Photograph by: Sp Gord Waldner, The StarPhoenix

By Sean Trembath, The StarPhoenix April 19, 2011

After a decade, 34 episodes and one feature-length movie, the team behind beloved Saskatchewan stop-motion children’s show Wapos Bay is moving on.

“It’s quite bittersweet. You develop a project for so long. It’s 10 years we’ve been doing Wapos Bay here in Saskatchewan,” said Melanie Jackson, who wrote, produced and directed the show with her husband Dennis.

Monday was the last day of shooting on Long Goodbyes, a movie of the week for APTN, the final chapter of the show. The movie will air this fall, date to be announced.

The Saskatoon studio is still full of characters and sets familiar to all who have seen the show. While some models will be re-purposed, fans could get a chance to own a piece of the show’s history.

“We might have some draws or a contest to be able to take part of Wapos Bay home,” said Melanie.

Promoting the movie has given the studio a chance to try out a new medium, its first video game, in co-operation with Toronto game development studio in Phantom Compass.

“All the visual assets for the video game were produced here in the studio,” said TransMedia producer Ryan Lockwood.

Wapos Racerz is a Mario Kart-style racing game featuring characters and locations from Wapos Bay. The Canadian Media Fund, a federal program designed to encourage development across all forms of digital media, helped with financing.

“We just wanted to extend the whole Wapos Bay experience into other spaces that kids and fans of the series could play, share and interact with,” said Lockwood.

The game, still in development, will be released on several Internet game sites a few weeks before the movie airs.

While sad to see Wapos Bay end, both Dennis and Melanie are ready to move on to Guardians, their next stop-motion project. Guardians is a science fiction series for teenagers set 41 million years in the future after an ice age. The story follows teenagers of various indigenous descents who have been raised from embryos by robots in an underground bunker as they venture out into a world vastly different from what we know today.

The Jacksons have been developing the show for seven years, but the idea goes even farther back.

“It’s a series I’ve always had, since I was 14. It became more affordable to do something sci-fi, with computer software getting better and a lot of animators coming out, especially here in Saskatoon,” said Dennis. His excitement was palpable as he talked about getting the project underway and designing the fantastic settings and creatures his characters will encounter.

“In pre-production, we’re going to be exploring these worlds – what we can build, what has to be computer graphics. It’s just going to be a huge development process,” he said.

Guardians will begin shooting next winter. The first six episodes will air in the fall of 2012 on APTN.

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

Read more: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/entertainment/inspiration+Wapos+creators/4638644/story.html#ixzz1K4vHCg00

Bamoseda Interview with Ryan Lockwood about Wapos Wheelz! Video Game

Bamoseda: (pronounced like this: BOMB-say-dah)

Bamoseda is an Aboriginal news magazine radio program which features national Aboriginal news, current affairs, features on community and culture, spotlights on entertainment and a cross section of musical genres from very talented artists in the Aboriginal community.

Missed it? Check out transmedia producer Ryan Lockwood’s interview with Bamoseda regarding the up coming Wapos Bay ‘kart-racer’ video game!

Listen here!


Wapos Wheelz!

WAPOS RACER! will harness the power and worldwide reach of casual gaming. This ‘kart-style’ racer will challenge gamers of all ages and types to race through the world of Wapos Bay, explore unseen corners of the community, challenge their Cree language skills, and unlock video teasers and behind-the-scenes secrets. The game will be cross-platform: embeddable on Facebook, major Flash hubs like Newgrounds.com and Flashkit.com, and open-source mobile-enabled (Android, Windows Mobile, etc).

Production Team Announces Digital Media Properties

The Wapos Bay production team is delighted to announce the launch of WaposBay.com and a world-class production blog, as well as the development of a “Wapos Bay” video game.

Developed by transmedia producers Ryan Lockwood and Brooke Burgess (Broken Saints), www.WaposBay.com has over 70 viral videos and compelling stop-motion interactivity (100+ animations), and is richly infused with the Cree language and traditions. This is a secret place where adventure and knowledge are the rewards for curiosity and exploration. The website was financed with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit program, Hulo Films, and Wapos Bay Productions. At the production blog (WaposBay.com/Blog), fans of the show, industry colleagues and animators alike can step behind the scenes to experience the making of the show.

The experience extends to social media, including FacebookTwitter and Flickr. On the Wapos Bay YouTube channel, fans can watch and share clips from the series, sizzle reels and demos. 

Delivering a high-quality transmedia experience is more than having a killer concept,” said Burgess. “It relies almost entirely on the caliber of your team to execute as planned. That’s why we’re so keen to be collaborating with Tony Walsh and his partners at Phantom Compass. With their help, next fall you’ll be able to experience Wapos Bay at breakneck speed by racing through the streets as your favourite character in custom handmade vehicles!

WAPOS RACER! will harness the power and worldwide reach of casual gaming. This ‘kart-style’ racer will challenge gamers of all ages and types to race through the world of Wapos Bay, explore unseen corners of the community, challenge their Cree language skills, and unlock video teasers and behind-the-scenes secrets. The game will be cross-platform: embeddable on Facebook, major Flash hubs like Newgrounds.com and Flashkit.com and open-source mobile-enabled (Android, Windows Mobile, etc).

Day 1: Shooting begins on “Long Goodbyes” at Wapos Bay Studio

The stop motion children’s animation series that has been going for five seasons and won numerous awards and screened at festivals around the world officially begins production on its movie today. The production team is also delighted to announce the launch of WaposBay.com and their production blog, as well as the development of a “Wapos Bay” video game.

Here’s a quick peak at the studio from yesterday:

“It’s been a long journey for us,” said producer Anand Ramayya of their start in 2003 with a pilot episode, the eventual development to a series that began airing in 2005, and winning their fourth Gemini award in 2010. “In the last five years we’ve done over $11 million dollars of production in Saskatoon, and we’ve employed over 50 people every single year. We’re proud to have built up the reputation we have [as being one of the top-rated stop motion studios in the country].”

“Long Goodbyes” will be the final installment of the TV series. In addition to regulars Lorne Cardinal (Corner Gas) and Gordon Tootoosis (Legends of the Fall), expect to hear some new voices in the movie, including Canada AM’s Seamus O’ReganBeverly Thomson, Marci Ien and Jeff Hutcheson. The movie will premiere in the fall on APTN with a limited advance theatrical release.

View an animatic teaser clip from the movie at: