The Bugg Report got the chance to chat to Beairdo, the creator of Gross Empires, on how the development of the property is going and what the plans are for 2018.
So Beairdo, what’s been happening with Gross Empires since Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) 2016?
Hi Buggy, it’s been a great year for Gross Empires. After BLE last year, I went straight off to attend MIPJunior in Cannes, literally as BLE finished I was on a plane heading out to sit in the sunshine on the French Riviera and pitch the property for the first time. It was the first time the networks were going to see the property.
Executives are always interested to see development pitches – properties to keep an eye on. They could see I had a business plan for the brand and that I wanted to make sure the property had a chance to develop a little before going through the commissioning phase.
The pleasant surprise was the look of amazement on their faces when I said it was just me that was working on Gross Empires and what they were looking at was all produced/written and illustrated by me. I also met up with a publisher – we talked about what a Gross Empires book might look like – I hadn’t really thought about the book series for Gross Empires as most of my time was focusing on the animation.
So are you now in the process of writing a Gross Empires book then?
I’m actually writing three. The books will tell the whole back story to the property and give the fans an understanding of what the property is about – that also helps with the animation production side – animators/writers can revert back to the books and use them as an animation bible. I’m nearly finished with the first draft of the first book ‘The Brothers Rebellion’ and am now writing out the chapter synopsis for the second ‘The Rise of Hermalfius’ and the final in the trilogy ‘The Fall of Vesuvio’.
What about publishers for the books, anyone lined-up and onboard yet?
All the major publishers are aware I’m writing a trilogy for Gross Empires and I’ll be doing a round of pitching when the first drafts are completed.
So what next for the animation?
I had some great feedback for the 52 x 11 and have decided to concentrate on Gross Empires ‘Minis’ first as it would be cost effective and quicker to make – they will be short form comedic animations around about 30 seconds to a minute in length and released on the Gross Empires social media channels and youtube channel.
Early 2018 I’ll be working on these with a freelance animator on board and also the boys from the cast will be performing the VO – Dominic Russell-Smith, Sarmukh Hundal, Rowan Bashetta-Pollitt, Charlie Blythman, William and Thomas Hayward. The boys in the cast have also been producing their own selfie-style content for Gross Empires which has gone down well with the fans, they have been announcing competitions, comedic videos and shout-outs on the Gross Empires Instagram and musical.ly channels – It’s a great way for me to keep the content moving along and also give them a little more control.
The fans are loving seeing kids their own age as spokesmen or should that be spokesboys for the property. They might even end up as youtube stars for Gross Empires which would be awesome.
What about Merchandise? Anything planned?
Actually one thing I’m pretty excited about is that after meeting with the Amazon Merch team out at Expo in Vegas I showed them Gross Empires – they were impressed with the property and the fanbase metrics and set me up a Gross Empires official Merch account to sell Gross Empires t-shirts through Amazon in the United States.
I just have to design the images, upload the designs and they do the printing and distribution which is a dream – the quality of apparel and print is awesome and plus the royalty rates per unit are the best I’ve seen in the business for print on demand.
What about partners? Anyone lined-up?
I am delighted to confirm Gross Empires will be represented in BENELUX by BN Licensing for consumer products. I have an enormous amount of respect for David Speijer CEO of BN Licensing and his father Cyril who was inducted into the LIMA Hall of Fame this year. They are perfect ambassadors for the brand and know the cartoon market in BENELUX better than anyone else.
I’m confident Gross Empires will work globally as I can see the fanbase is growing daily and it isn’t just UK kids following on instagram and musical.ly they are from all around the world. On the writing side I’m bringing in a top writer for the TV series and also some freelance storyboard artists and building up the team a bit more for 2018. I’m also working with an EDM producer to create some Gross Empires character anthems so the plan is that each character in Gross Empires will have their own short piece of music.
The plan is to put these up on itunes and spotify and when the 52 x 11 goes into production we can use these character anthems in the production – so the plan is to monetise the music before the series even goes into production. The property is now set and the development is now complete so I’m looking forward to launching content globally next year. I think Gross Empires will suit the Australia market so looking forward to chatting with any potential partners down under.
For more information about Gross Empires, please visit the website at www.imaginators.tv
For licensing enquiries in Benelux please visit the website at www.bnlicensing.com