We Are Family
(Status: in development)
“We are Family” is about pop music and its creation. We discover how and why talented musicians, sometimes with very different backgrounds, came together – revealing the often, unexpected origins of musical styles such as rap, disco, bossa nova, hip hop etc. This fast paced, animated series allows audiences to discover a wide range of music and the genesis of those genres. And, a chance to listen to some of the greatest tunes that illustrate these ground-breaking moments. These often funny and yet, compelling stories about changemakers are focused on a family audience. As an intro to modern musical history – they are told with a lot of humour in bite size episodes for easy enjoyment!
We Are Family
Director: Baptiste Jaquemet
Author: Baptiste Jaquemet
Producer: Corinne Kouper (TeamTO, France) and 22D Music Group (France)
Format: 52 X 5’
Target audience: Teen and Family
Technique: 3D digital
The French studio TeamTO, which is well known for their successful works such as Mighty Mike, Angelo Rules and My Knight and Me, pitched their new animation series project We Are Family during Cartoon Forum 2019. We Are Family gathers interesting stories on the birth of each style of pop music and we felt that it succeeded in being not just a documentary but a funny, entertaining series that uses the power of animation. The pitch showed strong potential as a type of universal content. We felt that it could be attractive for not only their target audience but also for a wider range of ages. We interviewed the producer Corinne Kouper, who is the Senior Vice President of Production and Development at TeamTO. You can find the story behind this interesting project through her words below.
*: You may read our other interview with Corinne Kouper on Team TO, one of leading French CGI studios in animation, here.
Interview with Corinne Kouper
“The origins of music’s family tree is at the heart of this series”
Hideki Nagaishi (HN): Could you please let us know the theme and topic of the series, in brief?
Corinne Kouper: We Are Family is an animated pop music series that uncovers how and why talented musicians with incredibly different styles came together to create new musical genres – often unexpectedly! Using funky, dynamic animation (and music of course), we tell the human stories behind the evolution of musical movements such as New Wave, Rock n Roll, Pop, Bossa Nova, and Rap.
HN: Where did the initial idea of the project come from?
Corinne Kouper: The idea came from the director and creator Baptiste Jaquemet who as a teenager was a massive rock fan. When Aerosmith’s unusual encounter with Run-DMC made the hit WALK THIS WAY (1986), Baptiste discovered a totally new genre: Rap. He then discovered that Rap was based on another style: Funk Music…and it goes on and on. Baptiste’s passion and interest in mapping out the origins of music’s family tree is at the heart of this series.
“Well suited for teen and family co-viewing”
HN: Could you please let our audience know the unique selling points of the project?
Corinne Kouper: Whenever TeamTO takes on a new project we try to challenge ourselves with creating something we have never done before, and often the result is a show that is very unique: We Are Family is not only new for TeamTO because of its genre, demographic and subject but it is also unique in the industry: this is the first and only animated storytelling anthology of pop music in the market.
The show tells compelling stories about changemakers, showing how music can be an outlet for creative growth, which in turn can inspire viewers to explore their own creativity – adding strong interactive and multi-platform potential to this series.
We Are Family is particularly well suited for teen and family co-viewing since music is such an accessible way for parents to communicate with their kids. Listening to music together, going to a concert, sharing playlists, all create strong bonds. We Are Family is even more than just a shared experience, it brings back to life stories that link generations, reminding kids that they probably share more with their parents and grandparents than they want to admit!
HN: How are you researching the story behind the creation of each music genre?
Corinne Kouper: We always work with specialized talents in any subject of our shows, and in this case, it is essential to have experts and researchers on board to ensure accuracy of the facts and the history we are telling. For this reason, we are co-producing the show with the music clearing company 22D Music Group and are working with music consultants in the US.
HN: I feel that the audience can learn about the birth of each of the musical genres with fun animation and visual designs of the characters. Could you please let us know the story behind designing the visual style of characters and writing the story for each episode?
Corinne Kouper: With the recent success of biopics on famous musicians and bands such as Queen and Elton John, there’s a real yearning for knowledge and understanding of what’s behind the music and the artists we love. The director is an animator and graphic designer and he came up with the unique look, which has a bit of a music-video and video game vibe. He wanted to evoke a general suggestion of the artist rather than a detailed representation, which resulted in this very modern style that looks almost like little toy figurines.
HN: Could you please let us know how 22D Music Group took part in the project and what benefits could the project receive in working together with them?
Corinne Kouper: Obviously as a music series, obtaining the music rights is central to the entire project, which simply could not exist without music clearance. 22D Music Group is an independent music rights management company with 15 years of experience in the administration of film and TV music catalogs, and will manage this central aspect of the show. We have a wonderful collaboration with 22D Music Group, as their team have been in love with the animation from day one and are very enthusiastic about being involved in such an original project.