, Animation Producer Leads Team Of Next Generation Creator-Driven Multi-Platform Entertainment, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Animation Producer Leads Team Of Next Generation Creator-Driven Multi-Platform Entertainment

For centuries, animation has been a form of entertainment. This art form appears back to cave drawings where animals were depicted in different poses. As technology progressed, the magic lantern, an early projector prototype, emerged that used pictures and paintings. Then came the flipbook, the standard picture film and the two-strip color cartoon. The turn of the 21st century brought innovation to computers, enhancing the world of animation. From film animation to television cartoons to 3D experiences, storytelling gained another level of engagement. Companies such as Wind Sun Sky Entertainment (WSS), a multimedia company, are now on the brink of developing a more robust interactive animated platform.

Catherine Winder, CEO and executive producer of WSS, is leading a team of creatives launching the next generation of creator-driven multi-platform entertainment franchises. WSS brings IPs to life through leveraging new technologies in combination with the company’s world-building expertise. Its creative team was behind the hit Invincible along with Camp Bonkers and My Singing Monsters Fandemonium. 

“We produce in various areas, especially when it comes to a brand,” Winder explains. “We look for multiple narrative touchpoints. So, for example, there could be a show, and we might produce short stories that could be a traditional linear show. But that’s a great starting place as we build a brand and that engages our audiences or inspires them to connect with the characters and care about a universe. Then I also look for some other touchpoints, such as perhaps an ad or an interactive experience, like we did with My Singing Monsters. We might add a game where an audience can immerse themselves in a universe and build a community around a brand. That is critical. These days, audiences aren’t looking for just the traditional linear path for entertainment; they want a 360 experience.”

Winder started her career in T.V. animation at Disney in Japan as an international production manager. Her main focus was building a bridge between the Japanese team and the American team to expand the company’s talent and content pipeline. While in Asia, she studied the types of animation produced in the region, making her an expert on the topic. Turner Hanna Barbera brought Winder on to work on a movie in Taiwan. 

After transitioning from television to feature films, she began working at Fox Feature Animation and Blue Sky Studios, where she oversaw Ice Age. Winder was then presented with an opportunity at Lucasfilm as George Lucas’ producer. She built two studios to house the production of Clone Wars, the adaptation of the Star Wars movies. 

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“Taking the Star Wars brand into animation is a huge responsibility,” she humbly states. “I didn’t take it lightly. But it was also an incredible opportunity and a pivot in my career because prior to that, I’ve been in the feature business. Now I was going into producing the very first CG animated series for Star Wars. I was excited about assembling the team. His challenge at the time was to create something that no one has ever seen before. We needed a new look, a new style, to bring this universe into this new format.”

Winder then moved back to Canada, setting up two different studios where she adapted the Angry Birds game into a feature film. Through that experience, she connected with her now partners of WSS. 

My Singing Monsters Fandemonium, a first of its kind, was one of the first projects the company worked on. One of her business partners introduced her to creators who were working on building out live animation. 

“It was done in a very small kind of rudimentary way,” Winder explains. “I thought, ‘that’s the future. I want to pivot in a way that we’re not just working in the linear format for storytelling, but kids and adults, they want community, they want to interact. Who wouldn’t want to interact with their favorite animated characters? So that idea sparked me. It actually took us about three years of testing and trying until we came up with the right partnership to team up with a company called Unity, who have a game engine where we could do real-time rendering and bring the characters to life immediately.”

Last June, Winder and her team launched Camp Bonkers, a variety show where kids are encouraged to try new things and participate in fun, imaginative activities right from the comfort of their homes. WSS recently teamed up with the Shaw Rocket Fund to form a strategic partnership focused on a multi-platform immersive content experience. United, it sees a whole suite of new Camp Bonkers YouTube content and an app designed for the ultimate Bonkers Super Camper that is all in support of a Roblox immersive game. 

As Winder continues to expand her company, she focuses on the following essential steps:

  • Be open to new opportunities. You could work on a project that you never thought of, and it could catapult your career. 
  • Calculate your risk. Do your homework and research as much as possible before taking the leap.
  • Don’t do it just for the money. You’ll burn out quickly. Find a field that interests you and make it work.

“I’m really proud of the fact that we’re able to compete with the big guys on a relatively shoestring budget,” Winder concludes. “That pushes us to be highly innovative and compete for talent and properties. And encourage those who are starting companies with limited budgets to embrace the concept that creativity comes out of, for me and innovation, out of the limitations. Make the most of them.”

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