DreamWorksTV’s Birk Rawlings on Bringing Shrek to YouTube

/ Jun 23, 2014


Last week, DreamWorks Animation and its subsidiary AwesomenessTV launched DreamWorksTV, a new YouTube channel focused on original live-action and animated programming for kids and families.

It’s a pretty interesting attempt by DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind hit film and TV franchises like “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda,” to reach its young audience where they already are. Or, more accurately, it’s a decision that makes a lot of sense; but what’s interesting about it is how DreamWorks and AwesomenessTV hope to reach and engage with fans with content on the channel.

To learn more about the channel’s content and programming strategy, which includes producing 2-3 new pieces of content every day, VideoInk spoke with Birk Rawlings, head of animations for DreamWorksTV.

One of the more interesting things about the launch is creating vlogs starring DreamWorks characters. Explain the decision to bring these popular characters to YouTube.

Basically, we feel like a huge number of these characters’ fans already live and breathe on YouTube. So it feels like a bit of a no-brainer to create content that speaks directly to the YouTube audience in the format that they’re already used to.

How will the videos be written?

Content will be specific to each character. Po will share tidbits on what he thinks is wisdom — which is often misplaced or misunderstood wisdom. Puss in Boots, who has a healthy self image, will focus more on answering questions and offering advice. It’ll be a bit more listy — teaching you how to be cool like him. Whereas with Shrek, who’s this lovable grump, the creative will be driven more to what’s bothering him on that particular day.

All of it will be within the traditional vlog format found on YouTube, but it will all be character driven. We are trying to stay as true as possible to what DreamWorks created.

What release strategy are you going with?

Weekly. Each character will upload a video on the same day. That said, our programming strategy is very flexible. We will listen to the audience and iterate based on that.

The thing with vlogs, they can also be timely. Will that be something you’d look to do?

Yes, but it’s important that we stay true to the character and the world. Shrek can address things that are current, but it has to be through the filter of Far Far Away. He might talk about the latest boy band, for instance, but it’s Wrong Direction, not One Direction.

You’re launching with Shrek, Po, and Puss in Boots. Any more coming to YouTube?

We’re planning to add characters later in the summer. And we will move characters in and out depending on what works and doesn’t. It’s also important that we support whatever the franchise goals are for each of these characters.

The focus is on both animated and live-action. When looking at new projects, are you doing them on a project-by-project basis? Or is there a mandate to have a certain amount of content be live action, and a certain amount be animated?

There is no mandate other than we want to make sure we have a good mix of animation and live-action across the board. Ultimately, our goal is to deliver what the audience wants. We are starting out with a pretty even mix but if some things do better, we will do more of that.

There are several projects in the launch slate that come from others. How much of the channel’s programming will be fully developed in-house, and how much of it is ideas pitched to you by external creators and animators?

We are working with a wide range of creators for animated shows. People from feature backgrounds, TV backgrounds, and web-content backgrounds. What I can say is everything except the DreamWorks character pieces are things that have come from — whether they work for DreamWorks or not — people coming in to pitch the ideas.

It really is all of the above. We are reaching out and talking to people who we really want to work with. Our door is also open for outside people to come in.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Lesbian Vampires & Kotex: How ‘Carmilla’ Became...


MTV Labs Taps Rapper A$AP Rocky as Creative Director


FCC Cancels Vote on ‘Unlock the Box’ OTT Proposal


Collab Signs Horror Channel BlackBoxTV to Network, Partners on...

Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
PewDiePie 3-2-15

PewDiePie Expands Revelmode Gaming Slate with DoubleMoose Deal


Storyful Launches Viral Video Marketplace


Pioneering Hip Hop Exec Lyor Cohen Joins YouTube as Global Head...


Legendary Digital Reveals Alpha Subscription Service Launch...


Time Inc. Teams with Digital Comedy Producers Jash for Branded Content

Amazon Logo

Amazon Greenlights Three Comedy Pilots as Series


How the Cartoon Network Combined the Best of VOD and Linear TV...


Jukin Media Goes Viral for Brands with Ethos Division Launch

Streamy Awards

Streamy Awards Trade In VH1 for YouTube, Again


Matching Ads to Videos Not So Simple, According to Zefr’s...


Plug Pulled on Canadian SVOD Service Shomi


What’s Trending on the Twitter Sale

Machinima Logo

Machinima Teams with SiriusXM for Daily Esports Radio Show


AwesomenessTV, Vice, Complex to Power New HearstLive...


VIDEO: ‘Dirty 30’ Confessions with Stars Hart,...


Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...


Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...


Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...


How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...


Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall


HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...


YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation


How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...


Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’


Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...


Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...


Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...


Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff


Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down


Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?


Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...


What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?


How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...


Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries