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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second One of the things about animation, and I’m sure it’s true of other forms of filmmaking, is how expensive it is. So we tend to be able to sell, hopefully, our shows to a British broadcaster. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve got all the money to make the show. Invariably, we have to sell it around the world. And that means, on occasion, that shows can become slightly homogenised and they’re not quite with a vision that you want because you’re having to make sure it also works for France and Germany and Spain and further afield.

Skip to 0 minutes and 34 seconds One of those things are rhymes and songs and things that are particularly British, where sometimes the dubbing costs of dubbing a cartoon into another language if you’ve got lots of rhymes and songs in them, becomes prohibitively expensive. So we made a show called Yoko! Jakamoto! Toto! about three friends running through a wilderness. It was an armadillo, a monkey, and a bird. And all they could say were each other’s names. So we didn’t have to translate the show at all into any language. They sang songs just using their own names.

Skip to 1 minute and 8 seconds The series was a celebration of life and friendship and it was written and created with that constraint in mind; that too often we have to translate shows and change them in too many ways to work for other territories. So to embrace the fact that a show didn’t need translating and create one that didn’t need translating and still touched the lives and concerns of children around the world was the reason for making that show. And so it was a case of embracing something that would normally be constraint. And that show is quite probably one this crew’s favourite shows that we became involved in. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] [SINGING]

Skip to 1 minute and 59 seconds [END PLAYBACK] So we’d say, we want to tell a story about our characters findings some little sprites who are singing a song, our characters learn the song, they start to interact. And we actually had the composer write the story beats musically and then after getting the story beats musically. I then wrote the script to his music. So it was a really interesting way of working where a composer was actually taking the lead in the narrative story and how it would end up being on screen. The best one was probably an episode called “The Dance,” which couldn’t have been written without the composer taking the lead in the story.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 seconds So that was a really nice point of difference for making that TV series.

Tony talks about Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!

Tony talks about selling a programme to different markets with different languages.

In Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! the programme was written with the constraints of language in mind, by creating a show that did not need translation, as the characters had such limited dialogue.

How do other long form animations with which you are familiar overcome language barriers to enable them to be sold to different territories around the world?

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Explore Animation

National Film and Television School

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