Our NEW preschool animated adventure series, Powerbirds, premiered on Sunday, January 19th 2020 at 10 am EST on Universal Kids, the TV network that playfully celebrates kids’ everyday adventures!
Created by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Breen and co-created by Jennifer Monier-Williams, the show centers on Max, an imaginative six-year-old whose love for comic books, action figures and adventure comes from his Grandpa Felix, and his beloved pet birds.
This is the second show produced by our 2D studio based in Manchester following on from the success of Nella The Princess Knight for Nickelodeon.
And we wanted to give you an inside peek at our feathered heroes, so we caught up with Powerbirds’ Director Bill Gordon to find out what you can look forward to!
Hey Bill, can you give our reader’s a little background on the Powerbirds and what it’s about?
Powerbirds is the story of two pet parakeets named Ace and Polly, who imagine themselves as superheroes, when no one is around. Their owner is a 6-year-old boy, called Max. He loves Ace and Polly and he includes them in his play.
Max is a big comic book fan and he loves superheroes. When Max is gone, Ace and Polly envision themselves as heroic birds that need to protect their neighbourhood.
When they enter their imaginary superhero world, it looks like a comic book. It’s there that Ace and Polly encounter a rogues’ gallery of neighbourhood “villains.” There is an owl who thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. A pampered show-dog who thinks the world revolves around him, a gluttonous racoon and a hoarding squirrel. Finally, there’s a cat who fancies herself as a hero – she works against Ace and Polly because she thinks she’s better than them. The Powerbirds work together to thwart these sinister bad guys to keep the neighbourhood safe.
Who plays the roles of Ace and Polly?
I’m super excited about the amazing voice talent we have on Powerbirds! Polly is played by the fantastic Tara Strong, who is known for playing Twilight Sparkle in My Little Pony, Timmy Turner in The Fairly OddParents and Raven in Teen Titans Go! She was also Ben Tennyson in Ben 10. She’s amazing.
Ace is played by Cory Doran, who has had roles in Inspector Gadget, George of the Jungle, Total Drama All Stars and Bakugan: Battle Planet. He’s an extremely versatile actor and he’s hilarious. In fact, he not only plays Ace, but he also plays the role of Asher Stasher – the sneaky squirrel who likes to take stuff that doesn’t belong to him. We’re very fortunate to have such talented actors on our show! I’m sure our audience is going to love them.
Can you give us some detail on the role of a Director, what does it involve?
My job is to maintain the creative direction of the show. That’s a fancy way of saying that I’m here to make sure the show looks and sounds good and that it makes sense.
Each series we create reflects the studio that makes it (in this case, Brown Bag Films) and the client (in this case, NBCUniversal). My job is also to ensure that the client gets what they paid for and that Brown Bag Films maintains its reputation for making quality family entertainment.
In addition to that, I am the creative point person day to day. If someone has a question about the look of a character, or what they should say or even how a vehicle should sound, I’m the person that people ask. It’s important to note I don’t always have all the answers. I work closely with the Episodic Directors, the Art Director, the Editors, the Animation Director and the Compositing Supervisor. They all help guide the series and make it great!
What was your process for creating a series like Powerbirds?
I’m not sure I have a “process” or routine that I can always stick to. Each series is different, and each client is different. I guess the one thing that I always try to do is trust my instincts, and to be honest with the client and with the crew. I’ve found that the best way to make good shows is to create good communication and trust with the people around you. When you’re honest with people you can ask them to give more or to try again, because they know that they can trust you.
Powerbirds had been in development for a long time at Universal. Everyone there was very attached to the show – they had all worked for a very long time to make it a reality. So, it was important that they trusted me and the rest of the team at Brown Bag Films. They needed to know that we were going to work our absolute hardest to make the best show possible.
What do you feel makes Powerbirds special?
I think Powerbirds is special because each episode has an important message, like “superheroes always keep trying” or “superheroes always work together.” But just as importantly, the shows are really fun. The villains are wacky and funny and each one has a really strong personality. I think our audience will enjoy the action and laugh at the jokes. The audience will also see that superheroes aren’t perfect. Ace and Polly make mistakes but they keep working until they succeed.
I hope that parents will enjoy the show too. I would love it if Mom and Dad could sit down with their kids to enjoy the show together. I know the team here at Brown Bag Films has enjoyed making this series and I hope everyone at home enjoys watching!
What’s your favourite episode and why?
That’s a tough question. I think all of our episodes are really entertaining, but maybe my favourite is “World’s Awesomest Villain.” It’s the episode where Asher Stasher takes all the trophies in the city because he’s too lazy to actually win a trophy on his own. It’s very funny and Ace and Polly have to use their brains to defeat Asher to get the trophies back.
Who’s your favourite villain and why?
I’m not sure I can pick one! They’re all great. Probably my two favourites are Nibbles and Asher Stasher. They both just have so much personality – you can’t help but like them. Even though they are villains, they’re not really evil. They’re more selfish than anything. Asher Stasher is hilarious when he talks about his Mom – it makes me laugh every time. And Nibbles is just so conceited and self-centred, I think I might identify with him… just a little bit.
There you have it! Be sure to check out the adventures of our feathered heroes, the Powerbirds, on Universal Kids and you can view some more behind-the-scenes with Art Director Giedre Kaveckaite!