Rebooting for the new millennium.With $26 million of financing in place and a brand new 60,000-square-foot facility, Vancouver's Mainframe Entertainment Inc. is ensuring its leadership position in the world of computer-generated imagery (graphics) computer-generated imagery - (CGI) Animatied graphics produced by computer and used in film or television. (CGI CGI
in full Common Gateway Interface.
Specification by which a Web server passes data between itself and an application program. Typically, a Web user will make a request of the Web server, which in turn passes the request to a CGI application program. ) well into the next millennium. Mainframe has built upon its initial success with the very popular Reboot, garnering even more attention with the hit television series Beasties (known as Beast Wars Beast Wars: Transformers (Beasties on YTV) is a Transformers toyline released by Hasbro between 1995 and 1999. The toys spawned a full-CG animated series set in the "original" Transformers universe, produced by Mainframe Entertainment of Canada. outside the Canadian market). Based on the popular Transformer toys, Beasties has consistently been in the top three rated shows for its time slot Continuously repeating interval of time or a time period in which two devices are able to interconnect. and was awarded with an Emmy for the show's design in 1998. What isn't well known is how close that season and its third and final season came to never being animated.
In late 1997 Mainframe renewed agreements for a second season of Beasties unaware that the Canadian Television Fund The Canadian Television Fund was created in 1996 to support the broadcast and production of quality Canadian television programming. It is financed by the Canadian government, cable television and DTH satellite providers. (CTF CTF Capture The Flag
CTF Child Trust Fund (UK)
CTF Canadian Tax Foundation
CTF Canadian Taxpayers Federation (lobby group)
CTF Canadian Television Fund
CTF Canadian Teachers' Federation ) would change the licence-fee program guidelines to ensure it would be funding "distinctly Canadian programming." The new guidelines stipulated eligible productions must be based on "Canadian source material, i.e., treatment, outline, concept or original script written by a Canadian, or based on Canadian underlying work." As long as the material was not previously adapted for television, nationality would not be a factor; however, if the program was based on a toy or game, the toy or game would have to have been created by a Canadian.
With ever-increasing demand for these limited funds, the revised policy was implemented to ensure more "Canadian" programming. The only problem, as Christopher Brough, CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of Mainframe likes to point out, is that "while an animated show produced from script to postproduction in Vancouver would be ineligible for funding, live-action shows like F/X F/X Effects : The Series, Nikita and Alliance Atlantis's Total Recall: The Series would still qualify under the guidelines since none had been previously adapted for television by a non-Canadian. The irony is that we created all of the Beasties characters and helped design the toys. We support the CTF's move from an industrial to a more Canadian cultural basis, but Beasties is produced entirely in Canada and its production is strengthening a Canadian company. There aren't many internationally recognized Canadian toys, games, books and characters that could be turned into a successful animated series. And this is a policy from a government that has licenced the rights for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Royal Canadian Mounted Police, constabulary organized (1873) as the Northwest Mounted Police to bring law and order to the Canadian west. In 1920 the name was changed to the present title. to Disney!"
After two stressful years, Brough can now reflect that in the end, "It forced us to take an enormous risk and make up the $1.3 million-plus budget shortfall ourselves. Had we not been able to work cooperatively with our various broadcast partners and renegotiate our distribution agreements, the CTF decision may have devastated dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. the company." Compounding Mainframe's funding woes at the time was that its new series Shadowraiders, scheduled to begin a 40-episode commitment, faced similar funding problems. Mainframe was forced to roll in all of the broadcast presales and many years of merchandising advances just to start up production. Now in its second season (it debuted as the number one syndicated show in the United States), Shadowraiders was Mainframe's initial alliance with the U.S. toy company Trendmasters. Its success has encouraged both companies to create three new CGI series over the next few years. "These long-term relationships are another key component of our corporate strategy," says Mainframe's director of communications Director of Communications is a position in the private and public sectors. The Director of Communications is responsible for managing and directing an organization's internal and external communications. , Mairi Welman. This is most evident with the recently announced $16-million IMAX IMAX
a film projection process that produces an image ten times larger than standard investment which includes guaranteeing the production of at least three full-length feature films, the first based on Swift's Gulliver's Travels, to be released in the summer of 2001.
"We have worked hard on cultivating our relationship with IMAX, one that began a few years ago when we produced two short Reboot films for the IMAX RIDEFILM motion-simulation system. These films have proven to be even more successful than we anticipated, so it was natural for us to take the next step and partner with IMAX on feature films, a part of the industry we have been anxious to get into." With IMAX's planned expansion of theatres, this joint venture will benefit both companies, providing IMAX with important feature-length content without the costly IMAX on-location expenses and Mainframe with the opportunity to produce 3-D CGI ideally suited for the IMAX screen.
An additional $10-million equity investment by a group of prominent Canadian financial institutions will also stabilize the company and help produce a full slate of television productions. This includes the premier season of Weird Ohs (which debuts this fall on YTV YTV Pääkaupunkiseudun Yhteistyövaltuuskunta (Finnish: Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council)
YTV Yorkshire Television
YTV Youth Television in Canada and the Fox Family Network in the United States), Shadowraiders' second season and Beast Machines, a spin-off from Beasties (distributed internationally by Sony/Tristar and seen on the Fox Kids Network in the United States). As one of the very select companies to successfully and consistently produce CGI programs, Mainframe can take great pride in claiming that regardless of content material, and unlike many Canadian 2-D animated companies that must go overseas to complete their animation, every frame of every episode produced by Mainframe is animated in Vancouver, and is, as their CEO proudly claims, "very Canadian."