Interest from Asian Animators Emerges as American Challenger to Disney Channel’s ‘High School Musical’ Continues to Pick Up Speed

NEW YORK, NY :In Your Dreams the hot new teen musical that is the underdog competitor to Disney Channel’s billon-dollar triple-platinum High School Musical juggernaut, has begun to receive inquiries from Asian-based animation firms eager to tap into the $170 billion American teen entertainment market .

“Our announcement on this topic during the Cannes Film Festival apparently did the trick,” said says Zeke Farrow, the Miramax-linked creator of “In Your Dreams.” “So many of America’s most famous animation properties are actually created in Korea and elsewhere in Asia, and the animation industry overseas is increasingly frustrated at seeing cutting-edge work that was created in their own countries feeding massive bank accounts in Hollywood, Brentwood, Westwood — and Colombia.”

Asian animation firms have long been aware that American owned shows like SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have spawned billion-dollar fortunes through their owners and distributors not just from direct proceeds but by spawning popular toy lines because of their mix of animation and humor.

“When overseas firms see little-known entertainment creations such as Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Edd, Ed n Edd, Camp Lazlo and The Grim Aventures of Billy and Mandy being licensed to spawn auxiliary products, they begin to wonder how to get their own piece of the huge entertainment pie that is being spawned worldwide,” says Farrow.

One start-up Korean animation entrepreneur seems particularly interested in pursuing the family-oriented In Your Dreams animation franchise, says Farrow, and that firm has already arranged bridge loans from a Panamanian bank. “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama,” says Farrow. “That pretty much sums things up.” But interest has also come from Singapore and as far away as the Ukraine -– “and that country is not even in Asia,” notes Farrow.

Meanwhile, the In Your Dreams Express continues to win adherents both here and abroad – including members of the cutting-edge online ad firm, The Night Agency, creators of MTV’s two-headed dog and most recently, “Our team met with that rapidly expanding firm at their international headquarters earlier this month, and the meeting was a good one — although refreshments were not offered,” says Farrow. “They are on top of their game and always have something up their sleeves.” The Night Agency will be opening a Los Angeles office later this summer, and hopes to eventually expand to offices in 11 cities.

And there’s more good news: “We still have a meeting scheduled for June with DualStar Entertainment, which is the vehicle for teen stars Ashley Olson and Mary Kate Olsen, and also for the Sprouse twins,” says Farrow. “The Olson Twins would be great for either a live feature or an animated film. What people forget is that the Olsen Twins can sing, and in fact, they actually have a number of music CDs that have gone multi-platinum. And they have the deepest distribution channel in the world — it’s called Wal-Mart. So we are awaiting this meeting with much anticipation and confidence. Something always seems to pop up out of nowhere.”

Farrow adds that Sarah Jessica Parker’s Pretty Matches production company, which has a two-year production agreement with HBO, is still a contender for production rights. “Sarah Jessica was a child star herself, and there is a feeling in the New York entertainment community in which she is a leading light that the recent slut glut on television may soon turn into an embarrassment of riches. So she is still out there for us.” Farrow’s teen musical is guaranteed slut-free,” he promises.

Additionally, the In Your Dreams fanzine-style web site has already begun production, with a premiere slated for later this summer. “We have lined up celebrity interviews with such luminaries as Schenectady Hilton and Jonny Schwartzenegger, among others,” says Farrow, “And a major pill company will be our lead sponsor, although there is still no sponsorship decision from Mederal Express.” Mederal Express is an overnight delivery service, with the ‘m’ standing for ‘moderate.’

In Your Dreams is a large-scale, splashy, teen musical –- with just a dash of political satire. It centers around Helen, a seventeen-year-old girl who appears in three different incarnations: Black, Pink, and Blue. It opens with the bizarre introduction of Black Helen, a girl tortured by fellow students Melanie and Jordanna and secretly in love with Jared. We quickly learn that Black Helen is but a dream and as she fades and Pink Helen wakes up, we realize that Pink Helen’s life is a perfect, bubble gum musical. She is popular, she’s dating Jared, she has high hopes for a perfect day. And today is the day to beat all days. It is prom, and Helen is a front runner to win prom queen…until she learns that the “Popular Girls Caucus” has turned against her, and is even stuffing the ballot box to engineer her defeat!

“What is helping to fuel the In Your Dreams Express,” according to Farrow, are its 13 ingeniously lyrical songs, performed by a number of top Broadway singers, including Trailer Park’s Drama Desk-nominated Leslie Kritzer, Wicked’s Laura Bell Bundy, Les Miserable’s Jodie Langel, Little Shop of Horror’s Kerry Butler, Thoroughly Modern Millie’s Gavin Creel, Hairspray’s Jackie Hoffman, The Full Monty’s Sloan Just, and Anika Larsen, Danny Rocket and Anthony Rapp from Rent. Rhythm and Blues artist Shayna Steele is also a contributor.

The stage version of In Your Dreams will see a showcase production at Ars Nova, the famed Manhattan performance incubator, later this summer, says Farrow.

But to date the film rights remain unsold. “Ryan Markowitz and Mark Kaufman at New Line Cinema continue to pass, as does Christina Aguilera,” says Farrow. “And the woman at MTV remains vitriolic in her rejection of it.”

Among those in the entertainment community with a growing awareness of the significant market value that a theater-distributed rival to Disney Channel’s cable based High School Musical has to offer are Dawn Buskin, Zipatoni, Matt McQueen, Arc Worldwide, Suzanne Kyba, Door Number 3, Rob Sorcher, Jon Kamen, Radical Media, Ken Kaess, Jason Schlossberg, Marvin Mack, Jeff King, Euro RSCG, Steve Wax, McKinney & Silver, Hank Wasiak, The Concept Farm, Gregg Wasiak, Campfire, Chelsea Films, Tom Nelson, Gardner Nelson Partners, Kevin Roddy, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Wunderman Interactive, David Sable, Tina Miletich, Andy Rutberg, Jason Kuperman, Geraldine Laybourne, Jeremy Pagden, Tequila, Matt Freeman, Tribal DDB, RMG Connect, Philip Greenfield, Kevin Wassong, Linda Ellerbe, Ken Hamm, Bob Greenberg, R/GA, Carla Hendra, Bill Gray, Byte Interactive, Jan Leth, Chris Wall, Nathan Lane, Javier Martin, David Apicella, OgilvyInteractive, OgilvyOne, Penny Marshall, Havas, Michael LeBeau, Scott Marshall, Rosie O’Donnell, Heidi Browning, James Kim, Mark Kingdon, Organic B, neo@OgilvyOne, Ant Farm, Michael Koziol, Melissa Hunabach, RSCG Magnet, Pop Worx, Jacques-Herve, MRM Worldwide, Reuben Hendell, Media Contacts, Don Epperson, Martin Reidy, Brian Powley, Dani Nadel, Modem Media, Scott Sorokin, Nigel Morris, Toby Gabiner, Ron Belanger, Karim Sanjabi, Isobar, Norman Lehoulier, Nick Pahade, Margot Lyon, Grey Digital Marketing, George Gallate, Sergio Caruso, Gavin Coombes, Alex Bonibeck, Arnaud de Bayhast, Michael Emerson, Pam Larrick, FCBI, Jack Nolan, Graham Mills, Bette Midler, Laura Lang, Garry Marshall, George Tannenbaun, Digitas, Clark Kokich, Avenue A/Razorfish, Sally Larimer, Don Scales, David Eastman,, Ryan Kavanaugh of Gun Hill Road; Thomas Tull and Scott Mednick of Legendary Pictures; Oliver Obst; Melrose Investors; and Sarah Jessica Parker and Vanessa Taylor at Pretty Matches Productions, which is currently producing The Washingtonienne , an upcoming HBO sit-com about an ambitious Senatorial intern who deters a Washington Insider from misguided attempts to head down a one-way street.

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