A 10-foot-tall snowman with a powder blue afro, a rabbit with bad teeth and a six-armed orangutan recently paid a visit to Hollywood Center Studios and, if all goes well, they will soon show up on a television screen near you. The colorful characters are the stars of The Kids of Na!, a new children’s series from writer/director Ryan Hailey with characters designed by Hunter Jackson, a co-founder of the legendary punk band GWAR. Hailey and Jackson shot the pilot for the series on Stage 2A at Hollywood Center Studios and are currently shopping it to several cable channels.
The show follows a group of kids and several over-sized puppets as they film an Internet sketch-comedy show in their garage. It includes a mix of sketches and music videos as well as guest appearances from a variety of zany characters that drop by the garage. All of the songs are written by Hailey and performed by the puppets and kids. “It’s The Muppet Show for the Internet generation,” Hailey said. “The show is by kids and for kids – with a killer soundtrack.”
The pilot was shot on Hollywood Center Studio’s Stage 2A, a 3,150 square-foot soundstage with a fixed, two-wall green screen cyc. The entire 30-minute episode was shot in front of the cyc with background environments added during postproduction. That proved an economical formula for generating high production value.
“The cyc was large enough to accommodate our 10-foot snowman with no problem” Hailey noted. “The shooting space was also large enough for a lot of camera movement. That was especially helpful for the music video segments where the camera operators worked in a very loose, improvisational manner.”
Hollywood Center Studios provides shooting space for a number of pilots each year, noted Jerry Cole, who directs television sales for Hollywood Center Studios.
Cole explained that the studio likes to support pilots because they often lead to regular series. Two Comedy Central shows that are produced on the lot, began there as pilots. “Shows that shoot their pilots here, tend to stay here,” Cole said.
“The resources they have are awesome and the people bent over backwards to accommodate us,” Hailey said. “Hopefully, we’ll be back in a few months.”