Tuesday, November 14, 2006

curse you, Persil 

So yesterday, in amongst obsessive checking of flathunting websites, I was picking away at a recent idea that involves a penguin character (but not The Bird from Edwin and Molly, a different one, this one's called Ethel) and, having discovered that emperor penguin chicks don't, in fact, look like small emperor penguins was trying to redesign her. And I feel like I'm beginning to get somewhere...

...and I'm thinking: "This is good. People have done loads of penguin characters before but I don't think anyone's done a penguin chick before. I could be the first. This could be huge. I shall sell the film rights, retire on the proceeds and spend my days doodling by the pool using liquid gold ink." And then...

An advert for bloody Persil comes on the telly featuring... a CGI emperor penguin chick. Bollocks. And of course it turns out that this is a cross promotion (or whatever the correct term is - NWM are you reading this?) with a major animated movie called Happy Feet featuring bloody thousands of cute emperor penguin chicks. I find this dispiriting. People may think that I'm just trying to cash in.

But then this morning I look up Happy Feet on imdb.com (ooh look, from the director of Mad Max, featuring the vocal talents of Robin Williams and the late Steve Irwin - an enormous effigy of whom, coincidentally, I recently saw in the Lewes bonfire night parade) and watch a trailer online and I think, oh, it looks awful. Fantastic! I can avoid any association with the movie simply by doing something good. Happily, this was already my aim. Wish me luck.

Pingu? Or am I missing something. Pingu's a penguin chick, right?

As far as I know, you're right (haven't watched a lot of Pingu to be honest). But Pingu is designed as a kind of mini adult emperor penguin with the whole black and white dinner jacket colouring whereas your genuine chick seems to have more of a grey body, white face, black balaclava sort of look.

Had to buy an unfamiliar fabric softener today as the usual brand had a free penguin chick "comforter" with it and I couldn't bear it.

Incidentally, I found this picture of Pingu with a chick friend (as it were). Um, as if anyone cares.

I think the market for penguin chick related cartooning and animation has enough room for one more interpretation.

It's not like you see people saying "okay, enough with the kittens". Same applies here.

Ooof I so know that feeling... I had the same with "Monsters Inc". Pain!! - There should be a name for it, so you can just phone up all your friends and go "I've Been... somethinged... by Happy Feet!!!"

The world needs more penguin cartoons, yours look lovely. Pingu does have a little sister called Pinga who looks like that but yours have more expression and are not made of plasticene by creepy Swiss people.

Pete - Oh I don't know. I'm quite tempted to get a T shirt made saying "okay, enough with the kittens already". But yes, room for another penguin. And you can be sure that the tone and storyline of my thing will be some distance from that of Happy Feet so I guess I'm safe.

Viviane - My only (weak) suggestion for an appropriate neologism is "proff" meaning to Pre-emptively Rip OFF as in "the bastards proffed my idea".

It is a pain but sometimes this stuff is just in the ether. Also, given the length of time between my having an idea and doing anything about it, it would be weird if they didn't crop up elsewhere from time to time (and if they still haven't after several years I begin to think maybe they're not such good ideas anyway).

Nicky - well I never knew Pingu was Swiss. Kind of explains the ski-like feet though.

I think "Proffing" is perfect. I shall start using it at once.

These should also be a word for when you do a portfolio viewing and your idea is somehow passed on to another illustrator who will then do their utmost to work it out faster than yourself and proff you knowingly. That would be a Royal Proffing I guess.
One could lay proff-traps maybe by having spectacularly weird spare ideas that will totally waste the enemies' time. Or just repeat winning ideas until one is totally proff proof, because every proff would be an obvious straight rip-off.

Man, I made myself go all sinister now! :S

"I think "Proffing" is perfect. I shall start using it at once."

Of course I'll probably now discover that someone else invented the word first...

Yes, Pingu is definitely Swiss. I remember hearing an interview with the creator of the show, who was just terrifying, going on about the global impact that the Pingu brand would have on marketing and the huge money making potential he'd created. More of a kind of merchant banker than a genial Oliver Postgate type chap.

did you see the Planet Earth episode with the baby penguins who'd wandered off in the wrong direction in a blizzard and they all died? Saddest thing I'd ever seen on T.V. (probably). Your drawings remind me of them.

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