Degrassi gets animated

Alwynne Gwilt
Staff Reporter

Whether in film, television or music, being welcomed to the club of supreme fame is often about getting your likeness reproduced as a doll.

But in world where the Internet rules, Degrassi: The Next Generation star Adamo Ruggiero thinks being animated for the show’s latest online venture comes close.

“You know you make it when you have a doll, but that’s what we were thinking about this animated thing. It’s like, `Have we made it?’ Because it’s one of the coolest things,” says Ruggiero, who appears in one of the episodes. “You have an animated you.

“Some of my comic-book (and anim) friends are like, “Oh my God, are you kidding me?”

The new mangasodes, as they’re being called, run around two minutes and are based on the manga-style comic books launched earlier this year called Degrassi: Extra Credit.

Fans can watch the shorts on the CTV website starting this Thursday at noon and see how their favourite characters go from real-life drama queens to virtual world goof balls.

The idea sprouted soon after the graphic novels were pitched as a new avenue to market the Degrassi brand.

“We are our fans and our fans are us and we don’t always pretend to know what’s going to work and what’s not,” says Christopher Jackson, the director of digital media and advertising for Epitome Inc., which produces the show with CTV.

The project is a bit of an experiment, says Jackson, but one he expects to hear about from the fans just as soon as it launches on the site.

“We’re looking for our fans to tell us how it’s received out there,” he adds.

The artist on the project knows just how outspoken and passionate Degrassi fans are and is only hoping people are happy with the newest extension.

“I’m just waiting for some kind of barrage of comments,” says James McCrimmon, an animator with Yowza! animation studios in Toronto.

And although McCrimmon considers himself a paper and pencil guy, he knows that everything computer-based is the way to go with fans, a fact that might replace the traditional doll with animation on the fame scale.

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