Blue Rocket Productions is an award winning animation studio that creates and produces children’s television, interactive and mobile media.
Established 15 years ago by Alicia Rackett and David Gurney, the studio began using a solitary kerosene powered alarm clock and operating from a wet cardboard box on an abandoned railway siding. Using nothing more than four crayons (three of them were the same colour), Blue Rocket went on to produce some completely astonishing cartoon series and a number of quite impressive sponge cakes, one of which came fourth in the 2001 Central Tasmanian Cake and Gun Festival.
Not content to rest on their laurels, the Blue Rocket team went from strength to strength. In 2004 the studio won the prestigious Tasmanian Dog Stacking Competition but was later disqualified for using Staffordshire Terriers instead of the regulation Fox Terriers. In 2006, the studio competed again in the Hobart Annual Nun Chuck and managed to throw a massive nun into a bee hive, winning the studio Best in Show for the first year running despite many of the spectators being hospitalised with severe bee stings.
The studio now boasts the third largest collection of sodium chloride in Southern Tasmania although the reason for this remains unclear.
This is our new website to celebrate 15 years of Blue Rocket. It’s made from genuine pixels, some of which are different from the others.
This is some of the team. There are a lot more people of course but they’re rather less willing to accept the blame. In fact, when we said we were putting people online one of them hid under the coffee table and hasn’t come out since – and that was 2007! Two of the others disguised themselves as PDFs and can be found in the filing cabinet under ‘L’. Here’s what’s left:
Alicia grew up in the central highlands of Tasmania where animation studios had to make do with lumps of basalt and chunks of ice. A recent series she produced, Basalt Lump and Ice Chunk (Series 3), won Best Use of Gravel at The Tasmanian Mining Awards. Alicia also spent several years running the world famous Tasmanian Devil Rides before it was closed down after one of the devils ate the popcorn lady’s knees.
David Gurney obtained a Degree of Uncertainty before spending most of his early years collecting sesame seeds for no particular reason. During that time he gained an aversion to using verbs and has become increasingly inexplicable ever since. Lately he’s been convinced that there is a giant squid writing poetry in the office down the hallway so he’s been putting pieces of salmon in their letter box twice a day. He’s thoughtful like that..
Stefan first came to the attention of the authorities when he setup a guitar amp that was so loud it killed a brown dog. Since that time his guitars solos have become even more spectacular and he has even performed on TV. The TV in question belonged to the old lady next door and Stefan’s guitar solo was going great until she called the police. The TV set was remanded in custody and a new date will be set for the trial.
Cathy is a rebel at heart and is famous for cake tossing. Her most legendary tirage au sort gâteau was a lemon sponge which she hurled an impressive 77.8 metres and managed to hit a member of the Tasmanian Senate in the left elbow. Unfortunately he was riding his bicycle at the time and he crashed into a dress shop. He hasn’t left the shop since and was last seen wearing a rather attractive pink chiffon frock.
Duncan is a well-known collector of parking tickets and has remained on the Hobart City Council’s Most Wanted List for over 12 years. He has managed to avoid arrest by disguising himself as a consumer price index and travelling on separate occasions. Once, he even covered himself completely in ear wax and managed to come third, although nobody knows third of what or whether in fact there even was a competition. He’s a man of mystery.
Norman is our in-house cephalopod and can perform a wide range of tasks simultaneously, unfortunately, all completely useless. Because of Norman’s distinctive appearance he is frequently mistaken for a certain member of parliament and recently seconded a motion to have himself amended as a Statutory Declaration, although nobody was quite sure what was declared or whether in fact there was a statue in the first place. Further debate continues in the Senate.
At Blue Rocket we’ve made cartoons for TV and lots of them. We’ve also produced kids’ interactives and some truly bizarre stuff for mobile phones. Seriously, things were going great when we were just making shows out of custard, but with the newly amended management strategy (referred to as Plan B) in place it’s come to this. To appreciate the extent of the damage you need to check these out:
A bee and some bugs live in a cardboard box and put on theatre productions. 52 episodes.
A 10 episode survey of animals that have way more bite power than you would expect.
A digital genie lives in a mobile phone and grants wishes that never quite work out as planned for Nina and her best friend. 52 episodes and website.
A bear, a hedgehog and a sheep travel back in time to uncover the real story behind famous events. 26 episodes.
26 explosive episodes and a website featuring a cat… that blows up.
A kangaroo, a giraffe and a marmot squabble over just about everything that can be squabbled over in 94 episodes.
26 episodes and a website featuring animal news presented by dogs, a cat, a parrot and a duck.
A short film about a bad tempered mechanic who is having a little bit of trouble with his pickup truck.
Blue Rocket and Australia’s first CGI television series featuring 80 episodes and a website celebrating the very worst of bad behaviour.
If you thought the Landed section was a bit bizarre, this next bit will knock your socks off – said no-one ever! This is some of the stuff that we have on the ironing board. We’d like to say it was on the drawing board but that’s being used to patch a hole in the wall that was made by the cat. It wasn’t even our cat. Stuff like that happens around here all the time. It seems to be a thing.
Two bickering slugs in outer space do the bidding of a self-centred slug princess. Feature length telemovie and 52 episode series.
Three robots past their use-by dates save the world from all the sorts of things that worlds need saving from. Telemovie and 52 episodes.
Here's the latest studio news:
Blue Rocket is proud to be a major sponsor of Step-Up, a new Wide Angle Tasmania production initiative that supports Tasmanian filmmakers to develop and produce a short film specifically for International Film Festival entry. Over 100 Tasmanians and major sponsors Crowe Horwath and Blue Rocket Productions contributed $23,000 to the Step-Up Film Initiative. Through Creative Partnerships, all donations to the fund were matched, providing Wide Angle with much needed funds in 2016 since government funding of the not-for-profit organisation has ceased. The funding has resulted in two new short films being produced.
A Girl Needs a Bike - Letitia Lamb and Vivien Mason produced an animated documentary about the story of Clara, who has the unusual job of sharing the gift of independence through teaching girls the joy of riding a bike in rural Ghana.
Bloodgurgler - a dark comedy/thriller by writer Adam Ransley and directed by Daniel James about a naïve young office worker who defeats his opponents in an online role-play game, and must fight for his life as his opponents take revenge in the real world.
Wide Angle Tasmania’s General Manager Abi Binning says “We have a deep pool of talent in Tasmania but it’s incredibly difficult for early career filmmakers to keep building on their film successes – making high quality films is very difficult without access to equipment, mentors and cash. The Step-Up Initiative is designed to provide talented filmmakers with the means to make their next defining film.”
The team at Blue Rocket has turned their coffee addiction into a positive contribution! For a small donation, employees are using the in-house coffee machine for their fundraising efforts. As a studio making animated children’s television, Blue Rocket decided to support organisations that benefit kids. And that’s exactly what they’ve done by teaming up with Khmer Creations.
Founded in 2007 as a response to the prevalent issue of sex trafficking in Cambodia, Khmer Creations is a social enterprise aimed at growing a creative and sustainable business that produces handmade jewellery and accessories. Their jewellery project provides skills and training, along with viable employment opportunities for women wanting to leave exploitative industries and others that are at risk of entering the industry.
The money raised by Blue Rocket helps provide services and facilities for the children of the women working within Khmer Creations. Through their small donations, the Blue Rocket coffee drinkers have contributed towards carers, day trips, books, and even a TV and DVD player so the kids can watch TV shows and nursery songs!
Run by an all-female local team in Cambodia with support from its founders based in Australia, Khmer Creations has grown to provide full-time employment, education and support to 7 talented women. To find out more and purchase some of their funky creations, visit their website: http://khmercreations.com.au/
One of Blue Rocket and Beyond’s new projects, Calypso Chew has secured script development funding at the Australian Children’s Television Foundation’s final board meeting for the year on 24 November 2015. The concept, optioned from creator Sal Balharrie will be executive produced by Ron Saunders from Beyond and David Gurney from Blue Rocket, and produced by Blue Rocket’s Alicia Rackett. Calypso Chew is one of a slate of children’s television programs being developed and produced by Blue Rocket and Beyond as part of a strategic partnership between the two companies.
Blue Rocket is delighted to announce the cast of the Fanshaw & Crudnut TV series and feature length telemovie.
Here’s the list of happy slugs:
Series & Telemovie
Fanshaw - Chris Hamley
Crudnut - Andrew Casey
Gunk - Guy Hooper
Titchit - Jeff Michel
Princess Vial - Anna Kidd
Slithers - Martin Spurway-Smith
Hunter - Aleksandra Crossan
Slugnav - Danni Gilsenan
Slugbot - Robert Manion
Bazootheon - Craig Irons
The Enigma - Sara Cooper
Lokni - Guy Hooper
Ruby - Astrid Wells-Cooper
Ruby 2 - Danni Gilsenan
The producers thank Jane Binning Casting for finding such excellent talent for the production.
Fanshaw & Crudnut is a co-production between Blue Rocket and Beyond Screen Production. The production has been commissioned by Nine Network Australia and has production investment from Screen Tasmania. It will be broadcast in Australia on Nine’s GO! Channel. Beyond Distribution is handling Worldwide Distribution.
All the cast are now busy refining their best slug voices!
Blue Rocket Productions and Beyond International announce a new co-production, Fanshaw & Crudnut. The feature length animated telemovie and 52 episode television series commissioned by Nine Network Australia for their GO! Channel, will be distributed internationally by Beyond Distribution. Fanshaw & Crudnut is the first production resulting from a strategic partnership between Beyond and Blue Rocket to jointly develop and produce a range of children’s television programming. The production has attracted investment from Screen Tasmania and will take 2 years to produce, employing over 40 Tasmanian cast and crew in addition to writers and other subcontractors. The production was launched by The Hon. Dr Vanessa Goodwin, Attorney General of Tasmania and Minister for the Arts.
Australia’s Nine Network has released the date for the world premiere of Buzz Bumble, the 52 episode children’s animated series being co-produced by Blue Rocket and Criya. Set for 7:30am on Sunday 20 April on Nine’s GO!, it just happens to be Easter Sunday so it’s the perfect opportunity to kick back with those chocolate Easter eggs and enjoy the show. Buzz Bumble, which tells the stories of a bumble bee and some bugs who live in a cardboard box and put on theatre productions, was recently previewed at Kidscreen Summit in New York by the world distributor for the series, Bejuba Entertainment. The series is the sixteenth children’s television series created and produced by Blue Rocket, and the third series from Blue Rocket that has been commissioned by Nine Network Australia. Buzz Bumble has a very distinctive visual style and humour. The series will be completed and available for worldwide broadcast licencing from late April 2014. For further enquiries please contact Bejuba! Entertainment: http://www.bejuba.com/
Buzz Bumble, the 52 episode children’s animated series being co-produced by Blue Rocket and Criya, is being previewed at Kidscreen Summit in New York by Bejuba Entertainment, the world distributor for the series. Buzz Bumble, about a bumble bee and some bugs who live in a cardboard box and put on theatre productions, was commissioned by Nine Network Australia and with funding from Screen Tasmania, Fulcrum Media Finance and Bejuba Entertainment. Series creator David Gurney says “The series has a very distinctive visual style and humour. There is nothing else like it.” Buzz Bumble is the first of a number of series to be co-produced between Blue Rocket and Criya, and distributed by Bejuba Entertainment. “Blue Rocket and Criya, our co-production partners in the series, are very pleased to have Bejuba distributing Buzz Bumble” said Gurney. “They are a very strong distributor in the international market with an excellent portfolio of hit shows.” Buzz Bumble will be broadcast in Australia on the Nine Network, commencing in 2014.
The Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings today announced the production of Buzz Bumble, Blue Rocket’s latest animated children’s television series. Buzz Bumble which has been commissioned by Nine Network Australia is Blue Rocket’s 16th animated television series and the third series of Blue Rocket’s to be produced in collaboration with Nine. Jo Rooney, Executive Producer of Drama for Nine Network said she is delighted by the ongoing relationship with Blue Rocket. Buzz Bumble is a 52 episode children’s television series that tells the story of a bumble bee and some bugs who live in a cardboard box and put on theatre productions. The series is being co-produced by Blue Rocket Productions in Hobart and Criya VFX Studios in Chennai, India. Blue Rocket’s Executive Producer, David Gurney said the production of Buzz Bumble brings together Blue Rocket’s strong creative team in Tasmania with a great writing team, local cast and great international partners to create a truly global television series. Alicia Rackett, Blue Rocket’s Producer said “We’re excited to be working with our first Asian co-production partner, Criya VFX Studios in Chennai, India. I’ll be spending time on the ground in India, working with the Criya team to produce a fantastic series with the traditional Blue Rocket style and humour.” Gurney, who created the series, said “Our aim with this production is to combine the magic of theatre with the complete lunacy of cartoons. Behind the mayhem and slapstick it’s a drama series, with stories that are relevant to children and deeply engaging.” Buzz Bumble will be broadcast in Australia on the Nine Network, and sold internationally by Bejuba Entertainment in Los Angeles..
Screen Tasmania has come on board Blue Rocket’s latest television production, Buzz Bumble. It’s a 26 x half hour animated television series about a bumble bee and some bugs who live in a cardboard box and put on theatre productions. Buzz Bumble represents a huge boost to the Tasmanian film and television industry, injecting millions of dollars into the local economy and generating up to 30 local jobs. Buzz Bumble has been commissioned by Nine Network Australia and is the third television series that Blue Rocket has produced for the broadcaster. Worldwide sales are being handled by USA based Bejuba! Entertainment. The Buzz Bumble television series will be accompanied by a massive online interactive experience that will be accessible to audiences via smartphones and tablets, or traditional web browsers.
Blue Rocket’s latest animated children’s TV project Buzz Bumble has been given a major boost with a presale from the Nine Network. The 26 half hour series has already attracted commitment from international partners, L.A. based Bejuba Entertainment and Bardel Entertainment in Vancouver as well as interest from 20 broadcasters around the world. Buzz Bumble tells the story of a bumble bee and some other bugs who live in a cardboard box and put on theatre productions. Executive Producer and creator, David Gurney said “At Blue Rocket, we’re delighted to be working with the Nine Network again. They were strongly involved in our two productions of Pixel Pinkie and they’re great creative and business partners. Buzz Bumble is a benchmark production for us with a very distinct visual aesthetic and a style of humour that will really hit the spot for kids. We have an award winning production team here in Tasmania and their skills and expertise are world class. Buzz Bumble will generate up to 30 local jobs over a two year production period and will inject around three million dollars into the local economy.” Blue Rocket plans to utilise the rapidly expanding National Broadband Network for the production of Buzz Bumble. “We are very fortunate that the Tasmanian Government had the foresight to be the first state to participate in the NBN because high speed broadband is essential to today’s business” Gurney said. “Unlike our previous television series we plan to move away from the traditional methodologies and a lot of the work we do for Buzz Bumble will utilise a variety of Cloud Services and the NBN. In a TV series that is a fully digital production, the NBN will give us great efficiencies.” Buzz Bumble will be the 16th television series to be produced by Blue Rocket and be the third TV series that the Hobart based studio has produced for the Nine Network.
Blue Rocket and Beyond International have inked a deal to jointly develop and produce a range of long form animated and live action children’s television series. Beginning with three animation projects and two live action projects, the first project underway is The Bridge, a live action supernatural thriller created by David Gurney and Alicia Rackett. Blue Rocket’s Executive Producer, David Gurney says the company is delighted to be working with Beyond on these productions. “Beyond is a very strong partner for us and we each bring different skill sets to the table” said Gurney. “It is a great collaborative mix and it will be exciting to see what rolls out from this over the next few years”. Well known television writer and script editor, Jo Kasch, is on board for the development of the initial projects.
ABC launched its all new Digital Exhibition Trailer at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show and it features cutting edge software and technology systems conceived and developed by Blue Rocket. The new trailer is a stunning mobile interactive showcase of ABC comprehensive entertainment offering and it's bristling with new technology. Central to the Digital Exhibition Trailer are two interactive exhibits that present ABC Radio and ABC Television and allow audiences to make their own shows on the spot. Blue Rocket and its subsidiary company Electric Yak, designed a number of components including a wireless PC tablet based registration system, encoded ticketing system, interactive Radio Station, interactive TV station, and an onboard database and server that synchronises with ABC’s web servers via quad multiplexed SIM cards. Some of the processes and technologies developed by Blue Rocket for ABC’s Digital Exhibition Trailer were “world firsts”. The trailer is now on tour around Australia.
Matchbox Pictures stunning television drama series, The Straits commenced broadcasting on ABC Australia with a double episode and accompanied by a stunning website created and produced by Blue Rocket’s subsidiary Electric Yak. The Straits is a 10 x one hour drama that tells the story of a crime dynasty set against the backdrop of Cairns, Far North Queensland and the Torres Straits. Blue Rocket’s subsidiary, Electric Yak is delighted to announce the completion of another creative collaboration with the award winning Matchbox Pictures, part of NBC Universal. The Straits Online was produced at Blue Rocket and Electric Yak’s studios in Hobart, Tasmania, and was the third creative collaboration between Matchbox Pictures and the Blue Rocket group.
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