September 3, 2010

TWEEN Comedy.

It's no secret that I see life as a cartoon.

Animation has owned me since Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth for 27 years. I've worked in many positions, sitting up straight, slouching, bending over backwards, and standing on my head. Then two years ago my dream came true and I got to actually direct the TV series that I had created.

There were 52 episodes, 26 promos, 9 bloopers, 4 music videos, plus the art direction for the website. And "directing" means guiding all parts of the process; casting, scripts, boards, animation, music, sound FX, timing. Everything.

I worked like a monster for two years. I was UNSTOPPABLE. It nearly killed me.

Then in February 2010, the production was complete.  But the show wasn't on TV yet so I couldn't talk about it or show it to anyone. It was like this huge chunk of my life didn't exist....until now.

So here it is folks, tween-comedy "My Life ME" trailer for Disney Channel Asia



Wait. WHAT? They disabled the embedding?!? Oh well, just watch it on YouTube.

A little FYI - My Life ME is a hybrid-manga styled show about four teens who don't always get along.  I had two co-creators who came on board to help me develop my original concept, comedy TV writer Cindy Filipenko and manga author/artist Svetlana Chmakova (Tokyopop's Dramacon, Yenpress' Nightschool.

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91 comments:

  1. I'm going to have to move to Asia to watch this?

    Might be worth it!

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  2. FANTASTIC!

    Tania :-)

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  3. I love the style of the animation. Good luck with it!

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  4. Awesome!! You must be so proud!! And btw, the daughter and I found an Animation app on the iPod...too fun!! But I'm not so good....

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  5. I am so excited for you! This is awesome! Well deserved!

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  6. I demand you make a series centering around Mr. Towes. And try to get it broadcasted in the United States, please. Mr. Towes deserves his own show!

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  7. I represent a small band of Fellows from every walk of American Life, who have been drawn together by a need to know, a need to understand and a certain perplexity about what to do with this decade. We are a special interest group under the umbrella organization of The Fellowship of the Absolutely Needed. ... The My Life Me Fellows have been brought together by the absolute certainty that your cartoon character, Mr. Towes, deserves his own animated series. But, as this comment signifies, just why it hasn't happened yet has escaped us.

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  8. What do you have against the idea of Mr. Towes as a series protagonist? Why do you think PapaGonzales and Brant are trolling? It would be great to see this.

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  9. One episode perhaps? If it's too much trouble to make a series?

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  10. BTW, my email is supremelysupremebros@gmail.com

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  11. Hey, in case you didn't know, this "PapaGonzales" is a sad, lonely, young man who gets his rocks off by getting teenagers angry over children's cartoons on an Internet forum about video remixing. In case you it isn't obvious already, he has an obsession with your "Mr. Towes" character of whom he's desperately trying to force as a meme on said forum; it's probably best to pay neither him nor his friends here no heed but you probably already knew that. Anywho, keep it up :)

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  12. Mr. Towes deserves to be a meme. He's just so amazing.

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  13. Disgruntled gentleman.September 11, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    Everything about the show is bad and you should be ashamed for making it. I wish you nothing but hardships in your future because you are a terrible person that makes terrible things.

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  14. my eyes are burning from the weeaboo-ness.
    If I looked in the dictionary for weeaboo I would see MY LIFE ME in all caps and my eyes would start burning again.

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  15. If Animation has owned you for 27 years, you would know that this type of garbage should be buried and left to rot in the ground, This gives real anime a bad-name, not to mention, canadian animation a bad name (although after Johnny Test and Total Drama, you're only rubbing dirt in the eyes), Congrats on making the worst thing I've ever seen on Teletoon, and that's including shows like Monster by Mistake and Mega Babies, If you want to make an Anime, I would suggest not going to chapters and picking up the cheapest "How to Draw Manga" book and then copying all of your expressions from Azumanga Daioh.

    TL;DR - Burn Heretic.

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  16. you say "trolls"
    I say "people with different opinions"
    go on sweep it under the carpet with one word...
    "Haha silly trolls, my opus isn't full of boring stereotypes and ugly character design. Your just trolling trolls trolling on the internet."
    Am I close?

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  17. >This is what a non-anime fan thinks happens in Anime
    >RANDUMB CHIBI MOMENTS
    >ANGER VEINS, ANGER VEINS EVERYWHERE
    >SAD BLACK LINES ON FACE
    >BLUSH THE FUCK UP

    Thanks for proving you don't give a good goddamn about anime or animation in general.

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  18. How many of those "How to draw Manga for Dummies" did you read?

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  19. This show is bad, what's worse is that people like you seriously believe Anime and Manga are styles, they're not. They're just mediums of entertainment like western Animation and Comics. One would think someone who claims to have alot of experience with Anime and Manga would be able to produce something better than this but I was wrong. Also this crap reeks of Lucky Star, Haruhi, and much more trash that only appeals to otaku trash and hikikomoris.

    I sincerely hope it was censorship that fucked you over and not your casualness to anime.

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  20. I want to kill my self after watching this show

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  21. A Flash "animator" unironically calling her project "Tween comedy." You're a riot.

    Also, "chibbies."

    Look long and hard at how desperately Lauren Faust clutches her Galaxy Girls dolls no one wants to make into an actual property. And she's what, half your age?

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  22. Like I said before, I think the only redeeming part of this show is Mr. Towes. Who does his voice? Whoever that guy is, he needs more work.

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  23. Towes does it again.

    HERE is an animated male hero who knows how to act with style!

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  24. Hey Fretless - Terence Scammell played Mr. Towes. Very talented, very experienced, and lots of fun.

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  25. Anonymous #5 - I stand corrected. A couple of them aren't actually trolls. They are, as you point out, "people with different opinions" spewing a relatively insignificant amount (compared to the true underbelly of the internet) of hate here on my blog knowing full well I can blow them away at any time I choose.

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  26. Why don't you then?
    I have it all screen capped anyway.

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  27. Anontalkwarrior - My Life Me is 'manga styled' as in 'manga the medium', employing sliding panel transitions, black and white panels with screentones and manpu, giving it a comic book feel. It was never intended to be anime, and was in fact successfully greenlit for that very reason.

    Anyone who lived through the digital revolution in the animation industry will know the economical labour-saving techniques which exist in traditional animation are quite different from those which exist in 2D digital animation. As such the aesthetic in My Life Me does not follow the conventions of anime; it has evolved beyond what you're comfortable seeing. Since it's not to your taste, I'm sure there's plenty of other shows that may humour your prejudices.

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  28. Anonymous #9 - The series was made in Harmony/Toonboom, quite different from Flash.

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  29. "My Life Me is 'manga styled' as in 'manga the medium', employing sliding panel transitions"

    So what you're saying is it's closer to a slideshow than an actual animation?

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  30. Toonboom is a garbage program for garbage tv shows. Its basically a more expensive adobe flash that works even worse. Thanks for proving you can get into this business by writing twilight level horseshit and pandering to shitty production companies that'll green light just about anything if they think teenage girls will enjoy it. It makes me sick to think about the amount of GOOD shows that could've gone to production instead of this. And the amount of good animators that will have to work on this to get a paycheque. Swat me away JC you make me ashamed to be a Canadian.

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  31. I love how this show has become a sort of "trial by fire", I've a lot of people say:

    "OH MAN, [insert time period here] INTO THIS SHIT AND I HAD TO STOP" and so on and so forth...

    It's fun to see how much one can take before bailing!

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  32. Anonymous #whatever - Both Toonboom and Flash have their uses in the pipeline. However, I too am ashamed to be Canadian; "we" elected the government which is suffocating our industry (amongst other things). Garbage or not (a subjective view btw), very few new shows get put into production these days. Producers are left to fend for themselves to fund the development of new properties, more often than not putting their own homes on the line. You might feel a little more sick about the amount of good animators who are not getting any work at all, because there simply is none.

    Did you submit a show to a broadcaster and have it rejected?

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  33. Regardless of quality of the show, I do have to respect your ability to take criticism in stride. That's definitely worth commending.

    As a question borne of curiosity and not an attempt to lead into a poor trolling attempt, where did the show get the manga style from?

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  34. You look like you're in your 40's or at least late 30's. The fuck do you know about being a teen? Wasn't everyone in bellbottoms when you were a teen? THAT was a crazy time to be a teen. Not this digital era of boredom and leisure.

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  35. I'll be honest, I think the show is very, very, well, bad. I enjoy anime and manga, but it feels as if you crammed every single "Japanese-y" expression and usual conventions into one single mess. Perhaps it would be a lot more bearable if it didn't focus too much on it's "anime/manga" aspects of it, and instead on fleshing the characters to be more than mere total rads.

    But, welp, you're taking all the negative criticism fairly well, as pointed out before. And that's commendable. But may I ask you why does this cartoon has so many -- er, unnecessary guitar riffs?

    And no, I'm not trolling.

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  36. Hanz and fancolors - One can't expect to please everyone and others are def entitled to their opinions. I stand by my vision, and I don't ask you to like it. This show wasn't made with you in mind. That prolly answers the question about guitar riffs. Ha.

    To answer your question "where did the show get the manga style from?": comics appeal to me as a storytelling medium. I liked the idea of a comic page coming to life in animation; the cam moves over panels, page turns, black&white screentone POV's and so on. The manpu and shojo fell into place as a way of communicating the volatile mood shifts of adolescence.

    The show was pitched and greenlit as such and every effort was made to stay true to it, given the budget, schedule and challenges of a co-production workflow.

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  37. You should join in on our My Life Me threads on 4chan in /co/!

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  38. Anonymous #yetanotheranonymous - HAHAHAHA. Um...no thanks.

    I'm aware of the mlm fapfest going on in /co/ and /a/ and elsewhere; I even have screencaps of the screencaps from this comment stream posted on 4chan. I have no desire to wade into a sea of tiny boners. But you are welcome here on my blog, and I'm happy to discuss the show critically here, providing information where I can.

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  39. Breaking rules one and two is an offense punishable by death, it makes me laugh to think that the creator knows about how everyone things Sandra and Birch are their "waifus" and the creator just doesn't give a fuck.

    While I'll say the show is god awful, I commend you on your ability to take the criticism in stride, and I'll just consider this show a test run for other better shows that may be in the works.

    ALthough I will say, its really not that crazy a time to be a teen... Just sayin'

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  40. Also whats your opinion on the rule 34 of MLM.

    possibly worse than the show.. IMO

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  41. "I commend you on your ability to take the criticism in stride"

    Why does it seem like this is just TheAnimatedWoman posting as anon?

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  42. "I even have screencaps of the screencaps from this comment stream posted on 4chan."

    Prove it

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  43. This stuff isn't my cup of tea in the slightest, but I too commend how well you're taking the criticism.

    Any *constructive* criticism I have to offer would only go against your vision. That's putting it lightly. But well, congrats on successfully getting this greenlit and aired, I guess. Few people with a true passion for their art ever make it that far.

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  44. Is there going to be more episodes? And are you even still reading these comments?

    Is someone else handling the episodes now or is it just done at 52 episodes?

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  45. We are not getting a "fapfest" over your show. Please refrain from that.
    We hate it actually, so don't mention us.

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  46. Here's some constructive criticism. Hire some writers that don't suck. I don't care how badly animated or "MANGA-Y" a show is if it's well written and has characters that aren't one dimensional as fuck.

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  47. I love the rule 34 of MLM, thank you for this, JC little.

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  48. "We are not getting a "fapfest" over your show."

    I fapped to birch at least three times so far. Speak for yourself.

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  49. "We are not getting a "fapfest" over your show."

    Hah...if this isn't a fapfest, i don't know what is.

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  50. Good faith compels me to believe that the way My Life Me looks is a combination of good intent and unavoidable limitations, though. Once you get past how the show looks, though, the real problems crop up. What kind of message is this show sending to kids?

    I watched an episode with my niece, and the plot of the episode was how the red-haired girl (her name escapes me, sorry) based her entire life and self-esteem on how much attention a (non-existent) boy was paying to her, ignoring both her friends and her schoolwork. But in the end, it was all okay because a boy (admittedly a distant skateboarding celebrity) payed attention to her so she spent all night cramming for the test. Was this seriously the intended moral? In the B episode, they had trouble working together because of different interests, but the desire to get back at the jerks who insulted them is what brings them together as a team. Again, is this really intentional?

    This isn't something I would encourage my niece or my daughter (although Dora is a bit more her speed) to watch, and that has nothing to do with how it looks.

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  51. I agree with Dadnonymous

    You desperately need better writers

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  52. The art direction of this show is a large turn off for me and my children (Who actually like anime/manga). But what really bothers me (as a parent)is that from the previews I've seen, the show seems to be more about increasing interest in manga/anime than a tween comedy.

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  53. Tiny boner joke.
    Stay classy.

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  54. Don't mean to white knight here guys, but leave her kids out of it, that's disgusting.

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  55. I'm glad Canadia's producing cartoons, but I'm not certain that MLM is really winning any quality awards. Personally, watching it, it feels like pretty much every tween highschool show on the market. Artistically, it screams derivative amateur deviantartist. Which is kind of inspiring for some people, but depressing from a quality point of view.

    So, I'll look on the bright side, and eagerly await the show you make AFTER this one.

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  56. I respect your work, and drive. I find it cute, and heart warming at times.

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  57. Also, haters gonna hate.

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  58. I was prepared to hate your show... but I actually ended up loving it!

    Thank you so much for MLM!

    yours

    anonymous

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  59. uh ho the tiny boner tsunami has arrived - please remove these for the sake of those who have some self respect

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  60. You haters think you're big stuff?

    Try pulling this shit over at Disney* and see how far you get.
    That's right, pick on the little guy, just like any no account bully...
    Now go and spray your doodles on your own wall.


    (*insert any other major production house)

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  61. @ Tiny boner wave:

    BOOOOOOORING.

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  62. Thanks for MLM, I've really enjoyed what I've seen thus far. To all the trolls: the show was not made for you!! So leave this poor woman alone and take your hateful comments elsewhere.

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  63. Sorry guys, gonna hafta clean house here. Anonymous before last is right, the tiny boner wave is a tad soporific.

    To the Anonymous Writer of Porn, I apologize for deleting your fanfic. Although grammatically flawed, golly it sure shows promise in other areas. But it's just NSFW. I will screen cap it though!

    Please know that I'm flattered by the, er... attention. I'll be answering some of the latest questions when I'm done vacuuming and dusting.

    And LASTLY, lay off my kids. NOT cool. Momma Bear has spoken.

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  64. I asked above if there were going to be more episodes besides the current 52. Are there? I'd really appreciate an answer, so thanks if you get around to answering this.

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  65. Dadnonymous - Sorry for taking so long to answer you. I'd say you make a good point about the first episode. I agree with you that a girl (uh...or boy) shouldn't base her self-esteem on how much attention a boy (celebrity skateboarder or not) is paying to her. And although it does accurately reflect many adolescents' obsessive behaviour with such things, the humour in the pod's situation shouldn't give kids a wrong message. That being said, we're also mindful to make a show that is not so "right on" it's boring. Thinking back nearly four years ago now, this script was the first to go through the pipeline. As such it went through many rewrites - all parties had to give comments at every phase. And there were lots of parties.

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  66. Anonymous who wrote - "The art direction of this show is a large turn off for me and my children (Who actually like anime/manga). But what really bothers me (as a parent)is that from the previews I've seen, the show seems to be more about increasing interest in manga/anime than a tween comedy."

    This is also a legitimate concern. I'm sorry to hear that you are bothered by a perceived lack of balance between the characters' main interests and the comedy driving the stories. I don't agree (for several reasons); but if it were true, it's conceivable that increased interest in manga would help to stimulate sales, invigorating the publishing industry and hopefully giving more work to the artists and authors.

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  67. Anonymous just above - there's a chance that there will be another season, but it's a slim one.

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  68. To be honest, I watched some episodes of "My Life Me", and honestly, the main characters are as bland as tofu on rye.

    They're the typical stereotypical geek/narcicist/tsundere/loner group that's been done in thousands of other tween shows. Hell, some of the high school based animes I've seen have more creative main characters than this. (Azumanga Daioh for example) I was very close to just changing the channel...

    HOWEVER, after seeing Mr. Towes, I honestly found the silver lining in this show. If anything, he should definitely have his own spin-off, considering he's one of the most fluid and overall likable characters. Give it some thought.

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  69. Anonymous - I'd love that. There's so many great ways Towes could be developed, heheh... But for a spin-off to happen, the original series would have to be a hit.

    In any case, I don't own the copyright to the property anymore. I am merely the lowly creator and hired director. I can try pitching it to the powers that be, but there'd have to be a significant quantifiable (not to mention SFW) demand for Between The Towes that I could show them.

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  70. But the obsession wasn't even the only twisted moral. Teenagers do place too much importance on the esteem of the opposite sex all the time, so I suppose it's not inappropriate for a character to do that. But the solution to her problems was to simply spend the night cramming, not only is this not significantly addressed, but it ends up solving all her problems for her. It's not a joke, it's not a significant part of the plot: it's simply a handwave, saying that cramming for a test can easily make up for neglect.

    I'm not expecting the characters to be paragons, because kids are usually pretty smart about sniffing out preaching. My problem is that there's a poor regard for what messages are unintentionally being sent, and these poor messages can be very influential.

    It's troubling to me that while you downplayed these problems as part of the creative process, you couldn't volunteer any examples of how things have improved or how you intend to prevent similar issues in the future. I take away either ignorance of the problem or indifference to it.

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  71. I am fine with this show, but the excessive use of chibi characters just make it unbearable.
    But I'll still watch it if there's more episodes.

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  72. Wether intentional or not, apparently, you have trolled a lot of people by making this show. I'm one of the many/few who do like this show and I must say, I'm impressed.

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  73. when will the other episodes come to tv only saw 13 love the show and website weird i type it in and got default parallels

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  74. Hey Dadnonymous - Well, speaking as a parent, that point doesn't really bother me. I was more concerned with not making the characters pre-sexualized - now there's an influence problem in all kinds of media bombarding our kids. But hey, if you're really concerned I suggest you write to the governing body for appropriate children's content.

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  75. /co/nman - not nearly as impressed as I am by the comment you just left. Thanks =]

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  76. When do you think that the show will air in the US?

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  77. Anonymous - I don't know when the show will air in the US. This is in the hands of the distributor, Classic Media.

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  78. Have you ever thought of doing some sort of muriel advertising within the California/LA/SFO market to create an awareness of your character & the series? I stumbled on your site and series, just based on the visual of your drawings. My experience of the visual of just your character.....I get it just from 1 frame. It was enough to intrigue me to look further. What you do to keep people coming back is up to your content, and how you empower you character, and the messages that inspire the audience to grow with her path.......that's up to you.

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  79. I gota say, I love it, yea you guys way overuse anime tropes, but it's cute, makes me smile and brings me back to teenage life. It has a unique charm, and I want to thank you for it, totally rad bro!!! Any word on another season?

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  80. Sdog - Thanks for that. Slim chance of a second season.

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  81. The show looks golden in your eyes but obviously not to the rest of us except for a few. What motivates you to continue producing it?

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    Replies
    1. The show finished production in March 2010 - that's two years ago. What motivates you make such an ignorant comment?

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    2. i am really sorry if i offended you, i say things without thinking

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    3. No worries, I'm not offended. It's a good idea to check the facts before making a statement like that. You're entitled to your opinion about the show, though you should know that My Life Me was made for children 8-12; I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that's not you. Also, for the record, I'm not actually the producer, merely the lowly creator/director.

      Delete
  82. This also needs an abridged series.

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Cuz You Rocketh.