I’m sure that by now all of you Johnny Cupcakes fans have seen (and bought) the Johnny Cupcakes x Nickelodeon series of T-Shirts. They’ve also been releasing a series of videos and the third and final installment, I thought, was worth mentioning. The final video really shows the creative process that went into the project and demonstrates how much of a passion project it was for Johnny and his team at Johnny Cupcakes. Awesome inside look!
In this episode of Co-Tee TV I wear an exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-Shirt from Nickelodeon. Last March, Nickelodeon flew me up to Los Angeles for a sneak peak of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series (to be released in 2012). I talk about the event and what I thought of the sneak peek, or the mutation in progress. I hint at reviewing a tee from The N-Spired Story, but the episode goes long and so I end up reviewing The N-Spired Story in episode 85 of Co-Tee TV (check back tomorrow for that).
By the way, this is a little weird but I am playing catch up. You see, I recored a bunch of episodes earlier this year but never posted them. As such, some of the things that I talk about will seem grossly out of date. My apologies. Casualties like this happen when you’re stressing out over finishing a PhD. Needless to say, I will be posting these episodes over the next few days!
You can also watch this episode on Vimeo or blip.tv and download and sync all episodes to your iPod, iPhone or iPad by subscribing for free to Co-Tee TV in the iTunes Store.
Exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-Shirt by Nickelodeon (designer unknown).Pros: For the most part, I review the event and sneak peek of the new TMNT show in this episode and not really the T-Shirt. However, I have to say that I love the new look of the turtles, which is featured on the T-Shirt. And to my surprise, it wasn’t printed on a cheap Hanes T-Shirt, instead they used an American Apparel blank.
Price: Not available; given to those who attended the sneak peek event at Nickelodeon studios.
[NOTE: I usually have an embedded gallery of photos right around here in the review post, but for some reason, I can't seem to locate the photos that I took for Episodes 83 and 84. Instead of prolonging the wait to get these episodes out, I have decided to go ahead and publish the post minus the gallery. So don't worry, the galleries aren't gone for good, they'll just be missing in Episodes 83 and 84].
Okay, we all know that flip tees are a little cheesy, but this might have to be an exception (or not). It’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael flip tee! It’s Raphael from the 1980′s series, which is awesome. Of course, the T-Shirt wearer must exude a lot of cool and some (or a lot) of crude. If you got the previous sentence, then you’re a bonafide 80′s kid. Cheers, to you!
NOTE: Before I begin, I should note that everything that I mention regarding the new Teenage Mutant Ninjs Turtles Nickelodeon show is, at the moment, a MUTATION IN PROGRESS. Nothing yet is set in stone. Storylines and Voices can still be changed and replaced. Mutation In Progress, keep that in mind!
About a month ago, a representative for Nickelodeon contacted me regarding attending a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles preview event in Burbank, California. Now, I get a lot of emails, but this one was pretty far out there. And lets not forget, most of my emails pitch T-Shirts, not mutant turtles. Needless to say, I was curious and so I replied back (the email said I needed to reply within the day in order to be considered). The next day, I was informed that the following week I would be contacted by some Nickelodeon representatives to discuss the Turtles. Neat.
Turns out, Nickelodeon was recruiting TMNT fans throughout the country, to attend a fan preview event at their studios in Burbank, California. I figured, I wouldn’t be chosen considering that I’ve only just blogged about the turtles a few times on this blog and each time it was in regards to TMNT themed T-Shirts. In retrospect, though, and looking back at those videos and TMNT posts, I spoke pretty passionately about the turtles and growing up with them. Despite this, I thought I had no shot … I mean there must be tons of other more uber mega super Turtle fans out there. Like, serious, serious fans. I certainly would not be chosen.
I was chosen. The madness begins.
About a week before I was scheduled to fly out to Burbank for the even, I received the official invite to the event. Can you guess how they delivered it? As a pizza! That’s right, someone dropped off pizza to my home in a custom TMNT pizza box. It was a pretty good cheese pizza too! At this point, I’m pretty excited because they are obviously going all out for this event.
The day of my departure arrives. I had an early flight, and I’m out of Honolulu at 8am on March 29th. I arrived at LAX at around 4pm and I have a personal driver (arranged by Nickelodeon) waiting for me at baggage claim to drive me to my hotel. Nice.
I arrive in my room and lo and behold, what’s there waiting for me? Ninja Turtle stuff! It was more like a big, circular gift box (made to look like a manhole/sewer) filled with goodies to keep me occupied throughout the night. Inside were some pretty dope snacks, as well as a TMNT T-Shirt and a VISA Gift Card. Awesome!
The big day arrives. I really didn’t know what to expect. Should I wear a TMNT shirt or not? I came prepared with three. I am a T-Shirt blogger after all. I decided to go with Heroes In An Art Shell by John Hillier from Threadless. 8:30pm rolls along and all of the people that flew in for the event meet up in the lobby of the Hotel Amarano. We are then driven to the Nickelodeon Animation Studios.
After waiting in the transportation van for a bit, we are finally allowed to enter the NICK lot. I should note, that they really know how to build up the tension. As we were all waiting in the van, each and every one of us was boiling with excitement. We didn’t know what to expect!
We were then finally let in and are told that we needed to give up our cell phones and any recording devices during the event. Meaning, I unfortunately could not take any pictures whatsoever. This sucked. Plus, I kept reaching for my imaginary iPhone in my pants pocket throughout the day! Those imaginary phones can be such a distraction. Once we turned in our goods, we were treated to a pretty good breakfast spread of baked goods. All the while, we mingled with our fellow TMNT brothers and sisters. Now during this time, we were unknowingly being treated to some music that they were considering for the show. This included music from Handsome Boy Modeling School and DJ Shadow. Pretty good vibe so far.
We were then officially led inside the studios (breakfast was in the front courtyard) and brought into the official NICK gym. Of course, they converted the gym into something more like a TMNT fanboy’s dream man den. It was seriously cool. Imagine lot of green uplighting and barrel’s of oooze and TMNT paraphanilia. The room itself elicited a bunch of ooohhs and ahhhhs from many of us.
Once inside, we each took a seat. We were then introduced to the president of Nickelodeon Animation, Brown Johnson, who welcomed us to the studio. We were then each asked to introduce ourselves to the group. One-by-one uber turtle mega fan after another introduced themselves. It was pretty crazy. There were people there known for being Sexy April in the cosplay world to the current Guiness record holder for largest gathering of people dressed as Ninja Turtles. We had people there with Ninja Turtle Tattoos, large Turtle toy collection, and webmasters of the most popular TMNT fansites and forums. It was pretty insane that they were able to put together such a group of TMNT fans. I guess, thank you to Google and their amazing search engine?
After the introductions, we were then given a tour of the NICK Animation Studios by Rich Magallanes, Vice President Current Animation Series Production at Nickelodeon. We first stopped in on a live voice recording for Fanboy and Chum Chum. We then passed by the areas dedicated to shows such as Avatar and Sponge Bob Square Pants. All the while, passing by all of the awesome artwork that hang in the hallways. Speaking of the hallways, many of the walls are made of whiteboard to encourage people to doodle when they feel inspired. Neat!
Afte the tour, we were then treated to a little snack session. And by little, I mean they went all out. They were handing out smoothies and milkshakes for crying out loud.
Post snack session, we returned to the gym turned makeshift Turtle den. Now came the good stuff. We were now treated to a sneak peak of the pilot episode in animatic format. Think moving storyboard with the voices. This wasn’t the CGI stuff that they are promising for the actual show and again, they emphasized that this was a “Mutation In Progress”, meaning that what we were seeing, may not even make it to the final version of the show. Makes sense, if they had made up their mind then why would we be there in the first place. I watched the animatic intently, it was about 25 minutes long. I can tell you that the rendered images of the Turtles looked great. Again, the characters looked great and each were well defined.
Following the animatic presentation of the pilot, Playmates gave a short presentation of the new Turtles toy line that will be released in conjunction with the new TMNT series.
Following the Playmates presentation, we were then treated to yet another surprise. Up to this point, we had no idea who the voice actors were going to be. And we had no idea that we would be treated to a script reading by the actual cast. This was fucking awesome. I was excited. We were all stoked. One by one, they introduced some of the producers, writers and then voices for the show. Of note were Jason Biggs as Leonardo, and Ron Paulsen as Raphael. Meeting Jason Biggs was exciting, but meeting Ron Paulsen was epic (he was the voice of the original Raphael voice and even the voice of Pinky from Pinky and the Brain). Trust me when I say that during the script reading, we all had big smiles on our faces – we were all so excited to be there. I should note, however, that the voices have not yet been finalized. An official announcement of the TMNT voices should be coming from Nickelodeon shortly.
Lunch time. As expected, there was pizza and pasta, as well as some throwback snacks from our childhood … can you say dirt pudding cups with gummy worms. Seriously, we were all in 1980′s heaven at this point. What’s even better is that the voice actors hung around for lunch. Jason Biggs even stopped by my small table to chat, as did Ron Paulsen. They were both super cool, Ron even did a few of his vintage voices! I had lunch with Pinky from Pinky and the Brain! Crazy insane.
After lunch, the real work began. For the focus groups, we broke up into small groups of four. I’m not going to go into detail about what we specifically talked about, but I will say that we discussed both positives and negatives of the new series.
We ended the day with a nice Q&A session with the writers and developers of the show. These were all questions that we had handed back to them after seeing the animatic and prior to lunch.
And that was the day! After the Q&A, we were given a poster and thumb driver with some key art for the show. Following a group picture, I was then driven straight to LAX, and I was back in Hawaii at 8pm on March 3oth. This was one 24 hour trip that I will never forget.
So quickly, some things about the new show:
The animation is top notch.
The action sequences looked great.
Not a big fan of the changes they made to April Oneil’s character. She’s 15/16ish and emo!
No mention of the origin story, they made it a point not to tell us this.
The renderings of Shredder looked badass (though he wasn’t in the trailer).
Loved the dark tone.
The city landscape look great, it just feels like New York.
Splinter is big, agile and not crippled. He can fight!
It was funny without being campy like the 1987 series.
Didn’t hear cowabunga or turtle power once.
Each of the turtles look slightly different (height and weight differed).
And that’s my roundup of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Preview Event at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios. It was seriously a great time, and I am so happy that I actually checked my email the day they initially sent me the invite (thanks to Philip Ross of the Pitch Agency for finding me)!
Here are some sites you should check out that are run by some of the TMNT preview event guests:
Want to have some fun? Then head on over to MyPartyShirt, they are having their 1st ever Easter egg hunt! You must be wondering, eggs?! Yes, eggs! They have hidden several easter eggs throughout their site and the more of them that you find the more you can save on tees at MyPartyShirt. Each egg is worth a certain discount amount and they even have a coveted golden egg for you to find. Here are the official details and if you are interested, start here:
Your search begins here. We have hidden 9 yellow Easter Eggs throughout our site and one top secret, highly coveted, Golden Egg. Each egg you find will add on more of a discount to your order. You can earn up to 23% in discounts if you locate all the eggs. Simply follow the hints and you will be on your way to big savings in no time.
Here are a few MyPartyShirt recommendations from me to you:
In this weeks edition of The Indie Tee Spotlight, I highlight a cool little small business venture led by Steve Orlando, self-described as a reluctant leader, disillusioned romantic and uneloquent philosophaster. Orlando started Robit Studios earlier this year with friend Jeff Gerzseny out of their frustration with graphic tees.Â
I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Steve about the company he founded, Robit Studios, and why he aspired not to be “just another pretentious t-shirt company.” He discusses his love for small-business and why it’s smart (and worth it) to go “green.”
1. How long has Robit Studios been around? What inspired you to start a T-shirt brand?
We launched our website in March of this year. However the original idea and preparations for that launch began a few years ago. The inspiration to start a brand started when Jeff (the other half of Robit Studios) and I were frustrated with the unfunny slogan tees and obnoxious graphic tees that dominate the retail world. This was before we knew about places like Threadless. Jeff had some screen printing experience and a small wooden press from school so we decided to give it a shot.
2. The tagline “just another pretentious t-shirt company” can be found on the Robit Studios site. What do you mean by this?
When we first began brainstorming ideas and concepts for shirts we thought we were going to revolutionize the t-shirt world. However, as we began studying our competition and becoming familiar with the t-shirt blogging scene we realized that a lot of people not only had the same ideas, but were sometimes better executed. It made me realize that we can’t take ourselves too seriously.
3. Many of your tees have some sort of political message associated with it. Did you start Robit with the intention of producing politically inspired tees?
It wasn’t intentional. But, like a lot of people, we’ve been caught up in the interesting political environment we’ve had over the past few years. I also think that there are very few political t-shirts that are subtle in their message. For example, I would never wear a t-shirt that said “Buck Fush”. I think there was an unmet demand for shirts like “Chance of Reign”.
4. Strong ideals seem to be a huge part of the way Robit operates. From using only environmentally friendly inks to printing on sweat-shop free tees to hand printing each shirt. What made you decide to go the “green” route (and market yourselves as such) and why is this so important for Robit Studios considering the higher cost of these environmentally friendly products.
When we first seriously began discussing the creation of Robit Studios we knew we wanted to do it in a socially and environmentally friendly way. Since then I began working on my MBA in Environmentally Sustainable Management which helped us implement those ideas into our business model. I believe that true sustainability is the solution that will allow us to continue living on the planet in a way we’re familiar with. The beauty of sustainability is that it doesn’t conflict with capitalism, but actually complements it.
5. Your about page says “We [Robit Studios] gear our product toward anyone that appreciates the small businesses and creative minds, or the efforts of individuals against careless corporations that pander to the lowest common denominator.” What is it about small businesses, as compared to huge corporations, that gets you excited? What has the experience of owning and operating a small business been like for you?
Small businesses rock, simple as that. Just imagine if your only choice of t-shirt had to come from Wal-Mart. It doesn’t take much more than that to get me excited about the hundreds of small independent t-shirts brands that are available at my fingertips.
The experience of being a small business owner has been great. Knowing that there are people around the world who are wearing something I created feels incredible. This summer we got to do some festivals and I met a lot of amazing people, artists and bands. We’re teaming up with an amazing artist, Sean Madden, for some new t-shirts as well as another project which we’re hoping to launch soon.
6. Two of my favorite tees from the Robit Studios Store are “Chance of Reign” and “Ragingly Inefficient.” What message are you trying to send with these two tees?