DNA Productions, Inc.
Company typeTelevision and film company
IndustryAnimation
Founded1987; 37 years ago (1987)
FoundersJohn A. Davis
Keith Alcorn
Defunct2006; 18 years ago (2006)
FateClosure
Headquarters,
ProductsJimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius
Olive, the Other Reindeer
Santa vs. the Snowman
The Ant Bully
Websitednahelix.com

DNA Productions, Inc. was an American animation studio and production company based in Irving, Texas. It was founded in 1987, by John A. Davis and Keith Alcorn. The studio originally worked on miscellaneous projects for other companies, including commercials and corporate videos, before branching out to television and film animation.

DNA Productions began to thrive a decade after its formation, through a partnership with filmmaker Steve Oedekerk. The studio's first major project, Santa vs. the Snowman, was released in 1997. Other projects soon followed, including Olive, the Other Reindeer in 1999.

DNA Productions is best known for its Jimmy Neutron character, who debuted in the company's 2001 film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. A television series, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, subsequently aired on Nickelodeon from 2002 to 2006. DNA's final project was the 2006 film The Ant Bully.

History

Early years

DNA Productions was founded in 1987, by John A. Davis and Keith Alcorn, after they left their positions at K & H Productions, a Dallas-based animation company.[1] Davis and Alcorn started their new studio with a $5,000 loan.[2][3] The company was based in the Dallas suburb of Irving.[4] The name "DNA" stood for "Davis N Alcorn". The duo would regularly contact companies in search of animation work.[2]

Up until 1997, DNA Productions had only six employees and was involved in the production of commercials and corporate videos for companies such as Dairy Queen and Kroger. DNA also did other work for companies, such as logo design and end credit sequences.[1][2] In their spare time during the early 1990s, Davis and Alcorn produced crude animated projects and would enter them in touring festivals, which helped their company rise to prominence.[1][2][5][6] Among these projects was Nanna & Lil' Puss Puss,[7] a series of adult shorts about an elderly woman and her cat.[4][2][8] Other short projects included the pirate-themed Weird Beard,[2][9][10] and The Adventures of Nippleless Nippleby, about a cherub who has no nipples.[2]

By 1994, DNA had branched out to 3D animation after a corporate client, Mary Kay, requested a conference presentation that would feature dancing bottles of suntan lotion.[2] The company then worked on A.J.'s Time Travelers, which aired on Fox from 1994 to 1995.[2][11]

Breakthrough and final years

DNA's best-known creative work is the 3D animated character Jimmy Neutron, originally known as Johnny Quasar.[12][13] In 1995, filmmaker Steve Oedekerk heard about a proof of concept video of the character, shown by DNA at an awards festival for animated projects.[1][2][14] After seeing the footage himself, Oderkerk partnered with DNA on two television specials, The O Show and the animated Santa vs. the Snowman, both released in 1997.[1][2][15] The latter was DNA's biggest project to date, requiring long hours to be finished in time for its Christmas airing.[2] DNA had full creative control on the project, which was co-produced with Oedekerk's company O Entertainment.[16] It was re-released as an IMAX film in 2002, under the title Santa vs. the Snowman 3D.[17][18] As for The O Show, many of its effects were created by DNA. The company also provided animation work for the 1997 television series The Weird Al Show,[19] and produced a direct-to-video series titled Jingaroo.[16]

DNA lost some aspects of creative control as it partnered with other companies on these projects. According to Davis in 1999, "We were such a small company for so many years that we're used to doing everything ourselves. So it's been kind of hard to try to not do everything. But we've spent the last two or three years sort of weaning ourselves away."[2] That year, the company increased its staff from 17 to 30 workers to deal with the new projects,[2] which included another animated holiday special titled Olive, the Other Reindeer. It was co-produced with The Curiosity Company and Fox Television Studios.[2][16] DNA also produced Oedekerk's 1999 television pilot titled The Barnyard,[2] which he later produced as the 2006 film Barnyard, without DNA's involvement.

During 1997, also with Oedekerk's help, DNA had begun negotiations with Nickelodeon to produce a Johnny Quasar television series.[1][2] Plans for the TV project and an animated feature film were greenlit by Nickelodeon in 1999, with the character name changed to Jimmy Neutron. The film, after nearly two years of production, was released in December 2001, under the title Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.[11][20][21] It was DNA's first feature film and its biggest project,[22] and received generally positive reviews.[23] The company then started work on the television series, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius,[24][25] which aired on Nickelodeon from 2002 to 2006.[26] O Entertainment co-produced the film and television series.

Original mascot Helix the Cat
New mascot Paul, seen in DNA's production logo starting in 2002

Helix the Cat was DNA's original mascot until 2002. He had two tails which were intertwined to form a double helix. While the Jimmy Neutron series was in production, Davis sought to replace Helix with a new studio mascot, a mutant three-eyed chimpanzee, who would appear in DNA's animated production logo at the end of each episode. The new mascot was named Paul, after DNA employee Paul Claerhout,[27] who joined the company in 1990.[1] Claerhout also provided the voice for Paul, who says "Hi! I'm Paul!" in each logo shot.[27]

DNA later partnered with Playtone and Legendary Pictures to produce The Ant Bully, a 2006 animated film loosely based on the 1999 children's book of the same name.[28][29] The film received mixed reviews,[30] and was a box-office bomb.[31] It was DNA's second feature film,[32] and would be its final project.[7]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bounds, Jeff (1997-09-14). "Animation company 'going Hollywood'". BizJournals. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Attack of the Killer Cartoonists". D Magazine. 1999-11-01. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  3. ^ "Out of This World". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 2001-12-25. Retrieved 2023-12-13 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b Sprague, Suzanne (2001-03-15). "Dallas Video Festival Features Animation". KERA News. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  5. ^ "Animation". San Francisco Examiner. 1992-06-28. Retrieved 2023-12-13 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Petrakis, John (1998-06-05). "This 'Sick and Twisted' Animation Fest Not Worth Your Time". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  7. ^ a b Mallory, Michael (2013-04-25). "The Life Cycle of DNA". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  8. ^ "Tale of the Tapes". Dallas Observer. 2001-03-08. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  9. ^ "Disturbing 'Animation' Trades Soul for Shock Value". Albuquerque Journal. 1994-08-14. Retrieved 2023-12-15 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Harrington, Richard (1995-02-03). "Animation: A Glut of Excess". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  11. ^ a b "Out of This World (page 2 of 2)". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 2001-12-25. Retrieved 2023-12-13 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Hal, Cheryl (2001-12-16). "How 2 Dallas unknowns broke the Hollywood mold". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10.
  13. ^ "The Rise of Jimmy Neutron". Animation World Network. 2001-12-19. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
  14. ^ Robertson, Barbara (January 2002). "Neu Kid on the Block". Computer Graphics World. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  15. ^ "Comedy special blends zany humor, computers". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 1997-08-31. Retrieved 2023-12-13 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ a b c Helber, Annabelle Massey (1999-12-16). "Quick, draw". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  17. ^ Loftus, Marc (December 1, 2002). "Santa vs. the Snowman". Post Magazine.
  18. ^ Ball, Ryan (2002-10-15). "Santa vs. The Snowman Offers 3D Fun, CG Fluff". AnimationMagazine.net. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  19. ^ "Television Q&A". Tampa Bay Times. 1997-09-30. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  20. ^ "Jimmy Nutron vaults creator from sketchbook to big screen". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 2001-12-21. Retrieved 2023-12-13 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ "Jimmy Nutron vaults creator from sketchbook to big screen (page 2 of 2)". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 2001-12-21. Retrieved 2023-12-13 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ Mallory, Michael (2001-11-11). "A Boy and His Franchise". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  23. ^ "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius". Metacritic. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  24. ^ "A boy and his franchise: Hooking kids on 'Neutron'". Chicago Tribune. 2001-12-27. Retrieved 2023-12-15 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ Calvo, Dana (2002-02-15). "From One Screen to Another". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  26. ^ Bell, Noah (2022-09-14). "'Danny Phantom', 'Kim Possible', and 8 Other Nostalgic Cartoons That Deserve a Reboot". Collider. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  27. ^ a b Colton, Roger (2005-12-29). "Ruminations: DNA Productions goes ape". Jim Hill Media. Archived from the original on 2006-02-13.
  28. ^ "A Mind of Their Own". Los Angeles Times. 2006-07-28. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  29. ^ Colton, Roger (2006-07-25). "The Ant Bully: " ... will draw (audiences) into the story in ways they can't even imagine."". Jim Hill Media. Archived from the original on 2012-08-05.
  30. ^ "The Ant Bully". Metacritic. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  31. ^ Holson, Laura M. (2006-10-03). "Is Th-Th-That All, Folks?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2023-12-15.
  32. ^ King, Susan (2006-07-24). "Expanding on an ant story". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2023-12-15.