OMDC SUCCESS STORY: SINKING SHIP ENTERTAINMENT
In 2002, three recent Ryerson University graduates had an idea. Former classmates, Blair Powers, J.J. Johnson and Matt Bishop were looking for a unique way to approach children's television. They wanted to do something that wasn't being done at the time, and change the way that people made children's television.
At the time, they felt that too much of children's television involved twenty-five year olds acting like six-year olds. Their idea was to put the kids in the spotlight, and create engaging programs that their audiences could relate to: six year-olds hosting television for six-year olds. In 2004, Sinking Ship Entertainment was officially born.
Their first show showcased the kind of kid-led programming they wanted to do. “This is Daniel Cook” ran for two seasons on TVO and Treehouse, before it was relaunched for a third season as “This is Emily Young” with a little girl host.
Making that show gave the partners a unique experience in managing tight budgets and provided them with resources to create pilots to bring new shows to life. In doing so, they hit upon a cost-effective approach to get television shows off the ground, as many of the creative challenges were tackled in the pilot.
Starting out with little experience, the founders have been grateful for OMDC's advice and support, especially in the early years. OMDC funding allowed Sinking Ship to attend trade shows and promote their television series, while tax credits helped finance special effects that gave their productions an edge. The support allowed Sinking Ship to compete on an international scale as a local, Ontario company.
From humble beginnings Sinking Ship has grown to work with international partners, like Disney, National Geographic Kids, Amazon, PBS, Nick Jr, and many more, with shows airing in more then 100 countries and in twenty languages Today, Sinking Ship employs over 250 creative professionals in Ontario and has produced thirteen television series in its ten-year history and over 350 half hours of television.
The company has continued to expand into new fields, innovating along the way. In 2008, they created the first live-action computer-graphics series, “Dino Dan,” for Nick Jr. This led to the opening of the company's animation division, which has grown to tackle over 9000 VFX shots with 3 dedicated pipelines. “Dino Dan” was recently nominated for a Daytime Emmy, the only Canadian show to receive such an honour, and in 2010 won the prestigious Shaw Rocket Prize.
Sinking Ship is proud of the strong characters in its productions. Anne, the annedroid-building main character in “Annedroids,” was recently selected as one of the top ten role models on television. Additionally the show was listed as one of the top ten streaming shows for all categories.
2014 was a banner year for Sinking Ship with over 30 million dollars of production and multiple new shows launching. Sinking Ship’s most recent show Odd Squad debuted on PBS with record setting views. In the first month the show was streamed over 40 million times.
All of Sinking Ship's accolades prove one thing: putting kids first isn't just good programming; it's good business, too.
“We want to continue to grow and create challenging content that no one else will – shows that are inspiring for kids, shows that can both educate and entertain. We’re excited to be part of this next change in television.”
—Matt Bishop, Partner & Producer, Sinking Ship EntertainmentLearn more about :