Exclusive: Sarah Finn & Jeff Gordon - 30 Years of Care Bears

Care BearsThe show was a global hit when it premiered in 1982. It's been three decades, but the huggable Care Bears and their "belly badges" are back to celebrate their 30th anniversary with an all new television series. The show, which recently premiered on The Hub, is a 3-D animation that features everyone's favorite bears in the land of Care-a-lot, the high-above-the-earth home of the bears. The all new adventure series that comes from American Greetings will be different than the original, including new characters, and appeal to the whole family. Both children and their parents who remember the original from their own childhood can enjoy discovering, or rediscovering, the magical world.

Care BearsDecades have passed, yet the idea of Care Bears is something that has lasted and still fits with today's children. The hope is that it can be a show for the whole family. Executive producer Sarah Finn feels lucky to be working with the property of the Care Bears; they're still relevant and can be enjoyed by everyone. "The Bears continue to endure with their timeless message of caring, sharing and friendship. We wanted to tell compelling stories that would enable our heritage fans to sit with their children and enjoy the new show together. By targeting a wider age-range, siblings and their parents can watch together."

As such, it's a great time to bring the Care Bears back. "Since the Care Bears have seen several iterations over the past 30 years, almost every age group has "grown up" with the Bears – moms in their 20s and 30s, teens and tweens, it seemed the perfect time to introduce them to kids 2-7."

Things have definitely changed this time around, but for the better. The Care Bears may not be the same as you remember from childhood, according to Finn. "Our Bears have some flaws this time around! They are not all sugary sweet! We feel this makes them much more relatable. We also went for a more sophisticated look for the show. Our backgrounds are very detailed and we've tried to create a classic storybook feel to the world. Care-A-Lot is a place every child will want to visit!"

Care BearsThe world of the series is also improved in the fact that the cartoon is three-dimensional computer generated, rather than traditional 2-D. Finn adds, "It allows us to portray even more huggability!"

Another change to the show of course is the new characters, such as Wonderheart Bear, who wants to be part of the "big bears" aventures. Finn thinks she's a great new character. "She's adorable! It felt like the perfect time to introduce a new Bear to the team who represents the average age of our 2-7 year old viewer. She's playful, curious and always asking questions! She has a belly badge icon (a little heart) like the rest of the bears, but she doesn't yet know its power. Throughout the series we see her discover more about herself and learn what her belly badge is capable of."

Another change is that there will only be bears this time around, no cousins. However, Finn reassures that there will be plenty of the fans' favorite bears making appearances throughout the show, including Tenderheart Bear, Cheer Bear, Grumpy Bear, Share Bear, Harmony Bear, and Funshine Bear.

Finn also talked a bit about the voice talent involved in the show. "We have an amazing cast. Every recording session was great fun as our cast all loved the characters they were playing and it shows! Some of the funniest scenes were improvised by our cast. Michaela Dean is the youngest at just 10 years old and she would constantly amaze us with her talent."

She was also able to reveal a bit about what the show has in store story wise. "Most of our stories revolve around a kid from Earth receiving a Care 'n Share charm from Tenderheart Bear - which is essentially a golden ticket to an amazing adventure in Care-A-Lot. Our stories are humorous, fun, and filled with adventure. And look out for the mischievous Beastly who is always looking to cause trouble along the way."

Care BearsQuite a lot goes into the production of an animated series. As director, Jeff Gordon does a lot to mold the series and oversees much of the production. "My job as the director is to assist the story editor and the producers in guiding the stories, characters and the look of the show.

"After the script is approved and recorded, I hand out the script, with sketches and notes, to the storyboard artists. When the storyboard is finished being assembled by the storyboard director and production coordinators, it is given to the animatic editor.

"Together, we fined tune the timing and the visuals. We then give the animatic to the live action director who directs actors to act out the story. This is used as reference for the animators.

"When everything is approved by the co-producers and the network, it is shipped to the overseas studio to be animated.

"When the color animation is returned, I help call the retakes, fine tune the editing with the editor, give notes on music and sound effects and assist with the final mix. I then help to address any notes from the producers and the network. After that, the show is delivered to the network."

Directing a cartoon actually has some similarities to directing live-action, according to Gordon. "Directing CGI cartoons is very similar to directing traditional 2-D cartoons, however, because the camera can be placed anywhere in a 3D space, the choices for camera placement and movement are much bigger. In this way, it is similar to directing live-action. It all comes down to storytelling. As a director you have to make a lot of choices that should all be directed to answer the question "What's the best way to tell the story?" "

Thanks to the new series, that story can be enjoyed by people of all ages. You can tune into Care Bears: Welcome to Care-A-Lot Saturdays on The Hub.

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