Ludo Studio prepares to mark ‘Bluey’ milestone

Charlie Aspinwall, Daley Pearson and Sam Moor.

Ludo Studio has a lot to celebrate as it gets ready to deliver the 100th episode of global hit Bluey on July 10.

In addition, pre-production is underway on the second season of animated comedy The Strange Chores for the ABC, a co-production with Colin South’s Media World Pictures.

Writer-director Dylan River is in Alice Springs scripting Thou Shalt Not Kill, a prequel to SBS’s Robbie Hood with producer Tanith Glynn-Maloney.

And Ludo Studio’s Daley Pearson, who co-founded the Brisbane-based company with Charlie Aspinwall and Nick Boshier is developing Petey, a live action sci-fi comedy feature with Screen Australia’s support.

Pearson and producer Sam Moor gave an update on their slate in a webinar with Screen Producers Australia CEO Matt Deaner last Friday, followed by Daley’s interview with IF.

Nearly 50 animators and staff have continued working at Ludo Studio, most remotely. Four teams of three have been crafting Bluey, including skeleton crew in the studio.

Given the easing of restrictions in Queensland, the studio-based cohort increases to 10 today and Moor expects that to grow to 20 in the next few weeks.

Ten 7 minute episodes have been delivered to joint commissioners the ABC and BBC Studios during the lockdown followed by a further five this Friday.

Referring to Ludo’s sustained output, Pearson said in the webinar: “The shock [of COVID-19] has been absorbed by the animation directors and animators. Everyone has stepped up.”

There have been preliminary discussions with Bluey creator Joe Brumm, the ABC and BBC Studios over a third season, which will continue after the second series is completed.

The Ludo Studio team, pre-pandemic.

The second series of The Strange Chores follows wannabe heroes Charlie and Pierce and teenage ghost Que as they continue their apprenticeship with ageing monster hunter Helsing. Determined to learn all they can and master new skills, they take on more of Helsing’s strange and supernatural chores.

The returning creative team includes director Scott Vanden Bosch, writers John McGeachin and Luke Tierney, Pearson as the showrunner and South and Aspinwall as producers.

Anna Barnes, who scripted Ludo Studio/ABC’s Content, billed as the world’s first vertical video comedy series, has joined the writing team. Melbourne-based 12Field Animation is doing the animation, with funding from Screen Australia, the ABC, Film Victoria and Screen Queensland.

A co-production between Ludo Studio and River’s Since 1788 Productions and developed with Screen Australia’s support, Thou Shalt Not Steal follows Robyn, a 17-year-old Aboriginal delinquent who embarks on a journey from her small desert community to the city in search of answers.

Pearson intends to make his feature writing and directing debut on Petey, which centres on Petey who, 25 years after a childhood encounter with an alien, is reunited with his extra-terrestrial best friend. The alien has returned to Earth with a lot of baggage and is ready to start a family.

Inspired by Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Pearson says the film posits the idea that “what you may want is sometimes not what you need.”