Author and naturalist Bradley Trevor Greive will appear as an animated globetrotting wildlife expert on Netflix in October via Kapow Pictures and Mission Control Media’s Adventure Beast.
Produced with the streamer’s unscripted department, the series stars a 2D version of the Penguin Bloom co-author that travels the world, getting into zany misadventures while imparting weird and wonderful nature factoids.
Greive voices the character and is also a writer alongside Kapow co-founder Mark Gravas, who also directs. There are further voice contributions from Danice Cabanela and Josh Zuckerman.
Executive producing are Mission Control Media’s Michael Agbabian and Dwight D. Smith, alongside Gravas, fellow Kapow co-founder Sandra Walters, Greive, and Brian Frange. Brent Burnette is co-executive producer.
The idea originated in 2014, when Gravas made some animated shorts featuring a costumed Greive talking about his animal encounters and lesser-known wildlife facts.
Gravas told IF the concept was an opportunity for Kapow, known for its work in commercials and children’s television, to broaden its horizons.
“This felt like the right fit because of Bradley’s love of animal wildlife and him being a self-proclaimed indestructible adventurer,” he said.
“The shorts are a little bit more fact-based, which was a change and something we wanted to explore.”
Gravas and Kapow co-founder Sandra Walters pitched the concept at the Asian Animation Summit in 2014 to mostly positive feedback, inspiring them to further develop the project.
With Greive based in LA, the plan was to make a US series. COVID hit just as the pair returned to Sydney after meetings with Netflix in the US.
The disruption meant Kapow was tasked with setting up new systems and coordinating a team of more than 60 remote workers, the majority of which were in NSW.
As has been the case with some of the company’s previous work, it used the opportunity to train animators, background artists, and designers who were new to production, allowing them to work with long-time animators, such as Deane Taylor.
Walter told IF the less experienced members of the team more than proved their worth.
“The young people that had never worked in animation were among the best by the end of the production,” she said.
“We’ve taken graduates from UTS before because we find one of the most rewarding things is nurturing new people on productions.”
While Kapow Pictures has previously collaborated on Netflix productions with other companies, Adventure Beast is the first project which the animation studio has created for the streamer.
Going forward, Gravas was keen to “drill down” into the fact-based comedy genre.
“On a personal level, I really enjoyed working on a fact-based comedy and it’s something I’d like to pursue,” he said.
“There are so many stories to tell through this genre. It combines a lot of elements that I love and I enjoyed finding the balance between comedy and fact and running the narrative through compelling and personal stories.”
Adventure Beast will premiere as a Netflix Original on October 22.