Web 2.0:Tom Hanks To Bring Us A Digital Series, Electric City

Tom Hanks, who needs no introduction, has announced that his company, Playtone will be working with Reliance Big Entertainment, a media company in India to bring us ‘Electric City’, an animated internet based series covering a multi-platform web 2.0 digital experience in early 2011. ‘Electric City’ is also an insight into the future of Hollywood, as after the boom-and-bust cycle of digital web 2.0 entertainment that was hastened by a recession-spawned credit crunch, we see major players like Sony and Paramount returning to the field of episodic web 2.0 content. Plus, ‘Electric City’ has huge potential to where it could be expanded into graphic novels or an online role-playing game; a big turn on for Hollywood, as it all means revenue.

Tom Hanks had the idea for ‘Electric City’ nearly six years ago, imagining it as a gripping, almost film-noir, serious look at the future, focusing on socially conscious themes like energy consumption and the freedom of information. Tom Hanks says he originally tried to make the series using marionettes (am thinking Thunder Birds here) as he wanted it to look different and yet familiar; and so, after years of development, ‘Electric City’ has evolved into an animated series. It will be shown on the web2.0 in 20 three-minute instalments.  Tom Hanks said, “Without a doubt, everything has changed, but not necessarily for the worst.  In fact, a good life and good world has been created out of the usual end-of-life scenarios. It hasn’t degenerated into an Orwellian society — just the opposite.” Playtone is behind films such as ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, ‘The Polar Express’, ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’, as well as the TV series, ‘Band of Brothers’.

After shopping the project to several American studios and networks, Tom Hanks found that it was only Reliance Big Entertainment who matched Playtone’s overall web 2.0 strategies. Reliance Big Entertainment itself is playing a growing role in global entertainment properties and last year provided $325 million to Spielberg and his DreamWorks studio to create films for an international audience. It has also been touted as a possible partner for the debt-addled MGM studio. Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, Group MD said, “We are delighted to work together with such talented individuals as Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman on 'Electric City.' We are sure Reliance’s strength in the entertainment space combined with Zapak’s expertise in the digital world, and Playtone’s demonstrated creative and production acumen, will create an exciting and magical experience in the digital space."  Zapak’s gaming arm will spearhead and manage ‘Electric City’.

Photo Credit: watchwithkristin