Botcon 2007 - Panel: Hasbro Transformers Movie Partnership

Discussion in 'Transformers News and Rumors' started by Tony_Bacala, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. Tony_Bacala

    Tony_Bacala Car Robots Professional Administrator

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    Use this thread to discuss Botcon 2007 - Panel: Hasbro Transformers Movie Partnership Images and Information.

    Full Botcon 2007 gallery here: Botcon 2007


    UPDATED Saturday, 12:30 EST
    ams here, fresh from the Hasbro Panel - my notes follow, and may contain some minor spoilers:

    The Hasbro Movie Partnership Panel took place on Saturday, and included Hasbro associates such as the marketing director, movie design manager, and design managers. I couldn't get everyone's name, but Aaron Archer was in attendance.


    They had a Powerpoint show that provided an overview of the marketing leading up to and following the movie, as well as the relationship that developed between them and the studio; it covered aspects of how they worked with the studio and partnering with Bay's team.

    Because the information delivered was more than what is typically given out publicly, no photographs or filming of the Powerpoint were permitted.


    - After project was greenlit, Hasbro helped the Bay team determine how to best represent heritage characters on the screen, teach them about the characters

    - Transformers 101 or Transformers school delivered to Bay's team - what is a TF - not programmed, are sentient beings, all have roles and a choice to be good or evil, can be flawed characters

    - Concept of scanning earth forms to take on a disguise, can scan many things and replicate those, giving the writers latitude to do what they want - studio team didn't realize they had different forms on Cybertron than on earth

    - Helped them understand the mystery of robots in disguise, that the car next to you could be a robot hiding among us

    - Human protection, humans in danger because of TFs, leadership, self-sacrifice, the raw essence of what the characters are supposed to be about, how do humans interact

    - Talked about Beast Wars, different iterations of the franchise, ultimately it played out very well over the following years because they could share common dialogue with Bay's team.

    - As the script developed, Hasbro provided input on what didn't really represent the essence of any characters or that any character was presented incorrectly

    - November 05 script finalized, Aaron went to LA with art dept... needed to tweak some things, work on Bumblebee and Optimus, went for a day trip before going on to Japan - ended up staying for two weeks (had to go buy clothes!) to work things out to make sure everything came across as well... very creative collaboration across the board

    - tried to nod to the fans, had given them a photo montage of all the 80's Autos in the hopes they could get some of them in, script items like "one shall stand, one shall fall"

    - as the toyline developed, started creating new strategies about how they would work the toyline along the movie, how to appeal to the adult fans as well as make it more broadly accessible (toys)

    - movie is seen as a major moment for the franchise... classic line, 20th anniversary, all momentum moving toward the movie, a way to bring in a broader... 3-5 year old target audience do not have the dexterity to do the most complex toys---hook them with easier, fun stuff early on, then maybe they will stick with the franchise for years

    - movie is a launching point for what will happen with the brand over the last ten years

    - core concept is robots/technology + transformation + characters

    - cyber stompers, Prime mask, all items that don't tf, but part of the tf fantasy, like real gear

    - tf's more than just robots in disguise, got a lot of licensees interested, core transformers brand branching out into role play, tween lifestyle, collector, preschool, games

    - movie is next generation, starting over, lets franchise get to epic status like Star Wars, movie is a VERY big deal

    - whole idea of scanning, worked with Target to develop Robovision promo... went to the retailers to talk about the movie, some a bit skeptical about how it would do, others saw it as very fresh - Target really stood up and said that based on SW and the great Hasbro partnership (& success of red Vader exclusive) saw an easy transition to TF as the next big property

    - Target wanted to find something unique that could be marketed across products, different from other retailers... wanted a Prime with the Target logo! - really wanted their branding, what could they "own" without compromising the brand

    - "putting yourself in the shoes of the robot", target liked the idea, that's how Robovision developed

    - online was a big deal for Target, unlocking content, paying tribute to original tech specs, built the website together

    - Target wanted to own product, so scouts came about - Target was going to step up for TFs, so Hasbro wanted to give them something in return

    - movie writers were open to the Robovision concept (seen in the movie with Jazz and Blackout); resulted in the most integrated program ever for a movie campaign -- Target + movie + Hasbro

    - early on, many people were wondering if could toys even be made from the designs, Takara was in very early, started doing models early on to see how far we could go, definitely paid off on helping to see how dramatic they could get, getting away from old block form, they reflect a lot of collaboration between the movie, Takara, and Hasbro

    - Aaron was the go-to guy for Activision, came up with idea of drones, worked closely with Activision to design the drones in conjunction, major collaborative effort

    - Hisuey-san, visitor from TakaraTomy, played a major part in the movie toy development, designed barricade, ratchet, starscream, and jazz, also made classics starscream



    Q&A


    On one of the development slides in the powerpoint, a possible human origin for TFs considered?

    Yes, suggested early on and discussed, not something that was pushed or pursued

    Have you moved away from the basics of tfs?

    No, but wanted to expand outward, recognition of the fact that most of the success had come from one core, but what else can be done

    How did partnership with MD come about?

    Paramount started it, looking for something fresh and "high-energy", history of success in Japan, fit well with what would come in the movie, MD would be the main brand, but would put it across the others (Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist), after they saw how cool it was, decided to do the TV spot and the MD machine in the movie

    Same went for other like GM & ebay - the more they saw, the more stuff they wanted to do, even stuff they has shied away from initially

    Will we get a MD machine toy?

    Who knows?

    In design phase, how do you communicate changes with Takara (like clear windows on Jap BB)?

    Takara relationship is more like a family than a partnership... for the movie, licensees and Paramount were involved, determining what's needed in our market vs Jap market, more out of respect for one another, they check in with each other and say, hey is this change ok

    Will there be more expansion on number of characters in a future movie?

    Any sequel has to amp up what the previous movie did, stands to reason there will be more and bigger... haven't had too many discussions - writers had many additional characters they wanted to add they didn't get to

    Were there classic characters that they had to "protect" from changes?

    The heritage characters DID matter, had to educate them (Prime, BB, Jazz) - minimal input on the new characters (Barricade, Blackout)

    Any meaning behind the number and quote on Barricade's police shield?

    Yes, but don't know, that was an art department thing, maybe related to when Megs was discovered in the ice

    Real gear subline is great!

    In doing the movie in a realistic setting, a great opportunity to bring the connection home, bring the robots in disguise to a personal level with technology... lots of fun to work on, new characters, new asthetic

    With the success of SW and the similar variety of TF product coming out, are there any other licenses being explored for movie treatment?

    Hasbro has GI Joe, TF, MLP, SW, Spider Man, but not every toy line can have that, but for the bigger brands try to offer that to as many as possible - no specific info... Brian Goldner wants GI Joe to receive a similar treatment, still early, but who knows - TF movie opens opportunity for Hasbro - large portfolio of properties that could be blown out on a larger level

    Would you run TFs and Joe movies together?

    Up to the studio, not Hasbro

    Other figures that aren't drone (like deluxe Arcee), where did they come from?

    Wreckage and Arcee were designed in the art dept, didn't make the script, but toys were kept... drones were built from scratch

    Legends figures are great - will try to continue to be a subline alongside mainlines?

    Legends very popular, especially outside the US, good price point, are widely distributed, very strong assortment - important to continue developing that, definitely have future plans for the legends scale

    Design team was working before movie got off the ground, if you were in full creative control, who else would you have put in the movie?

    Weren't thinking about the movie until it started to happen - don't know about other characters, just thrilled that the right people were making the movie; were not developing new designs for the movie, but were designing robot heroes, real gear, the helmet-- to figure out how broad we could get the brand

    Plan to keep it as broad?

    Yes, a new era for TFs, not as much support in non-movie years, but want to make sure things are available for many people

    Any characters that you said had to be kept alive, and what should Soundwave be in a sequel?

    Had very collaborative back & forth on the main characters, wanted Soundwave in the movie, how do we use him, in design process for Frenzy, not coming across as Soundwave, doesn't hold to the way the character should be treated, let's change his name... many models for Soundwave items, thought he would be a major opportunity, but in the end it didn't work out

    Can we have a leader class Prime with the sword from the movie?

    Once ILM started building the models, lots of G1 fans at ILM, not sure about some of the changes that were being made, we were like "where'd that come from?" - Robot Heroes Prime second version will have a sword


    ----

    At the close of the panel, Robert, winner of head sculpt contest from last year received a movie Prime with his own face; cast the sculpt in clear and painted extras - eyes light up
     
  2. Ravenxl7

    Ravenxl7 W.A.F.F.L.E.O.

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    Cool. The best bit of info that I got from that, is that the 2nd version of Robot Heroes Movie Prime will have his sword. I'm guessing that he'll be packed with a Megs with his mace thingy.
     
  3. Moonstreaker

    Moonstreaker The Evil Triplet

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    Only 10 more years of TF's? NOOOOO!!!
     
  4. Sector Seven

    Sector Seven ∞ GΣΣK™

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    F'n A.

    Great stuff here! I'm a little disappointed in the Q&A... the Q's were kind of lame... "Have you moved away from the basics of tfs?" springs to the front here.
     
  5. wavelength

    wavelength Well-Known Member

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    i wonder how the writers could think that the tf's could be earthern cars on cybertron :shock: :lol 
     
  6. Ktulu

    Ktulu Whoosh TFW2005 Supporter

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    You probably took that wrong
     
  7. Rama Sha

    Rama Sha Tosche Station Pimp

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    I figured this happened. When they said they had to convice that writers that the TFs should talk, I thought they might also have wanted to do the whole "Man creates TF, which then become self-aware and rebels." Storyline. Seems they were detrimed to take something really unique and turn it into something rather generic.
     
  8. King Starscream

    King Starscream <b><font color=blue>The Royal Seeker</font></b> Veteran

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    I'm impressed at the collaborative effort between TakaraTomy, Hasbro, and the movie designers.
     
  9. World Prime

    World Prime Za Warudo!

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    The idea of moving kids forward into collectors and such who are still into TFs is a great business plan IMO. It makes me understand why they're doing this crappy-looking animated show now and stuff like the cyber stompers. It's doing what Beast Wars did for me in terms of not having me forget about TFs over those precious pre-teen and teenage years, so that I was still relatively into them just as the wave of stuff like alternators and classics hit, and then, a HUGE MOVIE! Lucky me.
     
  10. ckbuddha

    ckbuddha Well-Known Member

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    Cool presentation, I wish they could provide the powerpoint though...like Hasbro did for Star Wars at Celebration IV which outlined the major waves for the next 9-12 months. Maybe they will allow it's release after Botcon is over.

    It would be an amazing thing if there were two lines of toys from one manufacturer that will hold longevity for much longer. Both TFs and SW have been going strong for years, let's see it continue!
     
  11. Griffin73

    Griffin73 Commander

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    At least Hasbro has it together and protects their intellectual properties. I think Hasbro sees this as a way to relaunch the Transformers and pay homage to G1 at the same time. Smart move!

    If the guys at Hasbro stay in control, good things will happen in the future. The designs are getting better and better and the story is going in the right direction. Let keep it that way and keep the asses like the idiot producers out of creative meetings.

    As long as Hasbro listens to the fans on-line and keeps their ear to the ground our Transformers kingdom will stay intact.
     
  12. NeilJam

    NeilJam Resident Audiophile

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    That probably should've been written as :

    - movie is a launching point for what will happen with the brand over the next last ten years
     
  13. NeilJam

    NeilJam Resident Audiophile

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    That probably should've been written as :

    - movie is a launching point for what will happen with the brand over the next ten years
     
  14. Fit For natalie

    Fit For natalie tfwiki nerd

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    I believe this is more the studio (Dreamworks/Paramount) and their executives not knowing anything than the writers.

    Reading what Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman say and chatting to them on the movie board, they know their stuff.
     
  15. Weremole

    Weremole Whack-a-mole Avenger

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    Exactly, they also had to push for it. The combined pressure made the suits cave.

    I mean. This is the kind of people who wanted Hellboy to be a normal guy that when provoked transformed or wanted 60s TV BIFF POW WAP Batman instead of comic Batman.
     
  16. turk128

    turk128 Well-Known Member

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    Great panel.

    Very insightful quote from the powerpoint here:
    Really goes to show how cool Takara is; viewed the new design as a new direction and an excuse to push the envelope.
     
  17. Rama Sha

    Rama Sha Tosche Station Pimp

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    Could have been. Someone didn't know their stuff given how many things Hasbro seems to have had to veto and push for. I've never been happy with the desgins or the storyline for this flick, but reading this...I see it could have been a lot worse had Hasbro just let them do whatever they wanted.
     
  18. Rodimus

    Rodimus The Prime Producer

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    In other words, the answer is YES. Bunch of dishonest spin artists! Just tell it like it is! :stick:  People will respect you more if you just tell the truth.
     
  19. Lazeric

    Lazeric Well-Known Member

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    No.... they know what they are saying and are speaking honestly. The "basics of TFs" is still there in the mainline and there appears to be no plans to change that. The outward expansion comes in the form of the Cyber Slammers, FABs, Robot Heroes, Cyber Stompers, etc designed to attract a different audience - in those examples, mainly younger - that isn't quie ready for the mainline stuff.

    - L -
     
  20. Dirge121

    Dirge121 Eat the chikums

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    The basics of Transformers is Transforming Alien Robots.
    That is what they still are, they just took a new design. Hasbro told the truth, they still hold the basics.
     

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