Ryan Sohmer wants you to help make an LICD cartoon a reality!

I read this on Fleen the other day. Canadian studio Teletoons has released a series called The Dating Guy. Here’s a program description as listed on the site:

“The Dating Guy” is a half-hour animated comedy about the single life of twenty-somethings in the city.

Meet Mark, Woody, Sam, and VJ. They live in a sort of in-between world. They’ve finished school and are living on their own, but they haven’t settled down yet or even accrued much of a bank account. They’re essentially living life day to day. Kind of broke. Kind of directionless.

Each week, one or more of them find themselves exploring the dating world in one way or another. Sometimes it’s twins, sometimes it’s conjoined twins (which is way less awesome than it sounds) and sometimes it’s a shameful night at home with the palm twins.

Ryan Sohmer is calling foul, saying that the Teletoons has been ripping off the content and style of his webcomic:

Sohmer’s relating the story of a meeting with Canada’s Teletoon network, wherein Sohmer was privy to the pitch for something called The Dating Guy that became, after the meeting, a wholesale appropriation of Sohmer’s character designs (on casual inspection, it is rather similar to Sohmer’s own Least I Could Do).

How is Sohmer responding? Reader algeya has pointed me to his site, where he’s asking for donations to create an LICD animated pilot:

For going on 4 years, I have been working hard to bring LICD to the small screen, via a traditionally 2D animated series. Working with Teletoon (the Canadian version of the Cartoon Network), everything was in place to get the series off the ground.

And that’s about the time things went to shite.

Could Noel be of African American descent? Maybe Mick should be middle eastern. How do you feel about setting the series in Toronto? Issa should be a native. All of the friends should live together? Rayne’s neice, Ashley, shouldn’t be in the show. Instead of sleeping with women, could Rayne date them casually? We’d like one of the characters to smoke a great deal of pot.

The list goes on.

Suffice it to say, I wasn’t about to let this series get bastardized into a watered-down shell of its former self. Thanking everyone for their time, I walked away from the deal and waited until the contract expired.

Cut to recently. It was brought to my attention that the kind folks at Teletoon took a lot of our hard work, both intellectual and art, and used it in one of their new series. Not only that, but they took our hard work and made a shitty series.

Rather than let the rage consume me, I would turn this into something positive, something good for LICD and its readers. Rather than let anyone dictate what we can or can’t do, we will make our own pilot. With your help.

I will put my money where my mouth is, and match the pledges dollar for dollar. I wouldn’t ask you for something that I don’t believe in myself.

With your help, we will produce a 22-minute animated LICD pilot, making it as it should be.

Once that is done, we will have a finished episode to shop around to various outlets and do our best to get a full series made.

We need your help. More importantly, we want the community to be a part of this. Please head on over to the Kickstarter page for more info.

Help us bring Rayne and the gang to the screen, as they were meant to be.

This is probably the most mature and constructive way to address intellectual theft: get your own product off the ground and directly compete. It has also seemed to be Sohmer’s ambition to break into animation (his Blind Ferret Studios IS the one behind the Ctrl+Alt+Del animated series, after all). I can’t fault the guy for following his dreams.

Still, the prospect of an LICD cartoon on the airwaves?

Brrrrr.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

May God have mercy on your souls, Canada.

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Posted on May 24, 2011, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Maybe, like two black holes, they can spin each other quicker and quicker until they merge into a singularity so dark they’ll never be seen again.

  2. The rational part of me knows that it’s wrong that Sohmer’s work was ripped off, even if there’s a little schadenfreude going on internally. I protest the same sort of thing happening to other independent artists like Jess Fink, and as much as I dislike Sohmer, this sort of theft is really reprehensible. However, I think this theft in particular is ESPECIALLY so because it’s catalyzed the production of an LICD animated series, a prospect that hadn’t blipped across my awareness in a looooong time, and stirred up faint, cringe inducing memories of Rayne Summers crooning about blowing up entitled emo kids, or some shit.

    I’m not a fan of Sohmer’s work (or Sohmer, for that matter, the FAQ section on LICD.com makes me nauseous), though I think LFG is passable, and will probably read it to its conclusion, though it suffers from many of the same flaws that I find in LICD. It’s been at least a year since I read LICD regularly, after one day realizing that it simply wasn’t funny or compelling in any way, and that I’d been reading it out of habit than rather than actually enjoying it (the same thing that kicked Dominic Deegan off my roster). But I remember back when I first heard talk about an animated LICD series, and I remember the few shorts he released way back when. I started this post expecting to be able to say that they were everything I found distasteful about LICD concentrated and set to music, and that they were the comic made worse, but the truth is; they were at the exact same level of mediocrity. They weren’t well animated, they weren’t catchy, they weren’t memorable. It was the same static art, the same throwaway, endlessly repeated gags, and the same preachy messages.

  3. regarless what most webcomic overlook readers think about Sohmer, how teletoon ripped him off was horrible, I hope he succeds and make it a precedent to future webcomics authors

  4. Wannabe_Marysue

    It would make for a good annotated series.

    (both of them)

  5. I know that Ryan had his idea stolen and I know that he was being mature about it. However I can’t help not caring or sympathizing about his dilemma.
    1) I can only imagine how it feels.
    2) I have no respect for any of his work in manner.
    3) He going to create an Animated series.

  6. Heather @ TELETOON

    Hi, my name is Heather and I’m the Social Media Specialist here at TELETOON. I just wanted to jump in here and clarify a few things for everyone here. Great, funny animation is our passion at TELETOON, and mine personally, so naturally I was alarmed when this allegation popped up on our radar. I’ve taken steps to look into the history of The Dating Guy and Least I Could Do and I wanted to share that with you here.

    First, TELETOON, doesn’t actually make cartoons, we broadcast them. Usually that means we buy the rights to broadcast them from production companies. Sometimes companies pitch cartoons to us before they’ve been produced, and then we give the creators some feedback and funding. That’s how The Dating Guy came to be.

    Way back in 2006, TELETOON began to discuss the development of The Dating Guy with marblemedia, which is based on the life and dating experiences of marblemedia partner Mark Bishop.

    A year later, in 2007, Ryan Sohmer pitched TELETOON with a proposed production of Least I Could Do. Sohmer then connected with another production company to develop the idea further. Because The Dating Guy had a related, though not identical premise, TELETOON ensured at this time that Ryan Sohmer and the other producer were informed that The Dating Guy had already been greenlit for production. The conversations between TELETOON and the company representing Least I Could Do were short lived and development was never completed.

    The two projects came to TELETOON through different production companies and are based on different inspirations entirely. The end result is that The Dating Guy, which came to us for development consideration first, is a funny cartoon about dating in the city that bears no meaningful resemblance to Least I Could Do.

    Thanks,
    Heather from TELETOON
    @teletoonatnight

  7. Before everyone pats Sohmer on the back, just give it a few weeks.

    Obviously he’s going to be mature about it.

    Where you may see the immaturity rear its head is within the confines of LICD. Don’t be shocked if we see a storyline about Rayne getting an idea stolen by a bigger company.

    I appreciate the maturity… but I won’t hold my breath to see if it lasts.

  8. It’s worth noting that Heather from Teletoon posted the exact same message on the LICD forum. Ryan has gone on record to say that some of the facts she has presented in her post are incorrect.

  9. I love you El Santo, I read your stuff all the time, but I take issue with this article on two points.

    1. This is NOT intellectual property theft. Is it morally wrong? Probably. Is it a crappy thing to do? Sure. But it’s not theft. You can’t copyright an idea, and that’s clearly what teletoon is using.

    I think it’s shortsighted of LICD to assume that a) he would get any creative control as a new comer to television and b) that Teletoon wouldn’t use an idea that was marketable. I work with over a dozen people who work in television and it’s really naive to think it would work another way. Television shows and their production is incredibly entrenched, costly and time consuming.

    2. That he would ask his audience to spend their money on a TV pilot that has no reasonable way of being aired. I’d rather burn my money in a barrel. He could make a web series, but he’s shown through this particular story that he has no clue in hell how TV works.

  10. Quote of Heather “The end result is that The Dating Guy, which came to us for development consideration first, is a funny cartoon ”

    Its not a funny cartoon

  1. Pingback: Teletoon responds to the LICD discussion | The Webcomic Overlook

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