Anime Project 13
What happens when an American record producer (specifically one who produces records for the likes of Elton John and k.d. lang) sets out to produce anime by teaming up with the Japanese animation house STUDIO 4°C?
The man to my right is American record producer Greg Penny. Tonight we are having dindins with family and friends in his lovely place in Ojai America. I met Greg a while ago through some government related work at Keio University and we have been good friends ever since.
This is where Greg mixes and produces all his cool tunes. His profile copy pasted below.
The son of famous pop singer Sue Thompson and guitarist / songwriter / producer Hank Penny, Greg was raised in an artistic atmosphere. He got his first exposure to recording studios while attending his parents sessions in Nashville and Los Angeles. Its not unusual that his dreams were about creating pop music. Growing up as he did, in Las Vegas, Nevada was surreal indeed…however, it gave Greg the dreamtime to explore the wonders of record production in his humble 4 track recording studio / laboratory. He dreamed that maybe someday, he would make records like his idol, Beatles producer George Martin.
Fast forward to the present and we find Greg’s dreams did come true. He not only grew up to produce successful pop records, but produced for and became close friends with, many of his childhood idols. Sir George Martin being one of them.
Greg’s early production successes led him to work with one of the greatest living vocalists: k.d. lang. The results of this collaboration were the albums: “Absolute Torch and Twang” and “Ingenue”. Both were giant sellers, Grammy winners, and defined k.d. as an artiste without boundaries. Greg’s achievements with k.d. lang brought him to the attention of someone who was already a friend, Elton John. Greg and Elton had met when they were 15 and 24 respectively and though Elton was already a megastar, he encouraged Greg to follow his dreams.
It was only fitting that the first recording that Elton asked Greg to produce would be a duet with k.d. lang. “Teardrops” from Elton’s “Duets” LP became a favorite of fans of both artists. On this session Greg worked with another one of his idols, Producer / Arranger Arif Mardin. Who wrote the string arrangement for “Teardrops”.
The sessions for “Teardrops” went so well, Elton asked Greg to continue work on “Duets” and to produce his next studio LP “Made In England”.
This was where Greg’s dreams really did come true. Producing his hero and friend, Elton John, collaborating with Bernie Taupin, recording Elton’s fantastic band, watching the genius of arranger Paul Buckmaster, working at AIR Studios in London, and finally meeting and working with his idol, Sir George Martin who wrote the string and horn arrangement for the song “Latitudes”.
“Made In England” was both an artistic and commercial success.
Greg has also produced albums by: Martini Ranch, Marc Anthony Thompson (Chocolate Genius), Nathalie Archangel, Maura O’connell, Sun 60, Marc Jordan, Eddi Reader, Cher, Ryan Downe, and Paul Young in addition to engineering and mixing two albums by Rickie Lee Jones. Her album “Flying Cowboys” gave Greg the opportunity to work with yet another one of his heroes, Walter Becker of Steely Dan.
Greg comes over to Tokyo from time to time to work on the music anime title that he is producing called "Project : 13."
Project : 13 is a trilogy of three 5 minute music videos - the first part is called "The Sound Of Hope." Each part has a different song, story, cast and location with one central character providing the common thread between the three. When joined together, they form a 15 min OVA.
The Sound Of Hope starts off the trilogy:-
In the not too distant future, when the Earth has been conquered and enslaved by the forces of the Darmon Empire. With the aid of a mechanical reconnaissance bird and high powered sonic accelerators - our team of heroes launch a daring mission to rescue one of their members and liberate innocent captives who are encased in saltstone by the Darmon in an underground prison.
If you watched through the video, you will see that Greg is trying to raise 390,000 USD with Kickstarter and the project page is here.
We previously talked about funding anime before - Kickstarter helps creative folks with great ideas gather funds from backers who want to see an idea turned to reality. Recently, 3.5 million US dollars was raised for development of a game through crowd funding - over 8 million USD collected for development of a watch.
The way that Kickstarter works is that a backer will receive goodies depending on the amount donated and Greg has prepared some goodies including a trip to Tokyo.
If this project is a success, this could potentially change the world of anime meaning - specifically the way anime is produce and funded - usually by a production committee who's first priority is the Japanese market because the first item on the agenda is to recuperate all the costs involved.
If Greg can pull this off, it will show the world that you do not need to just consume what the anime business throws at you - you can make your own anime or have a say in what gets made. If you dont like moe anime (I personally do) and would like to see more of a variety of genres being made then maybe this crowd funding model will help you change things.
I'm personally very excited to see somebody making the leap to take on such a feat and fully support what Greg is doing and wish him the best of luck!
More screenshots of the work so far below.
And some production shots at STUDIO 4°C.