The origins of PLASMO 


Plasmo was originally a character I developed in a short Super 8 film in 1981.  It was called "Plasmo versus the Space Bullies" and was quite popular with the other College students.

In 1983 I made a sequel, also on Super 8 , called "Plasmo and the Space Party.

But Super 8 has limitations, particularly with quality and what can be done with the final product. So I bought a second hand 16mm Bolex and in 1986 started to create a new Plasmo film to be called "Happy Hatchday to Plasmo". 

Three times I applied to the Australian Film Commission for funding to help me make the film, and three times I got knocked back. All the time I continued working on the film and began updating the ABC on my intentions to create a childrens animation which hopefully they would be interested in buying upon completion. 

Finally, two years later, the film was complete and I sent a copy up to Sydney for the ABC to view.  While I was waiting I got to know other animators and continued with emergency teaching and part time work for Melbourne University Plant Sciences field research station out at Derrimut. 

A few months into 1989 I finally heard back from the ABC. They wanted to buy it. That pleased me greatly although the price they were offering was way under what I was expecting. I managed to haggle them up just enough to cover some additional post production expenses I had yet to incur in getting the film put to videotape. 

The ABC broadcast "Happy Hatchday to Plasmo " played on numerous occassions for the next five years. Following that I put it to the ABC that were I to create a series, would they be interested? They said they would be interested in seeing something, but were not able, or willing to put the money into it at this early stage. 

So in 1990 I applied for script development from the Australian Childrens Television Foundation and got started. But two years later, the project was stalled. A new pilot was needed to show investors and buyers what a new episode would look like. Film Victoria put up the money to create a pilot episode. In 1993 Plasmo and the Bookworm was shot over a 4 month period.  

The new pilot won an award at the Adelaide Childrens Television Festival, but still took another two years, and a fresh producer, to finally get a series funded. FFC funding guidelines precluded any animation under half an hour, despite the series having a running time of sixty five minutes. Several appeals and 10BA documents later, the money finally came from Film Victoria, an ABC pre-sale, a BBC pre-sale, and a distribution guarantee from Beyond Distribution. The 12 additional episodes for the 13 part series were shot between 1996 and 1997. The series was broadcast on numerous occassions  between 1997 and 2002. The series sold in numerous countries .

Anthony has written a second series of Plasmo  and is in the process of creating a storybook based on the series with "behind the scenes" information. A twenty minute documentary about the making of Plasmo has also been produced which goes over in detail the full production process and special effects explanations.

All images and text on this site  © Anthony Lawrence 2008