Cartoon Business reveals how Dickie went from a Belgian comic to a successful 360 degree IP

– Peter Rogiers and Renaat Van Ginderachter explored the challenges of developing intellectual property for young adults in a small European territory like Flanders

lr: John Lomas-Bullivant, Peter Rogiers and Renaat Van Ginderachter during the panel (© Cartoon)

November 16, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria cartoon business moderated a panel titled “Dickie – From Local Comics to Global 360 IP”, moderated by John Lomas-Bullivant. During the conversation, Pierre Rogers and Renaat Van Ginderachterfrom the Flemish workshop From Hofleveranciersexplained how they managed to shoot Dickie from a local comic to a successful 360-degree IP, and explored the ups and downs of its production in a small European territory like Flanders.

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They described Dickie as “the comedic character who doesn’t say a word”, adding that he embodies “the universal loser”. In detail, Dickie is the protagonist of the titular 52×2 minute series aimed at young adults and characterized by bits of dark humor, an element in stark contrast to the show’s naïve drawing style. In each episode, things always go wrong for Dickie, regardless of the situation he finds himself in or the character he plays.

First, Rogiers and Van Ginderachter talked about the challenges of showcasing their production without a strong track record, and how cartoon forum and the other Cartoon– events organized – with support and advice provided by the Flemish broadcaster TRV – played a crucial role in refining their pitch, building a solid network of contacts and “finding the right partners at the right time”.

A new 52×2 minute season is already in production (with an undisclosed “major distributor”), along with a feature film, which is expected to enter pre-production next month. Among other challenges, Van Ginderachter mentioned “finding the right studio to cooperate with” (in this case, the Belgian studio Fantastic Factory), “community building” (via special events such as “The Night of Dickie”, during which all 52 episodes were screened in a room, as well as efforts to increase the brand’s presence on social networks) and finance it entirely within Belgian borders (each minute of the show cost around €15,000 to make).

They explained that they first went through traditional funding channels – broadcasters, platforms, local film funds and tax credits, for example. They covered 20% of the total budget and closed the final gap of 16% with private equity. They were convinced that the solid intellectual property, as well as their own quality label and the partnership with the VRT, would attract the interest of private investors.

And it actually worked. “If the money is not in the animation, it is logically necessary to look outside the sector. […] We contacted private bankers, and they contacted their wealthiest clients, most of them entrepreneurs by nature. You need to explain to them very clearly how your model works and let them think. Think and talk like an entrepreneur. You have to stimulate them, but be very clear and risk giving them a good share of the income to build a long-term relationship,” Rogiers suggested.

“Being honest. They’re taking a risk, but they know it; it’s an investment [that they’re making]. Keep them updated so they feel connected to your project,” he added. For the show’s second season, the budget could be put together in just five months, unlike financing the first run, which took about five years. In the last part of the presentation, the two speakers pointed out that the entire licensing strategy had been thought out from scratch, rather than being developed when the project was already underway. Among other things, the team managed to license a Barcelona-based clothing company to produce branded T-shirts as well as a local brewery to serve branded beer in bars, pubs and museums.

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Daniel K. Denny