PopLurker Interviews: J. Robert Bryans from Gaelstone Media (Part I)

Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at certain media groups? Like how a cartoon is made, or the business end to how some of your favorite licenses and properties become toys? We love knowing these things! And today, PopLurker got together with J. Robert Bryan from Gaelstone media to learn all about the original franchises and shows they’re producing and what we can expect to see from this exciting creative team coming soon!

Hi Gaelstone Media! Thanks for giving PopLurker this interview. We’re very excited for the chance to talk shop. Would you please give our readers a little bit of history about Gaelstone Media?

It’s our pleasure, we are thrilled that PopLurker wanted to take the time to do this interview.

Let’s see, Gaelstone Media was formed in the late 90’s as an avenue for us to explore creating our own properties. We had already had success working freelance in the toy and comic book industry and was looking at using the experience we garnered to our own advantage.

So there we were, having a company and honestly having no idea at first what to do. In 1989 I created a small property called Nature’s Guard (now known as NGUARD) and I worked and worked and worked pitching it for a toy line, nada, so I decided to do a comic book series, we found a publisher and released it in 2001/2002 and we did well for a small independent book. We sold about 4000 copies per issue, not a money maker, but people learned about us and the property.

We continued to pitch it as a toy series and then I shelved it for four years and did a redevelopment and it became what it is today, NGUARD.

In the summer of 2016 NGUARD was optioned by Global Genesis Group and was being pitched as an animated series. During the time between all of this, we continued to do freelance work and we had a few other properties optioned by Global Genesis Group, they were;

Ricky Rocket  and the Rocket Rangers, Santa’s Spies, and two other properties you might have heard a little about, Action Mice and Pangaea PD. Action Mice has gone into full production, you will see some amazing things coming soon, also some things happening with Pangaea PD.

So in a nutshell, that would be the abridged story of Gaelstone Media.

You have a lot of projects in development. Would you please tell us about some of the phases and where those projects are assigned to air/go once they’re complete?

There are a few properties, yes;

Action Mice is the story of a special forces unit comprised of the best of the best of mouse dom. They are Whiskers, Pika, Chunk, Silhouette and QuarterMaster, with the robot, SupplyChain thrown in for good measure. They are battling the sinister Baron IronWeasel and his Iron Armies to protect Burrows Hovel and it’s people. This is in full development and we will be on Amazon Prime and other places soon.

NGUARD is a property I have been working on since the late 80’s and has gone through a number of changes and updates. Currently we have a pitch meeting scheduled with a major, well-known network later this month and then we will be looking into other options, perhaps streaming also.

Pangaea PD is in early stages of production and we will be focusing more on that once we get through the current schedule with Action Mice. Global Genesis Group has a lot of plans for this property, going to be a fun ride.

I am currently writing a new six issue mini-series to bring Sectaurs back, more news on that when I can share.

Santa’s Spies is being developed as a live action Christmas movie series, Global Genesis Group has seen some real interest, so we will see how things go with that.

There are also eight other properties in different stages of development, more on them soon.

How hands-on are you with all of these various projects? How many people are behind the curtain at Gaelstone Media and where did you recruit your talent from?

I am very hands on, but I also have an amazing team working with me and some fabulous partners working along side us to get these projects moving.

For Gaelstone Media, there is myself, then I have two partners, Krista Lambert and Bryan Liddiard,  and we have our Art Director, Cody Collins from Jennami Studios.

Krista and Bryan have been friends of mine for longer than I am sure they want me to say. Krista comes from a more business and administrative side, where Bryan came from the more talent based side.

Cody and I have been friends for about twenty years and his talent speaks for itself and why we all decided he was the man for the Art Director position.

As for the many partners we work with outside of Gaelstone Media , I will start with the man I have worked very closely with, Rob Travalino. Rob was one of the co-creators of a little animated series called Dragon Booster. Rob will be co-showrunner with me on NGUARD and executive producer and will share co-lead writer with me also.

Next we have Harry Markos, publisher and owner of Markosia Enterprises. Harry has believed in NGUARD since the very beginning. He has had nothing but faith and that led us to publish a four issue mini-series in 2008/2009, and it did well in print, but in digital, it garnered more than 1.23 million downloads, that was almost 300,000 per book, so digitally, it was a smashing success. Harry continues to be our publisher still to today.

Then it brings us to Global Genesis Group, Charles, Harel and Rick have believed is our properties since we first met and have been a true driving force in helping us with our tradecraft. We are so proud to be working with them on some of the properties and we cannot wait to see what this partnership will bring in the future.

I also have to give a shout out to Sean Tourangeau, his concept work on Action Mice was top-notch and he is a fountain of knowledge. Anyone out there looking for a concept artist, give that man a call.

Is Action Mice the project you have the biggest goals for currently? You’d mentioned once that it’s commissioned by Amazon, if that’s all right to discuss. What is the general story behind Action Mice and what story does it tell? How will it draw viewers in with relateable characters and scenarios, but still be fresh enough with a hook all its own?

Action Mice is the story of a special forces unit comprised of the best of the best of mouse dom. They are Whiskers, Pika, Chunk, Silhouette and QuarterMaster, with the robot, SupplyChain thrown in for good measure. They are battling the sinister Baron IronWeasel and his Iron Armies to protect Burrows Hovel and it’s people. This is in full development and we will be on Amazon Prime and other places soon.

We hate the term hook, mainly because it sounds like we are trying to lure people in, it is quite the opposite. We plan on giving the viewers stunning “Saturday Morning” cartooning like we had in the 80s with amazing brand licensing and let the kids spread the word and build our fan base one kid at a time, then keep the (or hook them, if you will) with strong characters, amazing settings and thrilling storytelling.

You also have a graphic novel on its way. Would you please tell me about that?

As with all our properties, we see the whole branding picture and don’t just focus on one avenue to go, we see multi-media as the way to succeed. Yes, we have plans for a graphic novel, we also have plans for a regular series, spinoffs, toys, video games, colouring books and so very much more.

And to continue the discussion about the million hats you wear, are you also in toy design? I saw that you were discussing toys you were involved with in some capacity on Facebook, and being primarily a toy journalist, I need to know more about this.

I started in freelance toy design, so yes, we have toys we are designing. Everything we create, we do it with the “Fab 5” (as we call it) in mind; Cartoons, Toys, Video Games, Comic books and Movies … we always look at the big picture when we are developing our properties.

Does this mean you have contacts to make toys for your ‘In-Development’ projects, and is that something Gaelstone plans on doing?

We are going the licensing route, we, unfortunately do not understand enough about Kickstarters right now to feel confident about running one. We will let the experts make the toys, we will just continue to create the content.

Do you have any plans to take Gaelstone on the road and make appearances at conventions in any capacity?

Yes, as a matter of fact, the partners and I were just talking about getting some banners and stands made so we can begin to visit some conventions and spread the word about Gaelstone Media and that we are open for business and offer Creative Consulting also.

When you’re not build a media brand, what hobbies do you have that might surprise people who do (or do not) know you?

Reading, writing, collecting comics and toys and spending as much time as I can with the love of my life. Good friends, solid laughs, sitting still and watching a rain storm, or going walking in that rain. Talking, true conversation that rarely ever touches on politics. I am a home-body, I enjoy movies and good TV shows. Other than that, I am a pretty normal guy.

What’s next in the pipeline for Gaelstone, and where can we follow your projects?

We have begun developing a new property called Star C.L.A.W.S (Combat Lethal Air-Wing Squad), we also have our first preschool property coming, called FairyGlow Princess. We are going to be executive producing a few movies over the next year and a half, and will be opening a few other companies under the Gaelstone Media banner, first one will be Gaelstone Film Group, that will be headed up by Bryan Liddiard.  More on that soon.

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