The most dangerous and exciting summer camp in the world!
Now in its third season, Camp Lakebottom, about 12-year-old prankster McGee and his adventures at a spooky summer camp, cleverly marries horror with comedy - just scary enough for kids aged 6-11 with a whole lot of laughs! Created by Eric Jacobson and Betsy McGowen, the animated series first found its home at 9 Story Media Group in Toronto.
Squirt, McGee and Gretchen – welcome to Camp Lakebottom!
The show has been rated the #1 Canadian show on Teletoon and is one of 9 Story’s top internationally distributed shows. Disney XD acquired the show in the US, UK, Africa, Asia, India, Japan, Latin America and the Middle East. In addition, it has been sold to Australia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico and New Zealand. The Camp Lakebottom game Protect the Flag is wildly popular all over the world, especially in Latin America!
Back at home it takes about 50 people to complete each episode, from the animators and voice actors that bring the characters to life, to Tanya Green, Supervising Producer and Vice President, Production. Creating an episode is an evolving process at each stage of the project. The collaborative environment at 9 Story means that everyone is asked to contribute ideas and to take the show to the next level. In this way, everyone that works on the show owns a piece of Camp Lakebottom.
“Joy shows through on the end product.” Jennifer Sherman, Director
Starting her career as an animator herself, Series Director Jennifer Sherman came on board in Season 2 as Assistant Director and then took over as Director for Season 3. She rallies the team and works in collaboration with lead animators to bring their creative ideas to life.
Steve Murphy (Producer), Jennifer Sherman (Series Director), and Tanya Green (Supervising Producer & Vice President, Production – 9 Story Media Group)
Producer Steve Murphy previously worked on live-action production but came back to his first love of animation for Camp Lakebottom. He describes the animation process as much longer than live action, taking 35-40 weeks to complete each episode.
The biggest creative challenge in production is how to springboard from a nugget or concept to a full story that is funny, scary, engaging and age appropriate all at the same time. The next biggest challenge, once you’ve got the script locked, is tweaking the storyboard’s visual representation of the ideas. Sometimes what’s hilarious on the page doesn’t always translate to the animated screen. Making jokes visually funny is a true art form. As well, making material funny for children adds another layer of creativity and responsibility.
The show has been nominated for numerous awards including a 2014 Cynopsis Kids !magination Award nomination for New Series 6-11, a 2015 Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Direction in an Animated Program or Series, a 2015 YMA Award of Excellence nomination for Best Television Program, Animation 6-8 and an 2016 ACTRA nomination for Outstanding Performance – Voice for Adrian Truss (Armand). In 2015, the team took home a Pixie Platinum Award for Visual Effects.
While the show has a distinctly international feel with its broad cast of characters, viewers can’t help but feel at home when it comes to the very North American experience of camp that the show was inspired by. The mountains resemble those found in Jasper National Park and other western Canada nature settings. At the same time, this camp doesn’t stop its monsters from exploring space or traveling through magical portals!
Camp Lakebottom Season 2 “Itchy Witchy Pizza Project”
The hysterical cast of characters is often captured through ensemble recording. This allows the actors to have impeccable timing and better banter, playing off each other with some ad-libbing.
With a female director and VP Production, the show promotes gender parity both on and off screen. The sardonic black belt Gretchen is best friends with McGee. She kicks butt on a regular basis, likes beauty pageants and has to handle lime green ooze and super-powered farts. The camp cook Rosebud is a strong and tough lady, interestingly played by Jonathan Wilson.
Camp Lakebottom has a lot of fans, many of whom create amazing fan art. Two of the show’s biggest fans are twins from the United States who wrote to the team about wanting to have a Camp Lakebottom birthday party. As a surprise, 9 Story put together a special package - a party kit that they created especially for them. The girls were ecstatic and shared their amazing party on social media.