"Black Belt Club" to Become Animated Series in 2010
Martial artist and author Dawn Barnes and animation producer John Drdek have signed a deal to turn Barnes’ The Black Belt Club book series into an animated series. Published by Scholastic, The Black Belt Club chronicles the adventures of four young black belts transported to a magical realm where they encounter mythical monsters and heroes. The series is currently targeted for release concurrently with the fourth book of the series in 2010. A third-degree black belt in Shotokan karate, is also the founder and chief instructor of the Dawn Barnes Karate Kids schools, which specialize in martial arts instruction for children.
The full press release follows:
Karate Master Signs TV Development Deal
“The Black Belt Club” To Become
LOS ANGELES, CALIF., May 27, 2009 — Karate master and author Dawn Barnes and animation producer John Drdek signed a deal today to develop The Black Belt Club book series into an animated show.
Written by Barnes, The Black Belt Club features the adventures of four young black belts who are transported to a magical land ruled by the heroes and monsters of ancient myths. Published by Scholastic, the first three books in the illustrated series have sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide.
Barnes, a third-degree black belt and founder of the Dawn Barnes Karate Kids martial arts schools, wrote the books as a way to teach children valuable moral lessons in an entertaining format. “This is an incredible opportunity to bring these exciting stories to an even wider audience,” said Barnes.
The deal pairs Barnes with John Drdek, a writer for Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles, who recently produced the award-winning Johnny Lightning series for Starz/Film Roman. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the books. Working with Dawn and exploring the fantasy world she’s created is a dream come true,” said Drdek.
The animation production studio Curious Pictures (Codename: Kids Next Door) has begun work on conceptual art for the action series, which plans to target boys 6-11. The development deal marks the first creative collaboration to bring the hit series of books to the television screen.
The fourth book in The Black Belt Club series will hit shelves in 2010, coinciding with the release of the animated show.
About Dawn Barnes
Dawn Barnes, a third-degree Shotokan black belt, is the Founder and Senior Chief Instructor of the Dawn Barnes Karate Kids schools, specializing in martial arts instruction for children (www.karatekids.net). Sensei Dawn lectures nationally for the Martial Arts Industry Association, and is a Board Member for Kids Kicking Cancer. She was recently inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as “Woman of the Year 2006.”
About John Drdek
John Drdek (www.jlbird.com) has been a professional animation writer and producer for the past decade. His credits include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Chaotic, Yugioh GX, Yugioh 5D’s, Johnny Lightning, and Nickelodeon’s TEENick. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, Animation Writers Caucus and the International Animated Film Society. Mr. Drdek is represented by Will Ward of ROAR.
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children’s books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company’s Internet Site, www.scholastic.com.
About Curious Pictures
Curious Pictures (www.curiouspictures.com) is the largest animation studio in New York and home to award-winning creators of animated TV series, commercials, casual games and celebrated characters in picture books. Curious currently produces the top-rated pre-school series Little Einsteins for Playhouse Disney, and has produced such hit shows as Codename: Kids Next Door and Sheep in the Big City for Cartoon Network, A Little Curious for HBO and Avenue Amy for Oxygen TV.
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