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BARNYARD: THE ORIGINAL PARTY ANIMALS

About The Film
When Nickelodeon began looking for a follow up to its Academy Award®- nominated CGI film "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” they only had to look at Steve Oedekerk's bulletin board, where Oedekerk had posted a lineup of characters from "Barnyard.” "The characters were irreverent and fun, but would also be able to tell a powerful coming-of-age story dealing with real family dynamics and issues," said Nick Movies executive vice president Julia Pistor. "We knew it would be a perfect fit." With a long history of championing creator-driven animation on both the big and small screen, Nickelodeon contracted Oedekerk's Omation Studios to facilitate production of the feature film, following the same successful production model it had done for both "Rugrats” movies, "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” and "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.” This model would allow Nickelodeon to stay nimble and on the cutting edge of new CGI technology, while ensuring that the creators' original vision for the film would stay in tact. It has also proven to be an efficient business model for feature film animation production that other studios have come to emulate.

The idea for "Barnyard” was born nearly two decades ago, well before Steve Oedekerk had made his mark in show business. "I was at a friend's house and his dog was looking at me,” he remembers. "And everywhere I went, it just kept looking at me. Since I am overtly visual I had this image of me leaving the room and the dog standing up on two legs and saying, ‘Man, it's about time that dude left.' And he strolls over to the cat and they go back to playing poker. It was just this funny little thought but it stuck with me. And it wasn't too long before I thought, ‘Boy, that could really make a cool movie.'”

Years passed and Oedekerk became one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood; he had even begun directing his own hit films. But his idea about this alternate universe of animals never left his imagination. And then, one day, he saw one of the characters he had been dreaming of. In an art gallery in Laguna Beach, California, Oedekerk spotted a comic, life-sized sculpture of a cow – standing on two legs. "It was full size,” he says. "As big as me!” Oedekerk was a little stunned to see this image that had before existed only in his head and he bought it on the spot.

"Barnyard” is not Oedekerk's first foray into animation. He created and executive produced "Santa vs. The Snowman 3D,” and produced and co-wrote the screenplay for "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” which was nominated for an Academy Award® as Best Animated Feature. But "Barnyard” is the first animated film that he has directed himself. After having helmed several live-action films, the animated experience was both daunting and inspiring.

"Directing live-action, you are working with the actors, basically setting up for a moment,” Oedekerk says. "From the time you shoot it that's it, you have it, and then you go back to edit this thing that happened in this one minute of time on film. In animation, you're building that minute for months, and in some cases years - the team of animators is working on the characters to the point of raising an eyebrow a little bit higher, nine months into the beginning of that shot. Directing an animated film is a combination of every exciting thing about creating every bit of minutia, and the horror of having to create every bit of minutia all rolled into one. If you like doing that kind of thing, it can drive you crazy as there are nearly endless creative opportunities – what do I want the trees to look like? What do I want the clouds to look like? It's cool because you can craft everything to support the scene, and to support the emotional moment that's going on.”

Those emotional moments form the heart of the film. "Otis is a character who was taken in by<

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