From Shelldon to Byrdland: he’s got the whole world in his hands

Superstar Thongchai McIntyre’s upcoming animated TV series Flying with Byrd reaches out to a global audience

His is spectacular shows always draw a big crowd of youngsters, adults and seniors alike. With his fans screaming “Pi Byrd, Pi Byrd” the perky superstar would in return exuberantly deliver an enthralling performance, Pi Byrd, or Thongchai McIntyre, is the Thai counterpart of American pop icons Michael Jackson and Madonna – the three Grammy of them were born in the same year, 1958. Compared to the its he’s a lot more loquacious on and hasn’t lost his charisma after 24 years in showbiz. The forever young idol, however, will be entertaining kids not only on stage but on the small screen in the animated TV series Flying With Byrd, premiering in April 2011. The megaproject is a cooperation between entertainment giant GMM Grammy and animation company Shellhut Entertainment. The television series will be diversified into satellite digital content, DVDs and VCDs, mascots and merchandising, as well as on-ground activities and showbiz. One hundred million baht will be invested in the production and another one hundred million baht will go into marketing promotion. Not solely intended for the domestic market, Flying With Byrd is aiming higher and wants to reach out to a global audience.

“We started from zero when doing Shelldon and learned from trial and error. Now we have better know-how from producing Flying With Byrd” Said Shellhut Entertainment managing director Dr. Jwanwat Chusanachoti or Dr. Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp. “At first, we were under pressure because the leading character is based on a real person, who’s Thailand’s top superstar and we were worried about his image. Meeting Pi Byrd, he told us to go ahead and make the animation as sanook [fun] as possible.”

The world-class production brings together an international team of animatic artists with David Smith, previously involved in Happy Feet, Ice Age and Babe, as the dricetor of animation. The plot is by award-winning writers, Shelly Goldstein and Brendan Foley, who will ensure the story’s international appeal.

“Flying With Byrd is designed to entertain and enlighten kids aged six to 11 throughout the world. When the pilot animation was shown at MIPTV in Cannes in April this year, we had very positive feedback from the distributors and so there will be Thai, English, Spanish, Japanese and other versions. But of course Thai kids will be the first to see it.” Dr. Jwanwat said.