Barça Studios making 'Talent Explorers' animated series

Barça Studios is working on what will be the first animated series to be made by the FC Barcelona audiovisual content factory, Talent Explorers, an ambitious cartoon project that is being produced in collaboration with Sony Music Latin Iberia, with whom the Club signed a strategic agreement last summer to create unique entertainment experiences and promote ideas that connect music and sport to fans around the world. The teaser that was released today features music by Estopa and presents the main characters that will appear in Talent Explorers, Max, Roc and Lynda, a group of very special scouts who travel all around the world looking for talent to put together a team to represent Barça in a tournament. They discover different children from different backgrounds, such as Marco, Hao, Aisha and Lyli, who all have very special skills.

This production is part of the strategy of FC Barcelona and Barça Studios, the company that centralises the creation, production and distribution of all the club’s audiovisual content, to offer its fans original and premium quality products, while also promoting the Barça brand and generating a new revenue stream for the club. After the international success of the first season of Matchday, the documentary series that followed the everyday lives of the first team players in the 2018/18 season, and which Netflix has just released in Latin America, and the recent announcement of the first fictional series inspired by and set at La Masía, with Albert Espinosa as screenwriter, Barça Studios is now proud to unveil its first animated project.
The Talent Explorers cartoon series takes a new step forward by offering specific content aimed at a family audience, especially children aged between 5 and 9 years old, who are just starting to learn about the world of sports and Barça, and who are also at an important stage of their human development. Because of that, the cartoon series attaches great importance to the transmission of values ​​and aims to show in a fun and entertaining way what sport can achieve socially, and showcase how humility, effort, ambition, respect and teamwork are instruments for getting results both on and off the field.

Prestigious and experienced travel companions

In its Talent Explorers adventure, Barça Studios has surrounded itself with travel buddies of major prestige and experience in the world of animation to guarantee the utmost quality product. It will feature a soundtrack of songs by some of Sony Music Latin Iberia’s finest international artists, including the Muñoz brothers, Estopa, who have adapted one of their hits for use in the teaser. The project is led by Paco Latorre (director of Barça Studios) and Sergi Reitg (Media Content Director at Sony Music Iberia) as executive producers. The first teaser was developed and produced in association with two highly experienced studios in the animation industry: Tomavisión, a Catalan production company, and Maga Animation Studio, an Italian company specialised in computer animation. Both guarantee the highest quality 3D production to compete in the demanding global entertainment market.
The artistic director of the series is Jorge Blanco, director of such feature films as Planet 51, the biggest movie ever made in Spain and the highest grossing Spanish language film of 2009, and Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Implausible, winner of a Goya for best animated film in 2014. The screenwriter is the highly renowned Tab Murphy, an Oscar nominee who has worked for Paramount Pictures and The Walt Disney Company on animated films like Disney’s Tarzan, Brother Bear and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as well as such series as Teen Titans and conventional movies like Gorillas in the Mist and The Addams Family.
The first season of Talent Explorers will come in two formats, with eleven-minute episodes to be shown by conventional platforms and broadcasters, and also two-minute episodes to be distributed on digital channels like YouTube. As productions like these usually take between 18 and 24 months to complete, the first episodes should be premiered before the summer of 2021.
The first phase of the project has already been completed, with definition of the bible (the document that includes all the information to develop a storyline that ties in with football, Barça and education) and the definition of the ensemble cast of Talent Explorers, who live in a world similar to ours today but where people and animals coexist in society.

An imaginary universe for the Talent Explorers

Max (the captain), a 15 year old boy; Roc (a big bear with a heart of gold) and Lynda (a tech-savvy kitten) are the FC Barcelona Talent Explorers and trainers, who are on a mission to search for boys and girls from around the world with unique skills to help build next generation of football stars. When a child is lucky enough to be chosen by the Talent Explorers, he or she is invited to attend a six-week summer camp, where they all train together to try to win a place in the team that will represent Barça in the Youth Cup.
Marco (a 10-year-old Catalan boy), Hao (an 8-year-old Chinese boy), Aisha (born in Ethiopia, 9 years old) and Lyli (a little American girl aged only 6) will all be discovered thanks to the technology and methodologies used by the special Barça scouts, and through sport they will learn the most important values ​​(teamwork, sportsmanship and so on) while developing their football skills in a fun, creative and entertaining way. Win or lose, the boys and girls will return to their countries of origin. The Talent Explorers universe will also include other characters and will feature attractive gadgets.

Statement by Dídac Lee, board member responsible for the FC Barcelona Digital Area

“Barça Studios is continuing to consolidate its content catalogue by entering such previously unexplored terrain as fiction and now animation, with this project by Talent Explorers, which consolidates the club’s commitment to creating premium content within its new digital strategy that puts fans at the centre of everything, and with this audiovisual content, we can also reach the youngest fans. This objective also a response to the club’s analysis of the football world and industry in terms of entertainment content, which tend not to focus on child audiences, but they must also be taken into account because they will be the fans of the future”.
“For Barça Studios it is a huge satisfaction to be able to work with Sony Music Latin Iberia, one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, and this project is the result of the agreement that we signed last summer to work together to promote ideas that unite sports and music. The Talent Explorers soundtrack will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the series. It was very important for the club to work hand in hand with professionals with extensive experience in animation series”.
“This project also helps Barça Studios grow as an audiovisual content factory, by exploring a new terrain like cartoons. It means the club can create a new Intellectual Property (IP) that is dissociated from the players or from real-life competitions, which often limit the capacity for marketing content. This new animated series belongs to FC Barcelona, ​​and Barça Studios has extensively analysed the field of animation series to achieve a high-quality product, on par with the best cartoon producers in the world”.

Statement by Afo Verde, Chairman & CEO at Sony Music Latin Iberia

“We at Sony Music Latin Iberia are proud to participate in the amazing 'Talent Explorers'. This project, the first of our partnership, establishes our strategic alliance with FC Barcelona for the creation of unique entertainment content related to music and sports. We love to see superstars from our roster both excited and eager to participate in this joint venture. Our very own “Estopa” are part of this teaser and we’ll be working with more of our great artists to produce the soundtrack for the series. This is just beginning”.