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Autor Thema: History Of The Star Sisters  (Gelesen 7166 mal)

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Offline Bruce Wayne

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History Of The Star Sisters
« am: 19.03.2012, 17:49:41 »
History Of The Star Sisters - Part 1

March 19, 2012 10:04 am by Tallstar

Forum member Tallstar speaks with Jon Seisa, an award-winning professional with 35 years of experience as an Art Director, Designer and Illustrator.  At Mattel he served as Art Director Of Advanced Concepts for the Girls' Toy Division during his 7-year run from 1985 to 1992.  He also conceived The Star Sister.  Jon reflects on his involvement with the extension line that was created to give the Princess of Power brand additive commercial longevity.

By: Tallstar March 2012

Quelle: he-man.org http://he-man.org/news_article.php?id=2451


History Of The Star Sisters - Part 1

When the opportunity arose to communicate directly with the artist responsible for conceiving the unproduced '87 Star Sisters trio, I felt an adrenaline-charged rush of excitement over the possibility of hearing back from this former Mattel employee who, in my mind, is a legend for having been instrumental in giving life to what I believe would have been some of the most innovative figures of the entire Princess of Power toy line.

For a toy line geared toward young girls, I always felt the feature-driven Starla, Jewelstar and Tallstar figures were somewhat ahead of their time and pushed the boundaries of what was possible from a storyline perspective.

Excitement then turned into almost paralyzing awe and an overwhelming feeling of honor when I finally saw the initial response in my e-mail inbox, which divulged some basic information on how the project came into existence at Mattel and left the door open for me to acquire further details.

The artist later promised to send me a word file with some additional thoughts the following week, but little did I know that I would receive a whopping four pages of information that probably had not been recounted in a number of years.

My mind was spinning. Frankly, I fantasized about something like this happening for over a decade. Ha-ha

All of the aforementioned feelings were almost immediately followed by some self-created pressure to come up with a plan for presenting the history behind The Star Sisters in way that would not only do justice to the characters, but also honor everyone who was involved back in the day. After all, this is a particularly important piece of Princess of Power history that's on par with the Powers of Grayskull extension line for Masters of the Universe.

At the same time, I was mindful of the hardcore Princess of Power fans who haven't really heard much in terms of the history of classic toy line over the years; especially when compared to the venerable Masters of the Universe line. (Let's face it. Masters fans have been treated to an explosion of information, interviews, concept art and so on, over the last decade.)

I struggled with several hypothetical scenarios. Finally, I decided Princess of Power fans would probably appreciate an online series of historical articles. This option would allow me to get something out "sooner, rather than later" to the fans who have been fiending for historical background on the Princess of Power toy line, while giving me some time to get into contact with some other members of the Mattel team who also played a role in the creation of The Star Sisters.

By now, many of you may be eager to know the name of the artist I've been showering with praise and admiration. That person is Jon Seisa, an award-winning professional with 35 years of experience as an Art Director, Designer and Illustrator. At Mattel, he served as Art Director Of Advanced Concepts for the Girls' Toy Division during his 7-year run from 1985 to 1992. He also conceived The Star Sisters.

If you don't recognize the name, no doubt many of you will be familiar with some of the brands and products Jon was involved in at Mattel: The Spectra doll line, Barbie and The Sensations, Perfume Pretty Barbie, Jewel Secrets Barbie, The Heart Family Schooltime Fun, and many, many more.

Before I continue on, I would like to preface by saying that, at the moment, I'm conceptualizing this as a two-part series of articles, and they will not be in your typical Q & A interview format, but rather Jon's personal account of working on The Star Sisters. Jon's statements will be in bold text. He readily admitted to me that his memory is a bit fuzzy on some of the details, as it's been 27 years, so would I suggest that the fans go into this with the understanding that certain information may change if/when more information comes in. I'm hoping the story of the Star Sisters will come together/become clearer when I hopefully hear back from the former Disney employee that was hired to help with the backstory on The Star Sisters, as well as some past Mattel employees who were involved in the marketing end of things.

This is the story of The Star Sisters Part 1:

The Star Sisters doll line was designed to be an extension line to the Mattel Toys She-Ra, Princess of Power (POP) doll line with the lead doll She-Ra of Eternia, being for the girl-oriented consumer market and branch of the Masters of the Universe world and the animation sequels animated by Filmation. At the time, market research indicated that the life expectancy of a doll line is roughly 3 years; and thus, the marketing strategy emerged to revitalize the aging POP brand for additive commercial longevity with an extension line. Hence, The Star Sisters was the subsequent created and proposed result brought forth. However and sadly, orders from retailers and buyers were ultimately disappointing not meeting the projected and anticipated goals, and subsequently the potential line was regrettably terminated. Consumer interests were changing and moving on to other interests and new trends, and consequently the POP line began to overall fade.

Initially, I was brought on to Mattel Toys in October of 1985 to join the Princess of Power design team headed by design manager Chris McAdam and under Diana Troup, then design director of Barbie and POP, to help facilitate a creative product vision of what form this extension line might possibly embody. Working with the POP design team in ideation and brainstorm sessions, with illustrators,material and artist vendors, model makers, sculptors, fashion designers, hair rooters, and face painters, we developed The Star Sisters.

I formulated a preliminary product positioning for the character dolls that ultimately emerged, creating a mythic type legend of their origin. This first served as an introduction to my presentation to upper management and was used as a rudimentary foundation for further development of the back-story when we hired an outside writer/vendor, (name removed), a former associate of mine from my years at Walt Disney Imagineering prior to my employment at Mattel Toys.

The legend was simple. Once upon a bygone eon… The Star Sisters were banished by a wicked celestial witch who entombed the sidereal siblings in a small star that was hurled on a collision course with the planet Eternia, resulting in a catastrophic impact that formed the subterranean Crystal Catacombs of Eternia. Thus, The Star Sisters were eternally imprisoned inside the crystalline formations, awaiting for the day of their liberation. This legend changed somewhat down the road and to some degree with the marketers’ input and the writer hired (name removed), but basically this was the fundamental scenario I had concocted and established, initially. The celestial witch remained nameless because this was not a character (doll) scheduled by management to be budgeted for development within the line.

My first significant unveiling and presentation of the doll line was to one of Mattel’s top brass design executives, Judy Shackelford, and subsequently thereafter to Jill Barad, at that time the girls toys marketing director. For the Shackelford presentation, I knew I would be extremely nervous since my very employment hinged on the success of this line, so my strategy was to begin with a highly dramatic ice-breaker by creating something that I could purposely read verbatim, but in a dramatic theatrical fashion, and this would guarantee me that my nerves would not overwhelm my thought process to forget crucial details of my presentational speech. Consequently, I decided to create a legion of The Star Sisters to read, and so I created a large scroll out of over sized ochre parchment and wrote on it in calligraphy the legend of The Star Sisters. I aged the scroll to look utterly ancient and scorched its edges for additive authenticity. But before rolling it up, I sprinkled some baby talc powder and iridescent glitter in its center, and then after rolling it up I sealed it with a ribbon tie.

For the presentation I strategically spread out a plethora of exotic eye-catching sparkly materials in intoxicating colorful piles on the presentation table to enhance the visual senses of the world I intended to convey; glitter fabrics, pearlized colored fabrics, lenticular colored plastics, dazzling acrylic clear jewels, large mirrored prisms, strands of crystal and vacuum metalized plastic beads,iridescent foils, Mylars, and so on. As the key people sat before me I began my presentation by relaying, "Recently, I had ventured down into the deep dark recess of Mattel’s dank and musty basement, and to my absolute bewilderment I stumbled upon the most astonishing discovery, the unearthing of this utterly ancient scroll festooned with----- the dust of the ages!" As I spoke I untied the ribbon and unfurled the scroll held before me, and immediately after I uttered the words, "…the dust of the age!" I comically blew off the baby talc and glitter lying on the open scroll which undulated upward into a big billowing white cloud of dazzling star dust. Delightfully surprised, everyone burst out with an uproar of gleeful laughter. Instantly, the ice was broken and the rest of the presentation went exceedingly well… much to my relief, as I settled calmly in the rhythm of my presentation with flawless delivery.

The names of the two character dolls "Starla" and "Crystal Star" retained their original names from the very start, but "Tall Star" was a name later established by the marketing group for whatever rationale they cited, most likely for simplicity and to have the "star" aspect integrated into the name, while originally myself and the design group referred to her initially as "Expandra" and then later for my presentation it was changed to "Telescopa". The marketing culture at Mattel at that time had a tendency to rely too heavily on child testing and most often created names that were overly simplistic, often giving children elements within their known sphere of knowledge and influence, rather than promoting new unknown elements to expand their knowledge, like learning a new word. So names marketing considered to be "difficult" for children’s minds to grasp or pronounce were entirely avoided for more simplistic names, hence "Tall Star".

Glory Bird was merely a reincarnation of another POP bird with color and aesthetical material changes enhancing glittery visual attributes.

I never agreed with this basic Mattel Marketing principle because it promotes the "Dumbing Down of America", particularly since in Mattel’s historical infancy names for Barbie lead and feature dolls and fashions where extremely sophisticated and embodied an "ambience" that allowed children to learn new big words, like "Rhapsody Blue" or "Sophisticated Lady," which later and tragically evolved to painfully rudimentary names with the iconic Barbie name attached as if no one in the entire world knew her name was "Barbie," like "Golden Dream Barbie" or "Western Barbie."









Quelle: he-man.org http://he-man.org/resources/archive.php?id=950

Offline Bruce Wayne

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Re: History Of The Star Sisters
« Antwort #1 am: 22.03.2012, 14:43:38 »
History Of The Star Sisters - Part 2
March 22, 2012 10:02 am by Tallstar

In the second installment of History of The Star Sisters, Jon describes some of the potential features the design team brainstormed to be packed out with or included on The Star Sisters, but that ultimately were abandoned.

By: Tallstar March 2012

Interviews
History Of The Star Sisters - Part 2

Welcome to History of The Star Sisters - Part 2. (To read Part 1, Click HERE)

During the preliminary stage of design on The Star Sisters (Starla, Jewelstar and Tallstar), the design team at Mattel brainstormed several ideas for potential features to be packed out with or included on the figures. This installment will focus on some of the fascinating ideas that were ultimately abandoned, mainly due to the cost involved in incorporating them. Fans will also be treated to Jon's extremely detailed explanation regarding one of the "hiccups" the team experienced with Jewelstar, when going from illustrations and model prototype to produced sample. On occasion, I will interject with some of my own thoughts to give my personal feelings on the subject matter or to inform the readers. As in Part 1, Jon's statements will be in bold text.

"Of course, when a toy designer begins work in the prelim stage of design, there is no lack of spectacular ideas, bells and whistles. Everything AND the kitchen sink is tapped for inspiration. We were going to have Starla stand on a small three inch diameter rotating base that would spin when slid across the floor or a hard surface, i.e. a table top, thus she'd spin into action."

(Note to the readers: A pink combination spinning stand and backpack was included with Spinnerella, a rare, highly sought after figure, who made a limited appearance during the release of the 3rd wave of figures. However I am unsure if the design of this stand would have been identical to the one dreamed-up for Starla. What I do know, is that Starla appears alongside Spinnerella inside of the unproduced Bubble Carriage vehicle shown in one of the Mattel toy catalogs.)

"Crystal Star was going to have a sparkle feature where a thumb wheel in her back would activate a friction wheel that would ignite sparks housed within her clear glitter impregnated plastic torso. However, there is the pragmatic phase of honing this all down to the most suitable and doable ideas that are cost effective. Eventually due to the targeted price points, manufacturing costs, budget constraints, affordability and the ultimate goal of meeting the typical product margin, all these wonderful ideas end up cast to the wayside via "Toy Heaven."

The Star Sisters were "feature driven" dolls, where each required what is called a "demonstrative feature." Starla had the star glitter pack with the thumb actuator to agitate the encapsulated clear glycerin fluid with suspended glitter. This was a natural feature for her that translated very well and was cost effective. Crystal Star was designed to fold down into crystal formation. The in-house prototype model worked far better than what eventually emerged in the ultimately produced sample. Something was lost in translation regarding the hinge mechanics developed by the outside vendor, despite sufficient diagrams, illustrations and a model prototype. Subsequently, we decided this flaw was something we were going to later correct during development of the first phase prototypes from Hong Kong production. However, the very appealing glitter impregnated clear pink-peach color of the molded parts was quite beautiful in this mechanically flawed prototype. So for this reason, due to its better aesthetics, it was used for the catalogue photo shoot (Note to the readers: The prototypes shown in the Italian catalog differ from those in the American catalog), whereas the in-house version, though it functioned much better, was less attractive because it was molded in a more opaque and milky resin, not clear enough, which was painted with glitter, externally. Tall Star's feature was decided right off the bat in her "Expandra" incarnation where accordion plastic tubes bridged between the joints of her limbs, waist and neck and was immediately a favorite amongst all concerned. So her subsequent development became one more of aesthetical material decisions, i.e. vacuum metalized plastic versus translucent glitter impregnated plastic, iridescent colored hair versus metallic Mylar accented colored hair, face paint and the "color breaks" to her whole body's aesthetical composition, and so on.

The marketing group mutually and periodically reviewed the design development of the product as we progressed, which is standard practice to keep everyone in the loop and aware of design direction, and of course they submitted their input and suggestions to further enhance the dolls, "play pattern" and the line. Often much out of the control of a toy design group things will change in the "post-takeover phase" where marketing has more persuasion, i.e. Tall Star's name change."

Speaking of the marketing group, one of the most thrilling pieces of history to emerge from the discussions between Jon and I was that, at one point, marketing advocated the addition of a separate collectible item to be packed out with each doll, with the intention of fostering and promoting collectibility. I was instantly intrigued, awe-struck, and (enter about a dozen more related adjectives) because these collectible items would have further expounded on The Star Sisters' powers and delved into the dimension of the esoteric. I felt this harkened back to the darker tone set in the Masters of the Universe toy line in the early pre-Filmation days when everything was a bit more vague and therefore mysterious. (i.e. the Spirit of Castle Grayskull or apparitions appearing to dissuade Skeletor from entering the castle, a corridor etc. or the idea that Castle was built by unknown hands.) Jon explains the idea behind these unusual collectibles:

"...each doll would come with a crystal from the stars, a Star Crystal, that possessed an intangible and innate "Power of Starlight" that, via a Wicca-type incantation recited by the child, could be summoned and evoked forth from the etherial realm of the celestials and brought down to Eternia, manifesting through The Star Sisters a "supernatural presence."

In the end, cost reductions prohibited the addition of this feature.



große riesen Auflösung: http://he-man.org/assets/images/collect_toy/star-sisters-figures_full.jpg

Quelle: he-man.org http://he-man.org/resources/archive.php?id=952

Offline Bruce Wayne

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Re: History Of The Star Sisters
« Antwort #2 am: 24.04.2012, 01:11:30 »
History Of The Star Sisters - Part 3

The third and final installment of History of The Star Sisters with Jon Seisa.  Read about his personal project that partially inspired the backstory for The Star Sisters  (Complete with concept art!). Plus more!

By: Tallstar April 2012

Interviews
History Of The Star Sisters - Part 3

Welcome to History of The Star Sisters - Part 3. (To read Parts 1 and 2, Click HERE and HERE.)

In this final installment of History of The Star Sisters, creator Jon Seisa returns to give his opinions on the produced MOTUC 3-Pack, reflect on his personal project from 1980 that was a partial influence when bringing The Star Sisters dolls to life and answer whether or not there was any packaging in the works at Mattel for Starla, Jewelstar and Tallstar. Although this will likely be the final interview with Jon concerning The Star Sisters, I am hopeful there will be more Star Sisters goodness to come at a later time.

Do you recall if The Star Sisters got far enough along in the process to have packaging ("proof cards", etc.) designed for them? If so, could you describe what it would have looked like?

I do not recollect any packaging designs for the Star Sisters; it may have been in the works, but I just don’t remember seeing it, or simply wasn't privy to it.

Did you have any specific inspirations in mind when conceiving The Star Sisters?

Well, in terms of personal inspiration that I drew from in creating the Star Sisters, as far as a sort of jumping board of reference, I think a bit of a personal creation and project did bleed through to help give the Star Sisters life and their inception. This came from an early endeavor I had mutually collaborated with two other Disney artists and writers (Names Removed) in 1980; this was a project of our own enterprise. I would later bring (Name Removed) onto the Star Sisters project to help hammer out some further back-story positioning for the Star Sisters product line. The conceptual project was a musical fantasy film concept entitled “Spectro the RainboWizard,” that we had conjured up and toyed with for our own personal creative expression.

We had created three characters called “The Little Hues” who were rainbow fairies (two shown below). They lived in the Magic Prism that powered Spectro’s Rainbow Making Machine, but the prism was stolen by the evil antagonist, a storm wizard, who imprisoned The Little Hues in crystals and scattered them throughout the land and cursed the land with perpetual storms. The protagonist, a boy, coaxes the dejected Spectro out of retirement to free The Little Hues from their crystal entombments in order to bring back the rainbow and the sun which ends the curse and ceaseless torrential storms. So in this regard you can see the influence of the Little Hues in the Star Sisters via the parallel situation and crisis of crystal entombment, though the overall scenarios are really quite different.

Have you seen the produced Star Sisters 3-Pack that Mattel/The Four Horsemen incorporated into the Masters of the Universe Classics line? If so, what do you think of them?

Yes, I have, and I really must say that I’m really quite pleased and impressed with them; they are wonderfully sculpted creations with great attention to details. They are different from the original Star Sisters targeting the girls’ toy market for a reason, and that has to do with the different toy play pattern that the boys’ toy market demands. In toy play patterns for girls, hair play is a major feature, and of course aesthetical prettiness and a feminine slant, softness. Though Jewel Star did not have hair, she had a high pretty factor of the jewel aspect and girls love jewelry. (Note to the Readers: Jewestar has hair in the 1987 Mattel Toys catalogs, although it's possible the in-house model did not.) The dolls were meant to empower girls with “Girl Power” but the feature of actual “fighting” is not high on the girl attribute chart as it is with boys and boy toy play, so with girls other elements are pursued like having dexterity, spinning, agility,casting spells, magic, and powers that make the adversary powerless. Girls rely more on imagination, while boys want to see tangible cause and effect results. For the boy market the MOTU Star Sisters had to be “masculinized” for boy toy play, so I understand their more muscular forms. And of course the hair play feature was substituted with sculpted hair to diminish the “doll” aspect and rev up the “action figure” aspect. I think they did a fantastic adaptation for their primary target market. Also, in terms of marketing and packing them out as a complete 3-pack set, instead of individually, was extremely savvy because as separate collectibles I believe enthusiasm would have waned rapidly resulting in lesser sales, while as a 3 pack it created more intensity and a “must-have” factor that would endure longer, promising higher sales.







Quelle: http://www.he-man.org/resources/archive.php?id=969&image=1137

Offline Hordak71

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Re: History Of The Star Sisters
« Antwort #3 am: 08.10.2013, 21:33:10 »
Währen die Star Sisters heraus gekomme hätten sie das Mini-Comic "beyond the star tavern".