Pitching a 3D animated wise guys series at the AFM

Producer Joe Orlandino of Chicago’s Atlas Media Group, hopes that the investors and distributors at the current American Film Market (AFM) make an offer his people can’t refuse for the animated series he’s pitching.

“The Baritonios,” the raunchy 3D animated sitcom revolves around a fictional Italian crime family, is the brainchild of Elmwood Park businessman and musician, Steve Sprovieri.

Vince “The Shovel” Baritonio is the boss of his crew, “Ball” The Muscle, Nicky “Trips” The Travel Agent and “Squints” a near-sighted lookout.

After a decade in and out of prison, the convicted gangster is back on the streets of Nefarious Heights, determined to be the feared man he once was. But times have changed and “The Shovel” will have to dig a new life for himself.

Many of the series’ themes in 13 episodes involve loyalty, double-crossing and retribution, with hilarious overtones.

“Steve wanted to create a story based on the colorful characters from his neighborhood,” says Orlandino. After conceiving the idea, Sprovieri turned to award-winning DGA director, Joey Scudiero, a Melrose Park native.

Next, Sprovieri enlisted local Emmy award-winning animator, Ryan Duff. Duff is best known for producing 3D animations for JBT, WLIT, USPS, GE Medical and Sprite for national campaigns.

Producer Orlandino was the last member to join the team. He said he was surprised when he got the call. “When Steve approached me I was like, I’m not even a minnow in LA. I’m plankton!

“But he believed in me because of the success of our narrative feature, ‘One Year Later,’ about a female cancer survivor with PTSD. I also go to Cannes every year, so I do have a good idea about how this all works.”

Orlandino found the premise and the episodes hilarious. “There’s an episode where the Barintonios rob Goldstein’s Jewelers. They are so inept they end up hiding the jewels in Vince’s mama’s spaghetti sauce. When they go to retrieve them, they discover that mama has served the entire neighborhood her sauce and they now have to eat their way through spaghetti in order to retrieve the jewels.”

The financing being sought is in the low seven figures. One of the challenges of the AFM is finding a company interested in adult animation. “You can find plenty of family animation companies but hardly any adult. But we did find one who is very interested in the series,” Orlandino says.

Colin Costello’s screenwriting credits include the Emmy-nominated “Moochie Kalala Detective’s Club” and the 2017 family film, “Traveling Without Moving.” He can be reached at colin@colincostello.com.