Mina and The Count

Mina & the Count follows the adventures of two best friends who are very, very different. Mina Harper is a seven-year-old girl who likes playing with dolls and having tea parties. Count Vlad is a seven-hundred-year-old vampire who treats human beings like dolls and prefers to drink blood. A chance encounter with the sweet-hearted Mina brings the Count’s monstrous mayhem to an end. Now he spends his nights playing hide and seek, rather than seeking his next victim.

Neither friend would ever be accepted in the other’s social circle if their true nature were known. So, Vlad is introduced to Mina’s father and older sister as her violin teacher, while Mina dresses up as a werewolf to “pass” amongst Vlad’s monster pals. Only the Count’s faithful sidekick, Igor, knows the truth, and his continued allegiance to the vampire falters as he witnesses disturbingly wholesome behavior on the part of his master.

The unlikely friendship between Mina & the Count was explored in six cartoons, the first of which was part of the What A Cartoon! shorts series on Cartoon Network, while the five that followed appeared as part of the Oh Yeah! Cartoons shorts series on Nickelodeon. It was the only property to be a part of both programs. All six shorts can now be found on YouTube.

The story of Mina & the Count first took shape in a student film that Rob created during his second year at the California Institute of the Arts (known as “CalArts”) in Valencia, California.

But the true genesis of Mina & the Count occurs even farther back. Way, way back in Rob’s childhood. Rob is a huge horror fan now, but as a little boy he was a huge horror foe. He was petrified by a brief glimpse of Bela Lugosi as Dracula on television, and after that he was kept up at night by the thought that a vampire or some other ghoul might sneak inside his bedroom. It was only after he saw a snippet from another horror classic, Frankenstein, that Rob was able to sleep soundly. The scene where the monster briefly befriends a little girl convinced Rob that, if Frankenstein’s monster showed up at his home, he would also become Rob’s friend, and protect him from any other, nastier monsters that might appear.

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