Monday, December 22, 2008


I have no idea WHY... but some people wanna know what I think are the top 10 BIGGEST things that happened in animation this year. To be honest, that's kind of a silly question since there's no way to pick just 10.

So I picked 11. That makes a lot more sense.

And here they are. I'm sure you'll agree with me on each and every one:


1. PENCILS! (Just kidding... everyone knows that animation is all done with computers now... except the boring parts. Those have to be done by hand.)

2. INBETWEENS (Studios and artists keep trying to get rid of these little devils but they JUST KEEP COMING BACK! You GO, inbetweens!)

3. FUNNY HATS (If your animated character doesn't have a funny hat you're cheating him/her/it out of at least 28.5% more laughs)

4. COMPUTERS (I like to use mine to check e-mail when I'm supposed to be working. I hear they're good for games, too.)

5. MANGIA (Japanese comic books about giant robots eating Italian food... Molto Mario!)

6. MOMS (Sorry Ninjas, and you too, Pirates... But it was the Mom's turn at the box office this year.)

7. PITCHING YOUR VOICE UP (This one NEVER goes out of style. Back in the old days we gave the voice actors helium balloons, but with computers (see number four) we NEVER run out!)

8. "I'VE GOT A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS!" (One of those 'go to' lines that makes the 'best of' lists every year. Usually said by a comedic relief character when it's obvious something bad is going to happen. 72% funnier if the character has a crazy accent.)

9. NOTHING! (Actually this one isn't mine. I got it from all those animation bloggers who complain that everything animated after 3:00pm, June 14, 1952 stinks. I don't agree at all... but I REALLY needed something to fill out this list.)

10. THE 2008 ASIFA-EAST USED ANIMATION ART AUCTION AND UNDERWEAR EXPO (What a great way for animators to get rid of all that used art cluttering up their offices. And if it can make groups like ASIFA-EAST a little cash- even better!)

11. THIS:

Friday, December 19, 2008


As some of you more holiday-minded operatives have requested, I'm continuing the tradition from the old Kidsnextblog and doodling up a KND holiday pic! Someone make sure to tell the mighty operatives over at the Codename: Kids Next Door Fan Forum! They always love 'em.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

PAT SMITH (and bacon)

If you spend a lot of time hanging around the animation festivals (big and small), then you already know Pat Smith.

He's been cranking out his personal films, like DRINK and PUPPET, one after the other for years now and racking up the awards. And no matter how loudly you hear him touting the independent filmmaking lifestyle... don't forget to remind him about all those comemrcial projects he's rocked- like directing MTV's DOWNTOWN and DARIA. And all those commercials for ZOLOFT and stuff.

Regardless, I only get to catch up with Mr. Smith at ASIFA events and stuff... and then only briefly. But lately we've made it a point to grab some root beers and hang.

Last night he suggested we hit the Roebling Tea Room over in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Was great to catch up and hear about his latest projects. But then again, it would have been great to hear about anything while chowing down on the macaroni and cheese they serve at this place. We got it with the 'bacon option'...

And when they say 'option' they mean 'bacon nuclear strike'. It's like they sliced an entire salted, fatty pig on top of all that cheesy, noodley business. It's a good thing we're not having our cholesterol checked today.

Anyway... so as to distract Mr. Smith away from the tasty treat, I made him draw me somethin':

Heh heh... more bacon for ME!

When you get a chance, go check out all Pat's stuff at BLEND films!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pretty Pitcher

A couple weeks ago I was sooper quadruple lucky enough to be invited to the Books of Wonder holiday party here in NYC.


Books of Wonder, the the THE bestest best independent children's book store here in NYC. They've had a couple locations over the years, but no matter where they are, it's always been a pretty magical experience wandering through the aisles.

I was invited by the inimitable Mr. Timothy Bush who actually had an invite to the event (unlike me) and asked if I wanted to go.


On the way over Tim joked that I'd probably know more people than he did. And while it wasn't really true, I did happen to know quite a few, including my editor from Harpercollins, Brenda Bowen, Kids Next Door background artist and children's book illustrator Gideon Kendall, the always warm, always sweet, always hysterical Ted and Besty Lewin, and other assorted folk.

Then there are the people you kinda know through other friends third uncle's friend's sister's gynecologist's neighbor's mother's dead grandfather's cousin they saved in the war.

Children's book sooper star Dan Yaccarino wasn't one of them, but I kinda knew him through Mr. Willems and other random animation pals.

We talked for a while and a couple days later set up some lunchable plans to talk more. Aside from his books he's done some pretty awesome stuff (the Oswald animated series, doing initial designs for the Backyardigans, etc) and has even more awesome stuff coming down the pike. And what do I always do when I meet someone who draws cool stuff?

Wrestle them to the ground until they agree to drawl me a pitcher:

Me love pretty pitchers.


I know that most of you think that I was born into the animation industry- appointed to my lofty position through a combination of good looks, family fortune and crass nepotism. But nothing could be further from the truth! I mean, nepotism? I'd NEVER do that with a chicken! And there certainly wasn't (isn't) no family fortune!

But yes, I must admit my dashing good looks probably helped a bit.

Regardless, I know how you folks coming out of school feel, desperately looking for your first animation job, paid or not. I was there, too.

Exhibit A: This letter, a reply to one of the many I sent to assorted animation luminaries, asking, begging, pleading, crying, whining, for any kind of advice on how to get into this industry!

This one here was from David Ehrlich, an indy animation star and ASIFA legend. Turns out he was in the same same leaky boat as all of us:

So for all of you asking how to get that first job...

I'm sorry you can't be as handsomarrific as me.

But keep at it.

If it's what you really want and you work hard at getting it, something's bound to happen.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


One of the things I enjoyed most (when I wasn't in a complete panic) about the daily grind of making an animated TV show were the huddles. The ones where me, my Proton Powered Producer, Evil Extinguishing Editor, and Powerful Post Production Supervisor planned out our next move. In the non-stop madness of series production, there's ALWAYS too much to do... so every couple hours, we'd find ourselves huddled up, strategizing over what the best plan of action was.

Should we be cutting the animatic for episode 43B first?

Or locking picture for episode 30A?

Maybe we should we get that pesky color meeting out of the way.

But wait... retakes for episode 32A should be getting here any minute.

Hold up... a storyboard artist just passed out. Get the smelling salts...

Okay... where were we? What? The sheet timer is waiting for episode 37? Crap.

And someone send the dogs after my assistant- he's chewed through his chains and escaped again.

I know it doesn't sound like much fun- but there's something exhilarating about it... especially when you've got a crack team of production specialists you know and trust working with you.

So here we are again as we begin production of a new pilot. Yesterday was the first day of production and there I was, pacing back and forth in front of my mighty, mighty producer's office.

Who's gonna do storyboards? How long have they got?

How can we do storyboards if we don't know what one of the main characters looks like?

Wait... we were supposed to start storyboards TODAY?

We've got a casting call with the Disney folks at 2:00 and whatshisface is coming in at 10:30. Is whatshername available or is she still working on 'Princess Character and the Birdie Num Nums'?

What? That production shut down? That's AWESOME... i mean AWFUL. (But now I get the pick of the litter! MWA HA HA HA!)


It's good to be home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I got me a PILOT!

You heard me!

I got a PILOT!

A big, beautiful, black PILOT.

It's made by Honda and has leather seats, lots of cup holders, sunroof and all that stuff that makes driving fun.

His name is Wilbur and we bought him back in 2004.

This is him:


You thought I was talking about something else?

Like a TV show pilot?

Well, yeah... I got one of them, too.

Just got the call from Disney today that my project is going to pilot.

And I wanna throw my fist in the air and scream real loud!

Shout with me ya'll.

And wish me luck... I gotta go and make the sooper triple bestest best pilot episode ever if it's gonna go to series. Unfortunately, I can't talk about it yet... but as soon as I can you know I will.


Monday, December 1, 2008


As usual, my faithful lab assistants have been doing research and informed me of some pretty interesting facts. Firstly, they wanted me to know (and in turn I want you to know) the TOP 3 GOOGLE SEARCHES as of this morning:

1. The 2008 ASIFA-EAST Auction
2. Maurice Fontenot's awesome comic book pages
3. Cheesesteaks

All VERY interesting topics, of course- and topics I just so happen to know a lot about:

It's no wonder the auction holds the number one spot. People can't stop talking about it. Check out animation writer Joe Strike's story of how I was able to milk him out of his lunch money HERE.

And here's another one by aspiring filmmaker Emmett Goodman which includes a sketch of me... although it CAN'T really be me. I've got the most sooper squinty eyes in the universe and could never open an eye that wide. But maybe he caught me at a high bidding moment. See for yourself HERE!

The second most searched topic on Google? Maurice's latest KND comic masterpiece, of course! Check out this penciled page from Operation: CHASE!


Number three?

Cheesesteaks, dude. It was impossible to find a good one here in NYC for years. But I like THESE.

Ya gotta admit, it's pretty great having me share such important research, right?