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Fred Seibert's Blog

Archive for November, 2005


Question.

November 30th, 2005

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Some of you know that I have an MP3 blog where I post songs for friends to enjoy.

But it keeps getting ignored, because I’m spending so much time here. So I’d like to move it to the Frederator blog pages, but I wanted to check with our community here first.

Any thoughts?

(Album cover courtesy of The Museum of Bad Album Covers.)

Alex Kirwan. Oh Yeah! 1998

November 29th, 2005


Pages 46 & 49, Original Cartoons: The Frederator Postcards

Alex Kirwan was one of the first creators signed up for the original season of Oh Yeah! Cartoons. Executive producer Larry Huber reminded me of the 16 year with the dyed red hair who should have taken 2nd Place in our Hanna-Barbera storyboard competition (he was too young!), who we’d then hired right out of high school to draw props on Johnny Bravo. Larry thought his boards showed incredible promise. I agreed and Alex started his first cartoons.

Congratulations Carlos X.

November 28th, 2005

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Carlos Ramos is one of the best artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. So we’re all thrilled that he launched his first series as a creator –The X’s, on Nickelodeon– this past Friday night.

Carlos was one of our first hires at Oh Yeah! Cartoons (Larry Huber to Fred: “Are you nuts? Why haven’t you hired him already?!”). He designed the Oh Yeah! logo, art directed and designed the original ChalkZone, and stepped up and created two incredibly distinctive shorts.

Congratulations Carlos. We’re proud to have worked with you.

Easy.

November 27th, 2005

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If you’re a music fan, here’s an easy way to contribute to Gulf Coast relief. Nonesuch Records recorded an exciting, brand new compilation of New Orleans related artists. Here’s the original version of Randy Newman’s

Happy Thanksgiving America.

November 24th, 2005

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(This post is a ‘message.’ For those who think it’s inappropriate in this space, feel free to just move on.)

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, it feels like the most universal one. Over the last few days I’ve spoken to immigrated Russians, Bulgarians, Dutch, and they all revel in this most American day.

And it’s why, on a day we remain most hopeful, I’d like to remind us all that our brethren in the Gulf Coast area are still suffering beyond comprehension. I know this year we’ve got bad news fatigue what with tsunamis, multiple storm damages, earthquakes, all with untold human disaster, and everyone’s asking for your money while things are (always) hard at home.

But that’s exactly why I’m asking you to pause a minute, and consider, once again, that there are still hundreds of thousands of Americans whose homes have been taken away (yes, that hundreds of thousands). Please think about making (another) donation.

Cartoons are only funny when everyone’s got a life.

Direct Relief Red Cross Hurricane Fund

Save the Children The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Relief Fund

Americares Operation USA Hurricane Katrina Relief
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Devin Clark, Dan Meth & Jeff Somogyi; Robert Teer & Damiam DeMartino; Lisa Goldman, Man Kim, Ram Mohan & Kartik Mohan. Oh Yeah!

November 18th, 2005

Busy day for pitches in New York. Same thing in Hollywood they tell me.

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11am: Who would have thought that funny creators from two pitches two weeks ago would have gotten together? But Devin Clark, Dan Meth & Jeff Somogyi put together Truckadillos.

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2:30pm: Xoop Studios in New York is Kartik Mohan & Man Kim; together with Lisa Goldman & Ram Mohan (from his studio in India) they showed us Deep South.

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3:55pm: Robert Teer & Damiam DeMartino redeveloped a board and came in with Gloom, Dread, & Fred.

Thank you for the hard work everyone. It was a good week.

Thanks to all the teams for kind permission to post your work.

Oh Yeah! John Dilworth and Joe Bevilacqua.

November 16th, 2005

Two old friends stopped by today in New York to pitch us some Oh Yeah! Cartoons.

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John Dilworth and I worked together at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons in the mid 90s on Courage, the Cowardly Dog, and today he brought by a storyboard on Garlic Boy.

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Voice actor and producer/writer Joe Bevilacqua pitched us a story of Willaby & the Professor.

Thanks to John and Joe for kind permission to post images from their storyboards.

Blog History of Frederator’s original cartoon shorts. Part 6.

November 15th, 2005

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Blog History of Frederator’s original short cartoons. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5.

It’s been a couple of months, but these are my sporadically continuing postings of how we starting producing original cartoons. As usual, feel free to interrupt with any questions.

So, Nickelodeon was not going to exactly follow my suggestions as to how they should get into original animation? So, I was frustrated beyond belief? So, what was I going to do about it?

Nothing.

We weren’t in the animation business. Sure Fred/Alan had a small production company run by our college friend Albie Hecht, and sure, we wanted to produce anything we could, including cartoon shows. But, our main business was network consulting, branding, and advertising, and the animation we were involved with was mainly 10 second network IDs and commercials. And it sure wasn’t the first time our clients had ignored our advice and gone their own way. But, as usual, it wasn’t completely their own way, and they felt like they were following what they saw as the best part of our approach. As we had inculcated into their culture, the network would go off the beaten path looking for skilled talent who could make fresh, animated series that wouldn’t look or feel anything like the mainstream (i.e. Hanna-Barbera), without sacrificing quality. The shows might have a new look, but they’d follow classic entertainment values, they’d include great characters and great stories. And instead of relying only on an in-office pitch, they’d make short pilots to see whether the final film would really ’sing’ before committing to a series.

Fine, I thought. A tenth of a loaf is better than none, better than the times they ignored us completely. And besides, the network production executive was on the phone offering us a deal to make one of the pilots!

Usually we jumped at these kind of phone calls, but this time I was unsure. As I had told Debby and Anne at the very first breakfast, we knew nothing about character based cartoon shows, and while my partners Alan and Albie would probably vehemently disagree (Let’s get a shot at fiction! Any shot!), I felt like it was too complicated for us to come up with an idea, write it, and find one of our animator friends to execute. I told this to the executive, he flatteringly disagreed, and I said send over the deal memo.

(More next time.)

Blog History of Frederator’s original short cartoons. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5.

Genndy Tartakovsky’s Dexter’s Laboratory

November 6th, 2005

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In anticipation of the publication of our book, I thought it might be interesting to pull out a few of the memorable pieces and tell my side of the stories behind them.

This promotional poster is for the original short of Dexter’s Laboratory from 1995.

The first series I greenlit after coming to Hanna-Barbera in 1992 was based on a half-drawn storyboard, a bodacious personality, and a firm belief that the studio could only be resurrected by a large injection of young talent. 2 Stupid Dogs creator Donovan Cook took me at my word and started turning the studio upside down to fulfill his vision, and his first move was to populate his crew with a bunch of young ‘uns from his classes at CalArts. All of whom proceeded to start pitching shorts to us the next year when we instituted What A Cartoon!.

Truth be told I didn’t pay much attention to Genndy Tartakovsky or Dexter’s Laboratory until the final film came in, but then, geez, what a stunner! Genndy was (and is) a guy who doesn’t call attention to himself; he’s just dedicated, hard working, and determined to turn out the best work he is capable of. That was clear when he told me in order to make Dexter’s come alive he had had to throw out the entire second half of the short’s score and sound effects, and completely re-work them. That’s rarely done in television, no less in a short cartoon, no less from a ‘filmmaker’ who had never completed his own film before, even in college. However, the stellar results speak for themselves.

Genndy’s gone on to over 100 Dexter epsiodes, oversee the production of The Powerpuff Girls (which never would have gone to series or success without his dedication and talent), Samuri Jack, and now as the founder of the feature film producer Orphanage Animation.

Dexter’s Laboratory
Created by Genndy Tartakovsy
Art Direction by Craig McCraken & Paul Rudish
Poster art direction by Jesse Stagg & Kelly Wheeler

Oh Yeah! Devin Clark.

November 4th, 2005

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Devin Clark came into the New York office today to show us a pitch on his cartoon Go-Wheely Rilla (with a script by Alec Coiro).

Devin animates Comedy Central stuff for our friends over at Interspectacular. And coincidentially, he’s college friends with Dan Meth who was in to see us earlier in the week. Go figure.

Thanks to Devin for his kind permission to post his artwork.