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Fred Seibert's Blog

Archive for March, 2006


POSTCARDS FROM TOONLAND

March 22nd, 2006

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“IF YOU’RE TOO ADULT TO WATCH CARTOONS, PLEASE BE assured that the one ray of optimism in this hellish world today is that this frivolous medium of children’s entertainment has recently reversed its nearly half-century slide into ever-diminishing returns to finally become the subversive, literate and irascible art form it was meant to be. If you’ve kept an eye on toons, you can surely understand our unmitigated delight when we learned that the innovative animation studio Frederator had decided to collect their rare inventory of industry-insider promotional postcards into a single volume, Original Cartoons: The Frederator Studio Postcards 1998-2005. More than just a vital testament to how a company’s faith in an artist could revolutionize the way kids think, it’s an opportunity to find out how Fred Seibert, owner and founder of Frederator Studios, ushered in the brave new anime of The Powerpuff Girls, The Fairly Oddparents, ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo and Dexter’s Laboratory.

“Beginning his umpteenth career at the nadir of Hanna Barbera, Seibert admits that ‘It was depressing to me to see how cartoons had evolved into animation.’ With a back-to-the-future approach, Seibert learned from the old masters what had somehow been lost: ‘How could anybody but the artist be the primary talent? If you can’t draw, you can’t write.’ In a world where the state of the art was Smurfs reruns, Seibert just followed the advice of an 86-year-old Joe Barbera. ‘He told me Fred Quimby was a great producer because he did nothing. I thought, “Yeah, I can do that.”‘ Yes, kids, it’s that simple: ‘Trust the talent and stay out of their hair.’”

By Carlo McCormack, Paper Magazine.
Artwork from ORIGINAL CARTOONS: THE FREDERATOR STUDIO POSTCARDS 1998-2005 (EASTON)
TOP AND BOTTOM RIGHT POSTCARDS: DESIGN BY ADAMS-MORIOKA

Need a little help…

March 22nd, 2006

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Time For Kids is running a list of the Top 5 Jobs in Animation. And they’ve asked me for a list, and a two line description of each job.

I figured our Frederator Studios community would be a better source than my opinion.

So, in your opinion, what are the Top 5 Jobs in Animation and why? They’ll probably edit the heck out of the answers, but be funny, be truthful, be real. We’ll see what happens.

Thanks, as usual.

Our open source, random logo collaboration.

March 18th, 2006

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The Random Cartoons TV series (on Nickelodeon) of 39 short cartoons needs a logo. Instead of going about it in the normal way, we thought it might be more fun to make it an open source competition. We hope you can help. We’ll pay $1000 to the creator of our new logo and $300 to the blogger whose post refers or inspires her/him. Of course, he/she/they will receive credit on every episode.

Submit all entries to: randomlogo@frederator.kz
(All other particulars are below.)

This competition is open source; everyone can participate in any collaborative way they want. We’ll post all entries as they come in here on a dedicated blog. Then if you’re inspired by any of the entries, but you think you can improve on it, feel free; you’ll be part of the winning team.

Comments on submissions are invited and encouraged. We will NOT be publishing incoming comments about individual logos that don’t focus on constructive criticism or suggest improvements, and I reserve the right to delete non-useful (solely deemed by me) remarks. “I agree, this logo is the best” or “I hate this one” comments will not help us move forward; they’ll be the first to go.

Designer’s comments on their own submissions would be enjoyable and we’ll also post them with the designs as it seems appropriate.

We have no style or approach in mind, so it’s up to you. Here’s the logo for What A Cartoon!, our first shorts show at Hanna-Barbera, and the one for Oh Yeah! Cartoons, which you might know a little better.

You might be wondering why we aren’t using what Henry Copeland calls “America’s Certified Logo Creation Process?” Certainly, all our designer friends are recoiling in horror right now.

I must say the traditional methods have been very successful for us over the years when we developed the logos for (among others) MTV (by Manhattan Design) and Nickelodeon (by Corey & Company). But Frederator has flourished over the years because our reliance on a community of great artists, writers, and animators, and I think it might be fair to let our loyal blog and internet gallery citizens participate in the show. Next, I’ve found over the years it’s always better to let creative people loose to collaborate on a project; their ideas are often better when they develop unfettered by too close scrutiny. And lastly, much to the chagrin of many of my elite media friends, I feel like the maddening crowd is frequently smarter and better than the educated. Once again to quote Henry Copeland: “I’ve come to truly trust the blogoshere over the years. Time and again, I’ve watched bloggers pool information to generate unique, speedy, transcendent insights far beyond the capacity of any traditional organization.”

OK maybe you can design us a logo. Many of you are fantastic artists. Or you know designers; please let them know what we’re up to here, maybe they’ll have some fun.

Here’s a few details and inclinations:
* Your submission should be maximum 300 pixels wide X 300 pixels deep, jpeg or gif, with larger file to follow, if we request it. Submit to: randomlogo@frederator.kz

* Don’t just use Photoshop, Illustrator, or the like, though they’ll be fine too. Draw, build, photograph, whatever.

* We have a lot of characters in our shows. So I’m not so sure that a character should be the logo. But, you never know. As with everything else in this competition, you decide.

* We have no idea what the correct punctuation or stacking or sizing should be:

[big]Random Cartoons[/big]

[big]Random![/big]
Cartoons

[big]Random> Cartoons[/big]

Or others. You decide, you’ll probably have a better idea than anything we can come up with.

* We’re not kidding when we say “$300 to the blogger whose post refers or inspires her/him.” The whole point of this “open source” thing is that you might see a logo submission posted that seems great “except that part which would really be better if only” a certain part was folded, spindled, or mutilated. So, feel free; drag down a submission, change it, twist it, improve it. Everyone will win.

So, whaddya think? Can this idea work? You tell us, with your submissions. We’re excited.

This competition was more than inspired by a post on Jeff Jarvis’ fabulous Buzzmachine about Henry Copeland’s innovative logo competition at Blogads. And Henry says his was triggered by South by Southwest’s Big Bag competition. So, thank you all, sincerely. You’ve helped push us beyond the beyond.
………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ……….
Random logo competition submission details.

Submit all entries to: randomlogo@frederator.kz

Size:: Maximum 300×300 pixels, jpeg or gif. We’ll want a larger file from the winner, either a illustrator or eps file, or a large-as-possible scan.

Submission dates: March 20, 2006 - April 18, 2006.

Winner(s) annnounced: May 1, 2006.

Prize: $1000, plus $300 to each referring or inspiring logo post.

Judge: Fred Seibert, in consultation with the Random Cartoons development and production team, and our Nickelodeon executives.

Ownership: The winning submission copyright will be owned exclusively by Nickelodeon, and Viacom Intl. All rights will be reserved. All other submissions’ copyrights will be retained by their respective designers or artists.

A little late.

March 17th, 2006

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The gods of networking have spoken.

The new name for what has been called the fourth season of Oh Yeah! Cartoons is now:

[big]Random Cartoons[/big]

Congratulations Crie Namoh, the winner of $500, and a credit on every episode.

Sorry for the months-long delay, but that’s sometimes how network gears grind.

As promised, we’re going to have a logo design competition too, and I promise it’ll proceed much, much more quickly. Details will follow, hopefully this weekend.

Congratulations Crie, and thanks.

What a little Tim Biskup can do.

March 14th, 2006

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As is often the case in New York, our new office was originally little more than a raw space before Lisa Storfer and Mike Glenn got hold of it for the renovation.
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Putting a Tim Biskup print above the door (Carrie’s fave) and artwork ranging from Rob Renzetti’s MLaaTR, Hanna-Barbera Golden Book original paintings, and some of my jazz photography collection, makes the place great to come to every day. Takes a little edge off of the city.

Congratulations Joe, Paul, Steve, Lee, Jason, Steve (again!), and Elizabeth!

March 12th, 2006

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I’ve been a bad boy. It’s been a month since I picked the last winner in our Frederator robot competition. But tonight we sent our $700 to the artists who’s robots have been selected since Garth won on Februrary 12.

Keep in mind that there are no particular criteria for winning, other than my impulse of the moment. Interesting, good, fun, whatever. You never know what’ll spark my fancy on a particular day.

Single images of the robots are available at our DeviantArt gallery, but proper identification on the artists is, clockwise from left to right, Joe, Paul, Steve, Lee, Jason, Steve (again!), and Elizabeth.

Thanks everyone, for your good, hard work.

Goodbye 10, Hello 8.

March 3rd, 2006

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Tomorrow we move.

15 months ago our friend (and BolderMedia/Wubbzy partner) Susan Miller helped us avert a ridiculous situation by letting Mike, Alex and me move into her already full office space on Park Avenue South in New York City. Almost overnight she reorganized the entire office, including her officemates at Kick Design, and we made some lifelong friends, had a bunch of laughs, and learned a lot. But given all the work we’ve still got to do on Wow!Wow!Wubbzy!, we’ll all probably be in each other’s space every day anyhow.

We’re all expanding (and Carrie replaced Alex last year) so we’re relocating down two floors with our Channel Frederator colleagues and partners Davidville and Gusto Networks.

Thanks Susan, Trina, Eddie, Chow, Brenna, Justin, Margo, and Jenn. Thanks for everything. You’ve been great and amazing.

PS: Dig those crazy acoutical sound cubes?

Oh Yeah! Justin Simonich & Dagan Moriarty.

March 3rd, 2006

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Justin Simonich was in our New York office today again with his partner Dagan Moriarty with a new cartoon for Oh Yeah! Cartoons called Circus Folks. Justin’s currently writing at USA Networks and Dagan is drawing at Animation Collective.

Thanks to Justin & Dagan for kind permission to post their cartoon artwork.

Eileen Brennan. Oh Yeah!

March 2nd, 2006

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We met Eileen Brennan during the dot com boom when she was part of a flash animation studio in Scranton, Pennsylvania and then again at our New York office again when she relocated with her very cool band. She’s also a wonderful painter. Eileen has written a few scripts for our show (created by Bob Boyle) Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and had a cartoon in the very first episode of Channel Frederator.

Today she showed us one of her unique creations –Pilot CoPilot– for Oh Yeah! Cartoons.

Thanks to Eileen for kind permission to post a drawing from her cartoon.