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Archive for November, 2007


New, better, search.

November 29th, 2007

search

We’re slowly trying to get our technical house in order here (blogs next! I promise) and one of those things is integrating all our various Frankenstein sites. Our search button in the upper right column of the Frederatorblogs page is now a Google search that allow you to search the whole Frederator universe. So, from there, you can find anything from Channel Frederator, RAW, whatever. We’ll add the box to the other sides forthwith.

For your information, the sites searched will be:

www.channelfrederator.com
www.raw.channelfrederator.com
www.frederatorblogs.com
www.frederator.com
www.frederator.kz
www.newtoons.frederator.com
www.refrederator.com
www.wubbcast.com
The Wubblog (http://wubby.typepad.com)
The Teenage Roblog (www.teenageroblog.blogspot.com)

Try it, you’ll like it.

Frederator postcards Series 6.8

November 26th, 2007


Mailed out the week of November 26, 2007

Frederator Postcards Series 1, 1998
Frederator Postcards Series 2, 1999
Frederator Postcards Series 3, 2000
Frederator Postcards Series 4, 2003
Frederator Postcards Series 5, 2004-2005
Frederator Postcards Series 6, 2007-2008

Check out Lewis & Cluck.

November 26th, 2007

LC14logoJPEG

Oh Yeah! Cartoons creator Bill Riling dusts off his comic strip as a comic blog.

Hanna-Barbera collectible cards.

November 25th, 2007

Click a card to see the whole set.

As I was getting together the post about The Hanna-Barbera Treasury, I realized I’d added some rarities from my collection to my personal website and never mentioned them here or at RAW.

My close colleagues from over the years can attest to my obsessions of collecting printed artifacts with pop culture illustrations or photographs, like posters, calendars or skateboards. So in the early 1980s, when Yazoo Records commissioned R. Crumb to come up with his “Heroes of Blues, Jazz, & Country” for collector card boxes I thought it would be cool to apply the concept to cartoons.

From Hanna-Barbera’s founding in 1956 until 1992 (the studio was effectively closed by it’s latest owner Warner Bros. in 1997) the studio had no sense of its place in popular culture. When Ted Turner bought the company in 1991 he and Scott Sassa installed me as the president and we started to blow the roof off the sucker. There were many of us working at the company who grew up with it’s radical and wonderful innovations and wanted to finally gather up the respect we thought the place was due.

I figured collector cards would be a quick way to gather up a lot of the wonderful characters in our library (while we were busily trying to come up with new ones) in a way that would show them off in the hippest, most contemporary way possible (short of Frank Kozik’s posters). They were never sold at retail; they were for our various business associates and staff. Actually, I had no idea how bloated the bureaucracy at the studio ahd become and that it would take over two years to get both these sets out.

It was particularly satisfying to me that we were able to go into the never publicaly seen before archives and pull presentation art, storyboard frames, and work sketches and include some in the adventure set.

In retrospect, my biggest disappointment with these boxes is that they happened before I gained full appreciation of the way the HB art had changed over the years. Starting in the mid 1960s the original, funky, post UPA, designs of the classic characters (like Huck, Yogi, The Flintstones, and the like) started to cute-ify and became rounder, less raw, and overall less distinctive. When I asked about it at first I was told there was a need to standardize the models because the original animation was all over the place. There are some who claimed the changes began with the ascent of Iwao Takamoto to design director, but, not being there at the time I don’t know; however, it’s clear to all that everything that was done happened with explicit consent from Joe (in particular) and Bill. Eventually, it became clear to me that the prevailing winds just disliked the original art and there was a 30 year effort to actually deny its existence. I wasn’t able to do all that much about it until near the end of my tenure when we hired Craig Kellman to vintage up The Flintstones; but that’ll be another day of scanning and posting.

By the way, I can’t for the life of me remember why I was convinced The Flintstones should be included in the “Adventure” cards. Maybe it something to do with the movie… Ah well, such are the paradoxes that make collectors happy.
……
Hanna-Barbera Trading Cards
Hollywood, 1993

Credits (from the box):

Special thanks to all those people who made The Hanna-Barbera Trading Cards possible!

CREATORS

Wiliam Hanna, Joseph Barbera

DESIGN
Roy Guzman, Bobbi Jankovich

WRITERS
David Burd, Marty Pekar

THE HANNA-BARBERA CREW

Models
Linda Moore
Dana Granger
Barbara Kruger
Donna Zeller
Marcus Nickerson
Bob Onorato
Pete Alvarado

Xerox
Star Wirth
Martin Corssley
Richard Wilson
Danny Conté

Ink & Paint
Alison Leopold
Suzette Darling
Joanne Plein
Christine Kingsland
Nelda Ridley
Lori Hanson
Lydia Swayne

Creative Services
Curt Covert
Lynn Domenico
Mary DeMarle
Shannon Dashiell
Jill Jones
Sue Doc
Betty Tropp

Research
Iwao Takamoto
JeffEckert
Hillary Dunchak
Glenn Leopold
Jerry Eisenberg

Marketing
Fred Seibert
Sally Prendergast
……
Hanna-Barbera Adventure Cards
Hollywood 1995
©1994, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc.
…..
Credits (from the box):

Special thanks to Fred Seibert, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, and to all those people who made The Hanna-Barbera Adventure Cards possible!

DESIGN
Jill Jones
Ray Guzman
Bobbi Jankovich

WRITERS
David Burd
Marty Pekar

THE HANNA-BARBERA CREW

Models
Iwao Takamoto
Ric Estrada
Tony Sgroi
Ron Roesch
Barbara Krueger
Donna Zeller
Scott Awley

Xerox
Star Worth
Martin Crossley

Ink & Paint
Alison Darling
Suzette Darling
Joanne Plein
Chirstine Kingsland
Nelda Ridley
Lori Hanson
Lydia Swayne

Backgrounds
Bonnie Callahan
Jim Hickey
Ruben Chavez
Jerry Loveland
Craig Robertson
Richard Daskas

Art Services
Mary DeMarle
Shannon Dashiell
Liz Watson
Scott Miller
Betty Tropp

Creative Services
Sue Doc

Research
Jeff Eckert
Hillary Dunchak
Scott Awley
Tom Barreca
Lance Falk

Marketing
Sally Prendergast
Stephanie Sperber

Frederator postcards Series 6.1.2

November 22nd, 2007

Frederator Postcards

This postcard won’t be mailed out.

You’ve been invited to join Channel Frederator RAW, our popular cartoon social network, twice already. But, believe it or not, everyone in the worldwide animation community doesn’t read Frederatorblogs! So I thought we’d go to where they are. Hence, this promotional postcard that we’ll leave when we visit schools, festivals, and studios.

Illustration by Ben Ross
Frederator Postcards

Frederator Postcards Series 1, 1998
Frederator Postcards Series 2, 1999
Frederator Postcards Series 3, 2000
Frederator Postcards Series 4, 2003
Frederator Postcards Series 5, 2004-2005
Frederator Postcards Series 6, 2007-2008
Frederator Postcards: Stragglers

Frederator postcards Series 6.5

November 19th, 2007

Designed by Lee Rubenstein; Mailed the week of November 19, 2007

Lee Rubenstein was Frederator’s amazingly talented intern when I handed him this stock photo of a robot I found somewhere. He handed back this cool Frederatorization of it.

Then, when we were sponsoring a screening event at the 2006 Ottawa Animation Festival, I asked Eric Homan to come up with a headline for our poster and he pulled the old Lost In Space line out of outer space.

And my friend Dale Pon (”I Want My MTV!”) supplied the tag line.

A Frederator Series 6 postcard is done.
…..
Frederator Postcards Series 1, 1998
Frederator Postcards Series 2, 1999
Frederator Postcards Series 3, 2000
Frederator Postcards Series 4, 2003
Frederator Postcards Series 5, 2004-2005
Frederator Postcards Series 6, 2007-2008

Not Just Random!

November 15th, 2007

Here’s the Random! Cartoons chapter of Jerry Beck’s Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons (the beautiful brainchild of Nickelodeon Worldwide Creative Director Russell Hicks). Yesterday I posted Oh Yeah! Cartoons and I’m gathering up the chapters on ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot, and The Fairly Oddparents.
…..
Fred Seibert: A few years had gone by since Oh Yeah! Cartoons, a few series had been created and aired, and I felt that a battle had been fought—and won. The reason I say that is because in 1997, when we started developing Oh Yeah! Cartoons, the industry was undergoing a huge upheaval. In 1990 there were no series that I would call “cartoon” series. They were all, in my opinion, “animated” series. The people who were dedicated to cartoons as opposed to the general medium of animation didn’t feel like they had a home in the industry. They were just starting to find their footholds in the business, and Oh Yeah! Cartoons developed a crew of creators who became the vanguard of the revival of the commercial cartoon.

Today, I think it’s fair to say that ninety-five percent of the animated shows on TV can truly be called cartoon series. At this point, the notion of wanting to revive the cartoon is no longer a burning issue in the creative community. Take the newest people in the business, the students coming out of the major animation schools—these are the kids who grew up with the first generation of what I like to call the “Silver Age” cartoons. I’m talking about Ren and Stimpy, Rugrats, Dexter’s Labaratory, Powerpuff Girls. The idea of fighting a war to revive the cartoon never even occurred to them, because they grew up in a world that had cartoons! Suddenly, the talent pool was radically different.

By 2004, the entire ethnic and gender composition of that talent pool had changed. As late as the 1990s, white males had a stranglehold on the animation business. Of the first five thousand pitches I took, less than ten of them were from women, and less than five were from people of color. I found that to be very sad, because that meant diverse points of view were not being represented on screen, so audiences were going to be less diverse, too.

However, by 2004, the women who had been interns at Hanna-Barbera were now entrenched in the business. Various ethnicities, particularly Latinos and Asians, became part of the business as well. Something else was also apparent—a wide range of animation styles had become acceptable in the commercial marketplace, a trend started by Nickelodeon in the early 1990s.

With that, we cast our net much wider for Random! Cartoons. By now, our notion of doing shorts, which was quaintly tolerated in the 1990s, was now accepted as a mainstream approach to producing cartoons. When we announced that we were doing a new range of shorts, people from literally all over the world got in touch with us.

The result? First, Random! Cartoons boasts a wider and more diverse group of creators than ever before. Eight creators are women, including Anne Walker (Mind the Kitty), Aliki Theofilopoulous (Yaki and Yumi), and Niki Yang (The Two Witch Sisters). Hispanic, Asian, and African-American talents such as Raul Aguirre Jr. and Bill Ho (Hero Heights), Seo jun-ko and Kang yo-kong (Dr. Dee and Bit Boy), and Greg Eagles (Teapot) join a creator pool that also includes such experienced independent filmmakers as Bill Plympton and John Dilworth. Nickelodeon now has thirty-nine new cartoons, and I honestly believe that this is the most exciting group of films that we’ve had in years.

My hero of the day.

November 14th, 2007

OK, so Ken Dickerman beat us to it in the cool sweepstakes. Thanks for making my day.

Not Just Cartoons!

November 14th, 2007

Jerry Beck’s done it again and compiled one of the great books on contemporary animation. Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons is the beautiful brainchild of Nickelodeon Worldwide Creative Director Russell Hicks (one of my great colleagues from Hanna-Barbera Cartoons), and reviews all the cartoon shows Nick’s done since the launch of the Nicktoons in 1991. I’m posting a couple of the pieces on our shorts shows including short interviews with me about them, and I’m gathering up the chapters on ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot, and The Fairly Oddparents.
…..
Fred Seibert: Don’t worry about introducing characters: worry about making them believable. Don’t worry about some future plot point: worry about making the film exciting. If you make your characters and your stories great, and everything will fall into place. The longest-lived and most beloved cartoons are the ones with the greatest characters, not the greatest plots. I want a character that I’m going to fall in love with. That’s my theory, anyway.

Why a short and not a pilot? Well, from a consumer’s point of view, rarely do I watch a series from the beginning. From a producer’s viewpoint, why do I need to make a film that explains all sorts of things that the consumer will never see? Besides, whether the product is a great short film or a great pilot, all the things wrong with it will be forgotten when it goes to series. But if it’s only, well, okay, and it answers all of the little details, it’ll never be green-lit anyway. Why focus on the things that make it a pilot instead of focusing on what makes it a great film?

My understanding of the Saturday morning cartoon business was that they had stopped developing cartoons in the unique way that the great cartoons of the 1930s and ’40s were developed. What you saw those days was more like half-hour kid sitcoms, and that, in my opinion, was the problem with the animation business. In the days of the theatrical short, a cartoon would be made featuring a character, it would be run in theaters, and if the audience really liked it, more would be made. If not, then that was that.

First I wanted to identify the talent capable of making hit cartoons, then the characters that were capable of moving into series play or feature films. Oh Yeah! Cartoons, in just three years, generated fifty-one cartoons featuring unique, one-of-a-kind characters in a way that hadn’t been done in more than forty years. Again, I took the approach that the great cartoon studios such as Disney,
Warner, and MGM used back in the day, and adapted it to television. What we did was green-light a large number of cartoon shorts that were completely creator-driven. I really looked at them as short films that introduced new characters.

Mark Taylor [VP/GM, Nickelodeon Studios]: That meant 99 cartoons in a very short period of time, each one being its own cartoon, yet needing to be done in a timely manner while following certain guidelines. This was one of the biggest challenges we ever had as a series.

Fred Seibert: To this day I’m amazed that this concept was even sold. I’m shocked when I realize that it happened at all. Oh Yeah! Cartoons requires a heavier investment than usual; you end up spending a good fifty percent more per short than on anything else, and there’s always a lower rating because there’s no continuing character to fall in love with, or any idea what to expect, week after week. That’s a really difficult sell, but we realized that if all we did was launch one successful series, the investment would be well worth it. The angle I took to sell this idea was the premise that we weren’t just launching some successful series; we were finding talent that would be part of our family for a very long time.

Mark Taylor:It was fascinating to see all those different looks, styles, and stories develop within Oh Yeah! Cartoons. Out of that one concept came The Fairly OddParents, Chalk Zone, My Life as a Teenage Robot—all of them winners for Nick.

Papercraft Fredbot.

November 13th, 2007

Papercraft Fredbot

I don’t know what we’re going to do with this papercraft Frederator robot, by Ben Ross, but it’s going to be something incredibly cool.