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Archive for February, 2009


“What’s your favorite color?”

February 28th, 2009

Frederator Filmmaker Interviews

The other day I was enjoying some of the interviews Eric and Bailee have been posting, which kicked me to reading some of Jeaux’s and Mike Milo’s and Floyd’s, and it got me wondering. I know we’ve run almost 400 films on Channel Frederator and that we’d interviewed a lot of under exposed filmmakers and artists… But, how many exactly?

One hundred and forty five. Right, 145. And they keep on coming.

There aren’t too many places that play such close attention to the people making animated films, unless they’re Walt Disney or John Lasseter (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And while we can’t begin ton compare our archive to some of the in depth work done by folks like Michael Barrier, Amid Amidi, Jerry Beck, and others, it’s a darn good start I think.

We’re going to keep it up. In addition to the weekly Channel Frederator animated filmmakers, I’ve always thought the dedicated folks who work day to day in our crews deserve a spotlight, and we’ve started that up with the Fanboy & Chum Chum crew. Adventure Time’s crew will be coming up, and we’re going to try and backtrack into our shows like The Fairly Oddparents and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!

And don’t be surprised when you start reading interviews with some of the (truly) misunderstood production crew and network executives that work on our shows. It takes a lot of people to make even one film, and I think we should try and get to know a little more about them all.

If you’re interested in getting in on the action, we’re always looking for new interviewers too, it’s a lot of work to keep this effort going. If you’re interested, just drop a note to our New York producer Carrie Miller, and she’ll try and get you going.

I un-heart Frederator.com.

February 26th, 2009

Frederator.com

I haven’t really loved Frederator.com’s homepage for quite a while now. Actually, I’m kind of sick of it because it doesn’t accomplish everything it should. A little staid, a little “so what’s new?” Since Frederator Blogs launched  four years ago it’s always been my own go-t0 Frederator site, and most everyone who visits Frederator would rather be at the blogs too. But, I’ve been busy and lazy at the same time and never really followed through on doing anything about it.

Lazy no more. The re-think process on Frederator.com has officially begun. Nate Olsen and Michael Lee are taking the lead in figuring out the best way to incorporate the immediacy of the blogs with the usefulness of the original site. Since most people looking for the studio or any of us personally go to Frederator.com first it seemed to me they might as well get an immediate dose of what’s up at Frederator. So, as you can see, we’ve moved the navigation over to the left side, put the promotion slots over to the right, and the blogs posts are running, full size, right down the middle. This way, if someone wants a quick fix it’s all right there. If they want more, well, that’s there too.

Up above you’ll see the first stab. I know, the graphic design stinks, but right now it’s just a placeholder, clumsily adapted (by me) off of the original design.

What’s it to you? Well, that’s what I’d like to know. What could we being doing better, or smarter, or prettier? Or whatever?

Meet the Composer: Ron Jones

February 21st, 2009

Composer Ron Jones

Ron Jones has led the kind of Hollywood composing life many people would envy. He started in cartoons back in the day (The Smurfs and The New Adventures of Scooby-Doo and, a Seth MacFarlane fave, Duck Tales) but also has a great following from his years on  Star Trek: The New Generation. Seth brought him into my orbit on his Family Guy prequel, Larry & Steve, and he continued on other Frederator shorts like the original The Fairly Oddparents (and it’s great theme song), The Dan Danger Show (I posted a couple of his complete scores here), and A Kid’s Life. But, of course, his great visibility has come from the enormously diverse body of work he’s done with Seth at Family Guy and American Dad. And let’s not forget his own “Influence Jazz Band.”

All the composers we’ve been charmed to work with over the years are talented, versatile, and smart. With Ron I’d have to add thoughtful and articulate. Speaking with him about his music is always enjoyable and a learning experience for me.

And recently in an email Ron was talking about “creativity and fun. That is the heart of what I live for.” What more could you ask for in a collaborator?

Thanks Ron.
Composer Ron Jones

My roots are showing.

February 19th, 2009


Next New Networks’ programming head Tim Shey

As a few of you know, I was an early employee at MTV, and a better ride was had by none. So, I’ve been kind of resistant to any kind of music programming venture over at Next New Networks.

Until Tim Shey & Felicia Williams showed up in the office with director/producer Jack Ferry and the idea for $99 Music Videos. That’s right, a new music video every week (plus a making-of) by a new band made in one day for 99 bucks.

Enjoy the videos here, and you can read a little more about the network here, here, here, and here.

It’s fun going around again.

“Nothing is original.”

February 19th, 2009

 

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery — celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.’”

Jim Jarmusch

(via jsullivandesign)

“Hindu Goddess as Betty Boop?”

February 16th, 2009

Our friend Nina Paley got a great article in The New York Times yesterday highlighting her independent (really independent) movie “Sita Sings the Blues” and it’s public television debut in NY on March 7. Amid Amidi writes a little about the music copyright issues Nina’s encountering (and solving it seems).

Many of us know the difficulties and sacrifices necessary to make our own films. Shorts are hard enough, dontcha think? Now, imagine Nina’s Herculean efforts to make a feature. And a wonderful feature people love. Check out her movie, you’ll have a grand time watching.

Richard Koenigsberg: BTS at Frederator

February 12th, 2009

Richard Koenigsberg

When you’re an independent producer like I am, it’s easy to forget that you’re actually dependent on dozens of people around you to survive. The most obvious ones are the talented people who draw, write, and produce our films, but behind the scenes there are a lot of others that aren’t instantly visible. Like Richard.

Richard Koenigsberg has probably been my longest lasting, steady work companion. As a partner-on-the-door at Spielman, Koenigsberg, & Parker, he’s been a trusted adviser as my accountant and personal business manager for …could it be?… 25 years. Alan Goodman and I met Richard through our friends David Picken and Tom Clack when I’d gotten our company in a jam by not paying attention to the right things; Richard cleaned up the mess in a heartbeat. He’s helped me to stay focused and smart by putting leading his crack team to work with every aspect of my various enterprises ever since.

It probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but at one of our first lunches together Richard told me he was absolultely sure we were going to do really well, that we would succeed beyond our wildest dreams, that he thought we were really good. I’m not sure why, but here was this guy I barely knew championing my crazy plans, and I bought it. He’s been that way ever since being right there wherever I needed his brains and support, becoming along the way much more than a business associate. He’s become a friend. Thanks bud, it’s great to be in the foxhole with you.

“The Dan Danger Show” soundtracks

February 9th, 2009

Dan Danger 2002
This post has moved here. So sorry for the inconvenience.

The trouble with movies.

February 6th, 2009

Movies might be a new market for Frederator, but –

There aren’t too many animated movies released each year.

The popular ones are almost all made by the major studios with their in-house animated units; they’re usually produced for over $100,000,000.

The other ones are often great, but we tend to make mainstream, popular entertainment.

There are some who think only CG movies will succeed. “It’s finished.” We think that’s bs. The inspired filmmaker makes a film work (no matter how they produce it), the audience goes.

Money follows conventional wisdom in the movies business. Understandable.

Our approach to making animated films has never followed conventional wisdom.

Hmmmm.

(More to come.)

The Epic-FU’s.

February 6th, 2009

Lunch yesterday was at Kate Mantellini’s (white bean chili!) with the lovelies Steve Woolf and Zadi Diaz. These guys are the brilliant minds behind Epic-FU (née the Jetset Show) and you should definitely check them out. Even though we don’t work together right now (Epic-FU used to be distributed by Next New Networks), we hook up every once in a while and learn a little something from each other.