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Archive for the ‘Fairly Oddparents’


Butch! Cosmo! Wanda! Timmy!

March 31st, 2011

It’s hard to believe, but it was 10 years ago tonight at 8:30ET (which was a Friday in 2001) that I told my oldest son he could stay up late to watch a new Frederator production (”But I don’t like anything on Nickelodeon!” I got my wish and he soon changed his tune. Thanks to the Oddparents he completely switch off his CN loyalties.).

Creator extraordinaire Butch Hartman and I started working together a few years before. He was already a veteran of the Hanna-Barbera art department, contributing to a lot of the studio’s comedies; the first one in my office pitching a short for our What A Cartoon! incubator of big ideas. Four shorts later, we almost had to pry him off his writing/directing gig on Johnny Bravo to be the last creator in the first Oh Yeah! Cartoons season, starting up FOP towards the end of 1997.

There really isn’t anyone else like Butch in the cartoon business, as evidenced by his three hit series over the past decade, which, if I’m not mistaken, is an unparalleled track record of success in our industry.  Talented, dedicated, and motivated, he’s the animated hardest working man in show business.

Most importantly, he’s accomplished all this while being part of an amazing family. Butch, his wife Julieann, and their two teenage daughters have set Hartman House, a non profit organization dedicated to helping people the world over, to improve the lives of children and families throughout the world who suffer from poverty and hopelessness by building homes and providing food, education, and spiritual growth. They’ve built two homes for families in Guatemala, fed nearly 7200 families with Thanksgiving meals in the U.S., and are in the midst of funding a school in Africa. (Now that I think of it, if you’re a fan of any of Butch’s hits, why don’t you show him directly, and donate a little something to Hartman House.)

I’m really honored to have had such a long history with someone like Butch Hartman. And, at the rate we’re going, it’ll be going on for decades to come.

Congratulations on the anniversary bud, you’re one of a kind. My sincere best to your family.

Butch Hartman
Young Butch Hartman’s 1998 Oh Yeah! Cartoons press photo

Available on Amazon.

December 15th, 2010

Book cover illustrated & designed by Carlos Ramos
Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios [cover]

OK, here ’tis on Amazon.com, Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios, before Christmas, as we hoped. Not sure if they can actually deliver it by next week, but you can check. The official release date is in March, so at least you can get a head start on everyone else. In the meanwhile, you can preview the whole book below to see if it’s worth it to you.

Here’s the blurb (and here’s the entire introduction):

Please, consider the unconsidered art of the original cartoon title card.

For almost a century, the art of the cartoon title card has not been disparaged, disregarded, or dismissed. It has been completely ignored. And by the 1970s it had almost completely disappeared.

Over 200 full color original title cards from hit Frederator cartoon series, including The Fairly OddParents, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Fanboy & Chum Chum, Adventure Time, and eight more.

Frederator loves you.

Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios

Coming for Christmas?

November 28th, 2010

Book cover illustrated & designed by Carlos Ramos
Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios [cover]The latest from Frederator Books, Original Cartoon Title Cards, should be out soon. Eric Homan and I have chosen a subjective compilation of 200 of the title cards from our productions over the years, including some of the best from The Fairly OddParents, ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Ape Escape Cartoons, The Meth Minute 39, What A Cartoon!, Oh Yeah! Cartoons, Random! Cartoons, and the first season of Fanboy & Chum Chum and Adventure Time. You’ve probably seen some of them here or here, but I’ve got to say, seeing them printed large size (the book is 8 1/4″ wide by 6″ high), is pretty darn cool.

“Official” publication should be in January. But, we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to offer it early (maybe as soon as next week) to Frederator blog readers. Stay tuned here for more information as it comes. In the meantime, here’s a preview of the essay at the beginning of the book.

…..

The unconsidered art of the cartoon title card.

I started searching the internet for someone who could write an essay to introduce this book of Frederator Studios’ cartoon title cards. Surely, someone with an writer’s eye had a few choice words to say about decades of cool graphic design.

Nothing.

There were several places where beautiful vintage cartoon cards are displayed, usually for filmographic or historical purposes. But, for all the pages devoted to critical analysis and display of another pop culture icon, the movie poster, there wasn’t a full paragraph of consideration I could turn up about the kind of art we’re displaying in this book.

Well, I’m no art historian, so they won’t be any scintillating examinations here. But, just let me point out that it might be worth checking out the dozens of talented artists and creators who have shared their work with us here. All sorts of styles are represented, from homage to the one and two color cards we saw in the silents, to sumptuous, nuanced illustrations that are hard to appreciate in the 10 seconds they’re usually displayed on television. Breadth of craft is also demonstrated here, from simple typography, pencil on paper, computer generated images, even paper cut outs.

Within minutes of ruminating about cartoons for the first time –professionally, that is; they probably started dominating my mind as soon as my parents got their first TV– there was no choice. The model for my productions needed to be the great shorts during the golden age of the early, mid-20th century: Looney Tunes, the Disney’s, the MGM’s, even the first TV shows of Hanna-Barbera. And there was no joking about the template. Our films would hew as close as possible to these classics from front to back. Studio logo, character name, episode name, seven minutes of squash & stretch hilarity, and “The End.” No deviations, please.

It took a few years to get anyone to agree that we could even make these kinds of cartoons (thank you kindly, Scott Sassa and Ted Turner). And, among the creative posse making the first 48 shorts there wasn’t one push back about the idea of the title cards, they loved everything cartoon. It helped that I was the president of the studio, but that really had nothing to do with it.

The talent we’d lined up were chomping at the bit to reintroduce –no, reinvent– the very idea of cartoons, since the production industry and the networks had almost completely abandoned the form almost 30 years before. Disney had long seemed embarrassed by their ‘cartoon’ roots, but even the 1980 revival of the famous Warner studio couldn’t admit their strength and named itself “Warner Bros. Animation.” Our team trained themselves in a business that had turned its back on their love, but they were undeterred. When we announced our complete dedication to the form, they lined up in force and embraced every aspect of our program, eventually creating a tidal wave of success that made cartoons the dominant form of animation throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

The networks were another story. It’s fair to say that we’ve had resistance to title cards for almost everyone one of the almost 20 series that have been sprung from our three shorts series of the last 15 years. It’s never the budget issues, which would have been my first arguments against them, if I’d been so inclined; it is not inexpensive to make between 50 and 150 of illustrative, finished artwork per season. No, unfortunately, there’s probably a failure of imagination. “Other series don’t do it.”

Cartoon title cards indeed seem to be an unconsidered art. Everywhere but here. Feast your eyes for as long as you might wish, I guarantee some gorgeous rewards.

Fred Seibert
New York, 2010
Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios [back cover]

The unconsidered art.

September 3rd, 2010

DRAFT Book ORIGINAL Cartoon Title Cards Aug 2010

We’ve been showing off the title cards from our cartoons for quite a while now. And Eric and I have been chomping at the bit for years to collect a bunch of them in a book to include in the Frederator library. Why? Because, as Susan Miller says, “There’s something about a book.”

At the rate we’re going, it should be on Amazon sometime in October, but in the meantime I thought I’d share the current draft.

I’ve taken to calling cartoon title cards an “unconsidered art” for a bit now because, funny enough, as I’ve been trolling the internet I cannot find more than a few words written about this very rich art form. There’s hundreds of cards posted, primarily from the golden age of the theatricals, but not a lot of critical consideration. Not from Jerry Beck, not from Leonard Maltin, or Mark Mayerson or Michael Barrier either. Maybe it’s because their so basically functional that no one’s given them a second thought (except for the confusions related to replacing them on early television prints). Or maybe because they’ve almost completely disappeared from cartoons over the last 30 years (I can tell you for a fact that every network executive looks askance at us when we tell them we use them).

I mean, every movie poster book seems to have pages devoted to artistic analysis. Do you have any idea why no one’s written about animation title cards? They’re so cool.

Back to the book. We’ve selected about 200 title card images from all the cartoons we’ve produced over the years, starting back in the 90s with What A Cartoon! at Hanna-Barbera, and continuing until today with Oh Yeah! Cartoons, The Fairly OddParents, ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot… well, you get the idea.

So, take an advance read now. We’re girding ourselves for your complaints about what we’ve left out.

By the way, the cover in the draft above is just a slug I put in there for positioning. The always amazing Carlos Ramos has actually designed an alternative, and as usual with CR’s work, it’s algebraic. (And, we’ve snuck in a thumbnail of one of Carlos’ Oh Yeah! cartoons.)

“Original Cartoons, Volume 2: The Frederator Studios Postcards 2006-2010

May 8th, 2010

Original Cartoons, Volume 2
It took a while to get the gallies right, but the second collection of Frederator’s postcards is available over at Amazon.com (the first one’s there too).

Eric Homan is our resident postcard collector, but that’s not the main reason he has an insightful interview here. Entertainment journalist Michael Goldman wanted to get the scoop on how Eric developed the last round of big ideas in our Random! Cartoons shorts incubator, including the background on Fanboy & Chum Chum and Adventure Time. Their cards, and all 39 of the original Random!s, are included in the book.
back
And that’s not all! The complete postcard series 6 through 9 are here, including the black & whites, and the History of Frederator set. And, the non-series Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! collectibles that were made for the International Licensing Shows, and a bunch of stragglers that were produced here and there over the years. Plus, a preface by the guy we work for at Sony Pictures Animation, Bob Osher, and a short introduction from moi.

So, check it out. Broke? Too cheap? Here’s the free PDF download:

Original Cartoons, Volume 2: The Frederator Studios Postcards 2006 - 2010

Fairly odd? I don’t think so.

March 19th, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 9.3
Frederator Postcard Series 9.3, mailed March 19, 2010

Butch Hartman’s FOP got the go-ahead for series production while I was in the midst of a cross continent family move, but Butch didn’t lose a beat. He staffed up and started one of the great juggernauts in modern American cartoons.

…..
From the postcard back:

Congratulations!
You are one of 200 people to receive this limited edition Frederator postcard!
www.frederator.com

History of Frederator Studios
The Fairly OddParents 2001-?
An Oh Yeah! Cartoons series
Created by Butch Hartman

Series 9.3

Postcard ©2010, Bellport Cartoon Company. The Fairly Oddparents ©2010, Viacom Intl. All rights reserved.

……
More Frederator Postcards

A big Frederator weekend.

May 1st, 2009

FREDERATOR_ROBOT by Eugene Mattos 2006
Fredbot illustrated by Eugene Mattos

Eric pointed out that we’ve got a jammed packed weekend of Frederator related TV events on Nickelodeon’s networks this weekend.

The Wubb Girlz

Friday kicks off at 1pm ET on Nick Jr. (and 7pm Sunday on Noggin) with the premiere of Wubb Idol, guest starring Beyoncé (yeah, who woulda thought?), the first original movie for Bob Boyle’s Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!

Wishology Weekend Poster

And Friday night, 8pm, the beginning of the Wishology event for Butch Hartman’s The Fairly Oddparents.


And that’s not all. Tomorrow at 3pm you also get (big sob, bigger tears) the absolute end of Rob Renzetti’s My Life as a Teenage Robot.

So give us some love this weekend. You’ll be glad you did.