Original Cartoons since 1998.


Fred Seibert's Blog

Archive for the ‘Fanboy and Chum Chum’

That was the year that was.

December 31st, 2010



For some Friends of Frederator, there was no bigger 2010 news than the reissue of the Chevy Camaro, but our extended family had a banner year at work too. Cartoon hits, original internet hits, hits hits hits everywhere.

Fanboy from fredseibert on Vimeo.

At Frederator, 2010 actually started in November 09 with the stellar launch of Eric Robles’ Fanboy & Chum Chum, the first series spun off of our Random! Cartoons shorts series. The show was Nickelodeon and Frederator’s first original CG series (Penguins and Jimmy Neutron both started as features) and went where very few computer images had gone before. Namely, great characters and great stories combined with the classic squash and stretch animation innovation of the 1920’s.

Adventure Time from fredseibert on Vimeo.

Five years in gestation from its start on Random! Cartoons, Adventure Time premiered in early April to equally fabulous reaction. Aside from all the great reviews and great ratings, you went beyond the call of duty and on day one you’d already submitted hundreds of pieces of fan art. No one’s ever seen a show like AT, and going into our third season the thrills (and chills) continue to be mathematical.

Moving on to my parallel existence in the New York internet dimension, Next New Networks, the company I founded in 2007 but never officially worked at, asked me this summer to become the interim, part time CEO. I agreed mainly because of the talented staff had worked incredibly hard to build the most successful online television company in the world, and if there was anything I could do to help them I considered it an honor. And boy, have they delivered.

First, in June came the news the company had amassed 1 billion video views and 8000 episodes since it’s founding, in addition to 10 Webby Awards in 2010 alone. By September our monthly view count jumped to 150 million, up from 30 million a year before. As of today the company’s up to 200 million monthly views, with over 1.2 billion in calendar 2010 (remember, it took us three years for the first billion).Then, we got the word that NNN videos were the top two most viewed of the year on YouTube, the world’s largest online video platform, and Next New’s biggest distributor.

#1. Without my help, a lot of you have already seen The Gregory Brothers‘ “Bed Intruder Song,” YouTube’s most viewed video of the year (60 million views), proudly distributed by Next New Networks. At the NNN Christmas party the other day, I told Michael Gregory that their indie cred is completely shot. Now, that they’re at the top of the charts they’re like The Bay City Rollers or Britney Spears or something.

#2. The Key of Awesome (part of our Barely Political network) is one of the most popular shows on YouTube in 2010 (last I looked it was number two). With musical parodies almost every week, they’ve taken on everyone from Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga (where do you think she got the idea for her meat dress? Seriously.) Well, one of their Ke$ha videos, a parody of Tik-Tok called “Glitter Puke” has almost 58 million views, 20 million more than the original. Go Awesome!

So, like I said at the top, WOW! Thanks to all of you who’ve been loyal fans throughout the year, and of course, thanks to all of the creative and production folks who’ve made all this great stuff.

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.


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.)

It’s time for summer vacation.

July 2nd, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 10.5
Frederator Postcards Series 10.5, mailed July 2, 2010 Limited edition of 200

Adapted from
Fritz Reiner conducting the RCA Victor Orchestra
Bizet and Debussy 45 EP
RCA Victor Records, New York

More Frederator postcards

This week’s card is the last in this postcard series of record labels, and it’s a departure from the other four in a few ways.

Most obviously, it’s red. Almost immediately after vinyl replaced shellac as the record manufacturing material, companies realized its flexibility allowed for color pressings, and for the next few decades they hoped the novelty could move a few extra units. And it’s a 45rpm EP, which RCA used to try and compete with Columbia Records‘ superior 12″ LP. This card is adapted from the classical repertoire rather than my more familiar soul, blues, and rock. Lastly, it’s from one of the world’s major recording labels of the 20th Century. I tried sticking to the indie approach, but the red was just so cool.

I’m sure record labels will crop up again in some future series, but for your sake, let’s hope its out of my system.

We’ll be releasing Frederator Postcard Series #11 in the autumn.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanboy_(disambiguation) & Chum Chum

May 21st, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 9.12
Frederator Postcards Series 9.12, mailed May 21, 2010

The conventional wisdom at the networks had just about given up on original cartoon hits. But that was before our trademark-applied-for Frederator Cartoon Shorts System™ came back with Random! Cartoons and launched this mega-hit.

From the postcard back:

You are one of 200 people to receive this limited edition Frederator postcard!

History of Frederator Studios
Fanboy & Chum Chum
A Random! Cartoons series
2009 - ?
Created by Eric Robles

Series 9.12

Postcard ©2010, Bellport Cartoon Company. Fanboy & Chum Chum ©2010, Viacom Intl. All rights reserved.

More Frederator postcards

“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.
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

Mac Middleton @ Frederator/NY.

April 26th, 2010

MacGregor MiddletonI had the distinct pleasure of a rare New York visit from Fanboy & Chum Chum’s awesome line producer MacGregor Middleton. In the day to day of a show’s production we don’t often get a chance to sit down and get to actually know each other (especially with my home base being 2781 miles away), so I really enjoyed hearing his stories about his time during the heyday of Warner Bros. Animation. Come back soon Mac, and thanks for all your help on the show.

Series 8 in Black & White.

October 4th, 2009

Frederator Postcards Series 8.1
Frederator Postcard Series 8.1, mailed October 2, 2009

OK, we’re at it again. The 8th series of Frederator postcards goes in the mail this week, starting with a commemorative for the premiere of  Eric Robles’ Fanboy and Chum Chum, and continuing until around February. I won’t say much more about the series yet, other than to tell you how much I like the raw, black & white drawings that animation artists often start with on their projects.

More 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 Series 7, 2008-2009
Frederator Postcards, Series 8, 2009-2010
Frederator Postcards Non-series cards