Category Archives: animation

VERY IMPORTANT HOUSE update

2016-09-30 19_00_21

Jenny and I get asked a LOT about the state of the show we were developing. Short story is it didn’t get picked up as a series. It’s one of those things you deal with as a creator, putting years of your time and life-force into a thing, almost four years for us in this case. It’s never a good feeling agonizing to make something different and see how seemingly easy it is for things that are easy sells with no identity beyond “It’s like that OTHER show” to slide through the process.They bought the rights to Very Important House before shelving it, so we can’t do anything with the idea unless the  rights are bought back for the kind of money neither of us have just sitting around. It’s one of the worst feelings as creators because a shelved idea of ours is still alive, like Frolie and Grampa are trapped in cold storage at a place that has no desire to do anything with them.

This isn’t any kind of condemnation of the studio or the people we worked with. We had some good people behind us, some bad, but attitudes and climates change over the course of so many years at a studio,  and the thing you’ve created no longer seems to gel with the direction of programming going on around you.

A studio pouring money into development is not a favor done, it’s a necessary part of what keeps things in operation. Ideas are the lifeblood of the system, and the creators sacrifice something just as valuable as money: their time and dedication to a project that takes them out of circulation for years at a time while not necessarily having a job that could be considered at all safe and secure. The best outcome of a situation where the studio decides the idea simply isn’t a good fit for them is one where the idea doesn’t die but survives on with the creator who still believes in the idea. To come out of the end of that process, years later, and not even own the rights to a thing the studio doesn’t want to produce, well, it’s heartbreaking.

As much as it is the nature of the business, it should not be the norm.

We’d still love to see VIH get made, we think it’s badass. We really do! We think seeing even the TINY amount of it come to life that we did was amazing. Since then, we’ve moved on to work on other projects separately, but we still  hear Frolie and Grampa yelling in our heads.

Oh, if anyone has half a million dollars they want to give us to get the rights back so we could get the show made some other way, please leave a garbage bag of money behind the dumpster behind the donut shop.

2016-09-30 18_40_03

TMNT: Don vs Raph

Last year I was asked if I wanted to do one of a series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated shorts, and, long story short, this is it. I’ll maybe do a longer post going into more detail about the creation of this monstrosity.

This has already been posted all over the place, but I figured I’d be a completist and post it here for the four of you that still haunt this little place of mine!

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Here’s my complete list of San Diego Comicon 2016 activities!

PANELS:

• Happy Happy! Joy Joy!: 25 Years of Nickelodeon Original Animation (Thursday, July 21, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; room 6A)
For 25 years Nickelodeon has produced some of the most innovative and memorable animation in the history of television. Nick Animation Podcast host Hector Navarro finds out how and why four of the network’s most influential creators did what they did: Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!), Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim), Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom) and Arlene Klasky, who along with Gabor Csupo and Paul Germain, created Rugrats. Don’t miss the chance to see production art from the upcoming TV movie Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie; animation from Hartman’s new Bunsen is a Beast!; and the world premiere of Don vs Raph, a TMNT animated short written and produced by Jhonen Vasquez.

• Invader ZIM Conquers San Diego Comic-Con, Saturday, 7/23/16, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Room 29AB
It’s been one year since the premiere of the Invader ZIM comic books, based on the popular Nickelodeon series, so join us for a retrospective of the series so far as well as hints for what’s to come! Featuring Jhonen Vasquez (series creator, control brain), Aaron Alexovich (character designer, artist), Dave Crosland (comic artist), and Megan Lawton (inker) all telling horrible, horrible secrets about the comic book series.

SIGNINGS:

Oni Press Booth #1833

Thursday, 7/21 • Invader ZIM signing with Jhonen Vasquez and Megan Lawton, 6–7 PM

Friday, 7/22 • Invader ZIM signing with Jhonen Vasquez, 6–7 PM

Saturday, 7/23 • Invader ZIM signing with Jhonen Vasquez, Aaron Alexovich, Dave Crosland, and Megan Lawton, 3:30–4:30 PM

DEATHS:

Sunday, 7/23 • I expire from exhaustion and germs.

Very Important House pilot update news (EDIT)

As some of you may know, I’ve been developing an animated pilot in a super secret Disney bunker. Now I dunno how much you do or don’t know about animated pilots, but one of their key features is that they’re animated.

Bad news for traditional thinkers, here: The pilot’s not getting animated.

No, that doesn’t mean things are going badly, it just means I had the misfortune of being in development at a point where the network changed it’s dev process for all their current brewing projects. Not gonna lie, it sucks and it sucks bad for people who want to see some evidence of what Jenny Goldberg and I have been working on for so long now. Sure I’ve got other projects in the works, but as far as things being far enough along that we could soon start proving we’re not full of crap, VIH was pretty far along to where there were just a few more weeks to ship for animation.
So any testing for series pickups is going to be done based on animatics now.

So there’s an update. Hopefully, this speeds up a pickup process so we can get to the series stage sooner.

(EDIT)

Lemme be clear, VERY clear here: The pilot has not been killed. The development process has just been truncated. The end goal now is just an animatic instead of the original plan of animating 11 minutes of pilot. This change in the program is not a sign of things going badly for Very Important House, and, as I said before, it’s more of an across the board move for all pilots in development alongside ours. Surprisingly, the experience overall, aside from this late shift to testing animatics, has been eerily smooth with everyone being hugely supportive of this little thing we’re doing.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be angry. In fact, be furious, use that anger to build a birdhouse or something constructive like that, but don’t be angry thinking our work has been for nothing. We’re certainly bummed about it on our side, but we still have work to do and, if everything goes according to plan, there’ll be a lot more than just 11 minutes of animation to show for it.

 

 

I need questions to answer for a panel. SEND THEM!

QA

So I’m doing a panel for an upcoming convention (Stan Lee’s Comikaze) in a couple of days. Yeah, maybe you’ve seen me do panels before, in person or watched a shaky video of one on Youtube, so you know how it’ll probably go down. I usually just get up there and rant about video games or movies or something and people leave disgruntled and wondering why they didn’t go listen to something about Ninja Turtles. There’s always a point where fans line up to ask questions and…well, that’s where you come in.

This time around I’d like to give the people at the panel a break, you know, let them sit out the question part by answering questions supplied by you fine folks from the futuristic internet realm. No, no. it’s not to avoid the horror that is almost guaranteed to be the result of letting people think up questions there on the spot. Come on, I can’t believe you’d even think that! No, it’s just to be nice and spare the good people in the crowd the potential ankle trauma standing up or walking up to a microphone could invite. One time, a girl, perfectly lovely seeming little thing, walked up,  excitedly grabbed the microphone to bring it closer to her face, and with the sound of a shotgun going off in the room, her kneecaps fired away from her legs, leaving her screaming right into the mic only without metal music accompaniment so it wasn’t badass at all. You don’t know what kind of terrible shit’s gonna happen when you open the room up to questions, so I’d rather just avoid it and here’s how you can help:

The hope is that there’ll be enough people with some decent, fairly thought out questions about my “work” that it will fill up at least 30 seconds of panel. Hell, I’ll even hazard being more positive and say maybe we’ll be able to fill 40 seconds with actual quality interaction! Yeah!!

So hit that link up there, think of what you wanna ask me, then feel terrible about what you wanted to ask me and then write down your actual question that isn’t your initial question. I know, I know, the impulse is to be as fucked up as you can possibly be, but believe me when I say that the most mind-blowing thing I can imagine happening anymore is people actually just making sense. I genuinely enjoy talking my work, whether someone likes it or even hates it, so long as there’s actual thought behind why someone would like or hate it.

EDIT: Thanks, everyone that sent stuff in. The panel went quite nicely and everyone was happy except for the people who hated it.