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Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Television Production: Paul Harrod

Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Productio: Eddie Murphy, as the voice of Thurgood Stubbs

Thurgood leads an excursion, including the two youngsters, Calvin and Juicy, along with Jimmy, Sanchez and Walter Burkett to a "campsite" in the middle of the Hilton-Jacobs Projects' courtyard. Calvin and Juicy complain that they're missing out on a big wilderness adventure, but as the night progresses, they discover more adventure than they bargained for.

The PJs represents television's first-ever stop-motion animated primetime series, breaking new ground with regard to both set and character fabrication. The "Boyz 'N' The Woods" episode best exemplifies the cinematic quality of this series, with its multiple locations (both interior and exterior), varied lighting situations and use of computer effects to expand the characters' universe. The subterranean environments of the sewer and 'Fortress Of Squalitude' evoke the qualities of danger, adventure and comedy which drive the story.

A foam-latex body is cast over a custom fabricated steel "ball and socket" armature, allowing for realistic repeated movements and the ability to pose the character into virtually any position. The head is cast from rigid, lightweight urethane plastic, with movable eyes held into place by magnets cast into the sockets. All facial expression is achieved through the use of replacement mouths, eyelids, and eyebrows. Though this might at first seem like a limitation, the actual range of expression the characters are able to achieve is remarkable.

Starting with the character design as a model on which to base the Stubb's universe, a set of ground rules for set design and fabrication were established which went far beyond miniaturizing in a realistic manner. Proportions follow that anything which comes into contact with the character's hands or face are built in one scale, while anything which is seen more in relationship to the rest of their bodies would be proportioned smaller.

The aesthetic approach behind the show's production design is "reality sanded" - creating a hyper-realistic world and then pulling back a tiny bit to keep the vividness of this world from standing in contrast to the stylized design of the characters. One of the greatest challenges became a singular asset. Because of the scale, virtually every object had to be built from scratch using urethane casting and vacuform technology to create multiples; desired qualities could then be ascribed instead of dealing with the limitations of ready-made items.

While the bulk of the show is created in miniature, computer models were used for wide matte-shots, city establishing shots, and shots including the entire Hilton-Jacobs building. by actually scanning finished surfaces used in the miniatures, similar surfaces could then be "mapped" onto computer models, allowing for a more seamless cut.

As many as five episodes were in production at once, and most of the regular sets had to be created as multiples. Up to six duplicates of a single location might be constructed with every single aspect of the set dressing reproduced. Every prop had to be molded, cast and painted identically.

Though numerous "one-off" sets have been created, many sets have been constructed from pieces of other stock sets. From the start of pre-production a modular approach was pursued, whereby walls or architectural details could be quickly pieced together to create a new location.


Credits:

Created by
Eddie Murphy
and
Steve Tompkins
&
Larry Wilmore

Executive Producers
Brian Grazer
Ron Howard
Tony Krantz

Executive Producer
Eddie Murphy

Executive Producers
Will Vinton
Tom Turpin
Executive Producers
Larry Wilmore
Steve Tompkins

Consulting Producers
Al Jean
Mike Reiss

Supervising Director
Mark Gustafson

Producer
Michael Price

Supervising Producer
Bill Freiberger

Supervising Producer
David Flebotte
Produced By
J. Michael Mendel

Written By
Ilana Wernick
&
Saladin Patterson

Directed By
Paul Harrod



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