Outstanding Individual Achievement
for Production Design in an Animated Television Production:
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
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.
J. Michael Mendel
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