Fanboy and Chum Chum: Breaking the TV CG Mold
ER: It was the first time that I ever worked on a pre-school show. At the time I was working at Jim Henson Studio and was doing some CG straight-to-video for them and I got a call from Dave Marshall that was working on Ni Hao and he said, "We're having a little trouble getting some of these models, so how about you come over here and give me a hand." And I had worked with Dave on The Xs prior. I said, "You know Dave, I usually don't just get up and go from jobs." But he was a good friend so I said, "Absolutely, I'll go over there and give you a hand."
It was definitely a fun learning experience for me. I got to storyboard their main titles for them. Help them with their models, special posing and some of the boards. It was a fun experience.
RD: How did it feel to get an Annie nomination for The Xs?
ER: This industry has been nothing but good to me. To even have someone recognize you first of all it's a huge deal. I've always admired everyone in this industry, all these amazing artists, designers, directors and creators of these shows. To just be part of it is a very big deal for me. It's very humbling at the same time.
RD: Is there anything else you'd like to add about Fanboy?
ER: At the end of the day, Fanboy is everything I've ever wanted to say about cartoons. It's fun. It's high energy. The beautiful thing that we've been given at Nickelodeon is the freedom to make cartoons. On Fanboy and Chum Chum, don't expect the series to be anything but Fanboy trying to collect every single comic in the world in every episode. Fanboy and Chum Chum is the type of series where basically we have been blessed with a reset button on every single episode. That's what I love about the show. It's the beauty of SpongeBob where they can have random Bubble Buddies if they want and no one says, "That's really weird, why is that happening?" We've been able to break that mold with this CG series and say we have these kids and anything can happen.
RD: It's nice to hear that execs get it.
ER: I have to thank Fred and the Random Cartoons for that. At the end of the day, Fred is the kind of producer that says, "You know what? What do you want to make?" He's not the kind of producer that says, "You know this is what we're looking for. Right now, we're looking for series about dogs." I was very upfront with it and said, "I want to make a series where you can go nuts."
Rick DeMott is the director of content for Animation World Network, VFXWorld and AWNtv. Additionally, he's the creator of the movie review site, Rick's Flicks Picks, which was recently named one of the 100 best movie blogs by The Daily Reviewer. He has written for TV series, such as Discovery Kids' Growing Up Creepie and Cartoon Network's Pet Alien, the animation history book Animation Art, and the humor, absurdist and surrealist website Unloosen. Previously, he held various production and management positions in the entertainment industry.