ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.12 - MARCH 2000

Mondo Media At Play On The Internet Frontier
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Let's Meet The Talent
Aubrey Ankrum, creator of The God and Devil Show, has worked with Mondo Media as a graphic artist since the mid-nineties and is a great example of Mondo's nurturing within for new productions. He seems to love working in the Flash animation format, musing, "I'm a lazy, instant gratification kind of guy, so I never even did much traditional pen and ink animation. The process seemed too labor intensive and compartmentalized." Although his current show seamlessly integrates interactivity within the show's concept (the audience gets to vote on whether the talk-show's guest goes to heaven or hell, followed with an animated tag triggered by which "fate" one clicks), Ankrum feels, "Interactivity is fun when it makes sense...," but he adds, "If you don't need it to tell your story or define your character, I'd leave it alone." Ankrum's early influences include the music of Devo and Oingo Boingo, seeing them, he says, as "subversive outsiders who took an unflattering look at American culture, but they influenced the very culture they lampooned." On the comedy side, he gravitated toward the outrageousness of Monty Python and Mad Magazine. Very much enjoying his own manipulation of today's popular icons, Ankrum summarizes: "So, The God and Devil Show uses pop culture as a common language and then twists it into something else entirely different. Sometimes it's a gag, sometimes it's a message. Hopefully, it's always funny."

Even U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno gets lampooned on an edition of Like, News. © 1999 Mondo Media.

Don Asmussen, the self-described "god of hellfire," is a well-known cartoonist/illustrator with regular strips in Time and George magazines, and the San Francisco Examiner. His work has also appeared in the New Yorker, US News and World Report and Mother Jones; and in 1997, Russian Hill Press published his well reviewed "San Francisco's Comic Book of Big-Ass Mocha." When asked how he got involved in Internet animation, he responds, "John Evershed saw my work in a magazine and called me. We started discussing a `Mondo Mini Show' and here I am." Writing, directing and drawing the elements for Like, News, Asmussen works closely with the show's animator, Michael Lipman, whom he designates his "esteemed colleague." Having recently moved, himself, from the print world to animated on-line production, Asmussen gives the following advice to any other artists thinking of making the jump: "There are no free spaces left. I'm the last position available. Give up -- ha ha. OK, here's my serious answer...try it. It's a lot of fun and the Net allows you to truly express yourself. I highly recommend it."

The Thugs rock with their review of Detroit Rock City. © 1999 Mondo Media.

Dan Todd, creator, writer and director of Thugs on Film, grew up on the Emerald Isle and still sports a bit of the Irish brogue. He's been in film and video production for the past 10 years as well as writing for Wired, serving as the senior editor at New Media Magazine and as editor for various other publications. The series' characters Stubby and Cecil came out of his real-life pub-crawling sessions with two best friends, whereafter the show ideas were developed and fleshed out within Mondo Media's creative environs. The artwork and design force behind this project is Rhode Motijo who, along with his continuous collaboration on the weekly Thugs, still makes time to persist working on his creator-owned comic book, Pablo's Inferno.

Mondo Media has clearly benefited from their successful history in providing multimedia design services to major game outfits and other on-line clients, giving them the chance to amass very bright, on-the-edge digital talent. Evershed states, however, "We have already scaled back this aspect of our business dramatically over the past year and at some point will be completely converted to original content." The studio eagerly anticipates, then, broadening to an even greater pool of fresh creative minds for coming ventures, with Evershed adding: "We have a lot of 3D talent that we're looking forward to utilizing for some new shows that look nothing like the 'Mondo Mini Shows' we have created so far." Meanwhile, the studio seems simultaneously at ease and enthused with their current play on the Internet's frontier.

Lee Dannacher is an animation producer/sound track director of over 300 half hours of television films, as well as numerous network and video holiday specials. Currently based in New York, she is freelancing in audio, project development and new media productions.

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Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.


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