A Rumpus On The Net
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Justin Dike, director of animation, actually began his career with Rumpus prior to his graduating from the School of Visual Arts (SVA). The Atlanta native came onboard full time in July 1999 but stays close to the action at SVA since that is where the bulk of Rumpus' new talent is found. Dike acknowledges the rapid changes their studio has gone through. "When we were hiring, we used to look for the all-purpose person who could illustrate and who could also animate," he says, but facing the sharp increase in production output, he and Lahey have had to delineate artistic responsibilities into a more traditional studio system of departments to keep the work flowing. "Everyone's finding their little niche right now," he explains, with the caveat that it's still a company where flexibility is key. Although they have a separate writing department (headed by a Harvard Lampoon alumnae), two full-time game designers, a range of 'toy people' and innovative executives, everyone has an opportunity to contribute in a variety of creative areas anywhere along the route of script, illustration, layout, storyboarding, animating, voice recording and posting. Dike gets a lot of his motivation from the versatility and immediacy of working in Flash animation. "My favorite part is by far, just how quick we can do things. We can turnaround 3 four-minute cartoons in a week. It's amazing and it doesn't wear you out," he says. "Then on Monday, you're fresh for something else!"

The Science Freaks like to party after each new episode is in the can! ©

The Path Ahead
Highlighting the sense of adventure surrounding everything going on at Rumpus these days is their recently premiered anthology show called Crazy Sports.A few months ago, when taking on additional space in an old boxing gym next door, they discovered thousands of feet of old film footage left behind by a previous tenant. Justin Dike describes their treasure find: "It's all sorts of crazy stuff from the 1950's... old NASA footage... really wild stuff. You think you're going to find out who killed Kennedy in these old films!" Weeding through the materials, what they didhappily uncover were some nutty sporting segments on goofy things like bicycle polo and monkeys building race cars -- which they've edited together with some cool interface and animation into a series of mixed-media shorts sure to tickle any age group booting up and tuning in.

Together with this new series, fresh episodes for their existing programs and the upcoming movies and specials, Rumpus also plans to unveil one more animated series and three more live-action shows later this year. A study in entertainment motion, indeed!

We can expect they'll take every opportunity to create wacky amusement for kids andadults with every comic turn they take. It's easy to see having fun is what Rumpus is all about -- inside and out -- as they lead the forward swing with creative and original fare on the children's digital frontier.

Lee Dannacher, currently based in New York, is a Supervising Producer and Sound Track Director of over 350 half hours of television animated series, along with numerous home video and film productions.

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