Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shorts Program Goals 5 - let mistakes happen

TO LEARN FROM MISTAKES AND SUCCESSES

A shorts program should allow the directors and cartoonists to try things out, to experiment and make some mistakes that they can learn from. If each crew only gets to do one short, that's a total waste.

You need to keep a crew going for awhile to see if they learn and get better. Instead of having 20 shorts in a year and 20 units, have 2 units who do 10 shorts each. That makes a lot more sense for a number of reasons. Here's two:

1) you can't find 20x 10 per crew people (200) who have lots of talent. It waters down the potential of each unit. Just hire a handful of really good talent and let them make a bunch of cartoons until they get good.

Tex Avery didn't make a hit with the first cartoon he made. Neither did Walt Disney or anyone else. All the most successful people in history needed practice, experience and the opportunity to make some mistakes.

Of course if you have a unit that ONLY makes mistakes and never gets to the point where the audience likes their cartoons, then fire the director and try again.

2) having 10 or 20 crews (too many) means you never develop a studio style or personality. Warner Bros. started with 1 crew, then went to 2, then 3 and then 4. The whole time they were developing a style and attitude that the audience could recognize and anticipate. They were "building a brand".


HAVE ONLY ONE EXECUTIVE - A CAPITALIST WHO WANTS TO SUCCEED
Looney Tunes had the best production system in history. The one most guaranteed for success. There was only 1 executive - Leon Schlesinger. Leon had 2 traits that made him so successful:

1) He was greedy.

2) He liked to laugh.

If you could make him laugh, then he was smart enough to know that the audience would laugh too. The more you kept him laughing, the more time off he could take to go to the racetrack and spend all the money you made for him.

Use common sense and let talent thrive
Today's executives don't want to make any money for their companies because they don't own the company. So instead, they like to SPEND money - like water! They hire more executives who all get involved in interrupting the creative process. A bunch of hippie communists who can't make decisions so want to spread the blame amongst other equally uncertain slobs.

The money wasted on pseudo-science could fund more cartoons and get to finding stars faster
They not only can't make decisions amongst themselves, they then go and spend ridiculous sums of money on voodoo science called "Focus testing" and "Market Research". This makes each short cost 10 times what it would if they just hired an experienced and funny cartoonist, gave him a unit of talented cartoonists and let them make 5 or 10 shorts, letting each one get better. You shouldn't expect the first characters the crew creates to be a hit either. It takes time to find and develop good characters. How long did it take Warner's to "discover" Bugs Bunny? They went through a few dud characters before they even got to Porky Pig.





But once they found their style, they were on a roll and created money-making character after character.
WHAT'S EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN IDEAS AND CHARACTERS?





The talented people who are able to constantly produce new ideas and characters. Today's execs seem to think ideas exist in a vacuum. That an idea is either a "good idea" or a "bad idea", so they go through young cartoonists like crazy trying to find the one who has the latest good idea, rather than developing talent and a whole studio system that allows people to gain experience, work together and try new things on an ongoing basis, the whole time improving their skills without interference from amateurs.

Bugs Bunny is a good idea, right? Then why has no one been able to make a good Bugs Bunny cartoon since the 1950s? Because other people with less experience, talent or time to work together tried to compete with what took years of a long gone logical system to produce.


CREWS NEED TO GET USED TO WORKING TOGETHER

The crews also need to learn to work together which is very important. Even a great established director needs more than one cartoon to get used to a new crew and have them get used to him. Making a few cartoons lets them find out what each other's strengths and weaknesses are. Like sports teams, they should be able to trade team members who don't fit in with another unit that might suit them better.


Ways to waste money that could be better spent directly making cartoons


Execs today spend a fortune worrying about each short - rewriting it 20 times, testing the damn thing, writing storybibles, taking luxurious treks around the world to "creativity summits"having too many discussions about the characters and their motivations - instead of planning the big picture and building strong crews and a studio personality. LA is just stuffed with talent more than capable of doing what Looney Tunes did. So is Toronto and Ottawa. -and Vancouver, as someone just reminded me - the home of the great Carbunkle Studio and many other animators. It's the system that's messing it up.

Creative growth happens naturally if you just set up the system to let it. Like Leon did.

Leon would give each director and crew a year at least to see how they did. If they did well, they stayed on and kept improving. If they made boring pictures, he fired them and replaced them with some eager new director (who had worked his way up the ladder by assisting, animating, writing gags and learning the whole process.) He didn't hire inexperienced kids off the street and put them in charge of his own loyal experienced animators just to kill their loyalty.

Everything about the Looney Tunes system made perfect logical common sense. It was geared for success at the least cost, and it achieved it, both in terms of developing the best talent, and creating the best, most and longest lasting cartoon characters.



---------------------------------------------------------------------------

So when execs say they want to discover the "next John", they need to understand that I wasn't 20 years old when I made the Ren and Stimpy Show and I had learned a lot of stuff on my own (since there was no supportive studio system in the 80s) and made some mistakes that were also valuable and helped lead to the success of my first self-created show.

HOW I LEARNED FROM THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE MISTAKES

In 1987 I got my first shot at directing from Ralph Bakshi. I hired the crew and we made the first real cartoons in 25 years. (meaning actually created by cartoonists and using the medium)

http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2007/10/mighty-mouse-show-presents-tribute-to.html

I adapted my layout system to the show and added new production systems that combined the realities of TV budgets with the creatively more efficient classic Looney Tunes Unit system.

The show was innovative and a cult hit but not mainstream and popular enough for CBS to keep on, so I scratched my head and sat down and figured out why not.

I didn't consult any focus groups; I just used common sense and reasoned it out. Some cartoons got bigger laughs than others, and it seemed to me that they were the ones that had the most personality and structure.

I swore if I ever got to make my own cartoons, I would concentrate more on the characters, which is what I like the most anyway.

So when Ren and Stimpy sold, I already had a lot of experience, had made creative mistakes and learned from them. It wasn't merely talent that made the show work. It was experience guided by logic. And weird ideas, of course...but controlled weird ideas. And PRACTICE!

I also had a team of great artists that I already had worked with. We knew each others' styles and strengths, so I took advantage of that on Ren and Stimpy.

The show was a smash hit, put Nickelodeon on the map, bought their studio and put cable cartoons in business. All this with no marketing, no focus testing and only 1 executive. A very good deal for Nickelodeon and it killed Saturday Morning Cartoons (which were already pretty unhealthy). And then of course Nick didn't give it a chance to make further money and cut it short. God how they hate to make money the easy way. Now they have been copying it for years using theories, market research, voodoo, soccer Moms and clones and the "formula" gets watered down and the clones get replaced by new clones after every few months. Then they wonder "where is the next Ren and Stimpy?"

They could have had 20 more by now if they just let it happen while we were on a roll. Instead they waited 10 years and spent a hundred times the cost until Sponge Bob snuck in through the back door under the radar. Now of course they want the next Sponge Bob "but not so weird". So why don't they get the Sponge Bob crew to do it?

Because that would make too much common sense. Get other people with no or little experience to imitate it superficially, then apply market voodoo to it and make the same mistakes over and over again and watch the quality and originality get filtered out year by year till we end up with intensely simplified formulaic copies of what was once alive, exciting and evolving.

Of course now the question in everybody's mind is probably:

Where do you get all around experience in each department today?
Since most of the essential work is done overseaes...

continued next post...

65 comments:

Kali Fontecchio said...

Nice post!

Aaron said...

I'm enjoyin this

Mike Kevan said...

I really am enjoying this series, your thought are clear and completely logical, i only hope that a studio someday soon has the balls to try it the old fashioned way. It seems like the only way we can get new long lasting characters, who exist way beyond their first shorts. Really looking forward to the next one.

David said...

This is very interesting and it's clear why this worked back then. So I'm very curious how we can make this work today, so we can have great cartoons again! Can't wait for your next post!

Wormen said...

Hey John!:)
I'm crazy about those continued blogs you're posting, it's so damn interresting, I love to read about animation history...

I would really appreciate if you'd take a look at the show I'm trying to develop, I'm pretty happy about it, so if it would be possible to sent some sheets from it, on mail or something, it would be awesome...

Btw, Where is it possible to watch The george Liquor show? And is it coming out on dvd or something?:)

Perica and Toshke said...

I agree.
current production system is a big load for animation.
Today, the animation can be done quickly and cheaply.where they spend that big money?

remains: how we can sell our shorts?

Jorge Garrido said...

I'm not just kissing your ass, but every time I think your blog can't get any better, you top yourself. This blog series is one of the most valuable ever written! I wish everyone in the animation industry read this entire series. It should be taught in every art school in The United States of Canada!

Combining animation history, personal anecdotes, and solid, logical advice, the "Goals of a shorts program" blog series is one of the best things I've ever read on the internet.

Are you listening, Jeffrey?

Ceu D'Ellia said...

What to say?
You are sure going straight to the point. Better than anything I already read about animation production.
But most of the executives DON'T want to understand that.
That is why they are executives.

Mike Rauch said...

John, thanks a million for these posts on the business side of things. They are really just so helpful to read. I can't even begin to tell you.

Alex I.R., Esq. said...

I've been hearing this message since 2005. On a Ren & Stimpy DVD, no less (season 2 to be exact.)

The imagry you put here of the "focus group" and summit meet are chilling to look at. Is there a name for what's wrong with that?

Adam T said...

Today's executives don't want to make any money for their companies because they don't own the company. So instead, they like to SPEND money - like water! They hire more executives who all get involved in interrupting the creative process. A bunch of hippie communists who can't make decisions so want to spread the blame amongst other equally uncertain slobs.

This is the problem of every large organization I've worked for. Unnecessary management is the biggest waste of money and the quickest way to destroy morale. Managers are like viruses. They infiltrate the host organism and quickly replicate interrupting all life sustaining processes with endless 'team meetings' and gantt charts. It's sad that even cartoons aren't safe from them.

Rick Roberts said...

Ugh ! Look at that workshop ! It's so conservative ! I am pretty sure every funny idea that a person would pitch would be shot down instantly. Then look at the photos of the various Termite Terrace story meetings and gag sessions, it's a bunch of guys huddled up in a small room just saying funny crap to each other until something sticks.

"Bugs Bunny is a good idea, right? Then why has no one been able to make a good Bugs Bunny cartoon since the 1950s? Because other people with less experience, talent or time to work together tried to compete with what took years of a long gone logical system to produce."

I remember an episode of Family Guy I was watching were Peter stated his grandfather helped create Bugs Bunny. The flashback took place in an executive type room filled with non-cartoonists voting on a name for Bugs. That is honestly how these people think that Bugs Bunny started. Some character design was made instantly and a vote was made of what to name it. No trial and error, no sense of who the character should be, nothing. Just a name and a look.

Monk-of-funk said...

Absolutely great post John. People (and studios) would greatly benefit from taking chances and making mistakes.

Geneva said...

Great post, I'm excited for the next installment!! However, as great as it is, what depressing news to deliver. Spongebob "not as weird" is an awful idea. I remember friends who knew nothing about cartoons saying "it's like watered down Ren and Stimpy." They meant it positively, but even in the layman's eyes-- watered down versions of a watered down copy? Makes me sick!

Barx said...

It seems like such obvious common sense....unfortunately with all the production companies, broadcasters and service studios involved to make one series, I have yet to experience this clear, simple, and creatively driven system.
Also, as soon as one series is complete the team usually disbands in order to hunt down their next gigs. Keeping a crew together is a luxury rarely seen.

Niki said...

Y'know, with all this murder, and the plan to animators kill themselves, how does stuff like Spongebob and Ren & Stimpy get through? Is it just dumb luck?

Dan szilagyi said...

Hi John,

I really love this series you're doing and i'm grateful that someone is taking the time to sort, think and write it all down.

One small comment though, you forgot to mention Vancouver ( Canada ) beside those other cities, i'd like to think we have a small ( but talented ) pool of people

If anything i can say there is bad management because it makes them feel like "they" are doing work by shitting on good and funny ideas, people also get hired because someone knows someone and some how they get in ( i'm all about friends helping friends to get work in the industry ) but some of that should stop

are we reduced to shitty 3D films and crappy flash cartoons now? and like you said rip off's of Ren & Stimpy? ( spongebob, and lots of early nick cartoons from the early 90's )

I really look forward to the next part of this series

keep up the amazing work sir!

Cheers~

JohnK said...

Hi Dan


you're so right. Thanks for reminding me. I added Vancouver to the post.

Kerssido said...

It seems just about every popular character started out as a background character and evolved over time. Pogo wasn't originally the star of his comic, and the prototype looked much different. I believe Calvin started out as a background character, too, until the syndicate indicated that they liked that character the best so the comic was remade to feature him.

JohnK said...

Same with Popeye.

Barx said...

Hey Kerssido, I find the 'supporting characters' to be much funnier than the'main character' with most cartoons on TV today. My guess is that with all the executives picking the main character to pieces they becomes watered down and more generic because of an effort to please everyone involved.
The sidekicks and background characters are allowed to be more adventurous because they are not being scrutinized under an industry microscope. The idiots, geeks and freaks generally seem to be in the background.
...just an observation....

Mr. Fun said...

John, I have a blog and I would LOVE to link to this story (with your blessing of course)... as a creative working for a "creative" company, it resonates with me.

I haven't commented for a while, but I check in nearly every day! Love what you do, what you say, and the fact that you are such a skilled observationist when it comes to funny things and cartoons in general!!

My blog is called F as in Fun, it is not cartoon-specific but it is mostly about having fun. Your blog is what inspired me to start blogging early this year.

http://fasinfun.blogspot.com/

Thank you,
A real fan in Cleveland

Hayden Currie said...

This is gold. I'm in Canada now, and being exposed to the mind numbingly dull children's television is super depressing, especially when contrasted with the potential on display here.

pumml said...

Really important post, John. It seems many executives have managed to overload the top end of the industry, driving overhead through the roof with their shear numbers, salaries and rampant, misplaced spending. They suck the life and creativity out of the business and then scratch their heads, wondering why they can't retain their audiences. You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen...

In these economic times the smartest large companies are cutting away many of their highest paid top-end (and less useful) employees, while keeping their other employees who are more than capable of moving forward. Perhaps some of the dead weight might be treated the same way in the cartoon industry.

I'm sure you've heard of the McCracken-lead, Cartoonstitute shorts program in development at CN. Any thoughts about what this could mean to the industry? People like Chris Reccardi, Genndy and others are busy creating shorts that will hopefully capitalize on the strengths and fulfill many of the goals you've been posting about. Let's hope they truly get the chance to make a difference!

Bobby Pontillas said...

FANTASTIC READ.

drawingtherightway said...

These kind of posts are the reason I always visit this blog everyday! Very interesting and informative.

Wasn't there an urban legend that the mighty mouse show was taken off the air because some parents thought that mighty mouse snorted cocain but it was really just flower petals?

I know in other posts that you said that you let your animators draw off model, but there has to be a limit to how far off model they can draw right? I would imagine working with each other for so long as a team would help them know just how off model they could get.

Dan szilagyi said...

No problem John, i know a few of the animators who worked at Carbunkle and even taught me when i went to film school here in vancouver.

I do have a question though, with all this great advice and knowledge what can one do to have such a studio exist? does one current exist in your mind or that you know of? i'd like to think Pixar is one of the closer ones to that idea but i'd like to see more classic cartoony studios pop up as well.
i guess this question is something you might cover in a future post though but i'd be interested to know if the only way to having a good quality studio is by starting one up yourself?

Cheers~

Brubaker said...

Focus testing definitely has flaws.

According to cartoonist Joe Murray in his book "Crafting a Cartoon", The Powerpuff Girls actually did horribly in focus test. Of course, PPG ended up becoming a big hit.

Some networks take the test seriously, some don't. Regardless they do it anyway just to please whoever owns the network (Time Warner or Viacom, etc.)

paraton said...

Bosko is a racist caricature of black people.

Mr. Semaj said...

Man, I enjoyed every last bit of this assessment.

Didn't the Nicktoons program used to be about originality in children's programming? So then why are some of today's Nicktoons spinoffs from the latest Paramount animated feature?

In fact, when was the last time we got a new Nicktoon people wanted to talk about? I see their attempts to pass Catscratch off as the next "big" Nicktoon went well.

The early Nicktoons were just one great reason why people remember Nickelodeon from the 1990's so well. The network respected kids, and kids respected the network. Today, Nickelodeon has demolished almost everything that once defined it, and has failed in any attempt to replicate the past. Even the green slime only shows up once in a blue moon anymore.

David Germain said...

John, you left out one thing that also contributed to the Looney Tunes' success. Warner Bros. had something called "block booking". This meant that the cartoons were automatically attached to any of the feature films. So, of course, the cartoons were guaranteed a large audience across the country or even the world.
That's something that modern independent artists and/or studios don't have. Once they're done their film, they have to do the leg work and put up the money to put it in as many film festivals as they can. Sure, they could make their film available to the world by posting it online, but then they'll need a good campaign to get loads of traffic to their site.

Even if the modern version of Avery, Clampett, Jones, Disney, or Milt Kahl etc. did exist right now, I think the above text is the very reason why something like the Looney Tunes could never be duplicated.

The best we can do is come as close as possible.

Wilson Ramires said...

AMAZING POST joHn!!!!
ThankX a miLL for sharing!

JohnK said...

What's the difference between block booking and owning your own network?

Brubaker said...

"What's the difference between block booking and owning your own network?"

You mean, besides the fact that there are hundreds of networks to choose from, compared to a handful of theaters in one city?

David's got a point. With block booking, people who normally don't look for animation would get cartoons shoved in their faces anyway regardless of what movie they're watching. Now you have to look for it, and your mileage will vary depending on what kind of cartoons you prefer.

Thomas said...

So why don't they get the Sponge Bob crew to do it?

Corporate hippies don't want people with experience, The thing that got inCORPORATED from the hippies was the sense of living in the NOW. If you have experience, you aren't NOW.

Kyle said...

I wish John could run Nickelodeon for like a year er so, get us back some memorable toons and form some solid teams for future projects as well. I want Nick to be THE network to watch for kids like it used to be. Now its just one of many others that panders.

Agreed about focus groups. those rarely do any good.

JohnK said...

>>You mean, besides the fact that there are hundreds of networks to choose from, compared to a handful of theaters in one city?<<

I can think of 2 or 3 kid networks that monopolize the cartoon shorts programs. They are the ones that could benefit from a logical approach, but of course they won't.

Ted said...

"Tex Avery didn't make a hit with the first cartoon he made. Neither did Walt Disney or anyone else"

Except Winsor McKay...

pappy d said...

Under block booking, unaffiliated theater owners had to purchase a whole season of A picures, B pictures, shorts & cartoons sight-unseen from the major studios who had all the big box-office stars under contract. The 8 majors had a "gentleman's agreement" to minimise their own financial risk & keep independent producers out.

This meant that the product was pre-sold in blind-bidding. You could take more creative gambles once you didn't have the pressure of making money. They had focus groups in those days too but under this system, why bother? It's like owning a network in a world where no one cares about Nielsen ratings. It allowed cartoonists to focus on cracking each other up, as God intended them to do.

Whit said...

Winsor McCay's stuff never caught on beyond novelty status. He was a full-time editorial cartoonist who only did a few films due to the time it took to make them. He was animating realistic figures years before Disney, but wasn't able to devote all of his time to cartoon making. There is only so much one person can do. Bill Plympton seems set on disproving this adage.

Mr. Tat said...

I always thought greed was one of the seven deadly sins that would surely condemn them. Namely, to "why fix something if it ain't broke" mentality that leads to many uninspired duplicates. Or was that gluttony and pride?

This is the problem of every large organization I've worked for. Unnecessary management is the biggest waste of money and the quickest way to destroy morale. Managers are like viruses. They infiltrate the host organism and quickly replicate interrupting all life sustaining processes with endless 'team meetings' and gantt charts. It's sad that even cartoons aren't safe from them.

That reality is not very encouraging, especially to young 'uns who want to go in but do not know how to start (or how to use Photoshop but that's another story.) It somewhat reminds me of a related happy, language-free tale:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xU57gP0Kzw

HernĂ¡n G. Fuentealba said...

yeah , it is almost the same in other jobs , when a charge of leadership is required, now it is common to put young people from any bussines-enterprise school , instead of promoting experienced employes ... so it seems like there is no improving of any kind , neither a real learning, because schools keeps programing robots out of men

david gemmill said...

you are talking about making tv cartoons, but i'd like to think that we are beyond that and that there are other obvious outlets to distribute quality cartoon content.

who's to say that we need to make 11 minute or 7 minute shorts to fit in with standardized tv programming slots when 3 minute or 14 minute shorts can be just as successful on the internet.


today's 'cartoon' studios are not only struggling because of their poor decisions and top-heavy executive control,but also because no one has really tapped into or set up a viable business model for internet/cellphone/new technology distribution..

JohnK said...

You have to be able to MAKE quality product, not merely distribute amateur stuff.

No kid in his basement can make the progress and quality that a group of talented people in a sensible production system can.

Brian Goss said...

"No kid in his basement can make the progress and quality that a group of talented people in a sensible production system can."

Unless that kid is Jessica Borutski.

Just teasin'. I know what you mean.

Raff said...

Good series of posts.

>> No kid in his basement can make the progress and quality that a group of talented people in a sensible production system can. <<

Painfully true, but what is the next best thing to a good prouction system if it's not the kid-in-the-basement?

ps I'll be taking a crack at the layouts next week.

Rick Roberts said...

"No kid in his basement can make the progress and quality that a group of talented people in a sensible production system can."

No ignorant kid can. ;)

ther1 said...

Working with people is very difficult for me. I wanted to do animation as a hobby on my own, but when I read the "kid in the basement" thing, I realized I can't. Even Plympton hires people to work for him.

Of course I'll make cartoons on my own when I'm ready, but I'll need to get help from friends to make something good. This site has blasted a lot of my illusions about art away. Thanks for your help.

Mr. Fun said...

Hi John, thank you for posting my comment from yesterday. I linked to your blog - this particular subject is so fascinating to me (creative process)!

Thanks again,
Cleveland, OH

http://fasinfun.blogspot.com/2009/03/john-k-ghandi-of-cartoon-mountain.html

pappy d said...

Some eager young animator was gushing to Ward Kimball about how great it must have been to be around the studio in the golden age. Ward let him go on for a while, then said: "Walt's dead. You missed it."

What we have going for us today:

inexpensive digital ink & paint

affordable vector-based animation programs

no absolute need for a brick & mortar studio

John

the internet

robust 3D shareware

reference material on DVD

Can anyone think of something I missed?

John A said...

Pappy, You lft out the most important thing: MONEY.

Cotton Gin said...

Market research and other such endeavors are a bane to any creative process. Not just cartoons but movies and radio. Like I really need some fat Midwestern housewife wearing LA Gear sneakers to tell some over educated douche-bag analyst, hired by some HR department, why my product is not funny.

pappy d said...

money, we DON'T got

pappy d said...

"Animation should be an art....what you fellows have done with it is making it into a trade....not an art, but a trade....bad luck ."

Winsor McCay

Corey said...

Great series of posts.

Question:

How did you avoid focus testing for Ren & Stimpy?

Did NICK want to use focus groups & you fought against it?

Thanks

Pete Emslie said...

Paraton says: "Bosko is a racist caricature of black people."

Sounds like Paraton has network executive potential to me!

Ceu D'Ellia said...

WARNING: If you are of an artistic disposition and didn't know that animators do it for the money, this book may shock you! (Terry Gillain, animator, director and phyton, in Animations of Mortality)

Rick Roberts said...

Pete: I never understood the accusation Bosko being a negative charicature of anything. He looks like a bug or something.

JohnK said...

>>How did you avoid focus testing for Ren & Stimpy?<<

They focus tested the pilot and said it didn't get high marks.

They bought it anyway and I asked why.

"Because the kids laughed more at yours than they did the other ones."

Cotton Gin said...

When you talk about "controlled weird ideas" do you mean like self editing to make the product more consumer friendly or to appease cooperate entities? It seems like a problem I frequently have. Sometimes when I write with my friend we throw ideas around that we think are really creative and new but then I have to frequently go back through everything in a different mind set where I have to ask myself "Is this really as funny as i think it is or is it to far removed?"
I hate having to bastardize material that I consider funny just because it was not mainstream or shoots to make a few select amount of people laugh. Is it something that you have to train an audience to appreciate over a period of time?
Maybe I am wrong but to me "weird" is interchangeable with "originality".

Mr. Fun said...

> They focus tested the pilot and said it didn't get high marks.

> They bought it anyway and I asked why.

> "Because the kids laughed more at yours than they did the other ones."

Well, DUH!!!!!

Kids love silly, crazy, colofrful things that avoid preaching some boring "moral of the story" they already hear at home.

Stretchy characters + kooky voices + lots of mischief + occasional violent act = cartoon gold.

These suits are incredibly clueless, they really are. It's a miracle any thing good ever ended up on television at all. I cite Star Trek TOS as one thing that - thank god - someone finally had the forsight to execute (even though they tried killing it a couple of times, but it never had a proper time slot.)

Anyway, I'm getting off subject.

John, one thing I wonder almost every time I visit your blog is,are you working toward some ultimate goal of getting us a whole mess of great new cartoons - or are you content with cruising at a more comfortable pace? We could use some great new cartoons. Do you have the financing and the manpower to pull it off? Do you even want to anymore, given what you have already gone through with Nickelodeon?

I am rooting for you. I am not trying to stroke your ego here, but IMO we need you to succeed. The kids need you and we need you too.

Bill Wright said...

A very insightful blog, John. Thanks for telling it like it is. When you look at all the old classic Looney Tunes, you realize they truly don't make 'em like that anymore. Problem is, they don't seem like they really want to.

I'm really hoping we're on the verge another big renaissance for this style of cartooning. It's about time.

Various said...

Re: Mr Tat:

It somewhat reminds me of a related happy, language-free tale:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xU57gP0Kzw


Well, I think that's the first time I've seen someone link to Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe on this blog! It's appropriate, though - a lot of Charlie's cynical horror stories of the TV industry are quite reminiscent of stuff John K has discussed...

Zachary P. said...

I've wondered for many years, when your show got cancelled in 1992- why didn't you go to Cartoon Network? They existed at that time. And it isn't as strict.

Brenden said...

I know this post is several years old but I have a question for you that I can't seem to get to you any other way, besides posting in a new post that may not be relevant to my question.

I'm a student of animation, and I am working on my own creation, and I was wondering what you feel would be the best means of getting my own show out there and keeping it alive? It would be most appropriate for the adult swim crowd, should I approach adult swim? Or would I be giving up my rights, or too many? What would be the best, ideal way to get my cartoon on TV or to the public, yet retain ownership of it, including merchandizing?