Archive for the 'Dojo of Fame' Category

01
Oct
10

Dojo of Fame – Steven Hillenburg (Animation Week Day 5)

And here comes the close of animation week.  Who better to dedicate the last day to than the creator of one of the most popular cartoons ever, Steve Hillenburg?!

Steve Hillenburg was originally a Marine biologist until he decided to abandon that job and peruse his other lifelong dream, a job in animation.

After making a few short films, He started out writing for Mother Goose & Grimm.  Before long he had a job doing the writing, storybording, and producing for Rocco’s Modern Life.

After Rocco ended, Steve decided to pitch a new show, based on his love for Marine life.  He, along with many of his friends from Rocco, pitched the idea to Nick and it was greenlit…and the rest is history.

Nearly everyone knows of Spongebob.  He is Nick’s most profitable character and the sheer amount of spongebob merchandise is beyond comprehension.  The show has run for 10 years, an amazing feat for any show..especially a cartoon.

After the first three seasons, a Spongebob Squarepants movie came out it was awesome.  unfortunately, Steve intended for it to be the series finale and planned to quit after the movie.  Nick, did not want to cancel the series though, as it was making a fortune.  Steve decided not to quit, but stepped down and became an executive produces, neglecting most of the creative aspects of the job.  Unfortunately, since then the show’s overall quality has dropped quite a bit.

According to NBC chicago (link here) Steve is working on two new TV projects, but won’t tell what they are at the moment.  Whatever they are, I bet it is good!

So Steve, for creating the show I quote most often, I salute you.  Welcome to the Dojo of Fame!

30
Sep
10

Dojo of Fame – Paul Dini & Buce Timm (Animation Week Day 4)

Unlike DiMartino and Konietzko, Timm and Dini are not officially partners.  They have worked on many separate projects and I could really probably dedicate a day to each man.  However, they have worked on a large number of projects, and tend to work on similar types of shows, therefore I decided it would be best to let them share a post.

In the 1980’s they worked at Filmation on various shows including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but their epic partnership did not really come into play until they joined Warner Bros and began working on Tiny Toon Adventures.

At Warner Bros., Timm co-created Batman: The Animated Series, and brought Dini along to write.  Batman was everything you can ask from a Batman cartoon: It was action packed, entertaining, and dark.  The series never talked down to its audience like most kid’s shows do and it never failed to entertain.

The series met with phenomenal success and is considered by many to be the best superhero cartoon of all time, and with good reason.

One of Timm and Dini’s best creations come from this series.  Yes, that’s right…I am talking about none other than Harley Quinn

Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a psychologist at Arkham Asylum who was fascinated with extreme personalities.  Joker, sensing an opportunity worked his villainous charm and caused Harleen to fall him love with him.  She helped him to escape, donned a Jester outfit and changed her name to Harley Quinn.

As Joker’s sidekick, Harley actually made name for herself; proving that she was more than capable of handling herself in a fight and almost as much of a threat as Joker himself.

The character quickly became a fan favorite and eventually became integrated into the comic universe as well as the animated one.

Since then, Timm and Dini have worked on several other DC project helping to create the DC animated universe.  They have also worked on comics and even videogames (Dini having written the script for Arkham Asylum)  but their greatest achievements will always be the key roles they played in shaping the world of superhero cartoons.

Timm especially became involved with the creation of the DC Animated Universe to the point to where large part of the universe has been dubbed by fans as the “Timmverse”

Timm also created Freakazoid!.  However, as it turned from a serious show into a comedy, Timm left.  However Dini stayed and continued to write for the series.  Freakazioid!, which is kind of a parody of super-hero shows with an animaniacs sense of humor went on to be a cult hit.

It is interesting to note that Dini has apparently switched over from DC to Marvel and will be the head writer and producer of the up and coming Ultimate Spider-Man TV series.

Really, I would like to go over every series these two worked on…but it would take way too long.  Suffice to say that between the two of them, they have done a lot in the realm of animation.

Paul Dini and Bruce Timm are the Dynamic Duo of Animation.  Welcome to the Dojo of Fame guys, I salute you!

29
Sep
10

Dojo of Fame – Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko (Animation Week Day 3)

These men make for an impressive duo. They studied animation together at the Rhode Island School of Design.  For a while they both worked at Film Roman helping to make shows such as, Family Guy, Mission Hill, and King of the Hill.  Bryan was also a storyboard artist and art director for Invader Zim, and Michael created a short film called “Atomic Love”.

However what makes these two men legends is the show they created for Nick, Avatar: The Last Airbender.  It was an action packed show about a world where people have the powers to control the elements around them through a practice called “Bending”.   After the Fire nation attacks, they wipe out the airbending race and try to conquer the rest of the world.  At the south pole, a young waterbender and her brother find a small boy frozen in a sphere of ice.  When he wakes up, it is revealed that he is the last airbender…and he is also the Avatar: the chosen one who can control all the elements.  The trio must travel together so that Aang may learn the 4 elements and finally defeat the Firelord.

Being greatly inspired by asian culture, Avatar felt like an American show pretending to be an anime.  However it does not really fit into either anime or western animation.  Rather, Avatar achieved a blend of the two animation styles that is uniquely its own.  The show stayed lighthearted enough for children while still dealing with dark themes to keep us older folks interested.  It never talked down to its viewers and was an amazing series.

The show kept us on the edge of our seats, it make us laugh, it even made us cry a time or two (see tales of Ba Sing Se: Part 2 – The Tale of Iroh…I cry everytime…)  It is one of the best shows TV has to offer, be it live action or animation.  If you have not watched The Last Airbender, then you are missing out.

Unfortunetly, the live action adaptation by M. Night was…well, horrible…

Luckily for us fans, Bryan and Michael are working on a new series set in the Avatar Universe. Avatar: Legend of Korra will take place approx. 70 years after the original series.  It is rumored that this new series will just be a 13 episode mini-series.  Though it is still possible it may be a regular series.  Either way, I can’t wait and I am sure the duo of DiMartino and Konietzko won’t let us down.

DiMartino and Konietzko, for creating one of the greatest series to ever grace the TV screen, I salute you!  Welcome to the Dojo of Fame!

28
Sep
10

Dojo of Fame – Butch Hartman (Animation Week Day 2)

I first recognized Butch Hartman’s name as a writer for Cartoon Network’s “Cartoon Cartoon” shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory and Johnny Bravo.  No doubt his trademark humor was what helped make these shows so great, and he actually became the first behind the scenes guy I knew of in animation.

However, he became a big hit when he created “Fairly Odd Parents” for Nick.  The show features Timmy Turner, an average ten year old boy in a pink hat.  His life seems pretty miserable, due to his evil babysitter, Vicky, until the day when he received two fairy god-parents who grant his every wish.  Fairly Odd Parents quickly became Nick’s number 2 show (just under spongebob).  And all this fame is for good reason.  Fairly Odd Parents is a delightful show filled with some wonderful off-the-wall humor.

After the success of Fairly Oddparents, Nick asked Butch if he had any ideas for a new show.  Luckily, he did.  Danny Phantom and the Specter Detectors.  The original show featured a Johnny Quest, like teenage boy named danny fighting ghosts along with his sidekicks.  After some reworking, Butch decided to make Danny a half-ghost and give him superpowers and thus, Danny Phantom was Born.

Danny Phantom incorporated the screwball humor from Fairly oddparents, yet grounded it a little more by making Danny older, and giving the series a continuity unlike that of his previous shows.  Half action show and half comedy, Danny Phantom was a smash hit.  Personally, I think it did far better than Fairly Oddparents and represents some of Butch’s best work so far.

At one point, he tried to make a spin-off of Fairly Oddparents called “Crash Nebula” the resulting pilot felt like a rip-off of “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command” (but in high-school) to me and was not really that good.  It never made it to a full series.

And now it Butch has a new show coming out entitled T.U.F.F. Puppy set to air this saturday.  Wikipedia summarized the premise with the following:

The show’s central character is a dog named Dudley Puppy (voiced by Jerry Trainor), who works as a secret agent for an organization called T.U.F.F. (Turbo Undercover Fighting Force). His partner is a cat named Kitty Katswell (voiced by Grey DeLisle)

Below are a couple of trailers for the new series:

While it does not look like his best work…this trailers are enough to keep me interested. It does look decent, but there is not a lot to go on yet.  Will this be the next Fairly Oddparents, or the next Crash Nebula?  Only time will tell.  But I can tell you that I expect great things from this series and I can’t wait to watch the 1st episode.

Also, Butch does more than just make great cartoons.  He has set up a charity organization called the Hartman House Foundation.  According to wikipedia:

[the] Hartman House travels to developing nations and some of the most poverty stricken areas in the United States.  Hartman House has built two homes for families in Guatemala, fed nearly 7200 families with Thanksgiving meals in the U.S., and is in the midst of funding a school in Africa. Hartman uses his talent to draw and autograph pictures of his animated shows for hundreds of children at these events.

You can check out the official website here.

Butch Hartman is an amazingly talented man and he deserves a place in my Dojo of Fame.  Butch, I salute you!

27
Sep
10

Dojo of Fame – Genndy Tartakovsky (Animation Week: Day 1)

Welcome to animation week!  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big fan of western animation.  I just never really grew out of cartoons.  But as I have grown, my tastes have still matured and while I still enjoy cartoons with the same glee that I did when I was a little kid, I can appreciate what goes into making a good cartoon.  Now there have been plenty of good cartoons come around in my lifetime, but some were just exceptional.  And in order for a cartoon to be exceptional, it has to have some exceptional talent behind it.

So that is why I am dedicating this week to some of the most talented creators in the industry.  Unfortunetly, I am not going to list any voice actors (I am not skilled enough at recognizing them yet…but their day will come eventually) rather, this is more about the creative people who created these amazing shows.  Everyday I will be showcasing a different creator and adding them to my “Dojo of Fame”.  I hope you enjoy it!

To kick off my Animation Week, I am going to start by spotlighting the man who inspired this week:

Genndy Tartakovsky

Genndy Tartakovsky is a man who will blow your mind.  Most of us got hooked on his creations with Dexter’s Lab: A series about a boy genius named Dexter and his insane sister Dee Dee.

Dexter, with the aide of his secret laboratory, is constantly creating crazy inventions and Dee Dee is always breaking them.  While this show could have gotten into a rut of “what is Dexter’s new invention this week?” it kept it fresh by mixing invention episodes in with episodes about dexter trying to fit in school, having a baby sitter, and going on road trips.  Some of the episodes did not even seem to have a plot, they were just pure madness.  Topped off with the “Dial M for Monkey” and “Justice Friend” shorts that were sandwiched between segments, and you have a formula for one of Cartoon Network’s best TV series.

After Genndy was finished with Dexter’s lab he started on something completely new, Samurai Jack.  The plot was…well, I think the opening theme explains it best:

Long ago in a distant land, I, Aku, the shape-shifting Master of Darkness, unleashed an unspeakable evil! But a foolish Samurai warrior wielding a magic sword stepped forth to oppose me. Before the final blow was struck, I tore open a portal in time and flung him into the future, where my evil is law! Now the fool seeks to return to the past, and undo the future that is Aku!

Stuck in the future and trying to get back while fighting the evil forces of Aku, Samurai Jack never ceased to amaze.  His almost otherworldy skills with his sword provided for some of the best action scenes in all of animation.  His quite, polite demeanor set him apart from most Bad-A protagonists of the day.  The beautiful artistic direction of the show accompanied with the slow pacing of the opening scenes gave the show an amazing artistic feel.  The soundtrack was perfect, with the score capturing every mood imaginable.  It was filled with action and adventure.

The sheer variety of the themes in the episode were near unimaginable from the artistic and sobering episodes “seasons of death” to the hilarity that is “Jack Meets the Scottsman”.  Jack took us into space, to a village of talking dogs, to Egypt, into the world of 1930’s mobsters, to the world of the Spartans, and everywhere else.

Samuri Jack was truly an amazing show and Genndy’s best work.

In fact, Samurai Jack was so good that it inspired George Lucas to commission Genndy to make a mini-series based on Clone Wars.  This series had the action of Samurai Jack, without the slow pacing.  Clone troopers firing everywhere, Jedi engaged in epic battles.  Genndy’s Clone Wars set the standard for Star Wars animaion…a standard that the new Clone Wars series has not even come close to achieving, unfortunately.

Now Genndy’s newest project, Sym-Bionic Titan is starting to air.  At the time of writing only 2 episodes have been aried, but they are both amazing and seem to live up to everything Genndy has done so far.  I could go on and on about how much potential this series has, but I have already written that article and I don’t want to bore you too much.

Anyways, Genndy Tartakovsky is one of the greatest minds in animation and he deserves a proud place in my Dojo of Fame.

16
Sep
09

Dojo of Fame – Adam West and Donny Osmond

They say that sometimes its good to be able to laugh at yourself.  I agree.  *Holds up a mirror to his face and begins laughing*

Ok, now that I have made a spongebob reference, time to talk about the people I am “honoring” in this post.

Adam West and Donny Osmond

I am writing about them because they can make fun of themselves.  They make the best guest appearances, which makes them more awesome than they really are.  For example, Donny Osmond was in the music video for White and Nerdy, and Adam West parodies himself as Catman in Fairly Oddparents.

But the most important thing is, they were both on Johnny Bravo.  That’s right, I am really only writing about them because they are on Johnny Bravo.  But their episodes are the best ones in the series!

So….the moral of this post is:  If you appear in Johny Bravo, I will like you.

10
Jun
09

Dojo of Fame – Bill Nye the Science Guy

Science Rules!  Most people only know Bill Nye as the goofy host of that educational television show for kids….but most Bill Nye is acually just as much of a scientist as a entertainer.  Not only that…but we share a birthday!  So…yeah..

For example he “developed a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor still used in the Boeing 747.”   He holds several patents.

He acually got his nickname “the science guy” when he was an actor on a sketch comedy series known as Seattle, Almost Live! after correcting the way the host pronounced Gigawatt.  The host responded by saying “who do you think you are?  Bill Nye, the Science Guy?”

He has made a lot of public appearences on television since the Science Guy show.  He has been on everything from the weather channel, to Who wants to be a Millionaire (as a lifeline) to an Episode of Stargate: Atlantis.  He was even in a ride at Disneyworld!

Bottom line:  Bill Nye rocks and Science Rules!  So welcome to the Dojo of Fame, Bill!

(for more Nye info check out his Wikipedia page, my source for all this info or his personal Website)

08
Jan
09

Dojo of Fame – Ben Burtt

ben-burtt-jpeg

Ben Burtt is a legend.  He is most widely known for giving R2D2 his voice.  (well, beeps) He was the sound designer for Star Wars.  He created the humm of lightsabers, the chilling sound of Vader’s mask, and the iconic sound of blaster fire.

Now, this alone is enough to make him awesome.  However, it is not all!  Ben Burtt also was the sound designer for Wall-E.  (probably his biggest achievement)   He has also worked on several other ears and even helped decide wich audio compression method is used for digital television!

When it comes to sound, Ben Burtt is the man.  He has been making movies sound better for years, and for that I salute him!

“In Star Wars, I wanted to come up with a very massive rumble for a spaceship flying overhead… I recorded the air conditioner in my motel room, slowed it down so it was even deeper and that became the rumble for the spaceships”   – Ben Burtt

Academy Awards 

  • Sound Effects Editing in 1982 for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
  • Sound Effects Editing in 1989 for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Special Achievement for sound editing in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  • Nominated for:
  • Sound and Sound Effects Editing in 1983 for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Sound Effects Editing in 1988 for Willow
  • Sound in 1989 for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Documentary Short Subject in 1996 for directing Special Effects: Anything Can Happen
  • Sound Effects Editing in 1999 for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • (information stolen from Wikipedia, picture and quote from Silicon Valley Radio)

23
Oct
08

Emperor Norton

Joshua Abraham Norton – Emperor of the United States of America (and Protector of Mexico).

It started out normal enough, it was the mid 1800’s and due to a famine in china, all rice exports were banned.  The price of rice in the San Francisco rose from 4 to 36 cents per pound.  Norton, seeing a business opportunity, bought 200,000 pounds of rice for $25,000.  The next day, several shipments of rice came into San Francisco, lowing the price of rice to 3 cents a pound.  Norton had to declare bankruptcy.  Then, suddenly, he vanished.

Then, a few years later, he returned and sent letters to local newspapers declaring himself emperor of the United States of America.

At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.

NORTON I, Emperor of the United States.

After a while, he also added Protector of Mexico” to his title.

Now, going crazy and declaring yourself emperor is one thing, but the amazing part of this story is that people humored him.  Not only did he eat at all the restaurants for free, but he had reserved seats.  All of the plays and musical had balcony seats reserved for him.  He was given free clothes.  The money he printed was even used as valid currency!

He would declare laws and decrees.  The most famous of which was to build a bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco.  (which happened years later) He also commanded a creation of a league of nations.

He would also make inspections of the city and would give long philosophical talks to anyone who would listen. It is even said that he once broke up a riot by standing in the middle of it and saying the Lord’s prayer over and over.

It is also worthy of mention that in San Francisco there was another man by the name of Frederick Coombs who thought he was the re-incarnation of George Washington.  He, for a time, had the same high status as Norton until he left town after a fued of Norton.  (Fredrick thought Norton was jealous of his reputation with the ladies)

Norton proves that you can make a living off of being crazy.  That is why he is my favorite historic figure, and why he deserves a place in the Dojo of Fame.

19
Sep
08

Guybrush Threepwood


In honor of Talk like a Pirate day, I am adding Guybrush (fancy pants) Threepwood to the Dojo of fame. He is the first (and possibly only) fictional character to be inducted.

Not much is known about Guybrush’s past…exept that he wanted to be a pirate and ended up getting washed up on the shores of Melee island. Soon he falls in love with Elaine Marley, becomes a pirate, and defeats LeChuck…..quite a few times…

Ok, you may be wondering why he has such a goofy name…well, here is what wikipedia has to say about it:

The origin of the name “Guybrush” comes from Deluxe Paint, the tool used by the artists to create the character sprite. Since the character had no name at this point, the file was simply called ‘Guy‘. When the file was saved, Deluxe Paint automatically appended the extension ‘.brush‘; before the designers could think of a proper name they got used to referring to ‘Guy.brush‘ when talking about the sprite and decided to use it as the protagonist’s actual name.[1] “Threepwood” was the name of Dave Grossman’s RPG character and was picked through voting. The name comes from P. G. Wodehouse’s family of characters including Galahad Threepwood and Clarence Threepwood, 9th Earl of Emsworth.

Gameography:

The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)
Monkey Island 2: Lechuck’s Revenge (1991)
The Curse of Monkey Island (1997)
Escape from Monkey Island (2000)

So today, on National Talk like a pirate day, lets show some respect for the greatest, funniest, best dressed pirate in history! Then, lets show some respect for Guybrush Threepwood star of the greatest, funniest, incredibly clever video game of all time!

“I’m Guybrush Threepwood, a mighty Pirate”




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