Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Animated Sitcom That Never Was

Yowza, it's been some time since I blogged! Easy to get behind. I came across these images in my files recently of a treatment I worked on for an animated series that was pitched to Fox several years back when there were rumors "The Simpsons" was in its final season. This concept, "The Wasbands," was kind of an "Odd Couple-squared," featuring four middle-aged divorced guys who shared the same apartment. The foursome featured a shameless womanizing nightclub owner, a finicky Harvard professor, a good ol' boy redneck, and a neurotic marriage counselor who experienced a failed marriage himself.

The concept was interesting and had much potential for the humorous interaction among the lead characters--it's a shame it never got into production. But every venture is great practice, and you never know how the experience will be woven into your career to give you skills for a different project on down the road. For example, the years I produced a comic strip were helpful in giving me a good sense of sequencing and pacing necessary for the work I've done on storyboards for numerous TV commercials.

One of the great things about being self-employed is being able to create projects like this one that really interest you. Some fly and some don't, but the practice contributes to the advancement of your career.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid

You know, there's a lot of doom and gloom in the news economically. I emphatically believe, if people would turn off their tv's and radios to the doomsters, ignore the politicians who have an agenda to make you dependent on them to fix the economic mess they helped create, and just go about business as usual, thankful for the opportunities that abound and creatively seek where you have talents and goods to offer, the economy would fix itself.

So much of Wall Street is just plain guesswork, gambling on what may or may not be. Just the rumors of wars or shortages bring a decline. And it's not real-- it's a perception that causes the fluctuations.

Have faith in your talents and abilities. Be creative. Look for needs to fill and offer your services at a competitive rate. This is still the land of opportunity.

During the Great Depression, some businesses thrived. What were they? Entertainment that met a need for people to escape. Breakfast companies (who could do without Ovaltine and oatmeal?) that provided a good start to the day to tackle life's problems. And information sources that people scoured to find opportunities.

If I may be a little bit religious, the Bible says God knows your needs, even before you ask. Ask. Trust. In good faith, do.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cartoon Cavalcade

When I was a child, my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Howard, gave me a cartoon anthology compiled by Thomas Craven called Cartoon Cavalcade. I still have it today, though the spine has long since worn off due to my numerous perusings over the years. It covers cartooning by the decade, starting with the late 1800's through the 1940's. It's a great overview of many of the early comic strips, gag panels, and even a few Disney stills are included.

I can still feel that rush of excitement that I had as a child whenever I open the book. It was my first exposure to early masters like Charles Dana Gibson, Gluyas Williams, Rube Goldberg, and Charles Addams. The idea that there were grown-ups in the world getting paid to draw funny pictures was a thrilling idea for a fourth grader. And it's still an amazing concept to me today.

It's hard to measure the impact that book had on my development as a cartoonist, and I am so grateful my teacher had the insight to give it to me. I notice the book is available on Amazon today from various used booksellers. I could probably get a fresher copy, but it's kind of like a badge of honor to have my worn-spine version. It's a reminder of how dedicated I was to learn my craft.