Thursday, August 23, 2007

Name that Toon?

I'll admit it, I'm upset. News from way up high at Cartoon Network is that we have to change the name of our animated series from 'The Secret Saturdays', a title that everybody I've ever spoken to loves (including very nearly everyone at Cartoon Network itself!), to 'The Secret Adventures Of Zak Saturday', which sounds remarkably similar to 'The Sweet Life Of Zack and Cody' or 'The Life and Times Of Juniper Lee'. Ugh. The worst part is that the new title isn't as good at reflecting what our show is really about... it's like calling the Fantastic Four 'Johnny Storm and his amazing Friends'. Please let CN know which title you like best here. Thanks.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Momo a Go-Go

The Secret Saturdays director Scott Jeralds and I were talking last week and, being his birthday, I guess he was a little nostalgic. It came to light that 35 years ago this summer, Scott was vacationing in Missouri during the terrifying Momo monster flap of 1972. It was wonderful to get that kid-perspective of the event-- I mean, can you imagine being a fantasy-prone kid who discovers that your parents have been shielding you from the news that a real, honest-to-gosh, dog-killing monster is roaming around exactly where you're having a nice, rural vacation? Yipes! I know producer Fred Schaefer once told me about the Goat-Man that was said to live in the swampy woods near his childhood home in New Orleans, and I'm starting to wonder just how many folks on the crew have had cryptozoological encounters! Sadly, I've never spotted a Sasquatch or oogled an Ogopogo. I feel so unqualified for the job!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hallowe'en Town

I was hanging out on Magnolia Boulevard this afternoon checking out all the drop dead gorgeous pin striping on display for the hot-rod studded 'Be-Bopping In The Park' and finally got the opportunity to visit the new Halloween Town location. It felt like home, naturally. Too much fabulously fearsome goodies to describe here... spend some time creeping around their site to get the idea. What I'd really like to know is how they get the murder of real-life crows to skulk around the outside of the store!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hearing Voices

You what's really fun? Getting to sit in on an animation voice recording. Even better? When the actors get along like the family you want them to portray and have just as much fun with the material as you have listening to them record it. The pilot episode was recorded this week in lovely North Hollywood in two seperate sessions to break up the hour-long script. The cast is just plain amazing... funny, enthusiastic, and perfect for the show. The big villian of the piece, Argost, is portrayed in gooseflesh-raising glory by none other than Corey Burton of 'Haunted Mansion Holiday' fame. It's a truely brilliant bit of old-school horror acting that I guarantee Monsterama fans will dig. Doc and Drew Saturday are played by Phil Morris and Nicole Sullivan respectively, in characterizations even better than I imagined. Phil is best known to you lot as the Martian Manhunter from 'Smallville', and Nicole is probably best recognized from 'MadTV' and 'King Of Queens'. Sam Lerner (Chowder from 'Monster House) does a bang-on Zak Saturday, and Diedrich Bader of 'Drew Carey Show' fame is uncanny (and hilarious!) as Fiskerton. 'Batman Beyond' himself, Will Friedle does a great Doyle, and Fred Tattasciore freaked us all out with some amazing monster sounds for Komodo and Zon. What a blast!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lurking in the Backgrounds

Here are a couple of background paintings for the Secret Saturdays. I really wanted a lot of solid blacks and gritty texture to stay on the screen, which is fairly abnormal these days, and I sent the crew a bunch of old Roy Crane scans to emphasize the 'spotted blacks'. I think we've achieved a really nice comic-booky, updated Jonny Quest vibe with these.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

It's Saturday

I'm thrilled to pieces about our having Scott Jeralds aboard directing the Secret Saturdays, and not just because he has stories about Iwao Takamoto, Doug Wildey and Alex Toth from his days at Hanna Barbera. Scott and I share the same cartoon influences and predilections, and Mr. Jeralds is a man who really 'gets' this show. The fabulous crew he's assembled in-house seem to be a very loyal to him, as well, and things are looking very very nice as a result. I guess it's also looking good because it's such a fun show to work on. That's what they tell me, anyway. The storyboards for the hour-long pilot episode are nearly all done, and it's looking wicked! Here's a quick peek at a monster transformation sequence by none other than Monsterman Mike Manley...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Hills Have I

I'm settling down to my first lonesome night in the Hollywood Hills, right across Barham Boulevard from the ol' Bates Motel in the Universal lot. I'm staying at the Oakwood Toluca Hills, about one hundred feet away from where a couple of kids from Illinois started a fire that nearly burned down Griffith Park earlier this summer. The dead, blackened wood jutting out of sun-baked earth gives the place a rather post-apocalyptic look. It's very homey.