Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Visit to Tiny Toons Two-Tone Town

Tiny Toon Adventures was a very interesting experience. The memories that I have from it are all good. As a matter of fact, working on that show was a whole lot of fun. There was a carefree quality for me working on these cartoons and I remember laughing a lot. Maybe that's why in 'Fields Of Honey' I explode in a burst of laughter (more on that in another post). I had just joined the studio from Don Bluth's Burbank facility. I was working as an animation trainee and making a very low salary. Don't get me wrong; I learned many things there at the Bluth House, but it got to the point where I couldn't afford to work there anymore. Ken Boyer, who was one of the designers of the Tiny Toon Characters and a director for the show, offered me over double what I made at Bluth to join Warners as a layout artist! I loved animating for Don but I couldn't turn down the offer. Joining Warner Bros. Animation was a fantastic opportunity! Here I was working side by side with legends of animation and some of the most talented animation artists in the animation business! Working on Ken's crew offered me the ability to grow as an artist. Because we both liked the same styles of animation and design, it gave me the opportunity to stretch in the direction that I really wanted. In a short time, I was promoted to storyboarding. Storyboarding is as close to Directing a cartoon as you can get. Here you can really influence how the thing plays from beginning to end and that was very appealing to me.
Although I storyboarded a handful of Tiny Toon cartoons before this, Twotone Town was different for a few reasons. Even though it features the Tiny Toon characters, it feels like a different show. It was a half hour episode (most half hours were made up of three cartoon segments) and it is one of the few that features storyboard credits on the title cards (the episode was broken up into four blocks for the storyboard artists).
It's also one of the best animated episodes of that series...the twotone characters look great in the finale.
It's also credited as the inspiration for the next series that Warners would tackle called Animaniacs.
Although I was never credited for character models for the studio, I did influence a few through the boards. Near the end of this episode in Part Two, the Buddy Hackett caricature is from the only model sheet that I ever did at the studio.
(For your information, I worked on the last section to the finale!)


Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

It's also one of the best animated episodes of that series...the twotone characters look great in the finale.

Well it was sent to TMS, you can only expect the best from them! I remember this being quite a good episode too (I was never quite into the show myself given the rather odd mix of overseas studios and noticing those differences too well as a 13 year old seeing it for the first time).

Brubaker said...

This episode stood out to me when I watched reruns of the show on Nickelodeon oh so many years ago. Nice to hear that you had a hand in it.

Speaking of TMS and storyboarding being close to directing, in Japan it's more closer than you think. It used to be that the episode directors in Japanese studios were expected to do the storyboards themselves. There's a behind-the-scene film on the making of the 1960s "Astroboy" show that showed the director storyboarding AND slugging at the same time (it's on my blog). These days there's a separate storyboard person for an episode director, although it's not uncommon for the directors to do the boards themselves from time to time.