An an­i­mated Homer

Salmon Cove na­tive pro­duces new kids se­ries for YTV

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON Al­most Naked An­i­mals Sponge­Bob SquarePants. Al­most Naked An­i­mals Pig. Fish Hooks Max and Ruby Polka Dot Door) Jim Dupree: En­thu­si­ast.

As a child, Tris­tan Homer re­mem­bers en­joy­ing In­spec­tor Gad­get car­toons on the tele­vi­sion at his par­ents’ home in Salmon Cove. Never could he have imag­ined grow­ing up to bring such a show to the small screen.

But that’s just what Homer, a 30-year-old tele­vi­sion pro­ducer now liv­ing in Toronto, does. His biggest project to date for em­ployer 9 Story En­ter­tain­ment is just mak­ing its way onto tele­vi­sion screens in Canada and around the world.

is a half-hour an­i­mated com­edy about the mis­ad­ven­tures of a group of clean-shaven an­i­mals that only sport un­der­wear while run­ning a beach­front re­sort called the Ba­nana Ca­bana. The se­ries de­buted on YTV on Jan. 8 at 11 a.m., and will con­tinue to run in that Satur­day morn­ing slot fol­low­ing the im­mensely pop­u­lar chil­dren’s pro­gram

The show has been Homer’s main fo­cus at work for the last two years. As the pro­ducer, he runs the show.

“Part of my job is ad­min­is­tra­tive, and part is cre­ative,” says Homer, who worked his way up from a pro­duc­tion as­sis­tant job (a glo­ri­fied ti­tle for ‘pho­to­copier’) he got with 9 Story En­ter­tain­ment in 2005.

“I deal a lot with sched­ules and bud­gets, mak­ing sure all the var­i­ous stages of pro­duc­tion are mov­ing along as smoothly as pos­si­ble. I also re­view a lot of the key cre­ative el­e­ments, in­clud­ing the writ­ing, voice act­ing, an­i­ma­tion, and au­dio de­sign.”

That adds up to a lot of work for each halfhour episode, which takes seven months to cre­ate, with mul­ti­ple episodes in pro­duc­tion at any given moment. Cur­rently, Homer is pro­duc­ing a 26-episode sea­son.

“Ev­ery sec­ond of an an­i­mated show con­tains 24 sep­a­rate frames of an­i­ma­tion, so a 22minute show con­tains about 31,680 frames,” says Homer. “ Work­ing in an­i­ma­tion def­i­nitely re­quires pa­tience, and a ridicu­lous level of or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

But that sort of hus­tle-and-bus­tle was just what Homer was look­ing for af­ter com­plet­ing his bach­e­lor of com­merce (Co-op) de­gree at Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity in 2003.

“I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in mak­ing or cre­at­ing stuff, and I’m not sure that I fully re­al­ized as a kid that you could ac­tu­ally make a liv­ing do­ing that, which is why af­ter high school I did a busi­ness de­gree.”

While com­plet­ing his fi­nal year of stud­ies at MUN, a friend told him about the tele­vi­sion pro­gram at Ry­er­son Uni­ver­sity in Toronto.

“I was drawn to chil­dren’s pro­gram­ming most be­cause it seemed to me like it would be a lot of fun to work in. The sto­ries that are told are sil­lier, and you can do lots of weird and imag­i­na­tive things that nor­mally aren’t done for older au­di­ences — es­pe­cially in the world of an­i­ma­tion.”

is the cre­ation of Noah Z. Jones, who pre­vi­ously made the an­i­mated se­ries for the Dis­ney Chan­nel. Homer says the show is meant to ide­ally ap­peal to kids ages six-to-10, though he hopes it will find older fans as well.

“ We try to pep­per each episode with el­e­ments that will ap­peal to broader au­di­ences, so that par­ents and older broth­ers and sis­ters will be able to en­joy the show too.”

In his time with 9 Story En­ter­tain­ment, Homer has been able to work on sev­eral pop­u­lar shows, in­clud­ing andWib­bly

The lat­ter was nom­i­nated for a Gem­ini Award in 2010, rep­re­sent­ing a ca­reer high­light for Homer, who was a line pro­ducer on the show.

“It didn’t win, but the Polka­roo ( from the long-run­ning kids se­ries was at the awards cer­e­mony, and that was pretty fun,” he says.

In his spare time, Homer has pur­sued other cre­ative in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing a video pod­cast he di­rected and wrote with friend Daniel Misener called

“I’ve al­ways had am­bi­tions to write and cre­ate my own projects, rather than just pro­duc­ing, so maybe some­day I’ll give that a shot. More than any­thing, I just want to keep my­self in­volved with projects that I en­joy work­ing on, and that I can be proud of at the end of the day.”

There seems to be a lot of in­ter­ested in his new­est show, given its plumb Satur­day morn­ing time-slot af­ter ev­ery­one’s favourite yel­low sponge — it’s also set to air in mul­ti­ple for­eign mar­kets. Homer says it has been hard to stay on top of trends in chil­dren’s pro­gram­ming, but he says they tend to be cycli­cal.

“It’s al­ways chang­ing, but it seems as if even if it’s not a great time for a cer­tain type of pro­gram­ming, it’s just a mat­ter of time be­fore ev­ery­body’s hun­gry for it again. Hope­fully the world is hun­gry for shaven an­i­mals in their un­der­wear for many years to come. A down pay­ment on a house here in Toronto is pretty ex­pen­sive.”

The move to Toronto in 2003 was a sur­pris­ingly easy one for Homer, who up un­til then had never even vis­ited a large city, let alone live in one.

“I am just as com­fort­able walk­ing down a crowded street here, as I am go­ing for a stroll on Salmon Cove Sands,” he says. “I still miss a lot of things about home, though, and I’m al­ways happy when I get to come back for a while.”

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