Tyler the Creator vs. the Jellyfish
The popular rapper’s irreverent new animated series By Ramin Zahed The Jellies! five! They cancelled Static Shock. Nobody remembers Fillmore! They killed Chef on South Park… So I said we will make this n**** black, and he ain’t got no guns, he ain’t shooting no f****** basketball, and he is a f****** goober. He ain’t the comic relief or the sidekick. He’s the lead character!”
According to Boyce, there are five other writers besides he and Tyler who come up with the stories in Los Angeles. Then it’s up to producer Aaron Augenblick and his team at his New York studio to bring the show to animated life.
“One thing I have learned about animation is that there is so much detail involved,” says Tyler. “I didn’t know that you needed to have a very ‘ We just said, let’s make a cartoon that really shows our humor. Let’s just make a show that we want to watch, and that’s exactly what we did.’ Tyler, the Creator
With offices in Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver, indie studio Titmouse puts its special touch on a wide variety of popular toons. By Karen Idelson
Ioffers an animated snapshot of puberty. By Karen Idelson
n the premiere episode of the new Netflix original animated series Big Mouth, pubescent boys Nick and Andrew find themselves simultaneously embarrassed and fascinated by their changing bodies and the Hormone Monster that threatens to remake their entire lives. If this makes you think of your own journey through the seventh grade, there’s good reason for that. The scene comes by its authenticity because it’s based on the childhoods of real best friends Andrew Goldberg ( Family Guy) and Nick Kroll ( The Kroll Show) and their experiences as they went through puberty at completely different rates.
“Andrew is pretty much the same height as he was in the seventh grade and I’m a foot taller,” says Kroll. “For me, it didn’t really start until high school, and by then I’d felt frustrated about not changing much for a long time.”
The 10-part series, which debuted on September 29, was created by Kroll, Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett (who created the romantic comedy Little Manhattan). All of the collaborators added bits and pieces of their own personal experiences to the series.
Naturally, topics like hormonal changes, female sexuality and sexual arousal became part of the discussion in the writer’s room. Many told stories from their own lives that became incorporated into the show, or the central idea for an episode of the first season. Kroll and Goldberg both focused on making the shows funny as well as honest and real—despite the possibly excruciating memories they and the other writers might have to recall while creating the work.
“We made sure that everyone understood our writer’s room was a safe space so we could talk about these ideas in a way that made everyone comfortable,” says Goldberg. “Once we all felt okay—like we could talk about these topics—we right away developed a lot of ideas, like the Hormone Monster character, for example.”
Kroll says he immediately knew he wanted to voice the Hormone Monster with a scratchy, growling tone, since it would pop up (no pun intended) at the most inopportune times to taunt and tempt the male characters on the show. As in life, the boys aren’t the only ones trying to ride out the biological storms that start in
For almost 20 years, beloved children’s author and illustrator Todd Parr has been making readers of his books feel good about themselves and the world around them. This fall, he has a new book out titled Love the World as well as a new untitled animated TV show in the works, which will make its debut at MIPCOM.
Parr’s partners on this new venture are U.K.’s Spider Eye ( Jungle Junction) and SupperTime Entertainment, who also worked with him on a short animated project for Sesame Street last year. “I learned a lot from my first TV experience, ToddWorld,” says Parr about his Emmy-nominated series that ran on Discovery Kids from 2004 to 2008. “Looking back, there were things that I would have done differently. I have a much clearer idea of what the voice, the message and animation of this new series should be to match the story. In my first conversation with Spider Eye, we discussed how we might put my themes and style of disruption into an original series. I really liked what I heard.”
SupperTime’s President, Gerry Renert ( ToddWorld, M.A.S.H.), who worked with Parr on his previous animated ventures adds, “The experience was so smooth and seamless. Spider Eye really got Todd’s work, so it seemed to be natural to try our hand at another project.” Creating New Characters and
Situations Parr, who is hoping to have the show ready by 2019, points out that an animated show based on his books needs to have more fleshed-out central characters. “You really have to invent the main characters,” he notes. “It’s like we have to go back and think, ‘OK, if my books were characters, what would they say, and who would deliver the messages of the books?’ I am very proud of ToddWorld, but there are certain things I would do differently now. For example, Todd seemed to have all the answers. He wasn’t that much fun, and the art didn’t match the books.”
“We had such a great experience working with Todd and SupperTime on our first short film that we jumped at the opportunity to de- velop a series with them,” says Erica Darby, partner and producer at U.K.-based studio Spider Eye, who has also produced popular children’s shows such as Jungle Junction and Horrid Henry. “We’re big fans of Todd’s books, and of his ability to get across potentially complicated concepts to kids with a simple and affirming ethos, and in a unique style.”
As Renert points out, “Some things have changed significantly in our world since ToddWorld, and the social climate in our country is very scary. We have become much less accepting than before. We all believe that Todd’s books help in very subtle ways to embrace a message of inclusiveness, and we hope that will also resonate in the new show.”
Parr says he was quite pleased with the fact that Darby and her team are also keen on emphasizing the messages of his books as well as reflecting the artistic style of his books. “What’s really important is to capture the messages of empathy and kindness, as well as the silly and fun aspects of it,” he notes “It’s all about letting kids know there is unconditional love in this world and that everything is going to be OK.”