Below is an excerpt from an ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE article about the new Cartoon Network series CLASS OF 3000. In it, the show’s executive producer/co-creator, Tom Lynch, proudly talks about how ignorant he is of the animation process:
Lynch confesses to “making every mistake anybody could make, and adding some new ones” on his road to creating a 2D series. “I think my worst one was when the cut came back [from overseas animation]. I looked at it and said, ‘Okay, I have some rewrites.’ They said, ‘Uhhh, you get some retakesâ€¦’ I had thought retakes meant whole scenes, but it was only moments or close-ups. That was an education right there, because in live-action I rewrite all the way through post-production, I change everything all the time.”
Now, obviously, one would assume that a guy like Lynch, who is clueless about animation and art, couldn’t just walk into Cartoon Network and demand his own animated series, right? CN must surely have higher standards than that. Well, here’s how Lynch describes his pitch to Cartoon Network’s Mike Lazzo:
“Mike asked me what I wanted to do next. I told him I really wanted to do an animated show, and I want to have some music in it. He said, ‘great, you have a pilot with us – do what you want to do.'”
Nothing about this industry surprises me anymore, but I’d be lying if I said that reading things like this didn’t piss me off. How is that CN won’t greenlight a surefire quality cartoon series from Aaron Springer, one of the industry’s most talented creators, but they’ll offer a no-questions-asked pilot deal to an ’80s kiddie show producer who doesn’t understand the first thing about animation? Somehow, in its own twisted way, it makes sense though. In an industry where you don’t actually need any knowledge of the art form to become an executive, it would be hypocritical to require that show creators know anything about animation either.
UPDATE: A Brew reader who prefers to remain anonymous, but who I can assure you is an excellent artist, writes in with the following. I had to edit most of the email to preserve their anonymity though you’ll get the gist of the message, which is that non-artists have the freedom to create any piece of junk they want at CN while visual artists have to jump through an interminable amount of hoops to get anything on the air:
I just read your post about Class of 3000 and I would like to give you some additional info. Tommy Lynch was actually never required to produce a pilot before the show was greenlit. The show went straight to series without ever being tested! They poured buckets of money into the show before it was ever launched; Craig Kellman, Stef Choi and many others all took passes at designing the characters. As you can imagine, this has created a bit of a double standard at CN. People like Dan Krall and Derik Bachman, Thurop Van Orman, as well as myself, have projects that have languished through countless executive notes while crap like Class of the 3000 gets the red carpet treatment.