Side By Sidekick, Part 2

Last week I posted the first half of my interview with Joey So and Todd Kauffman, creators of ‘Sidekick,’ which is currently running on YTV’s Funpak block.

AS: What, if any, advancements would you like to see in the next version of Flash?

TK: Quite honestly, I love Flash the way it is – it’s so intuitive. But if I had to suggest something, it would be better editing capabilities. I animated and edited the 30 second opening for “The 9th Life of Sherman Phelps” and found that he program could only handle the 30 seconds and not much more before crashing…but that could be the fault of my limited understanding of Flash.

JS: I would like to see more animator friendly tools. They could improve the way the swfs export so that they are more suited to broadcast standards rather than just for web. The biggest one, being able to edit symbols that have been flopped! (editor’s note: to see the list of all lists pertaining to this topic, check out Eddie and Lili’s Fwak blog)

AS: What animation DVDs have you two recently been watching?

TK: ‘Strawberry Shortcake,’Barbie’ (any incarnation), ‘Care Bears‘ and just about anything with a pink theme. What can I say, I have two little girls. When I do get a chance I love to throw in one of my many unwatched DVD’s and put on the commentary. Nothing better than getting the directors point of view while your watching his or her vision unfold right before your eyes…it’s brilliant.

JS: ‘Iron Giant’ and ‘The Incredibles.’

AS: Would you say that TV animation is on an upswing, or a slide?
TK: Upswing for sure. You’ll always have the classics in one edited version or another. Then there’s the old favorites being reincarnated for new generations to enjoy and the shows we all loved as kids being brought back with a fresh more relative twist.

And now we’ve got great programs like Flash in the hands of the creators, giving them the freedom to create as they see fit, no holds barred…it can only get better…right? Well I’m an optimist. Let a kid dream.

JS: I think there is always a place for animation on TV in some shape or form. It’s hard to define upswings and downswings when you are in the middle of it. I really try to not worry about that too much and focus on doing good work.

AS: Do you two watch any web-based Flash shows?

TK: Not as much as I would like to. I have caught a couple that I really enjoyed, ‘Making Fiends,’ ‘Happy Tree Friends,’ ‘Homestar Runner.’ Stuff like that is just silly and cracks me up to no end.

JS: Not too much. I try to catch shorter stuff that floats around but I don’t actively seek it out.

AS: If you could pick one animated show to remake in your vision, what would it be?
TK: Oh boy! I’d love to take shot at Rankin/Bass’“The New Adventures of Pinocchio”. That creepy little show was one of my absolute favorite shows as a kid. I also wouldn’t mind playing around with H.R. Pufnstuf.

JS: Transformers. I’m a sucker for the half hour commercial format.

AS: What’s the trick to pitching a show?
TK: Confidence, humor…and oh yeah…a kick ass idea that you’ve convinced them audiences can’t live without. Be sure of yourself but be flexible and open to suggestions. Remember people like to feel like they are participating in the creative process.

JS: Lying. Try to lie as much as possible, promise the moon and figure out how to do it later.

AS: What materials do you guys usually bring to your pitch meetings?

TK: I’ll bring everything I’ve created for the project to the pitch session. I won’t necessarily show all of it – I don’t want to overwhelm them with content. I let the flow of the session dictate the amount of content I offer. If they seem receptive to the idea they’ll want to see more…and I’ll be prepared. Most likely they’ll suggest the type and quantity of materials they would like to see.

JS: (I bring the) standard stuff, like bibles and various development art to really sell the idea.

AS: What’s next for you guys?
TK: Keep pitching till something sticks.

JS: I’m currently animating on ‘Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Kids’ which airs on Nick Jr.

AS: Well that it, guys. Thanks for the great interview!

Now check out clips from ‘Sidekick,’ which is currently airing on YTV’s Funpak block. And don’t forget to visit the site and vote!

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