Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Cartoon Review! - Interview with C.H. Greenblatt

Hello, and welcome to the first Cartoon Review! Interview since November! And have I got a nice treat for you...and awesome interview with veteran storyboarder for Spongebob Squarepants and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. Oh, and the creator of the popular, Annie-nominated cartoon Chowder! Yes, I am talking about none other than C.H. Greenblatt! So without further adu, here the interview!
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Me: So what does the H in your name stand for?

Greenblatt: The "H" is a closely guarded secret.

Me: What made you want to go into the animation biz?

Greenblatt: Growing up, I always loved animation. I'd watch every cartoon on TV. I read a ton of comic books as well. For the longest time, I thought I wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist and do a daily comic strip. Or make comic books. But what I like about animation versus those other mediums is the addition of sound and movement. Drawing my own comics is fun because it's a very one-on-one way of communicating, whereas animation (TV and movies) has to be filtered through dozens of hands before it's complete. But I can do a lot more with animation than I can with a comic strip. It's more like making a little film.

Me: Where did you get the idea of Chowder?

Greenblatt: The idea for Chowder slowly came together and evolved while I was working on other shows. I thought about what I liked and what I'd want to see in a cartoon show. I really liked The Sorcerer's Apprentice and the relationship in that. So I knew I wanted it to be about a young kid and an old master he learned from. The rest just slowly built over time.

Me: What's it like making a cartoon?

Greenblatt: Making a cartoon is really fun. Every day I come in to work and try to think up whatever silliness I can. It's also the hardest job I've ever done (not physically, but mentally). The schedule of making a TV show is very demanding and there's no time to stop. If you're not feeling funny, you still have to write. You can't really wait for inspiration. And some days it's really hard to get what you want expressed through your drawings. And then it's even more stressful when you're running a show. There's always a million things that have to get done and you have to communicate to everyone what you want done and make sure all the pieces are working together correctly. But I still love it.

Me: What's it like living in Burbank?

Greenblatt: Burbank is kind of dull. It's like any other city. Living out in the San Fernando Valley reminds me a lot of living in Texas, but with more mountains.

Me: What was life like growing up?

Greenblatt: I grew up in a very suburban area of North Dallas, Texas. I spent a lot of time drawing cartoons and watching TV. I worked hard at school and did really well. Basically I was a total nerd. But I think I was lucky to have a really nice, happy childhood. I wish I had a more exciting tale to tell.

Me: Any final words to the people on the net that are hoping to become true animators?

Greenblatt: The best advice I can give is to draw every day. Draw all sorts of things. Not just people, but cars, buildings, whatever. If you can draw well and understand the fundamentals of composition and design, you should be able to find work doing what you love. Never stop drawing.

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