ToonOlympics Semi-Final Match: Phineas and Ferb (USA) Vs. Pocket Protectors (New Zealand)
For our second semi-final match, we have a special treat for those of you that have been following the ToonOlympics since we started this competition on August 1 with the Opening Ceremonies. Now that we are on the last day of August, instead of showing the same information about the cartoons you have already seen, how about we interview the 2 cartoons that are competing today?
It just so happens that we have interviewed both the Creators of Phineas and Ferb, Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh, from Disney Television Animation in Burbank, California, and the Creators of Pocket Protectors, Ryan Cooper, Alex Leighton, and Tim Evans, from Mukpuddy Animation in Auckland, New Zealand.
Before we go to the Interviews, here is what the ToonOlympics Semi-Final Bracket looks like:
So, lets get to the interviews! Up first is our American Competitor, Phineas and Ferb, created by Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh. Let’s hope they aren’t too tired from the Quarterfinal Round, where they defeated Canada’s Total Drama, 8-2.
ToonBarn: Welcome to ToonBarn, Dan and Swampy!
Both: Thanks, Hello ToonBarn!
ToonBarn: With the tons of interviews you guys have done, I would have to say you’ve probably answered half of all the questions with your Animatin’ Rap. It describes your whole process of creating Phineas and Ferb episodes, in a really cool way. How fun was that to do?
Swampy: That’s the reason we did that Rap, so we’d never have to explain animation again.
Dan: Whenever we’re talking, we usually say at the beginning of break, “We created a little instructional video that will hopefully answer a lot of your questions.” So, we play that. It was a lot of fun. It was sort of inspired by “Lazy Sunday”, the SNL Rap, that was like the first viral video. There were these guys in a church in Omaha or something, that just did a Dad’s Life Rap, sort of like were throwin’ down at the camera about how tough they were for doing things like (Swampy: mowing the lawn). We said, “We should do something like these guys are doing except about the animation. Because, there’s always these behind the scenes in the DVD extras. They’re always very dry. There are things like, pictures of people drawing, and we felt that this was a much more Phineas and Ferb way of doing one of those. So, we had a great time. Everybody got involved.
Swampy: We would be so proud to have it in your story. Because I gotta tell you, that was the most “street” I have ever been in my whole life. Clearly, the most “street” I will ever be.
Dan: We had a hard time getting Swampy to look tough. And to sound tough. But, he looks really tough in the video. I was really impressed. He looks tougher than me. 36 takes, but we were able to get it out of him. I was really impressed.
For those of you wondering how a typical episode of Phineas and Ferb is made, Dan and Swampy have provided this video to answer ALL your questions:
ToonBarn: For people who want to make the jump from amatuer to professional in animation, how can they do that?
Dan: The good thing about animation versus live-action is this: even people who don’t draw can look at your drawing and tell whether it looks like what it’s supposed to look like. It’s a lot easier if you can draw and you have something good in your portfolio to get work than if you are a screenwriter. If you’re a screenwriter, than somebody has to read your script and actually know whether that’s good or bad. A lot of people say, “Well I was able to read it. It was printed in English.” So, it’s all about the work. In your portfolio, does it display your understanding about 3-dimensionality, and form a line, and such?
Swampy: The joy I think now is that because of the internet, and all the different software available to make films, you can get your stuff out there, and seen by a wide audience, and get feedback, really quickly. Anybody has the capacity to get their work seen, and that’s incredibly cool.
ToonBarn: Which makes it even harder for the companies that produce animation to pick the best ones, right?
Both: Absolutely. There is a huge talent pool out there.
ToonBarn: When you’re working with Dee Bradley Baker, the voice for Perry the Platypus, who is an amazing talent, and you tell him to come up with a sound that sounds sad, or happy, does it really change, for Perry’s voice?
Swampy: The frightening thing with Dee Bradley Baker, with his level of talent, you could do something like “consternation”, and he will give you a sound that, I have no idea why, is consternation. You could give billions of the stupidest, most bizarre things to him, and sure enough, the sound you get back, you think, “My God, that’s it!” And I don’t know how he does it.
Dan: We don’t even know how he does the noise to begin with. It’s something weird, way back in his throat. He’s not built like normal human beings.
Swampy: I remember back when we started working with him, and he gave me the cow sounds for the Stampede Episode. We just started joking with him. I said, “Ok, give me a confused cow.” He gave me a sound that I swear was a CONFUSED COW! Working with him is just a joy. It’s astonishing and every moment makes you laugh.
ToonBarn: When you decided about Perry’s voice, and could have used a digitized sound effect instead, why did you go with Dee Bradley Baker?
Dan: He’s just one of those guys that does all sorts of voices. And he’s also one of the guys you go for noises, and animal noises. And I just told him, “We need some sort of purring, chirping noise that we can imagine would come from this creature.” He gave me like 20 different noises. And we sort just picked one and used that throughout. He just looked at the picture, and stretches his throat out with his hand, holds his sinuses, and bends his ear. It’s a weird process to watch him do it. That’s one of our favorite things when we do ComicCon. We always bring Dee if we can, cause he’ll just do a series of animal noises, and sort of explain how he’s doing it with his face.
Swampy: When you’re looking for somebody to create the sound of a whole character, we didn’t really know what we wanted. And you can get Dee, and it really gives you this live, textural sound, like Dan said, with 20 different noises, and find one that just makes you smile, for no discernible reason that that one would be better than the others, but there it is. And you’re only going to get that out of a human I think.
ToonBarn: Now, this may seem unfair to ask, but if you were stranded on a desert island, doomed to create Phineas and Ferb with limited resources, and could only have one singer for all the songs, and you can only choose between Danny Jacob, Laura Dickinson, Bowling for Soup, or one of the cast members, who would it be?
Dan (with no hesitation): Danny Jacob. Danny has done the vast majority of our music.
Swampy: Don’t tell Danny that. Tell Danny we picked Bowling for Soup (laughing).
Dan: Danny will figure out all the harmonies for us by himself. He’s all the voices in (sung out) “Doofenshmirtz, Evil Incorporated!”, which I think is like 9 different harmonies, he does.
Swampy: I mean, we are staggeringly lucky with the musical talent we have on the show. We have Olivia Olson on the staff. We have Vincent, who also sings. Alyson Stoner sings. Ashley (Tisdale) sings. Dan and I can occasionally carry a tune, Dan incredibly well. As long as it’s the right song for me, I can sing it. No cast that I know of out there has that many people on staff who sing so well.
ToonBarn: It’s an amazing cast. Are you going to be able to keep this cast together as long as The Simpsons?
Dan: Well, let’s hope.
Swampy: I certainly hope so. None of them are showing any signs of leaving.
Dan: Let’s hope that we have that problem.
ToonBarn: Thank you very much for the interview. Our ToonBarn readers really appreciate it.
Dan and Swampy: Well, thank you so much.
Next up is our New Zealand Competitor, Pocket Protectors, created by the guys at Mukpuddy Animation, Ryan Cooper, Alex Leighton, and Tim Evans. They were fired up for the Semi-Final Round, after defeating United Kingdom’s Dreamland (Doctor Who), 24-4, in the Quarterfinals.
ToonBarn: How did you guys get together to become Mukpuddy?
Mukpuddy: We met in the 2nd year of our animation course back in 1999 and creatively clicked immediately… for the next few years we came up with random comics, skits and ideas that later lead to us starting up Mukpuddy in 2002.
ToonBarn: What kind of tools do you use to develop your unique style of animation?
Mukpuddy: When we originally started we were animating the traditional way including clean-up (pencil and paper), it was hard work for just 3 guys, especially with the tight budgets and time frames we had to work with. It wasn’t until we saw an episode of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends (That was made in Flash) that we decided to take what we knew about traditional animation and apply it in Flash… so from there on we stuck with it and still use it today.
ToonBarn: Where did the idea for Pocket Protectors come from?
Mukpuddy: It came from us always talking about cartoons from the 80s and how they were often created to sell a toy line. We liked the idea of a show that would have come at the end of that era when ideas were starting to wear thin… so we thought ordinary stationery that turned into lame little robots was hilarious and a nice way to explore and parody the shows we loved growing up.
ToonBarn: Were any of the voices in Pocket Protectors digitized, or are they your actual voices?
Mukpuddy: The characters have a little delay added to them and in Radius’s case a slight echo, but Ryan is actually doing the voices pretty close to what you hear in the final cartoons.
ToonBarn: Will there be more episodes of Pocket Protectors in the future, and if not, what projects are you working on?
Mukpuddy: We are looking to make a second series late 2012 early 2013. Hopefully another 10 episodes… if not more. We are also working on a 22 minute Christmas cartoon (an original idea of ours) that will air in New Zealand on Christmas Eve. It’s the biggest project the 3 of us have worked on.
ToonBarn: The landscape for animated shows has changed dramatically in the last decade. It used to be just TV and Video. Now, there are so many different options for animation properties to consider. How will animators get people to see their creations in the future? Will it be in a weekly, serialized cartoon form, or will it be something completely different, based on where and when it can be seen?
Mukpuddy: I think interactivity will play a large part… putting a bit of control into the viewer’s hands. Whether it be by guiding storylines or customisation of characters, etc.
ToonBarn: What were some of your favorite cartoons growing up, and what are some of your favorite cartoons now?
Mukpuddy: We were always big fans of the classics like Looney Tunes and anything Hanna Barbera. The 80s and early 90s was huge for us as far as cartoons went, everything from Thundercats, Transfomers and TMNT to Darkwing Duck, Duck Tales and Gummi Bears. In the late 90s early 2000s we got in to Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Invader Zim, Spongebob, etc. At the moment we’re really loving Chowder (RIP), Adventure Time and The Amazing World of Gumball… love the stuff that’s a little “mental” and just plain absurd.
ToonBarn: If you are able to Win the ToonOlympics, or at least get a Medal (Top 3), will this change your lives forever? Will you become Heroes in New Zealand?
Mukpuddy: Haha… it’ll be very cool for sure. We’re hoping the New Zealand Prime Minister organises a Parade that spans the entire length of the country… but we’ll settle with a sweet Facebook status 😉
The time has come to decide which you like better: USA’s Phineas and Ferb or New Zealand’s Pocket Protectors?[poll id=”24″]
Voting polls for the Semi-Finals close on Sunday at Midnight (EDT), so you have 3 days to vote.
Match 23 of the ToonOlympics, the Final Match, will take place on Monday. Once the voting has concluded on Sunday Night at Midnight, we will lock in the participants vying for the Gold Medal. When the Final Match is posted on Monday, you will have 4 days to Vote for “The Best Cartoon in the World!”
That Friday, September 7, 2012, in a special Closing Ceremonies, hosted by ToonBarn Harry, you will find out who will be our Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalists in the first-ever ToonBarn ToonOlympics.
Who will it be? The choice, as always, is yours.
See you Monday for the Final Match of the ToonOlympics… on ToonBarn.