ANIMOTION MACHINE

Here’s an interesting interview with former-ish animator Jay Robinson, about the highs and lows of working in television animation.

THE LOWS

  • There’s no job security; people in TV animation get laid off when their work is done and may or may not get rehired for the next go-around. Robinson says he was laid off 3-4 times. He, along with 39 other people, get laid off for good last November.

THE HIGHS

  • Robinson’s work still hangs in poster form at Von D’s Hollywood shop; Metallica lead singer James Hetfield told him his work inspires the band; and [Bam] Margera sent him a letter, thanking him for the sketch of a nude skateboarding Bart Simpson clad in Margera’s tattoos.

  • “We spent the next two hours drawing characters on bar napkins for drinks. It’s a great girl-gettin’ job.”

[Duluth News Tribune via Sx2]

GROEN DRAIN

The LA Weekly has dropped Matt Groening’s weekly comic strip Life in Hell after 22 years. As far as I can tell, no other Los Angeles periodicals are carrying it, which means Life in Hell is no longer available in the city that inspired it. [CNN]

ROCK BOTTOM

Up in the Simpsons unit, one of the artists, a person who’s been with the show a few years and knows which heads are rolling and who’s are likely to be lopped off next, confided:

None of us know if Fox is going to order another season of The Simpsons after we’re done with this one. The actors are signed, but Fox hasn’t said if it wants another twenty episodes. I think Gracie Films [the producing company of The Simpsons] would like another order, and so is offering up sacrifices to Fox to show that they’re serious about cutting costs. Some old hands have been let go.

[TAG Blog]

VOICE BOX

“Voice acting god” and Simpsons recurring voice actor Frank Welker revealed in an e-mail to Simpsons fan Kenneth White why he hasn’t appeared in The Simpsons since Season 13:

A few years back Dan “C” did Santa’s Little Helper in a rehearsal and unfortunately for me … did it a little too good. The producers thought … “Hmmm, Dan barks pretty good, and we are already paying him and he seems to like doing the dog thing … why do we need to pay Welker who comes in here, spends less than an hour, eats all the doughnuts, refuses to come to rehearsals … let’s just give the damn dog to Dan!” Bingo … I’m out. I did do lots of shows that needed sound effects and weird sounds, but Santa is without this little helper.

I wanted a raise … most of what they asked me to do was wild and wacky, but it also almost always hurt my throat. So, I asked for a raise … that is why you haven’t seen me. They are really great people over there, but they have a rule about “top of the show” for guest performers and I fell under that consideration.

Welker has played Santa’s Little Helper, Snowball II, She’s The Fastest, Fred from Scooby Doo, Megatron, Milhouse’s monkey, Burns’ canine executive vice president, Africa’s wildlife, Lisa’s pony, and a dozen zoos’ worth of other animals. Life is ruff! [No Homers Club]