inside nas

4

Artists in Action!

Meet Brian Morante, one of the very talented storyboard artists on SpongeBob SquarePants! Brian has called Nick a creative home for many years, working as an artist on Monsters vs. Aliens and Breadwinners, and teaming with @nickanimatedshorts to create Earmouse and Bottle

Read on to find out how he got started in animation and what inspires him to keep going!

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1) What is your role here at NAS? How long have you worked here?
I’m a storyboard artist on Spongebob SquarePants. I am going into my 6th year at Nick. I started out as a storyboard revisionist on Penguins of Madagascar.

2) How did you get started in Animation?
I’m mostly self taught. I drew a ton, made my own animated shorts and comics, and collected a phat stack of rejection letters from animation studios all around town for years. Eventually my stuff was up to par and I applied to Nickelodeon. The timing and my talent finally matched up, and I got my first job.

3) What is your day-to-day like? Any interesting routines?
I get in and I get a big cup of water and read the news (and the entire internet) to make sure the world still exists. And then I read through the script pages I want to get done for the day (I usually shoot for completing one page per day). I’ll sketch out little thumbnails on the script page and come up with gags or funny ways to play things out. Then I wring my hands about whether or not I’ll finish on time. Flesh out my thumbnails on the computer and hopefully make them funnier. Then wring my hands about whether anything I’ve done is good enough. Talk myself off the ledge and continue. And then there’s lunch with friends somewhere in there.

4) What continues to motivate you to be an artist and work in animation?
It’s a demanding job but it is very fun. And it’s the only thing I’m actually good at. So short answer is: fun and homelessness.

5)    What are the favorite parts of your job?
I have the freedom to go off script and come up with my own gags or funny lines. I love creating that stuff. On a good day storyboarding feels like what it felt like to play with toys when you were a kid. Also, working around so many talented, funny people.

6) Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
A couple years ago I got the opportunity to make a short I pitched to the Nickelodeon Animated Shorts Program. It’s called Earmouse and Bottle. I learned a ton about the entire production pipeline, and got to work with a lot of talented people who helped create my vision. In the end I got this professionally made, finished product of a silly idea I came up with while doodling at home.

7) What/who inspires you?
When I want to get the inspiration juices flowing I usually go to a book store or a comic book store. I walk around forever and look at EVERYTHING. Something about that gets me inspired to create.

8) What is your advice for aspiring artists or people interested in entering animation?
Draw a lot. Draw everywhere and everything. Fill a sketchbook a month. Find friends that like to draw. Go out sketching with them at coffee shops, the mall, the zoo. Critique each other’s work. Attend life drawing classes/workshops. Look into what jobs there are in a studio. Pick one that plays to your strengths, and work towards that goal of creating a portfolio and then creating a better one. Look at work online from people that do those jobs. Recognize what it takes. Never settle for “good enough” in your work. There’s a line of people behind you who are working harder to become better than “good enough”. Then apply and apply again. Be ready for many rejection letters from many places. And then be ready to take it up a notch and try again. Ultimately your real goal is to become undeniably good. If you can do that, animation jobs will rain from the sky.

9) Who was your mentor?  
My freshman year in high school, my art teacher Nataha Lightfoot built his own animation equipment (light table, pencil tester, etc.). He started the animation club, which I joined immediately. The club turned into a class which I took every semester of high school. Mr. Lightfoot always encouraged me but mostly just helped by giving me access to everything I needed and left me alone to make all the crazy films I wanted. He went on to supply schools across the country with his animation supplies and teach other teachers how to teach animation. If you have an animation class at your school, chances are it’s because of him.

10) What are your favorite hobbies?
I like to go out sketching with friends, and I love going to the movies.

11) What is one of the most challenging aspects of your job?
Taking something that might be mildly entertaining or somewhat funny and pushing it to be something that is going to blow the roof off the place and make people laugh out loud. And doing it in very little time.

12)  What is your spirit animal?
Animal (from the Muppets). If I could make cartoons like Animal plays the drums… watch out!

13)  Favorite Nickelodeon show?
Ren and Stimpy.

14)  Favorite Nickelodeon quote or catchphrase?
“We’re not hitchhiking anymore… we’re riding” - Ren Hoek to bar of soap.

15)  Favorite snack?
This is a really boring answer, but trail mix can really get me through the day if my lunch wasn’t big enough. (If I didn’t care about my aging, bloating body I’d say candy.)

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Follow Brian to see more of his amazing work:

Twitter: @brianmorante 
Tumblr: @brianmoranteart

And watch Brian’s Nick Animated Short Earmouse and Bottle.

7

Artists in Action!

Meet Peter DiCicco, writer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and nerd extraordinaire! We sat down with him to talk about his career, the joy (and grind) of writing, and the Royal Library of Alexandira (really).

Read on to learn more about this dedicated Turtle-head.

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Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Peter, and I’m a writer on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’ve also written comic books and a mobile video game. And I’m a big Star Wars nerd and bit of a pie connoisseur.

How did you get your start?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I was involved in my high school theatre, and for college I went to New York University and studied in the Film/TV Production program there at the Tisch School of the Arts. When I moved out to LA, I worked a variety of jobs, including as a P.A. (production assistant) on a couple shows. I first started working at Nickelodeon in 2007 as an executive assistant in Live Action Current Series, then I eventually moved over to production at the Animation Studio.

What do your day-to-day tasks look like?
I usually meet with Brandon Auman (Story Editor/Executive Producer) every day to talk story or give notes on scripts and outlines we’re working on. If I’m working on a specific episode, I’m basically writing all day, working out the story beats into a premise, then outline, then script. Every week, we have at least two or three outlines or scripts due, so we’re constantly going.

Favorite parts of the job?
There’s usually some key element to each story that excites me, whether it’s a specific character or a story point, so when I figure out what that is, I get really jazzed about writing it. That and the excitement of seeing the story come together in the boards and seeing how the board artists interpret and sometimes improve on it.

Advice you’d give to aspiring artists in this industry?
Study and practice. Study movies and TV as much as possible, not just for enjoyment and inspiration but for the craft and to see why they work.  And especially if you want to be a writer, write something every day, whether it’s a story idea or character, anything just to practice and build your skills.

What tools have helped you get to where you are?
Studying really helped because I got to really understand the language of film, which I think applies just as much to TV these days.  What’s nice as a writer is you can do it anywhere. You don’t even need a computer, you can do it with pen and paper. I use Final Draft 8 for scriptwriting, but outside of formatting you can write in any word processing program.

What inspires you?
Whenever I see others being creative. I love looking at a lot of art and photography. The adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is so true. It’s always fascinating to me seeing how an artist renders a world from a point of view I might not think of.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I read a lot of books, and I play video games quite a bit. I’ve been playing through the Mass Effect games, which are a total time-suck but really fun. Also, I’ve gotten into drawing for fun again, so I find myself doodling a lot now.

What is your biggest responsibility?
Getting my scripts finished (and making them good!). The production schedule is really tight, so we’re constantly forging ahead.

What is one of the most challenging aspects of your job?
Staying fresh can be very difficult. There are some days when I’m constantly writing or trying to think up new ideas, and that can get mentally exhausting.  I sometimes have to force myself to take a break and just stand up from my desk and stretch my legs or just look outside the window just to give my brain a break.

Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
It’s hard to pick one because every new thing is significant. Maybe seeing “Metalhead Rewired” for the first time because that was the first episode I wrote. But every time a new episode comes out that I wrote, I get really excited, like “I did this thing!” And then the next thing comes out and I get just as excited. And every time I hear about a voice actor that gets cast on our show, I think, “Wow, I can’t believe this awesome person I admire is going to speak my dialogue!”

Where would you go in a time machine?
So hard to choose. I’m such a nerd, I’d want to go back to the Ancient Library of Alexandria before it was burned down by the Romans just to learn all the history that was lost. Or maybe back to the day Star Wars first opened in 1977 so I could experience people reacting to it for that first time.

Choice of superpower/ability?
The ability to freeze time. I’m gonna sound like an old man, but everything is so fast these days, I wish I could slow it all down and appreciate the world for a bit. Also, I’d be able to snooze a bit longer in the morning.

Favorite dessert?
A local pie shop near my house, Republic of Pie, does an amazing chocolate banana bread pudding pie. It’s to die for.

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Follow Peter for more insights into his creative process, plus behind-the-scenes goodies from TMNT!

Tumblr: peterdicicco.tumblr.com
Twitter: @PeterDiCicco

“Mahal Mo Pa Siya, Pero Hindi Ka Na Masaya”
  • Yung tipo ng relasyon na ang tagal tagal niyo nang magboyfriend / girlfriend pero lagi kayo nag-aaway, lagi kayong nagkakasakitan physically, emotionally, merong verbal abuse tas paulit ulit ang di matuloy tuloy niyong break up. There’s a voice inside you na mahal na mahal mo siya pero sa totoo lang hindi ka na talaga masaya. Yung feeling na oo mahal mo siya at feeling mo hindi mo kakayaning mawala siya sa buhay mo pero ang punto ng storya hindi ka na masaya sakanya. Kase sa isang relasyon kahit gaano mo kamahal yung isang tao aabot at aabot ka sa puntong magbabago nalang yun dahil sa bagay na paulit ulit eh. Kulang ang pagmamahal kapag wala ang JOY  or HAPPINESS kase kapag in love ka sumasaya ka. Alangan namang main love ka ng yun lang. Syempre andun yung gratefulness, yung eternal joy kapag nagmamahal ka. Kapag yung saya nawala at pagmamahal nalang ang natira, kahit sabihin pa nating hindi mo kayang mabuhay ng wala siya, hindi na yun gagana.  

The Nickelodeon Writing Program is now accepting applications for the 2015/2016 cycle ya’ll!  If you’re a writer and love writing and want to write for us or any other studio one day, this is a great first step.

And get this- there’s a Domestic AND International program.

Check out the website for instructions on how to apply and answers to any questions you might have: www.nickwriting.com

Writers, do the thing.

Minsan naiinis at naaawa na ako sa sarili ko. Feeling ko people just come to me kasi kailangan nila ako. Then pag wala ma akong pakinabang iiwan na nila ako. I feel so lonely and empty inside. Naiinis na ako kase sa totoo lang paulit ulit na. Masyado daw kasi akong mabait. Hays. Ako pa may diperesnsya. Kaloka. Naaawa na ako sa sarili ko. Siguro, its about time to change a bit about myself. Time na to be brave. Wag ng papaabuso.

youtube

Butch Hartman sat down with the studio as part of The Fairly OddParents’ 15th Anniversary celebration to share his insights on more than two decades in the animation industry. As the creator of four shows here at NAS, he had a lot to say…

Check out his best pieces of advice, plus find out his connection to My Little Pony, Dexter’s Lab and more!

Kapag may iba kang nagustuhan habang nasa isang relasyon ka, iwan mo na yan. Pertaining sa karelasyon mo. 😏
—  Tama na sa pakikipaglaban mga kaibigan. Walang nananalo sa laban na sa umpisa pa lang alam mong talo na. Di naman mag iinit sa iba pag di ka nanlalamig sa pakner mo diba. Di ka makakaramdam ng ganon kung kuntento ka sa pakner mo. Pag naghanap ng iba, wag na hingi hingi ng advice kesyo mahal mo kesyo gusto mo dalawa. Gago naaawa ka lang kaya ayaw mo iwan. Pero deep inside ayaw mo na. Ganun yon friends haha. Dami ko alam e ;)

kalokohan talaga nina mame hahaha dilekado pala kapag nagkakasama sama sila ng mga tita ko kase nakakapangtrip sila ng tao. kumain sila kahapon sa lipa. nakaupo na sila sa isang store tapos nakapag serve na sa kanila ng tubig pero inayawan nila yung menu, hindi nila trip eh edi nag iwan na lang sila ng 100 pesos haha lumipat sila sa shakeys then kingina napagtripan nila yung waitress. nagtanong kasi yung waitress kung sino yung may birthday edi sinabi nila kung sino kahit wala naman talagang may birthday sa kanila, naghintay sina mame ng may kakanta pero walang dumating. pagdaan ng supervisor, nagreklamo sila kesyo naghintay sila nang sobrang tagal para may kumanta sa kanila pero walang dumating blablabla hahaha kingina tinanong ulit nila kung sino yung may birthday. tinuro ni ninang tess si mame. ito naman si mame nakisakay. sabi ba naman, “alam mo, sinira nyo ang birthday ko” in a serious tone pero deep inside matawa tawa na talaga sila hahahahaha hingi raw nang hingi ng pasensya yung supervisor at yung waitress edi yun may nilibre sa kanila hahaha

5

Artists (and Writers) in Action!

Say hello to Kevin Sullivan, a writer on our upcoming show The Loud House

We met up with him in his office in between script meetings to talk about his love of junk food, the advice he’d give to aspiring writers, and his history in the Nickelodeon family. We are such huge fans of his sharp sense of humor and undeniable persistence in searching for the hidden answers that make scenes work. 

He’s got great things to say so read on!

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1) How did you get your start?

I interviewed to be script coordinator on two productions: FOP/Danny Phantom and Fatherhood. I was hired on Fatherhood. A few months later they promoted the script coordinator on FOP/Danny Phantom to writer and gave me those shows as well. I had the chance to pitch ideas for FOP and they let me write several freelance scripts. Being in the room with the writers and the execs gave me a clear understanding of how they told their stories and what they were looking for, so that made it super easy. Then I started freelancing on Danny Phantom, too. Eventually they promoted me to staff writer. The script  coordinator job is seen as a stepping stone to writer, so getting that was my way in. 

2) Did you go to school for what you’re currently working in?

I did - sort of. I studied the very vague “Communication Arts” and minored in English. My university didn’t have a TV writing program when I attended. But having the career I do now is as much about “who I know” as it is “what I know”; it was another graduate from my school who told me about the script coordinator job openings at Nick in the first place. Without her info, I never would have known to look here. So I always tell people to make sure you foster those connections…you never know when one will pay off.

3) What do your day-to-day tasks look like?

We write The Loud House as a group. Each writer generates their scripts on their own but we put them up on a screen and revise them collectively. We also break stories as a team. It all depends on what’s on the calendar any given day. Today, for example, we revised a script from a freelance writer in the morning, and reviewed an outline from a staff writer and gave him notes so he could revise it before we submit it to our executives. In the afternoon, we examined the 2nd draft of a script I wrote, incorporating not only the notes from our network executives but the notes from Chris Savino, who created The Loud House. Then I had some questions about an outline I’m working on so I threw that out to the group for some brainstorming. That’s kind of our schedule every day; the only thing that changes are what episodes we’re working on and where they are in development (premise, outline, first or second draft script).

4) Favorite parts of the job?

I love pitching a joke that makes everyone in the room laugh. That is my favorite part of the job, hands down. When we’re struggling with a problem and we can’t seem to figure out how to make a scene work, and it seems hopeless…but then we hit upon the answer and it solves everything - that’s also a wonderful moment. I hate the struggling part, but the moment you have the clarity and figure out your issue is awesome.

5) Advice you’d give to aspiring artists in the industry?

If you’re an aspiring writer, then keep writing. When my job on FOP ended I had no new spec scripts or pilot scripts to use as samples. I thought being a staff writer on FOP for a decade would open all sorts of doors for me…and I was stunned to find this wasn’t the case. Story editors and show runners wanted to read new and more current scripts from me, not just old FOP scripts. I had none and was completely unprepared. I can be a procrastinator and be flat out lazy when it comes to writing on my own time, so it’s kind of hypocritical for me to say “always be writing,” but, you know, you should always be writing. Also, have a varied portfolio of scripts. You never know what kind of job you might be up for - sitcom, drama, animation…make sure you’ve got spec scripts of current series as well as a pilot or two of your own making. That way you’re ready or anything.

6) What tools have helped you get to where you are?

I guess my sense of humor has helped the most. Not only in pitching jokes in the writer’s room, but in interviews and meetings with story editors when I’m looking for work. That and feeling confident that I can do this. Believe me, the confidence thing takes a lot of work every single day. Most writers seem to be struggling with this, or at least I’ve met a bunch who are. So finding the strength to kind of “fake it till you make it” was a big step for me.

7) What inspires you?

I love TV - I’m a big TV junkie. I love any show that surprises me in its storytelling. I joke that if a show has me screaming back at the TV in utter shock, or jumping off the couch with my jaw on the floor, then that’s great. That’s what inspires me. Seeing a show and thinking I want to tell stories the way that show does, or hearing dialogue and just wishing I could be that concise and lyrical and clever - those things motivate me. Meeting people who watch Nick is always an inspiration, too. I recently had parents and their little kids interrupt me at lunch one day because they heard me say I used to write for FOP. Seeing kids excited by that is really a cool reminder of how great it is to be able to do what I do.

8) Where would you go in a time machine?

I’d be selfish and want to revisit days of my life where I remember being so happy I thought I might burst. I know I’m supposed to go back and stop JFK’s assassination or do something for the greater good, and sure I’d do that too… but first I’d go back to great times in my life and enjoy them all over again. Life goes by so fast and I’d want to get a few moments back again and revel in them.

9) Choice of superpower/ability?

I’m terrified of heights, so flying is out. And reading minds would only lead to disaster if I learned someone hated my shoes or was mocking the way I danced or something. So I’m going with teleporting. That not only eliminates a ten hour flight to Paris, but it gets rid of having to go to the airport, too. I’m all for that.

10) What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I like to eat. A lot. I’m a junk food junkie (the writer’s room for the Loud House has at least four different kinds of Oreos in it at any time). Therefore, exercise is a big hobby. I like to swim. Beyond that, I’m a huge car nerd. If I wasn’t a writer I’d want to design cars. I love traveling to different auto shows. And I love baseball, too - I’m a Mets and Dodgers fan, so I am still coming down off the high of this past season.

  • Ate: eh ikaw bakit wala kang boyfriend?
  • Me: eh ganon talaga.
  • Ate: hindi ka maganda(?)
  • Me: ewan, hindi siguro. (*deep inside gusto ko na syang balibagin nung plantsang hawak ko dahil ang waley nung tanong nya 😂)
  • Bastos ampota hahahahaha.