IronÂ GiantÂ was arguably one of the greatest animated films of all time, yet it fell on it’s feet at the box office due to executive fear andÂ suppression of advertising which is oddÂ since Warner Bros was literally frothing at the mouth to get an animated feature off the ground. Enter Brad Bird whoÂ WB execs reportedlyÂ allowed to make the film essentially unsupervisedÂ and once they saw the film and how good it was they feared for their jobs and suppressed it as best they could.
What is your name and current occupation ?
M name is Andy Ice. I’m currently working at Walt Disney Television Animation as lead background designer on “Kick Buttowski”.
What are some of the craziest job’s you had before getting into animation ?
I stumbled around forÂ awhile after graduating college. The oddest job was hauling parts for assembly workers in a Doorknob Factory ! I also worked in a precision metal grinding plant, responsible for setting up, and running a centerless grinding machine that made parts that went into NASA ships. They had to be crazy to trust me with that.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of ?
I will always be thankful for “Kim Possible” at Disney. I came on as a background designer early in the first season, and wasn’t sure if I would make it. I wound up staying all four seasons, and was the sole designer for the last two seasons.
I loved working on “Cats Don’t Dance” for Turner Feature Animation. It was one of the last traditional animated films, done completely in house, and I worked in an amazing layout department, where I learned something new every day. I started doing rough layouts, and some clean ups, then being put on workbook, which I really loved.
One of the earlier jobs was background layout on “Taz-Mania” at Warner Bros. That’s where I really learned the ropes of animation, as we were laying out every scene, and our art was shot for actual production. A great experience.
I could say things about every project , but those stand out.
Mental Floss has an excellent article up about the development of Animaniacs after talking with Tom Ruegger, the shows executive producer and creator.
I was fortunate enough to work for Tom on Tiny Toons, Tazmania, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain as well as Histeria, first as a character layout artist and then as a director, and I still count them as some of my very best years in the industry.
One idea Spielberg suggested was to make the popular Tiny Toons character Plucky Duck the star of the new show. Meanwhile, Ruegger had been developing characters based on the personalities of his three young sons. These two concepts were combined to create three brother ducks. However, the team soon realized that, between Disneyâ€™s Donald Duck, DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, and Warner Bros.’ own Daffy Duck, there were already plenty of animated waterfowl on the market. Spielberg agreed, but said they needed to come up with â€œa big marquee nameâ€ to help sell the show.
Ruegger was inspired by the large â€œWBâ€ logo on the water tower at the Warner Bros. studio. He proposed a group of siblings drawn in an animation style reminiscent of anthropomorphized animal characters from the 1930s, and called them the Warner Brothers. Although they have dog-like characteristics, the exact type of animal the Warners are meant to be is unknown. According to the show bible â€“ a book filled with background information for the creative team on a TV show – their species is labeled as â€œCartoonus Characterus.â€
For a brief period, there were four Warner siblingsâ€”Yakky, Smakky, Wakky, and little sister, Dot. As the studio artists honed the designs, Yakky became Yakko, and Smakky and Wakky were melded into Wakko. After getting clearance from the Warner estate to use the family name, the show was off and running.
We also interviewed the multi-talented Bob Doucette who did all those cool posters above (and in the article). Bob was my producer on Histeria while I was directing on it. Bob was one of our very first interviews on Animation Insider, and you can read his interview here!