Nick Weidenfeld was head of program development at Adult Swim, overseeing a string of breakout animated hits. Now he’s bringing those sensibilities to Fox, extending the channel’s animation dynasty into late night. Here’s how he hopes to make lightning strike twice.
Weidenfeld: I loved my time at Adult Swim. I was there for seven years—since its earliest days. I saw the talent and everything grow over the last decade. I saw it go from this late night block that a lot of people were watching, but nobody knew about, and grow and grow. Now it’s this humungous, successful business, and this huge part of the success of Cartoon Network and Warner as a whole. ...
[Fox's] Animation Domination High Def will be broader than some of the stuff that we worked on at Adult Swim, but in terms of execution, it will still be weird and late night — the shows will have the kinds of jokes and the kind of storytelling that will be too fucked up for primetime. ...
So, more animation on the television, that's a good thing.
But ... as is the case with "Adult Swim," we expect that some of the product will be under TAG contracts, and some (much?) won't. And on a related (but sad) note, we received this e-mail yesterday:
Subject: A Storyboard Test Email Announcement - Fox Has Really Lost Their Minds..!
ABOUT THE JOB
Friends Night is the production company behind Fox's new Saturday late-night Animated block called ''Animation Domination High Definition'' (ADHD).
AXE COP, the popular animated comic, is the first series we've green lit for production.
Currently looking for: Experienced Story Artists with great Comedic Sensibility.
If interested in the position, please complete the following BOARD TEST:
AXE COP STORY BOARD TEST
Board to the humor and tension of this scene. Axe Cop the character and the show should be deadpan and take it's self seriously, but also have a dynamic visual language and a childlike sense of fantasy and imagination. Explore the crazy over the top violence and the humor with this sequence.
EXT: FRUIT STAND - DAY
AXE COP: ''APPRICOTS FOR SALE!''
A Woman approaches the fruit stand. She frowns
WOMAN: ''Well I hate apricots.I wanna banana.''
Axe Cop stares at the frowning Woman, considering. While he is
casually reaching for his axe.
AXE COP: ''I'm afraid I can't sell you any bananas.but I can. CHOP OFF YOUR HEAD!''
Axe Cop jumps out of the fruit stand and chops the Woman's head off.
FLUTE COP (FREAKED): ''Why - why,'d ya do that?''
AXE COP: ''She was making a mean face which OBVIOUSLY means she's a bad guy.''
We would like the boards to be presented in a black and white
animatic, done in flash, or after-effects/final cut, fully timed. You can add scratch track dialog and sound fx, or use subtitles for dialog. ...
They don't want too much, do they? And all for such a marvelous fee ($000.)
We should point out that this storyboard test, although filled with rib-tickling wit ("Axe Cop jumps out of the fruit stand and chops the Woman's head off."), is not offered by a signator (union) studio, so there is little we can do to rein in the abusive exploitation that it offers.
However, it's one more dandy illustration of how animation artists who seek employment in the cartoon industry are preyed upon. (We'll be highlighting other examples of abuse as they come to us. Axe Cop might not take "it's self" seriously, but we do.)