Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Klasky

Still pitching:

Arlene Klasky took animation by storm in the late 1980s and '90s, and she's aiming to do the same in the worlds of digital comics and Web videos.

Ollie Mongo is a digital comic being launched by the animation studio Klasky Csupo.

Her production company Klasky Csupo is getting into the online business, starting next week at Comic-Con in San Diego. ...

Back when I was a starry-eyed young biz rep with dreams of greatness dancing in my head, the first studio that TAG worked to organize was Klasky-Csupo. It was the early 1990s, and the company was doing this strange new animated half-hour called The Simpsons.

I sat outside Arlene's (and Gabor's) place of business for a bunch of weeks, handing out rep cards, chatting up artists as they entered and exited the studio. Didn't get too many takers then to unionize the place, but I'll never forget one board artist's comment:

"Oh, we know we're getting screwed, but we really like the project, so it's like, you know, okay." ...

I didn't know then what the guy was talking about, and I don't now. I took him to mean that it was okay to get shafted because The Simpsons was just so damn good ... and so much fun to work on. (And if the show had been a dog, then everybody would have signed representation cards in a heartbeat, of course. Yeah, hm hm.)

After weeks of loitering on the sidewalk, I finally wangled an audience with Gabor Csupo, and he let me know that he would sign a contract with us when the sun reached its red star phase. (You can read that to mean "Never!")

We never did bring Klasky-Csupo into the union fold. The Yellow Family moved over to Film Roman but K-C got bigger and bigger with commercials, Rugrats movies, and various television half-hours. The company moved into a glossy building across from Hollywood's cinerama dome, but then Arlene and Gabor got divorced and K-C's business model stopped working. As USA Today notes:

... At one time, Klasky employed more than 500 people when it was doing its traditionally animated TV shows and movies. Now, there are just a handful of folks. ...

But here Arlene and the handful are, in the second decade of the new century, and all things old are new again.

2 comments:

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Well, at least something's happening.

Brubaker said...

Heh, I wondered what happened to them. They used to supply most of the animation content for Nickelodeon. Amazing how things fell apart.

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