Ooze News - May 1997
Let It Beavers
The newest Nicktoon is The Angry Beavers, featuring Daggett and Norbert, beaver brothers trying to make it in the big world - or at least in the forest. We found out how an episode is made.
1. Getting Ready
Before work on a cartoon series can start, the creators need to agree on what the main characters will look like. The pictures below show early versions of Daggett and Norbert and how they ended up [final designs]. Among other changes, Norbert was given more hair so that it would be easier to tell the brothers apart.
2. All Aboard
A script must be written before production of an episode begins. It tells the story through dialogue and action descriptions. Then, using the script, artists create a storyboard (above), which looks like a comic book. The storyboard is the first visual guide for an episode, showing the characters' facial expressions and physical action.
3. For the Record
The actors perform the dialogue in a recording booth. Of the 300 people who auditioned, Richard Horowitz [Richard Steven Horvitz] and Nick Bakay were chosen as the perfect voices for Daggett and Norbert. "No one could play the characters the way they did," says creator Mitch Schauer. "They're just like Daggett and Norbert."
4. Black-and-White Beavers
The director figures out how long the action will take. Then the storyboards are filmed and the recorded lines are added to simulate the final cartoon. The result, called an animatic (right), is sort of a black-and-white comic book in motion. It has no color, music, or sound effects, but it shows how the dialogue and story will fit into a 22-minute episode.
5. In Living Color
6. At Last, the Animating!
After these steps, which take several months, the storyboards, animatic, and backgrounds are sent to animators in Korea, who produce 26,000 cels. Cels are color drawings on clear plastic sheets. The cels are placed over a background and filmed one after another, which creates the illusion of motion. The whole animation process requires 250 people and takes about three months.
When the film returns to the U.S. from Korea, the episode looks like a cartoon (left), but it still needs the sound effects and music. Adding these elements takes another three weeks. Finally, after nearly eight months of work, the episode is ready to air.
Furry Fact File
Personality: An overeager beaver with a short attention span; can't stand Norbert's mellowness.
Height: Shorter than Norbert
Hair factor: Slicked back and black
Stuff he would do: Convince himself he's a superhero; annoy other animals; watch weird old movies.
Stuff he says: "This is nuts!" "Easy peasy!"
Personality: Laid back; talented; likes to tease his brother.
Height: Taller than Daggett by a quarter inch, which annoys Daggett.
Hair factor: Spiky
Stuff he would do: Tease Daggett; calm Daggett down; tease Daggett again; watch weird old movies.
Stuff he says: "Bro" "Wolaboga!"
The Angry Beavers airs on Sundays at 11:30 AM, one hour earlier in the central time zone. Showtime subject to change.
The Angry Beavers creator
Cartoonist Mitch Schauer (left) has worked on shows featuring characters such as Freakazoid and Scooby Doo. We spoke to him about his latest creation, The Angry Beavers.
Nickelodeon Magazine: How did you come up with the characters' names?
Mitch Schauer: I found them in the book 35,000 Plus Baby Names, [which said that] in Scandinavian Norbert means means "brilliant hero" and Daggett means "bright." Although Daggett, the character, is the opposite of that.
Who are the beavers based on? Norbert is based on me, and Daggett is based on Karl Toerge, whom I used to work with at Warner Bros. Television Animation. Karl, like Daggett, is outgoing and enthusiastic. Plus, he wears his heart on his sleeve.
Are any of Norbert's expressions like yours? Norbert and I both use a lot of finger gestures. We both wiggle a finger back and forth to say no.
How did you come up with the idea for the show? I thought I'd do the opposite of what people expect from cartoon characters, which are usually happy animals. I made mine angry. Then I went down through a list of silly animals and decided on beavers.
Do you have any pets? I have a teddy-bear hamster, a dog, a love bird, and two guinea pigs. One of them, Psycho, has the same hair as Norbert.
Where you ask the president of Nickelodeon, Herb Scannell, anything you want.
What is the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you at work?
One day, when I was working at another company, I bent down to pick something up and my pants ripped, just as my new boss was on his way to see me! Luckily one of my coworkers offered to sew them for me. In the meantime, I sat at my desk in my underwear. Fortunately, my boss didn't get to my office until right after I put the mended pants on.
Do you speak any languages other than English?
I learned a little Spanish from my mom, who grew up in Puerto Rico. As a kid, I always knew I was in big trouble when my mom yelled "Guillermo Heriberto," which is my full name in Spanish.
Send your questions to:
1515 Broadway, 41st Floor
New York, NY 10036
What's New on Nick
Mom's the Word On The Rugrats Mother's Day Special, the Rugrats try to find the perfect gifts for their moms - and they try to find a mom for Chuckie.
Get ready for the episode by doing this Rugrats puzzle. Read each of the clues below to figure out what the rhyming answer is. Hint: One word in each answer is the name of a Rugrat.
1. Fortunate Rugrat:
_ _ _ K _ _ H _ _ _ _ _
2. Tommy's five-cent coins:
_ _ _ K _ _ _ N _ _ _ _ _ _
3. Lil's brother's milk accidents:
_ _ I _'_ _ P _ _ _ _
The Rugrats Mother's Day Special airs on Tuesday, May 6, at 8 PM; Friday, May 9, at 7:30 PM; and on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11, at 8 PM.
All shows air one hour earlier in central time zone. Show times subject to change.
Bonus article - Nickelodeon Magazine's exclusive interview with actor Vanessa Lee Chester (Harriet the Spy, The Lost World: Jurassic Park):
Jurassa Lee Chester
Twelve-year-old VANESSA LEE CHESTER has acted in The Little Princess [(also known as A Little Princess)] and Harriet the Spy. Now she's off to The Lost World as Kelly. We had a raptorvating conversation with Vanessa.
Nickelodeon Magazine: What's your character, Kelly, like?
Vanessa Lee Chester: She's just one of the kids. She's a lot like me. We're both kind of funky.
Did you travel for the movie?
We went to Hawaii. We also filmed on the Universal Studios lot in Hollywood.
Was the Universal lot fun?
Yes. On lunch breaks, I'd ride my bicycle over to stage 35, where they had free Sega games. I was in heaven.
Did you have a favorite scene?
All the dangerous, scary ones where we were chased by dinosaurs.
Was the Tyrannosaurus rex model as big as a real T-rex?
Yes. You can see a T-rex in books and think it's cool, but when you actually see how big it is, it's scary.
What scary stuff did the dinosaur models do?
The eyes could actually move. And some robots could even bleed.
What would you do if you saw a real T-rex?
I would look at it for a minute, then run the other way, because I'd want to live and tell my story.
Did the cast goof around?
Oh yeah. Once, Vince Vaughn put my hand into a dinosaur model that had intestines hanging out. It was so disgusting.
So you didn't feel like the only kid?
I felt like the only adult on the film. Everyone was always playing around, throwing grapes at each other.
How would Janie Gibbs from Harriet the Spy deal with dinosaurs?
That's where her science would stop. She'd just say, "Wow, dinosaurs."
Which role was more fun, Janie or Kelly?
It's hard to compare. In Harriet, I loved my wardrobe. I had some funky outfits. In The Lost World, I had one costume. By the last day, I was really sick of it.
Which dinosaur would you like to be?
Probably a raptor. They're sly and swift. They hunt in packs, and I'm always with my little clique.
But you wouldn't hunt other kids, would you?
No, that's where the line is drawn.
[Bonus Advertisement: Schering Corporation "Young Artists Against Allergies" Calendar Design Contest]
Additional source: IMDb.