Two Amazing Bits of News
First, we had an amazing home birth of Elan Gael Stefan Murray over the weekend. Very healthy new baby boy!
Then yesterday, I got the official greenlight for 40 episodes of my new PBS Show “Luna Around the World”.
A Little Freaked Out
Well, my PBS pilot was completed and sent in to the wonderful process of focus group testing. It’s one of my favorite pilots I’ve done, but will it connect? Don’t know. We will see. My 3 year old son loves watching the pilot. We use it for bribes. It’s a different age group for me. One of the things I was aiming for ( which I aim for with all of my shows) is that parents will enjoy sitting down with their kids to watch it. It’s a tough one, but many shows do it. But sometimes you straddle the line. Especially with a show that skews younger. Will it get picked up? Always a wait and see. Been through it before.
So feeling angst about that.
My wife and I are also expecting a new baby in May. Another boy. My fourth child. 2 girls, 2 boys. While my oldest daughter goes off to Parsons Art College in New York this fall. ANGST!
Just got done with a semi-big consulting job for a French Animation Studio. Some angst. Not so much angst.
Another project which is TOP SECRET ( although some have already figured it out) is about done with negotiations and is ready to begin. Will it be finished before ( if) we begin the highly ambitious PBS schedule with a stripped show aimed at November 2017 premiere?
Quality problems with amazingly good things happening but causing me angst.
Except for the Donald Trump thing. That’s just a plain mind f**K. Just plain confused about some of the people who live in the United States. But that never changes.
But lets not hijack the great things that are happening in my life right now.
Need to get some sleep. I’ll need it.
I have this studio in downtown Glendale. I’ve had it for awhile. In my building is a mixture of film production, and business types. Craig Barlett’s in the building. Passes by at times on his way for noodles. It’s a strange pocket, this creative spot I’ve carved out. My line producer brings thai food for meetings. I have a Nespresso coffee maker that keeps me sane. Rocko, Lazlo and Frog in a Suit memorabilia on the walls.
The studio has a couple projects going on, with emphasis on the PBS project, which is almost out the door for now. Playing around with a new studio card for the back credits.
May be going to Toronto in a couple weeks. I’m already cold.
Happy birthday to my Mom. I miss her.
My new project for PBS is going extremely well. Almost too well. I think I love it more than any other show I have worked on. It says something that needs to be said at this time in our evolution. Not to place too much importance on an animated show, but if I’m going to share my talents as well as those of my colleagues in this form, I’m glad it’s a positive contribution.
There is also another project in discussion that is too early to disclose. It’s crazy and ludicrous. A “not right in the head” project.
I’m often amazed at the twists and turns of ones life, how much it differs from the one we plan, and yet so much richer. We often don’t aim high enough. I need to write more often on this thing. Too busy having fun I suppose.
Sorry, way too long between posts. Been working on my pilot for PBS which I LOVE LOVE LOVE. It’s turning out better than my expectations, and I feel it’s something that is needed right now children’s programming. Great to work on something that is putting something of real value out there.
Things didn’t work out with Joan Cusack. I won’t get into any dirty laundry here. Let’s just say Joan didn’t seem entirely committed to the project. But it all worked out for the better because we got extremely talented actress Judy Greer: (IMDB) to be the lead role, and I feel her voice works better, and she was such an amazing joy to work work with ( above is Judy, myself and co-exec producer and head writer Mark Haslett at the record).
The materials just got shipped to our Canadian animation team, so things will lighten up a bit until the the film comes back.
My two year old can’t stop watching the animatic for the project ( yes, at home I have to review a new pass of the animatic, and Louis comes to watch.) Glad he likes it.
More to come.
Extremely crazy busy.
PBS pilot moving forward. Just signed Joan Cusack for the lead role. Very happy about that.
Todd Henry sent me his new pre-release copy of his new book “Louder than Words”. I strongly recommend buying it when it comes out in August. In my classes, I’m always talking about finding your authentic voice that is only yours. Creatively, in business, in life. This is what the book is about, and it is inspiring.
Just got done working on a project with Carl Jones that he is doing for Adult Swim. Carl is extremely talented ( and a good guy.)
I was speaking with my old high school art teacher Mark Briggs yesterday ( he just turned 94 last week and still “sharp as a tack”), and we got on the subject of branding. He said he just learned about it as it is being used in the contemporary business world, to him it was something you did to your cattle.
I told him I just recently had an executive tell me they wanted to be part of the Joe Murray Brand. I never thought of myself as a brand, but I’ve been told my work stands out as it’s own thing. I’m not part of a Nickelodeon look, or a Cartoon Network look, and I am definitely not a PBS look. There may have been a time in my highly ambitious 20’s and 30’s where this would have been a highly prized label. But it’s funny that by the time it takes to achieve such a “brand” as an artist, there are different things that are important to you.
To just maintain honesty in your work, and the way you do business. To lead a simple life and do no harm ( or the least amount of harm) socially and environmentally.
And one thing that I’m finding more and more important ( and that actually what my new show is about) is that we are all one. All around the world, we are all connected to each other. What you do to another, good or bad, you do to yourself.
I guess that can be part of the brand, but then we are all one global brand. Right?
Life is good.
A Return? Hmmmm….
I recently went out of town for a large gathering of PBS producers, content creators and local stations ( my friend the very talented Craig Bartlett was there) and I have returned with a new hope and optimism that there are institutions that are wonderful to work for, and that, if you look hard enough, you can find those people who share your values and goals in life, and if you work together you can both co-create contributions of joy.
I love this project I’m working on so much, and along with my film Fish Head, and spending time with my family, my dance card is filled with a night of blissful moves.
I hoard clippings from magazines, newspapers and such that strike my fancy. I was going through some today and found an article from 2000 about authors and creators working with PBS. There is a quote from William Joyce that I totally agree with when faced with the challenge of educational content coupled with quality entertainment. He said:
” The ironclad rule is to check your cynicism at the door. Being mean and funny is the easiest thing in the world”.
It’s going to be a challenge, and that is why I like it.
It could also be that energy that surrounds you when it’s close to your birthday ( which I share the same birthday with my wife). Or just that everything in your life leads to this moment.
Sounding a little hippy dippy but this is genuinely how I feel.