Animation Business as Unusual

Luna Flying Along

Posted on by Joe Murray

Luna offices in Glendale, California

The production for “Luna Around the World” is flying! I can’t brag enough about my crew and their dedication to this project. It’s a fast schedule, but I still feel like we are keeping up the quality. Thank you to my crew for their amazing work.

Just got back from Toronto Canada where we started the voice recording. Worked one day with the kid actors who were awesome ( when they were not coming in to the control booth to steal chocolate bars).

There are definite different challenges to doing a pre-school show as opposed to my previous shows in the 6 to 11 range. But I’m determined for the show to be funny on top of the curriculum of learning about cultures around the world. It’s a tall order.

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Annecy and Europe

Posted on by Joe Murray

Of course you have a photo under the Eiffel Tower

View from our hotel room in Annecy, France. In town for the animation festival

Had a really great trip to Europe during June. First to Annecy, France for the animation festival where there was a signing and a panel with Myself, Robert Scull and Chris Viscardi. Robert worked on the Rocko pilot and on the show itself, and went on to be a really great creator producer of shows for Nickelodeon, mostly pre-school. It was a good panel except much of the audience didn’t speak english. We showed a clip from the rough animation for the upcoming Rocko special that seemed to fall a little flat from the translation. Don’t know.

Then my daughter and I went on to Paris for a few days then, meeting up with my wife and two sons in Belgium, ending up finally in Holland to vacation on the beach.

Was hard to come back and then immediately fly to Toronto for a “Luna” record . We ended up working on 4 episodes which floored me. And jet lagged on top of it.

Ah, television production.

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Animation Business as Unusual Life in Art

December 2, 2016

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Animation Business as Unusual travels

December 1, 2016

Posted on by Joe Murray
Thumbnails from the upcoming Rocko Special

Thumbnails from the upcoming Rocko Special

Rocko Special Moves On

I can share these thumbnails from the Rocko Special board since we cut the scenes out later on. The project is under strict control after all. This was a scene where Spunky becomes radioactive after drinking a power drink. Poor Spunky.

What I can share is that the details are getting closely watched. We are painting the backgrounds traditionally rather than digitally. There is actually pencils and paper getting used ( which is a rarity these days). I’m enjoying working for Nickelodeon where I didn’t think I would, and my crew is full of superstars and future superstars.

Flying to Washington DC in a couple weeks to finish up details for the Luna Production. Want to get in there before Trump comes in and paints the White House gold.

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Animation Serious Thoughts travels WARNING! Political Views!

November 26, 2016

Posted on by Joe Murray
Rocko Crew hard at work.

Rocko Crew hard at work.

A Different World

I’m feeling like this is a different world since the election. Still in shock and grief. The Rocko special is about “Change” and this crew is definitely feeling it and dealing with it.

The special is wrapped in secrecy, so I can’t give many details about it online. Only that we have recorded the dialog, and are deep into design, backgrounds and animatic. I’m liking it a lot, and my co-director Cosmo Segurson is doing an amazing job. I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Rocko office, but also going back to my studio finalizing details on the upcoming Luna production. Flying off to Washington DC in a couple weeks to short up plans with PBS. Then off to Korea in January for Rocko.

Feeling that my PBS show is needed now more than ever, dealing with the fact that we are all one world, many people, different but the same. That we all need to support each other and not “make walls”. Looking forward to start on it.

Moving forward.

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Serious Thoughts WARNING! Political Views!

November 4, 2016

Posted on by Joe Murray

Couldn’t resist doing a cartoon.


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Life in Art Serious Thoughts

August 30, 2016

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Animation Business as Unusual

August 12, 2016

Posted on by Joe Murray
Rocko Crew 2016

Rocko Crew 2016

Rocko’s Modern Life Special- Yes It’s Real

This seems like a formality since it’s all over the internet, but I am free to say finally that we are doing a Rocko’s Modern Life made for TV Movie, air date unknown. I was approached by Chris Viscardi of Nickelodeon back in the early part of the year to see if there was interest, and I hemmed and hawed about it for awhile. Called Doug Lawrence and some of the other guys from the show,, should we even do this? The original episodes were so great, why mess with it.  Martin Olson and I started laughing about some of the things we could do with the “new” Modern Life,, it became more appealing. After a meeting with Nick Execs that they promised not to water it down,( which they have not) I agreed to move forward. I got Martin Olson and Doug Lawrence to help write the outline, but my attempts at ‘putting the old band together” for the storyboards were mostly met with “I’m too busy” or ” I’m under contract, sorry”. So I got Cosmo Segurson ( who was one of my directors on Lazlo) to co-direct, and brought in Tom Smith ( former student of mine and Storyboard guy at Stoopid Buddy studios) and an animator from South Park Dan Becker. Both are HUGE Rocko fans which was very valuable when doing the board.

This interview I did a couple of weeks ago and released yesterday sheds some more light on the project:

Basically, Rocko Filburt and Heffer have to deal with Modern Life in 2016,17, 18 and there are lots of twists and turns. I’m very happy with it. We are done with the storyboard ( which was split up with the 4 of us, myself included) and are now moving into production.

I will keep this blog posted with developments and interesting quirks from the progression of production.

Posted in Animation, Business as Unusual | 20 Comments

Animation Business as Unusual Life in Art

August 8, 2016

Posted on by Joe Murray



So, back in 1992, Nickelodeon put my show Rocko’s Modern Life into development, and my studio in Saratoga, CA produced the pilot all in house. Times were innocent, Rocko was yellow, all was good. We had the cels ( yes we used cels then) inked and painted in Montana, ( no foreign studios used in the making of the pilot) they were shipped back to my studio to be shot by our inhouse Mitchell 35 mm camera and camera stand, film taken to SF for processing, then the completed pilot sent to Nickelodeon.

Then all hell broke loose.

The show was picked up, then my wife died. I was originally going to produce the show from my studio in Saratoga ( next to San Jose) but after my wife died, I decided maybe I should move to LA to get away and do the show there. I convinced about half of my staff to move to LA with me to do the show. Within two months of official pick up, the studio in Saratoga was closed and moved to Studio City in LA to meld with “Games Animation”. For some reason I brought all of the cels with me to LA and brought them into the studio in case we needed to use them for reference on the show. The next year was a blur to me, of simultaneously trying to produce a TV series where I had never done it, and grieving over the loss of my wife. Somehow the cels got absorbed into the Nickelodeon machine and I never saw them again.

Until last week.

Somebody posted on my facebook page an original cel from the pilot for sale at the Cricket Gallery. I had no idea that those cels had made it into circulation for sale through Nickelodeon. I clicked on the Link only to find that someone else had already bought it.

I went into work that day, and Tom Smith, who is working on a project with me laughed and said he was the one who bought it. And after seeing my post on facebook that I wanted it, he offered it me.

So now I have it back. A piece from the original pilot, which I’m very happy to touch again. It has the wrong background ( it should be the roof of Rocko’s house) but I’m happy to have the cel again.


Posted in Animation, Business as Unusual, Life in Art | 3 Comments

Business as Unusual Life in Art

May 19, 2016

Posted on by Joe Murray


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