Let's Go Luna!
PBS Currently | 66 episodes to date
Currently in production since 2017
On the air since November 2018
Produced by Joe Murray Studio with 9 Story Media Group, Canada
Let’s Go Luna! was developed for PBS to hit a 3 to 9 age demographic with a world culture curriculum. It’s about three kids travel around the world with their parents who work for a Cirque type circus, and each new city they travel to, Luna the Moon comes down to spend the day with them to learn about the art, food , music and overall global culture. Thank you to Linda Simensky and Natalie Engle for guidance and leadership at PBS.
Luna the moon is voiced by acclaimed actress Judy Greer (13 going on 30, Jurassic World, Arrested Development) and the show has really hit its mark with kids and parents. This is the first PBS show to be done as a storyboard driven show (as opposed to script driven). An amazing staff brings these stories to the screen, mostly co-producer Peter Hannan,(Cat Dog creator) who also writes, story edits and writes songs. Our other song writer is Jeff Bernstein who also brings wonderful music to the show and Ari Posner and Amin Bhatia compose an amazing score. Other staff that the show could not have been done without are Mark Haslett, Joe Ansolebehere (Recess creator) Luccy Baille, Rachel Lipman Dan Becker, Tom Smith, Jackie Bae, Ben Fosselman, Michelle Rincon, Kathi-Jo Larson, Keith Silva, Davey Jarrel, Erik Messel, Megan Harte and Andrew Murray.
An awesome voice acting cast of Saara Chaudry, Evan O’Donnell
Paul Braunstein, Shayle Simons, David Berni, Zoe Hatz and Miku Graham bring life to the characters.
Our animation crew and financial partner Canadian Studio 9 Story/Brown Bag, with executive producer Vince Commisso and producer Charley Thomas. Where our art director Natasha Sasic produces beautiful backgrounds with a genius staff and director Matt Mitchell directs the final animation. Mike Mancuso edits and mixes the final audio, and Let’s Go Luna is beamed into homes.
Below is video of our crew in 1995 at work on Rocko.
(Or not working) Check it out.
Rocko's Modern Life
Nickelodeon | 52 Episodes
In production 1993 to 1996
Joe Murray Studio & Games Animation
Joe Murray Studio was approached to develop an animated cartoon series that had the same flair as the independent festival films it was producing by a young cable kids TV network called Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon was definitely shaking up the TV animation world with its new block of “Nicktoons” and Rocko’s Modern Life was picked up to fit into their new genre. It was a risky experiment and Vanessa Coffey, Linda Simensky and President of Nickelodeon Gerry Laybourne should be given true credit to go out on limb and do creator driven content that was really different. It forever changed the TV animation landscape.
Pairing up with Nickelodeons production arm Games Animation and Executive producer Mary Harrington, Joe Murray Studio was able to hand pick an incredible crew. Some from the JMS crew in the bay area, some from the independent film community and many breakout talents from colleges and from shows like Simpsons and features like Cool World. Many went on to their own shows and successes.
Our all-star crew consisted of Nick Jennings, Steve Hillenburg, Robert Scull, Mark O’Hare, Doug Lawrence, Tim Bjorklund, Derek Dryman, Alan Smart, Howie Parkins, Conrad Vernon, Robert Hughes, Ken Kessel, Sean Bjorklund, Dan Povenmire, Swampy Marsh, Jeff Myers, George Maestri, Tim Hill, Martin Olson, Tim Barnes, Adrianna Galvez, Carol Wyatt, Chris Savino, Antoine Guibald, Richard Leroy. The wonderful music of composer Pat Irwin and the amazing voice talents of Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Mr. Lawrence, Linda Wallem and Charlie Adler, with voice producing help from Suzanne Benton.
Joe Murray studio was responsible for not only the creative content, but also the financial producing responsibilities, schedule and staffing and the show was proudly brought in on time and on budget. It was Joe Murray Studio’s first venture into volume television animation, and after many awards and continued popularity, Nickelodeon asked JMS to bring it back for a long form special that is currently streaming on Netflix. It remains a strong foundation.
Cartoon Network | 61 Episodes
In production 2004 to 2007
Joe Murray Studio & Cartoon Network
Camp Lazlo was originally a book project called “3 Beans” that was thought to be a better fit as an animated series. Joe Murray Studio brought it to Cartoon Network who were doing amazing cartoons and they agreed to put it into development. After a Joe Murray studio produced pilot and extensive bible, Camp Lazlo was greenlit and put into production working closely with Cartoon Network executives Brian Miller and Jennifer Pelfrey. 61 episodes and 2 Prime Time Emmys later, Camp Lazlo still has a legion of fans that keep it their own.
Again, JMS hand-picked a very talented crew , and many again went on to their own shows and amazing successes. Creative Producer Mark O’Hare, animation supervisor Brian Sheesley, Art Director Sue Mondt, story editor Merriwhether Williams my amazing Line Producer Janet Dimon, and the rest of my staff including but not limited to, Steve Little, Kaz, Cosmo Segurson, Kim Roberson, John Infantino, Mike Roth, J.G. Quintel , Thurop Van Orman, Clay Morrow, Ant, Kent Osborne, Russell Calabrese , Lindsey Pollard, Swinton Scott, Phil Cummings, C Raggio, Tamika, Erik Elizarez, Jeff Perlmutter, Stephanie Erdel, the Matt Magic of my editor Matt Adams, my composer Andy Paley, my music editor Nick Carr, my sound effects Genius Jeff Hutchins, (who also did Rocko, and still has the Rocko shoe squeak in his library) My mixer Eric Freeman, my production staff Meagen, Julie, Jessica Yost, Laura, my voice director Collette Sunderman and recording engineer Robert Serda, Dialog editor Tony Ostyn. And, of course, the multi-talented voice cast of Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Jeff Bennett, Doug Lawrence, Steve Little, Jill Talley and Jodi Benson.
Joe Murray Studio working with Janet Dimon, brought the show in under budget and on schedule and it aired to strong ratings, playing strong internationally including Germany and Italy, where it earned 3 Italian Puchinella awards as an audience favorite.
Rocko’s Modern Life Special
Currently Streaming on Netflix since 2019
Nickelodeon approached Joe Murray Studio in 2015 if there was interest in bringing the Rocko’s Modern Life gang back for a reboot special. Apparently, the show has still been doing well after twenty years and continued to have the fans that seemed to support the idea. After some hesitancy, Joe Murray wrote the base of the story to see if it would mesh with what the current Nickelodeon would feel comfortable with. The new “Modern Life” seemed abundant in ideas that would be fresh and still resonate with todays audiences. Joe wrote a story about a network bringing back Rocko’s favorite cartoon “The Fatheads’ after Rocko, Heffer and Filburt had been in outer space for 20 years. The new idea had some bite and some risk. Thanks to Nickelodeon executive Chris Viscardi, the special moved forward with the story Joe had written, and the end result “Static Cling” found a home on Netflix to critical and fan-based acclaim.
Joe Murray Studio wanted to approach the special with the same methods it had used on the original series. The backgrounds were hand painted with the same Dr. Martin dyes that were used in the original. Joe Murray directed with the co-direction of Cosmo Segurson, who was on Joe’s Camp Lazlo crew. Doug Lawrence and Martin Olson were brought back from the original Rocko staff to work on fleshing out the story with Joe. With the help of producer Lizbeth Valesco, an amazing crew was assembled including Tom Smith, Dan Becker, Adriana Galvez, Jackie Bae, Jessica Yost, Kevin Sukho Lee, Michael Baille, Eric Elizarez, and George Chialtis. We brought back the original composer for Rocko Pat Irwin to do the score and the original sound designer Jeff Hutchins to do effects.
Of course, the original voice cast was brought back in Tom Kenny, Carlos Alazraqui, Doug Lawrence, Charlie Adler, and Linda Wallem.
Special thanks also to Nick Adams and GLAAD who helped with guidance with our story details. Thank you to then President of Nickelodeon Cyma Zarghami for her support.
Joe Murray Studio is very proud of the result and feels it does justice to the original episodes.
Running time 3:08 minutes
Newt Street Pictures – Joe Murray Studio
The Chore was Joe Murray’s first film, completed in 1987 and released in 1988. It was done with felt pen on typing paper merely as an animation exercise for his college intro animation class. Once completed, it won a 1989 Student Academy Award, and a Focus Film award, was shown on NBC television and was picked up for distribution by both Spike and Mike and Expanded Entertainments Animation Celebration. It had a long festival run, screening at such festivals as Sundance, Annecy, Ottawa, Hiroshima and many others.
My Dog Zero
Joe Murray Studio 1991
Running Time 11:00 minutes
Production on My Dog Zero began immediately after the completion of the award-winning short film “The Chore”.
Joe Murray Studio was making a transition from illustration and design studio to an animation studio in the late 80’s and early 90’s, with the film work building education that later translated into animation for commercial clients as well as MTV. Going from a quick black and white film to a full color 11-minute film with backgrounds and cels proved to be a quick expansion. Joe Murray animated the film himself with new pencil test equipment, and fellow animation student Nick Jennings offered to do airbrush backgrounds for the film and help with camera work. Nick Jennings went on to be a very important player in the start of Joe Murray Studio working as producer on the Rocko Pilot, as art director on the Rocko series, and later working with Steve Hillenburg as art director on Spongebob. He has since gone on to an incredible career in animation in Los Angeles. When the ink and paint company hired to pain cels proved to not have the quality Joe was looking for, Joe took on a team of college students that he could supervise to paint in exchange for free meals and a bottomless cup of coffee. Some of those students became weekly fixtures painting on the film like Les and Theresa Hedger, Michelle Gallant, Scott Shearer, Rob Ripplinger and Kim Tempest. When the film was completed and shot, Paul Sumares did an amazing music score, Tom Schott worked some audio magic, Scott Shearer lent his voice to Mildo and George Maestri wrote the closing song with my late wife Diane doing vocals with him.
My Dog Zero went on to the festival circuit with showings in Hiroshima, Ottawa and Annecy and was included the Spike and Mike Touring animation festival. My Dog Zero was the film that Nickelodeon saw which led to an invitation to pitch a series idea.
Rocko’s Modern Life Pilot
Trash-O-Madness-Joe Murray Studio
As development moved forward on Rocko’s Modern Life in 1992, Joe Murray Studio ( then in Saratoga California) was commissioned by Linda Simensky and Vanessa Coffey to produce a pilot (test episode) to show how the series would look. The studio was coming off of independent films and since they wanted to replicate the look of an independent film on TV, approached the pilot as another indie project.
Joe Murray wrote and storyboarded the pilot, which showcased a typical simple story of a yellow Rocko putting out the days trash. Where the often-repeated quote “Garbage Day is a very Dangerous Day” originated. Producer Marty McNamara assembled additional animators from the San Francisco animation community including Mike Smith, Robyn Steele, Robert Scull, Mark West, Sean Murday and Tim Bjorklund. Joe Murray animated half of the pilot himself with the rest of the valuable contributions of animation coming from the rest of the extremely talented staff.
After an extensive casting call of voice talent to cast the voice of Rocko, Joe Murray felt the part needed a comic touch and original voice that he was not getting from the traditional voice actors in the area. They reached out to the stand-up comedy talent in the bay area and after a series of auditions , Carlos Alazraqui walked in with a spot-on version of Spunky, and after some short direction, ( with some detour into a Gene Wilder version of the bathtub schmoot monologue) the Rocko voice was found.
As an independent film studio, Joe Murray approached everything with many crew members wearing several hats, from Nick Jennings doing backgrounds and acting as producer and camera operator, and George Maestri handling producer duties, animation assisting, tech guidance, audio guide and also camera operator. Daily rushes of shot film would be rushed to a San Francisco film lab in the morning after shooting all night, wear the film from the previous day would be screened. Motel rooms near the studio were utilized to keep the crew rested and showered through the production. The pilot was completed with a great score by Marshall Crutcher and completed in the late summer of 1992.
Frog In A Suit
Joe Murray Studio/Garden Box Entertainment
Frog in a Suit was the story of Peete Moss and his family of endangered frogs who were relocated to their indigenous pond only to find it taken over by bigoted toads led by a Texas Fly rancher mogul named Harvey Croak. ( Who also went on to create Crack-A-Cola). Frog in a Suit lives in three animated episodes produced with the help of Jantze Studio and a comic book.
Frog in a Suit was intended as a kickoff cartoon for Joe Murray’s brainchild of an all cartoon web channel that was opened up to a Kickstarter campaign. Although the campaign was successful, the channel was not due to sudden drastic shifts in the commercial rate for internet advertising during the production and development of the project. The financial model couldn’t sustain a library of cartoons and it lived a short life.
Frog in a Suit stars the voices of Tom Kenny ( SpongeBob, Heffer) and Carlos Alazraqui ( Rocko, Lazlo, Reno 911). Musical score by Krandel Crews. Timing direction by Russell Calabrese.
An Independent Short Film From
Joe Murray Studio and Newt Street Pictures
The small Irish fishing town of Fish Head is turned upside down when Fisherman Blister McFlatus discovers a Magic fish, and wishes for,what he believes to be,his deepest desire.
As a loose adaptation of “A Fisherman’s Wife” by the Brothers Grimm, Fish Head also questions the impact of our “wants” on our overall quality of life. In a way a ‘Green film’, both in the message and the production methods, Fish Head is being produced with mixed media styles. Definitely a “darker tale”, the backgrounds combine a mixture of weathered paint on barn wood, hand made papers and cloth, with recycled cardboard for character coloring.
Joe Murray Studio
Directed and Animated by Joe Murray
Red and Ed are two brothers who were born without bodies. (which happens at times living next to a toxic dump site) One is always happy, and one is always bitter. More of an exercise into how quickly funny content could be produced for the web.