Is audience reaction in your mind as you work on projects? Or is that another element entirely, not considered as the work is being created?
“Audience reaction is a consideration, but typically comes after the initial creative work has started. You must always consider your audience, as they are your ultimate consumer and without their support your product (your show) will not be a success. The tastes and trends of the audience can help inform the development of your series. By including those things that resonate most strongly with the audience, you can bolster the appeal and hopefully increase the success of your show. If you don’t consider your audience at all, then you run the risk of having your project appeal to no one other than yourself.”
How do you rate today’s cartoons against those from the Golden Age? Not in terms of technical proficiency but in sheer entertainment terms?
“I’m an old-school guy. One of the reasons I am this business is because of those old cartoons. Today’s cartoons are excellent and often very funny. But I find myself thinking too much during most of today’s cartoons. They are very cerebral. It is a rare exception when I am transported to another world and just go along for the ride the way the cartoons of yore did for me.”
Is there a property from a bygone era you would have loved to work on?
“It’s always been my dream to have been a part of the golden Disney era. I would have been thrilled to work on the classics like Dumbo and Cinderella.”
Having worked both sides of the street, so to speak, as an executive and as a creative, how does this experience help you in your day to day responsibilities.
“I started as a creative, then became an executive, then went back to creative and am currently an executive again. Being on both sides has informed and helped me in each role. As a current programming executive, my past experience as a creative certainly helps me in terms of character, story, and structure. When I went back to creative after being an executive, I used the knowledge I had gained to help me develop programming that would better fulfill the needs of the executives. I’m grateful to have experienced both sides and like to think it has made me better at all of my jobs.”
Have you ever created a project that somehow never got made, and do you still hold out the possibility of one day seeing it on screen?
“Yes, I’ve created numerous projects that never got made. Every creator has. As an executive I have received literally thousands of pitches and only a handful get made each year. So as a creator, I know that the odds are stacked against me. The cliche is true. It’s 1,000,000 to 1 chance. And yes, I hold out hope that they might be produced one day. If not, I would be selling insurance by now.”
Are there areas of showbiz you would love to try? Did you ever get to play that classical guitar concert?
“I wish I had the talent to be a voice-over actor. I’ve done scratch tracks for test pilots and it was a tremendous amount of fun. But when I hear myself back on the audio tracks I typically want to fire that horrible actor and find someone with a modicum of talent to take his place. — The last time I gave a guitar recital was in high school. I haven’t even picked up my guitar in months, I’m sorry to say. Thanks for remembering!”
Your all-time favorite animated character?
“Hands down, the Roadrunner. Beep beep!”