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Comedy Wanted Drawn or Alive

Title: Comedy Wanted Drawn or Alive
Sponsored by The Creative Talent Network
CTNX09: Filmed Nov 2009; Posted Aug 2010
Length 60 min
[hdplay id=29 ]

Join Yvette Kaplan and her panel of 5 accomplished bi-genre writers for “Comedy Wanted: Drawn or Alive”, a discussion about the creative and procedural differences between writing Animated or Live Action Comedy.

Comedy has traditionally been the King of prime time television, with comedy writers it’s brightest stars.  While animated series have long been a notable part of the prime-time landscape, the rise of reality TV and the subsequent reduction of scripted comedy has helped push animation into it’s rightful place at the pinnacle of comedy programming. Animation’s newfound respect– Family Guy has been nominated for a prime time comedy Emmy—and its creative and financial rewards are drawing (no pun intended!) live action’s top comedy writers increasingly into the animation world.

Are there differences between writing for live action or animation? If so, what are they? Are there specific joys and pains? And how easy is the transition for all involved?

Animation Director Yvette Kaplan has hand picked an illustrious Panel of talented, thoughtful and very funny writers to share their point of view on these questions and more. All have returned or gravitated to animation after many years of writing for live action TV and features.  Join us as we discuss their experiences and insights about what it takes to work within the very collaborative process of animation and to create great animated comedy.  At the end of the discussion, we will move to a more intimate setting to continue the conversation and answer questions from the audience.

Yvette Kaplan_thumbModerator: Yvette Kaplan

Yvette Kaplan has worked in the Animation Industry for over twenty years as a Director, Producer, Story Consultant, Writer, Animator and Character Designer. She has creatively guided and supervised TV series as well as feature development and all aspects of production including pre and post in both 2D and CGI. Often described as “passionate,” Yvette has guided and inspired teams of writers, artists, actors and musicians to create stories and characters with an abundance of comedy and heart.

Yvette’s career highlights include:
Head of Story on Blue Sky Studios’ full length hit CG Feature “Ice Age” for 20th Century Fox; Director at Film Roman on Fox TV’s “King of the Hill”; Co-Director on MTV/Paramount Pictures Feature “Beavis and Butthead Do America” as well as being Supervising Director on the “Beavis and Butthead” MTV series, Director on the Nickelodeon series “Doug”, Direction and Development of the Emmy-winning pilot for WNET’s “Cyberchase” series; Creative Consultant on Scholastic Films “Magic Schoolbus” series for PBS.  She recently completed a series of comic book style illustrations for the innovative high school workbook “The Adventures of Genius Boy and Grammar Girl”, and co-created an adorable pre-school show called “Quick Quack, Duck!” that is this close to being sold.  Yvette will soon be returning to prime time comedy as a collaborative member of the animation team doing timing direction on Comedy Central’s new season of “Futurama.”

Tommy Blancha_thumbPanelist: Tommy Blancha

Tommy Blacha  is an Emmy-nominated American comedy writer, working for shows such as Da Ali G Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

Blacha started out doing performance art and improv comedy in Chicago where he met Andy Richter. Richter eventually landed Blacha a job with the Conan O’Brien show in 1993. Tommy worked on the Conan O’Brien show until 1999 writing bit pieces and developing such characters as “Gaseous Wiener” and “PimpBot5000″.[2] After leaving the Conan O’Brien show, Blacha went on to work for World Wrestling Federation in 1999 as it’s Creative Director.[3] At the WWF he helped come up with new plotlines and stories for the company. This role put him in bit parts for the fights themselves, where while playing a medic he once ended up getting slammed into a table by the wrestler Kane.[4] Tommy also participated in what was voted Monday Night Raw’s worst moment, which was the delivery of Mae Young’s hand baby.

During this time, Tommy was also doing work with TV Funhouse, an animation short for Saturday Night Live. He was part of the writing team as well playing the voice part of Hank and Whiskers.  Producer for TV FunHouse.,[5] While there he wrote and produced the infamous “Black Sabbath” cartoon and the Oprah-bashing “Stedman: Secret Agent” cartoon with Andy Breckman.

Tommy lived in Las Vegas for a short while in 2002 and 2003 where he was promoting mixed martial arts and pro wrestling events. He was also attempting to do this in Japan and Russia.

He is currently the co creator of AdultSwims “Metalocalypse”. In the show he voices the characters of Toki Wartooth, William Murderface, Dr. Rockzo and many others. He has written every episode of the show and directed several episodes.

He is currently working on a new animated project for AdultSwim that is based in the world of Professional Wrestling.

Kristofer Brown_thumbPanelist: Kristofor Brown

Beginning his writing career in television animation, Kristofor Brown first gained attention as Head Writer, Voice Director & Co-Producer of MTV’s Beavis and Butt-Head, working closely with Mike Judge, where he also served as Script Consultant and Voice Supervisor on the feature film Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.

Continuing at MTV, Brown was Head Writer/Senior Producer of The Tom Green Show before hooking up with Judd Apatow and making the transition to prime-time as Writer/Producer on the critically acclaimed Fox TV series Undeclared.  Since then, Brown has contributed to other Apatow productions, including co-writing the screenplay for Drillbit Taylor with Seth Rogen.

Brown is currently writing for the third season of Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse, developing a new animated series, Stix and Bones, for Cartoon Network, as well as writing a feature for Judd Apatow.

tgammill_thumbPanelist: Tom Gammill

Tom Gammill has been a producer at The Simpsons since 1998.

His comic strip, The Doozies, appears daily at

As part of the writing team of Gammill & Pross, Tom has written for “Saturday Night Live,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Seinfeld,”  “Monk” and a bunch of other shows you probably don’t remember.


CMarcill_thumbPanelist: Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil

SAM JOHNSON and CHRIS MARCIL have been writing partners since being assigned to each other as college roommates in the 80s 90s just recently. While most of their TV work has been in live-action comedies (“Frasier,” “NewsRadio,” “How I Met Your Mother”), it was all springboarded by two years working on MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head. They have also written several episodes of Daria (including the pilot), and other MTV animation projects that ended in obscurity, quite deservedly so. They are currently developing a show for Adult Swim called “Tight Bros: Crushin’ It – All Up On You (The Beginning)…Platinum Champagne Edition.”

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