by John Pokorny
Have you heard of Jimmy Stones? It's creators, who happen to have "The Simpsons," "Dexter" and other big shows on their resume, are ready for another round of success. Jimmy Stones was pitched to several top comedy channels, and although it was admired and acknowledged, the show had to be tweaked to fit corporation needs. James Manos Jr. and Bill Shultz wanted to keep creative control, so they are creating their show on their terms. Learn how Shultz partnered up with Manos Jr. and how their creation might just be the next big hit, with your help of course...
Q: Where did the idea for the show come from and what do you feel will make it a success?
A: Jimmy Stones is (loosely) based on Jim's life when he went through a divorce and had writers imagination in reaction to a scenario of how to cope with the stress. The voices of the animals could be considered to represent the various voices one might hear in their mind as one tries to cope with the stress of such a life transition
Q: How did you first enter the entertainment industry? how were you able to work on such amazing shows like “The Simpsons,” King of the Hill,” Garfield” and more?
A: I moved to la to be a songwriter and a screenwriter – and being got into production as a way to have control of how my vision would be executed on the screen. I was working for new world entertainment when they acquired marvel animation – and I loved the process and the medium – and then went to head up development and production for Phil Roman when he was just starting the production of a CBS saturday morning Garfield series as well as the prime-time specials. We became the “go to boutique animation studio” that could produce at a prime-time quality level – but on a large scale. Gracie films came to us and asked us to do The Simpsons as they were looking to replace clasky-csupo – as delivery dates were being missed and talent were leaving the show. We were the natural home for King of the Hill when the show was being developed by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels for FOX.
High quality animation on a scale like these shows had never been done before – and when you make it happen you get great opportunities like this.
Q: With Halloween around the corner, what do you feel made “The Simpsons” Halloween specials something to look forward to year after year? What was your part in the creation of "The Simpsons?"
A: The format of three unique stories – which allows for great creative freedom is something you don’t want to miss – from the couch gag to the end credits – the creativity doesn't stop.
I didn't create the series – but I feel like I made a contribution to upping the quality by giving the other talent on the show a pipeline and an environment that fostered their own innate creativity – pushing the boundaries was possible. Talent needs to be supported and encouraged to expand and execute.
Q: How will you take the things you've learn on your past projects to succeed on your own today?
A: You learn something from every project – I was careful to respect and listen to the techniques and elements of what makes something work in animation. It is an artists medium – but it is a collaborative medium. You need to know where to strike a balance to deliver the fullest and strongest creative vision. This is key to producing great content.
Q: What do you want audiences to take away from your show?
A: Jimmy Stones will be a dialogue of the challenges we all face in today's post financial crisis society and world – just when you think you are going to break – you find that elasticity of human endurance and stretch it – but in a humorous and revealing way. Hope is the key – and Jimmy Stones will start with no hope and then find it – and likely lose it again before the next episode!
Q: What equipment do you use to create your show and what challenges do you sometimes face during the creation process?
A: Time and money! – it takes talent and vision – and then revision. We will use flash as it is the most plastic and accessible animation platform. The show has a strong art style – and the dialogue and performance will be key – it cannot be too cartoon-y or it wont resonate the way Jim Manos wants it to.
He is a very complex guy and the stories need specificity in the visuals and timing to really carry this to the screen.
Q: Where did the idea for a collaboration come from? how did you both know each other before this partnership came together?
A: Our partnership for Jimmy Stones came about through our mutual attorney – Alan Grodin.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A: Being able to connect with the audience at this stage and all the way through is a dream come true – I always thought I would be happy to help bring a creation to fruition – but didn't know where to send my check – but now with the invention of crowd funding it is entirely possible – so please give us a chance to show you something you have never seen before.
About James Manors Jr. & Bill Schultz
James Manos, Jr.
James Manos, Jr. won the Emmy Award for writing his “College” episode of HBO’s groundbreaking series, “The Sopranos.” After two seasons as Consulting Producer on the FX series, “The Shield,” he went on to Create and Produce Showtime’s signature one-hour drama, “Dexter.” He is presently Show runner on “South of Hell” a one hour dramatic series slated to air on WE TV next year. Mr. Manos produced the award-winning movie “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom,” starring Holly Hunter and Beau Bridges, for HBO. The movie was nominated for six Emmys and won three. He also produced the critically acclaimed telefilms, “Apollo 11” and “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters.” A trained theater director, Mr. Manos received a degree from Colgate University in English/Theater and studied directing at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Bill Schultz is a four-time Emmy-award winning Animation Producer and Studio Executive with more than 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry, producing such well known shows as “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill,” “Garfield,” “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” “He Man and the Masters of the Universe” and “Hero:108.” In 2010, Bill launched Home Plate Entertainment as a new animation studio engineered to bring his wealth of experience and vision into taking advantage of the vast changes and growth in the worldwide animation production business. With Schultz at the helm, Home Plate Entertainment (HPE) has already scored a hit with its series, Rob Dyrdek’s Wild Grinders, a 26 half hour animated skein for Nicktoons in the US, created by pro-skateboarder turned mega-TV-entrepreneur-super-star Rob Dyrdek, who has 3 successful series of his own on Viacom’s MTV.
There are no comments on this blog post.