Utica Cartoon

Posted: 13 July, 2001-Likes: 0-Comments: 3-Categories: Animation, Utica Cartoon-Tags: willkrause, cartoon network, fran

Utica Cartoon was my first professional animation project, and possibly my last chance to produce a traditionally-animated cartoon for television. Fran and I left New York City (where we were living in a basement) to go to Providence for the production of Utica Cartoon. Not only was rent cheaper, but we also scored Mike Overbeck and Jesse Schmal at a fire sale price because they were fresh out of school. Hooray!

We set up shop in a little cottage from 1754 that we rented from a local preservation group. It was terrifyingly haunted and had a possum in the basement, but there was also space to set up a stress-relieving drumset so it all balanced out.

As I called to find places to get our cells xeroxed I learned that most businesses that supplied materials and services for traditional cell animation were out-of business or packing up their cell machinery as I talked to them on the phone. That whole Furniture Design degree finally came in handy as I had to build our own light tables, camera stands, and cell pain drying racks. We rented a xerox machine and did all of our own xeroxing and re-registering, and I must have mixed about a gallon of slightly different bear and monkey colored paints.

The pitch went from bible to pilot at a remarkably fast clip, so we had to get rolling quickly! I’d never animated before, so a crash course was started. It all turned out well in the end… well, except for it becoming a series. Our friend Tom Warburton was the lucky one this time around, though we did get to travel to a festival in Turku, Finland with Utica Cartoon. I met some wonderful people and ate lots of liquorice!

The story was inspired by a friend whose plan to beat the local hot dog store’s record was “a blender and a can of sprite.”

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Comments (3)
  • Steaming Pile - 12 February, 2011 -

    Darn shame it never made it to the bigs. I would have loved to see the bear and monkey go down to Clinton to see how the other half lives, or try to talk their way back into the USA after losing their passports in Kingston, Ontario, or watch the monkey carry the bear the rest of the way up Blue Mountain, or the whole gang getting kicked out of the Enchanted Forest Water Safari after the bear splashed all the water out of the big water slide, or the bear and monkey going stir crazy after several weeks in a row of lake effect snow, or, uh, I could go on and on.

  • Carlos - 23 September, 2014 -

    Soy de Perú y me encantó Utica cartoon, especialmente los pequeños detalles de cada escena y su sencillez. Es una lastima que no hay más capitulos ¿tienen pensado continuar con este cartoon? ¿se acabo para siempre las aventuras del oso, el mono, la tortuga, y el gato?

  • (Author) willkrause - 23 September, 2014 -

    No, por desgracia, no habrá no haber más episodios – esto era parte de una competencia de varios dibujos animados en 2001, y esta caricatura no fue elegido.

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