Tuesday, November 03, 2009

One Week Before Abby's Flying Fairy School Airs

One Week Before Abby's Flying Fairy School Airs...

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm leaving work early to catch a train to NY as I've been invited by Sally Anne to take part in a Kids Media Salon meeting with a couple handfuls of really intuitive-sounding folks in the children's educational entertainment industry. It is being held at the home of one Louise Gikow, author of the book I recently purchased: "Sesame Street: A Celebration -- 40 Years of Life on the Street."

It's a GIANT book. It's making me feel really "big" right now.

Of course since Louise visited us at the studio and spoke to me at length about the animation process, I knew the book would at least mention us. So, I gambled and bought the book online before I knew for sure - but I knew I'd want it anyway as part of my collection.. it is the 40th year for Sesame Street after all. Sure enough, though, our little NJ studio has a full 2-page spread in the "Believe in Little Things" section, pages 234-235, where yes, Speakeasy FX is mentioned in the process of bringing computer animation into the world of Sesame Street puppets. The famous render still that was leaked for the August press releases was included, as well as stills from David Shirk's Abby test for the bid, and some of our David's preproduction work. It's a great little section, and does quote Scott and Jan well, and mentions David and Andy also.

I am proud to say, although I was not credited, I realized that page 234 has a render still from the third shot I ever animated professionally for television - something like frame 120 of Shot 15 in the Cinderella episode. It's the one where Mrs. Sparklenose looks apologetically at Blahg the fairy troll, saying, "I'm sorry dear, but Eenie Meanie is legally binding. You'll have to be our Cinderella."

Yay me!

On an aside, designer Peter de Seve was unfortunately credited with a name misspelling: "Animator Peter Sepp -- a veteran of Pixar who created the characters in Ice age, among others -- designed all of the new characters in the segment, like Gonnigan, Blahg, and gerbilcorn Niblet." Now, as it turns out, his original designs were truly important, but sketched out only very quickly, so I've heard. It was actually David who really fleshed them out and designed the bulk of the look of the show. A few folks who realize this may chuckle at the unfortunate "Sepp" credit, but this is obviously a luckless slip for Pete's sake.

Yes, a strained use of the pun.. I know. I'll try harder when it isn't almost midnight.

I was entertained that Louise chose to describe us as working and sitting silently at our computer screens... silently... woah, do we get points for good behavior? :-) Most days, back in "the day," there were nerf gun wars, YTMND and YouTube shares, and the very usual hilarity of office craziness. This was indeed a special place.. although my sense of humor is not as innocent as it once was, perhaps. :)

The book comes with a DVD of the first episode that aired Nov. 10, '69, which is fantastically reminiscent of our childhoods.. and also a brief 40-year recap video which is framed cleverly onscreen in a changing television (that is, it goes from an old fasioned tv border of the video which morphs over time, starting from early episodes in the 60s, and gradually the border changes to newer tv models until in 2009 it's a plasma screen.. pretty cool, and very subtlely done).

Actually a glimpse of that video can be seen on Leslie Carrara's website:
And also on YouTube:

Finally, in a few weeks, on Saturday, November 21 at 4pm, I plan to attend an event at the Brooklyn Public Library (Central Library, Dweck Center) where the author and various behind-the-scenes folks will give a presentation and book signing. Cool huh? :) In honor of Sesame Street's 40th year on television, personalities from the show and behind the scenes come together to discuss the impact of TVs first educational program for children. Featuring Louis Gikow, author of Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street; Bob McGrath, human cast member since Season 1 in 1969; Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente; Chris Cerf, Sesame Street composer and lyricist; Rollie Krewson, puppet builder with The Jim Henson Company; and Fran Brill, puppeteer for Zoe and Prairie Dawn. A book signing follows the event. This program will last approximately 90 minutes.

I'm psyched. A lot going on this month.

I can not believe that November 10 is only a week and a half away!!! The unveiling is fast approaching!

Thanks again everyone for your support!!!



Naveen Nattam said...

You are a huge deal indeed :) So proud of you baby. You totally kick mucho butt-o. Love ya!

Jamie said...


Strangely, (or not so strangely...depending on how you look at it) I came across your blog post when I was searching to see if there were any dvd's released yet of Abby's Flying Fairy School. You see, my 21 mo. old daughter is IN LOVE with this series. And when I say IN LOVE I mean that when the show is over she throws her arms in the air and asks over and over and over again (for hours) "where Abby go?" It's such a cute series and the animation is great. I was REALLY hoping to get a dvd or two of the series for several plane rides we will be attempting with her in a few weeks. So I have to ask...do any dvd's even exist yet?? I would be forever grateful if you could email me at jamieantisdel (at) hotmail (dot) com to let me know.

Oh and my daughter thanks you for your amazing work. :)

Laura "Sko" said...

Wow Jamie!!! Thank you so much for your heartwarming comment. I'm so glad your daughter loves it so much! I wish I could help you with the dvd request but unfortunately it is too new to be on dvds yet. It's remarkable how attached she is to Abby - so sweet!!! All the best and I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I hear any news about any dvd releases.

Thanks again for posting! Happy Holidays!!!