A couple years ago, I had just hit my stride as a director on Penguins of Madagascar, and Nickelodeon Development threw me a curveball. They wanted me to direct Al Madrigal’s pilot for his property, Mall Spies. Outside of my normal day job. Well, calls like that don’t come too often, so of course I said yes.
Luckily it was fairly do-able, as they only wanted it to be between one and two minutes long, but it would be fully produced animation. To make this process as easy on me as I could, since it would be a small crew–meaning me–I decided to make it in Flash. I had a good experience with it on Making Fiends, and I knew that I could tweak animation myself, even past the limited amount of retakes that the studio would offer. All I had to do was open the problematic scene in Flash and tweak away. The other thing I did to make it easy on myself was to hire the super-talented, Flash-experienced Steve Lambe as the Art Director. He would do all character designs, bgs, and any special poses. As you can see, he did his normal superlative, professional work, and this project would not have looked as slick without him. I also need to give a shout out to Al Madrigal, a truly funny guy whether he’s doing stand up or just telling me a funny thing his kid did last weekend. This was his first foray into the world of animation, and he rolled with it like a pro.
In the end, Nickelodeon passed on Mall Spies, but I think it turned out pretty good. It’s really tough to fit all that info into a pilot in under 2 minutes and have it be remotely entertaining. Hope you like it!