I remember very little of my first day. On my dad’s advice, Nick and I had taken the subway from our apartment on Roosevelt Island into Union Square the day prior. A practice run. I was nervous about being late, nervous about getting lost on the subway, and nervous about sweating too much. New York was hot that summer. So were the subway platforms. The office was suitably air-conditioned, though.
I didn’t wear a tie, and probably did not wear a button-up. Everyone dressed casually – no jackets, no ties – but nicely. A few people wore blue jeans. My t-shirt was probably a solid color, and I was two years into growing my Jesus hair, which is to say that that June I looked like “Vs.”-era Eddie Vedder. With a beard, but no moustache, my preference for three years of college.
In addition to meeting everyone who was paid to be at Sunbow, I also met those who weren’t – the other interns. Whom I hated. But not for any good reason. That was just an unfortunate chip on my shoulder. I was a RISD Animation student. I went to a fancy art school, I was a decent animator, I was working four days a week, and I knew much about Sunbow’s past product – I was a fan. I was going to be the best intern of all that summer, and the best intern Sunbow had ever had. The other interns, three gals and a guy, were… just… somebodies. They were probably Communications majors, or Business students, or they knew someone who knew someone who had casually said “Oh, you should work at that company where so-and-so works.” They weren’t art students (actually, one was), and they weren’t fans. They couldn’t care as much as me. So I didn’t get too close, didn’t make conversation, and didn’t make friends.
I was jealous that they were there, that they might perform a task better, or that they would be asked to do something first. Fortunately, there was very little for us to do. Sunbow had, in fact, too many interns that summer. One or two days a week I was the only one there, so I would always at least look busy, but sometimes an intern or two would hang out in the intern room waiting for something to do. I did that a little on my first day.
Then producers Randy and Tammy gave me the bible for The Brothers Flub, a tape of an episode, a script, and a suggestion to familiarize myself with the property. I was thrilled. This was an easy task, a nice way of easing into my two months as a Production Intern, and a peek behind the curtain that was both fun and informative. Even though I knew how animation was made, there were still loads of details to absorb from an actual show on actual television in an actual studio. The sample dialogue on each character’s bible page, the episode summaries – paragraphs outlining potential half-hours should a network approve the bible, model designs for one-off props that would only appear in a single episode, or a background packet of interiors for the main locations.
Brothers Flub was a lot like Futurama, although it predates the latter by two years. Since it was airing on Nickelodeon, and I had no affinity for that network and wasn’t 8-years old, Brothers Flub wasn’t my speed. But it was cute, harmless, mildly distracting, and crafted by talented hands. In the show, two cartoonish couriers (Fraz and Guapo) deliver packages to differently themed planets, getting into trouble and learning lessons. One is organized and worries, while the other is a messy buffoon. Characters and attitudes are cartoony and silly as if made by Klasky Csupo.
In watching a tape, I was hoping to hear G.I. Joe alumni – voice talent like Bill Ratner, Michael Bell, and Mary McDonald-Lewis. No such luck, although Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life) was Fraz and Guapo’s boss, a fun surprise. I didn’t watch any whole episodes after that, and only saw bits throughout the summer, but Michael Bell does contribute to at least episode 5A, “Flub, Flub, & Away,” as Very Evil Man on a super-hero themed planet, his raspy delivery unmistakable.
If Production Intern Tim didn’t draw anything, what did he do? Tune in next time to find out!