Saturday, May 23, 2009

Interview with Bob Camp

Bob Camp is a cartoonist, having worked in animation for more than 20 years. He was one of the main creatives at Ren & Stimpy and eventually became the show runner when Nickelodeon decided to take over the production. He has also done work on Tiny Toons Adventures, Cow and Chicken, and other shows. He has a blog here.

Who were your cartooning influences?
First Mad magazine. Harvey Kurtzman, Mort Drucker, Wally Wood, Jack Davis, Sergio, all those guys. Of course I was very influenced by Warners and MGM cartoons and Hanna Barbera. Larry Hama, Gary Hallgren, John Buscema who i was lucky enough to work with. I worked for 6 or 7 years at marvel which was the best art school ever.

What was your first job in animation?
I worked at Rankin Bass in NYC during the 80's on Thundercats and 4 other shows there. It was a small studio and I did almost all the design work as all production work was sent overseas.

Of all the shows you worked on, which one would you consider to be your favorite? The least favorite?
That's hard to say. Ren and Stimpy was rewarding in so many ways but it was also a painful experience.

Scene from "Stimpy's Invention", storyboarded by Bob Camp.

After Ren & Stimpy ended, what did you do?
Worked on lots of movies as a storyboard artist, worked on Cow and Chicken, did a pilot for Cartoon network. Lots of freelance.

From Lucky Lydia, a pilot developed by Bob Camp for Cartoon Network. h/t

What is your opinion on the practice of outsourcing animation to another country?
It's always been the way animation is done since the early 60's. Rankin Bass was the first to do it I believe. As a producer I understand why it's done. It's cheaper just like it's cheaper to make sneakers in Chinese sweatshops.
I'm all for keeping American's working. With so many different new types of animation software and production models there's no reason not to do it in country. Yes, America first damnit!

In your opinion, what do you think is wrong (or right) with animation today?
The same thing that's always been wrong with it and there's plenty of angry blogs about it out there and they make a lot of good points. Bitching about things is a big waste of time. As long as it is a business run by businessmen it will be businesslike which has nothing to do with drawing funny pictures.

Are there any contemporary animation that you like?
I like lots of stuff but I rarely watch TV anymore. Mighty B is cool. It looks exactly like Ren and Stimpy. I find it ironic that I couldn't get a job on that show:) Of course Pixar is amazing, Dreamworks has been putting out lots of great stuff. Generally features are getting better and better.

Have you considered going independent, a-la Bill Plympton?
Sure but I'm not an animator like Bill. He does all that stuff himself. I need to make a living. That is good advice for young animators though.

Script vs. storyboard: what's your take on this whole debate?
I have nothing against scripts. I do think that people must learn to move on from a script and let the cartoonists do their thing and having a script written in stone is self defeating. Obviously storyboards are what I do and I don't need a script. A 3 page outline will do just fine thanks.

Interview © Charles Brubaker
Ren & Stimpy Created by John Kricfalusi © Viacom
Lucky Lydia © Cartoon Network
Gregon and Evo © Bob Camp


Mike Milo said...

Great interview! I'm a big Bob Camp fan!

Lucas Turnbloom said...

GREAT Interview! I absolutely love Bob Camp's work. Thank you, Bob!

merylcando said...

In true Camp style, you cut to the chase, BC.