Wednesday, January 28, 2009


You might know Jason Harris as the host of Nickelodeon's game show Double Dare 2000.

Or you might have heard his voice in all sorts of radio commercials.

Or perhaps you're one of the few people who know that he was part of the blood-chilling cackle of voices when Haley Joel Osment gets locked in that closet in The Sixth Sense.

Well, I know him as greatest KND operative of all time, turned BRA-wearing traitor, but actually a double agent working for the Galactic Kids Next Door-- NUMBUH 274!

But I haven't seen him in ages since all the actors from KND are out in LA! Fortunately, Mr. Harris is constantly jetting back and forth from coast to coast to do voice work for movies, TV series, and books on tape and every once and a while we get together to catch up.

And this time it was his turn to buy lunch!


And it's not really a BRA... it's Battle Ready Armor, DUH!

But enough about him...

Here's a very nice post about me on Mr. David Levy's weekly blog. Check it HERE! It's not very often two perfectly nice words like WISDOM and WARBURTON are used in the same sentence. Usually it's WARBURTON and something like, SHUT-UP or PEEEE-YEW.

Note: I paid people a LOT OF MONEY to say those nice things in the comments section.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


A couple months ago I went to reload my wallet with fresh business cards and realized I had reached the bottom of the barrel! Kind of amazing since I remember wondering what the heck I was gonna do with all eleventy hundred of them a couple years ago. And now I got none! As you can see from the ratty one above (which I found stuck in between some old Pokemon cards) it was a pretty KND-centric card since that's all I was doing for all those years.

But this post-KND age demands more from a card than just kids battling against tyranny! After all, I'm only 63 years away from being a published children's book author (okay, a couple months... but it FEELS like 63 years). So I wanted to have some cards that represent that aspect of my life!

And then I ran into Mr. Elliot Cowan. He's an amazing animator recently come to NYC from Australia, the country where they INVENTED business cards (at least i THINK that's what he told me). He had AWESOME cards, each one with a different sketch on the back of it. He told me he got them from They're an internet printing company based in England (where they invented internets?) and you can upload all your fancypants artwork from your Flickr pages and design cards with them. Order a couple hundred and you'll get a random selection of designs.


So now I've got 50 different cards, a sampling of which is below. COLLECT 'EM ALL!

And watch some of Elliot's 'Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead', would ya? They rock pretty hard.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Omoshiroii Futago Yamashita!

Power Packin' Penciller Mr. Maurice Fontenot and Indelible Inker Rob 'The Iguana' Smith are still rockin' out new KND comics for DC's CARTOON NETWORK ACTION PACK every month!

And since some of you have been dying to know what your favorite delightfully evil Japanese masters of disguise have been up to, I'm here to tell ya that the guys are just finishing up a 4 pager starring none other than the Interesting Twins From Beneath the Mountain!

It won't be out for a couple months, but keep your eyes peeled for this story! It's a good 'un!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Some are calling it 'The Thrilla in the Large Hotel Conference Room That Smells Like Industrial Carpeting!'

Others are calling around to find something else to do!

Regardless, here's some info on the knock down, drag-out battle of the century between Dave 'The Questioner' Levy and The Incessant Rambler- Babbling Tom Warburton! And it's going down LIVE Febuary 12th!


But only if you're an animation executive and/or a paid attendee of this year's Kidscreen Summit in NYC.

Check out a summary of the action HERE!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


After years of development, Cartoon Network has thrown it's cartoony hat into the ring of MMPORMMRWPRMMPMORGMGMGM's... wait. MAMMOPORGAMAPOG's? Or is it MAMAPORG's?

Aw, you know what I'm talking about-- those sooper immersive online multi-player games like World of Warcraft (which, BTW, I would LOOOOOOVE to play but would lose my job, my family, and personal hygiene due to my addiction to those kind of games).

It's called FUSIONFALL and it's only recently come out of beta testing! Now, I haven't played it yet, but I did get to see a lot of early sketches when it was being developed. They wanted to know what I thought of the KND being 'aged-up' into a kind of anime-influenced style.

So what do I think?

How about- AWESOME?!

I think it's fun to give them a new look for the game! You can't play as the KND, but you'll meet up with them (and other familiar CN characters... although the Ed's are cree-pee lookin'!) and they'll give you missions to do. You can also collect little avatars called Nano's. They're little SUPER-D characters that float over your shoulder and give you extra powers. From what I hear, getting the Numbuh Two Nano is one of your first jobs you gotta do!

Go check out the website HERE and watch the TRAILER!

Monday, January 12, 2009

I'LL CALL YA BACK! (maybe)

Dee Bradley Baker bursting a blood vessel during the KND days

So where were we?

As previously mentioned HERE, the folks at Disney casting got ba-hundreds of voice auditions and then listened, and listened and listened until they picked out around 25-30 of the bestly best ones. They tell the talent agencies who they like and then have the actors come in to Disney to do the lines again, only this time under the direction of the aforementioned Mr. David Wright. He pokes and prods them with a very sharp stick to see if they get even better reads out of them. Then they send the auditions over to me.

So now it's my turn to listen and take notes. Who are my top picks for each characters? The ones who can really ACT! The ones with an interesting texture to their voice that makes it stand out. The ones that add funny bits to the lines without completely mangling the words. And of course, the ones that sound the way I think my characters should sound.

So then the Disney folk and I chat for a while and pick around 5-8 candidates for...


Now that the herd has been thinned a bit, I fly out to LA so that we can all sit in the booth and listen to these fine actors and actresses woo us with their beautiful voices. And there's no way I can do that without the mighty SUNDERWOMAN!

That's her on the right!

For those of you who actually read the credits, you'll recognize Collette Sunderman as the voice director for KND (as well as a million other shows like Dexter, Powerpuff Girls, Camp Lazlo, Wow Wow Wubbzy, etc etc etc). And she's really good at it. Instead of me just barking, BIGGER! LOUDER! FASTER! at the actors like some deranged lunatic (which i do anyway), Collette is well-versed in the art of cajoling the performance we want out of them. Some of my favorite tricks of hers include:

"If you're feeling uncomfortable yelling that line- that's right where I want you!"

"Do you have any siblings? They drive you nuts, right? Now try saying it like you're talking to them after they've REALLY pissed you off!"

"PERFECT! But let's get one more for choice!"

Maurice LaMarche bringing the ham to a KND episode!

What's really cool is how we start to see the characters really come to life with each actor that reads their lines. It might not always be the right voice, but often someone adds an inflection, or an accent, that suddenly turns on a light in your head.
Collette's good at drawing those out of people.

And the amazing thing about working with Collette for so long is that she can TOTALLY read my mind. She knows exactly what I want from a performance and is almost always telling the actors how I want them to re-do the line without me having to say it.

She's also great with making the actors feel comfortable, especially new ones who are nervous or veterans who are getting frustrated with doing take after take. And of course, she treats every actor like they're the best in the world- even if they're stinking up the joint.

So after a full day, and a quarter of doing callbacks... we've got TWO awesome, awesome, awesome candidates for the lead character (and one is a pretty big Disney star! I wish I could tell you who... but the Disney ninjas would kill me if I did). We got virtually nowhere with another lead, and kinda somewhere with the third character. Not as far as we'd like to be, but you take what you can get!

So now it's back to more auditions!

Hope you enjoyed this little look into the casting process! Sorry I can't tell ya more about the pilot and have to use old pictures... but hopefully soon I'll get to drop you some hints!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Tom Kenny during the KND days

Okay, so... casting.

As I mentioned in my last post, this is one of the most fun parts of making a show. You're listening to a whole bunch of sooper talented (and not so talented) voice actors and actresses breathe life into your characters! They're becoming REAL!

And I don't need to tell you (do I?) that choosing a voice for your character is one of the most important parts of making a successful show!

Now, the great thing about working with a big, well-established, sooper-diversified company like Disney is that they've got a pool of talent eleventy hundred miles deep. EVERY actor wants to work with them because... well, because they're Disney. If your show hits it big, you'll be WORLDWIDE GIHOOGIC!

So, the first part of swimming in this pool of talent is sitting down and talking with your casting director. The guy I'm working with at Disney is named David Wright and he's awesome. It's his job to know EVERYONE. Every actor and actress, their strengths and weaknesses, availability, ability to take direction, their versatility, their energy levels, do they like milk chocolate or dark chocolate, can they do that gross thing some people do where they flip their eyelids inside out, etc.

David knows all that stuff.

So when we talked about my new show, he wanted to know these SAME things about the characters so he could help match the PERFECT voice to each one. And one of the great things about having already produced six seasons of a show is that I happen to have worked with a LOT of the same voice actors he knows. Which leads me to a quick aside:

Being a professional (working) voice actor is VERY HARD work, and because of that it's a very small community. Ever wonder why actors like Tom Kenny, Grey DeLisle, and Candi Milo (to name a few) are the stars of soooooooooooooooo many cartoons?

Answer: Because there aren't enough REALLY GREAT, REALLY VERSATILE voice actors out there to take their place.

But still... ya gotta see who's out there and who's right for the part!

So I came to the table with a bunch of ideas for who I might like to audition for the lead roles of my show, and David gave me suggestions on people I didn't already know. But why stop there? There's always others we didn't think of, or hot new actors on the scene. So we send out our 'sides' to the talent agencies to get even more ideas.

What the heck are SIDES, you ask?

These are one or two page descriptions of the characters, often with pictures, sometimes without, along with a variety of dialogue. These lines are chosen to help the actor get a feel for who the character is. You also want lines that show the actor's versatility. Can they be mad, sad and/or silly? Perhaps all at the same time? Can they yell? Can they yell LOUD? Can they sing? What about fart sounds?

Dave Wittenberg doing some KND voices

So the folks at the talent agencies then call in the people they think are perfect for the part and have them record the dialogue from the sides, usually in their own recording booth, or increasingly, in the actor's home studios. And then they send Mr. Wright a pile of mp3's to sift through.

So all said and done, we're talking about HUNDREDS of auditions!

Fortunately, I don't have to listen to all these. Mr. Wright is the one who picks up the gems, weeds out the stinkers, and saves interesting new people for his files. Sometimes there's someone who's TOTALLY wrong for the part, but they've got something interesting about their voice we might be able to use later (or for another show).

And often, since the actors are recording their lines without the benefit of Mr. Wright or I directing them- they're barking up the wrong microphone. But we KNOW we can point them in the right direction if we were there!

That's where the next step comes in...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


So okay, first things first...

I've talked about him before-- when he donated some killer stuff to the ASIFA-EAST Used Animation Art Auction and Underwear Expo. But did you know that Fran Krause was at the auction? And did you know that he blew a good portion of the BILLIONS of dollars he earns in the animation industry on high-quality used animation art? Did you ALSO know that he has a blog? And that he has posted the art he won as well as audio files of the brilliant personalized greeting(s) he won of Tom Kenny as Spongebob?

Check 'em out HERE!

So now second things second:

The supreme Mo Willems is going on tour to promote his newest newly new book entitled NAKED MOLE RAT GETS DRESSED. It's funny because naked is ALWAYS funny. He's gonna be at Books of Wonder tomorrow a readin' and a signin' and I know I'm gonna be there. I'll be the one in the back row howling every time he says the word 'naked'.

Hee hee...

And fear not, Non-New Yorker's... Mo's on the road and definitely, possibly, maybe coming to your neighborhood. Or not. Check out the schedule HERE!

Third things third:

I'm heading out to LA next week to do casting for the sooper-crazy-ninjas-hiding-under-the-bed-ultra-secret-Disney pilot I'm doing! This is always one of the most fun parts of making a show and I can't wait to tell you the few things I can tell you about it (in other words: not much). But I CAN tell you a bit about the process and will have a post for you about that soonish!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Secret Message for Animation Executives ONLY!

Dear Animation Executives,

Don't worry... I'm typing this in special high-tech computer-ink so no non-executive type people can read it. I know how you get if civilians find out about all your secret stuff. Like for instance, the KIDSCREEN SUMMIT here in NYC. You know the one where you all come out to the big city to talk about cartoon executive perks, do secret handshakes and argue about who has the most executive hair?

BTW... I think this one's gonna be HOT this year:

Well, guess what? I'm gonna be there, too! (Don't worry-- I'll shower this time). Yup. on February 12th I'm gonna be interviewed live on stage by Mr. David Levy. No, he's not an executive, either. Unless you count being Most Royal Highfalutin President for Life of ASIFA-EAST. And I can't promise that he'll shower. But he's gonna ask me all sorts of hard hitting questions about my almost 300 years in the industry, which I'm sure will put you right to sleep. And you're totally gonna need it after being out all night partying it up. Oops... did I say partying? I meant, wheelin' and dealin' and maximizing cartoon studio cost ratio analyses. (wink wink)

So mark it on your calendar. As the date comes closer, I'll be sure to update you on the exact time, what I'll be wearing, and what kind of things you shouldn't throw at me. Like hams. Don't throw hams this time.


Mr. Warburton

PS: I hope this special computer-ink stuff works... otherwise EVERYONE will know.