news from me

Why I Haven't Been Sleeping Lately…

I rarely talk here about what I'm working on but it might be appropriate to mention this. Yesterday, we recorded the voice tracks for the last episode of Season Four of The Garfield Show. The series is seen all over the world though its U.S. home — Cartoon Network — tends to put it on a for a while, then take it off for a while, then put it back on for a while. It's off right now but will return. During its last "on," they ran some but not all of the episodes we produced for Season Three. I assume it'll come back on one of these days and they'll debut the rest of 'em amidst reruns aplenty. Some other countries have already run them all ten times.

I wear many hats on this show. I am the supervising producer. I am the main writer. I am the voice director. When asked what I do on it, I'm inclined to just mention the middle one, believing as I do that any title with the word "writer" in it is vastly more important than any title with the words "producer" or "director" in it. It is to me, anyway. For those of you scoring at home, I provided similar duties on 121 half-hours of the original Garfield and Friends, and now have completed my end of 104 half-hours of The Garfield Show. That's a lot of lasagna jokes with more to come.

We had a wonderful cast this season and I'm going to mention their names because the way Cartoon Network shows the credits, they're impossible to read. Frank Welker plays Garfield, Gregg Berger plays Odie, Wally Wingert plays Jon, Jason Marsden plays Nermal, Julie Payne plays Liz, Laura Summer plays Drusilla and Minerva, Audrey Wasilewski plays Arlene and all of those folks juggle several other roles. They were joined on different episodes throughout Season Four by the following folks in no particular order…

Stan Freberg, June Foray, Laraine Newman, Fred Tatasciore, Joe Alaskey, Rose Marie, Grey DeLisle, Corey Burton, Frank Buxton, Bob Bergen, Candi Milo, Jewel Shepard, Neil Ross, Bill Farmer, Misty Lee, Susan Silo, Mark Hamill, Phil LaMarr, Brooks Gardner, Diane Michelle and Scott Whyte. As I keep telling people, the secret to voice-directing a cartoon show is to hire good people and get out of their way. You'd be amazed how little acting direction you have to give performers like these.

I'm really happy with this series, which is not something I say about everything I work on. I removed my name (or at least tried-to and partially succeeded) on another cartoon series I did, plus I yanked it off three or four shows where I wrote the pilot episodes. They don't always come out the way you want them to, especially when others are trying to be the Giant Ape on whom all eyes must be focused. But you put up with those jobs not because they pay — although there is that — but you have to slog through those on occasion to get to the good ones. This for me is one of the good ones, especially because of the brilliant direction and animation being done by our director Philippe Vidal and his amazing crew.

I have no idea when Season Four will air in America. I don't even know when the rest of Season Three will air in America. But when it does, I hope you'll enjoy those episodes even a tenth as much as I enjoyed working with the people I get to work with.