October 18, 2011


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   Back in the late 1990’s, I worked on a show called Eckhart. He was a little mouse who lived on a farm in Prince Edward Island, on the east coast of Canada. Eckhart’s stories were always based on learning about life through adventure. It started off as a Christmas special called The True Meaning of Crumbfest. The main characters (such as Eckhart, Tomis and Boss Mouse) were developed for this piece. This successful pilot went on to spawn 3 seasons.

Although it was my second gig as an assistant director, it was the first time I would truly experience what it was like to be a full director. My job as an AD encompassed so many aspects of animation production – from design to storyboard, leica reels, colour rushes and a bit of post production. We had a small crew; so our workload was tripled at the best of times. Until one is able to touch on and handle these different areas, it is truly difficult to fully understand the director’s role. Nowadays, I carry over everything I learned from that production.

One of the highlights of my time on Eckhart was the chance to do a host of design and development art. Even between seasons I was kept on to help out with development on many other projects for the now defunct Phoenix Animation Studios and Catalyst Entertainment.

The greatest part of all, were the people I got to work with. We became a family at that studio – and eventually moved on to start another chapter in life.

It was probably one of those few experiences I can honestly say, helped to shape me into who I am as an artist today. Good or bad, shouldn’t all experiences shape us in some way?


Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. Wow! I never knew the characters went through such dramatic changes. But I could hardly imagine a Drunk as a Skunk kinda skunk. 😛 The first two ideas of him were quite good, too, probably like Sir Roswald’s distant cousins. And there’s one more thing that’s been bothering me: Where did Sir Roswald’s name actually come from?
    Thank you for displaying the great work. Always a fan, with love, Blake.

    • Thanks very much, Blake!

      Actually, most characters go through a lot of change during the development stage (except if we’re adapting an existing property, like a book or comic strip).
      Honestly, I can’t really say where Roswald’s name came from (probably written in by one of the producers or creators). Although, the name is originally German for “horse mighty” or “horse power”. I guess it doesn’t apply to our Roswald from Eckhart. 😉


  2. Hi, John. Sorry for spamming, but I was finally able to watch the episode “Step Dance” (in Russian, but still.) The character Madam Kelly looks rather interesting. How much do you know about her?

    • Hey Blake,
      Sorry for the tardy reply. Actually, I don’t remember much about that character; so I can’t really elaborate on her. But I do recall in that particular episode, I’m actually caricatured as a judge during the dance competition!


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