Friday, October 9, 2009

Melvin The Magic Hotdog

Hang in there, gang. Visuals to come shortly...

In the Spring of '06, I was contacted by my pal and frequent co-conspiritor, Nathan Mazur about a small project. Someone at Walt Disney Television Animation had visited his site, liked what they'd seen and asked if Nathan would like to submit a pitch for a TV show. Nathan asked if I'd write the pitch, he'd do the visuals - and the rest was history.

(Hmmm... Use this link to Nathan's site - take a moment and check him out. He's really great and a pleasure to work with.)

Going back to the classics, I mined the Aesop's Fable about the Fisherman who catches a fish - which in turn promises to grant 3 wishes if the Fisherman sets him free. But in an oh, so perverse twist - I made the story about a boy named Billy who loves hotdogs. He purchases a hotdog from a local hotdog vendor... but just as he's about to bite into it, the tubesteak springs from the bun, grows to 6 feet high and is revealed to be that genie of a weenie, MELVIN THE MAGIC HOTDOG!

Nobody was more surprised then me, when Disney optioned this Freudian fantasy.

Nathan and I spent the next 2 or 3 months refining the bible and cobbling together a "Melvin VS Zombies" storyline that we were to pitch to the brass at Disney TV. The folks at Disney were great, providing us with advice and guidance - and free mouse ear hats (but no Disney cruises, like we'd asked).

Nathan also got singer/songwriter Parry Gripp to write a theme song to accompany our pitch.

Anyhow, the big day arrived - Nathan and I did the pitch by phone to the big Disney Kahuna's - and... they passed. They'd had a lot of submissions and Melvin wasn't exactly what they were looking for. Such is life. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, cash the cheque and move on...

The layout and design of the bible were kept very lean and simple - in keeping with Nathan's ultra clean character design. I didn't want to clutter the page.

As for the writing - taking a page from James Ellroy, I used Melvin's con man style of speaking as the basis for the bible's writing style. I tend to stay away from "dese" and "dose", as that kind of character slang tends to distract from the story and derail the reader's concentration. You can't afford to have him/her say, "What is that?" in the middle of reading your pitch doc.

I've found that even in writing a script, it's better to write the dialogue clean and allow the actor to add the character nuances. Often times, they'll bring more to the words than you imagined.

Hang in there - more Melvin art and cool stuff to be loaded shortly.

Be sure to visit Nathan and Parry at their respective sites. Thanks!

All artwork is copyright by Nathan Mazur. All Music is copyright Parry Gripp. All words are copyright by Me.

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