Saturday, February 27, 2021

Tim Hill Reveals That 'The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run' Came Directly from the Mind of Late Series Creator Stephen Hillenburg

In November 2018, the world lost Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Nickelodeon's beloved animated series, SpongeBob SquarePants.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. Credit: Paramount Animation ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Prior to his passing, the marine biologist-turned-animator had an idea for a third feature film starring Bikini Bottom's happy-go-lucky fry cook (voiced by Tom Kenny). That idea eventually became The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, the first film in the series to be completely animated with 3D techniques. The project ended up being written and directed by Tim Hill, a writer who's been with the long-running TV show since it first aired all the way back in 1999.

Speaking with SYFY WIRE during a virtual press junket, Hill states that his ultimate goal for Sponge on the Run, premiering on Paramount+ on March 4, was to "stick to the characters and the show. You see them on a new adventure and kind of expect Steve Hillenburg's original idea about the show. Pretty much make it a really fun road trip with some great cameos and just wacky adventures. [I wanted] to make it as silly as I could. That was the main thing."

The filmmaker also reveals that the story was directly inspired by the Season 4 episode "Have You Seen This Snail?," in which SpongeBob's pet snail, Gary (also voiced by Kenny), runs away from home. "[Stephen] wanted to springboard off of that idea for the movie," Hill explains.

Sponge on the Run takes that concept and broadens the scope. Instead of running away from home, Gary is mysteriously "snail-napped" and taken to "The Lost City of Atlantic City," the Vegas-inspired domain of King Poseidon (Matt Berry, Harvey Beaks, The IT Crowd, What We Do in the Shadows). The king's right-hand man (or fish, rather) is the Chancellor, voiced by Reggie Watts (SYFY's Wild Life), who, by his own admission, has kind of been living under a SpongeBob-less rock for the past two decades — just like Patrick Star!

"The funny thing is I knew of SpongeBob and all my friends loved [it]," he says. "In the '90s, I didn't have TV, so I only got SpongeBob in little slices and doses [from] people saying lines and stuff like that."

Watts describes his time working on Sponge on the Run as his chance to undergo "trial by fire [and become involved in the universe.

"I was really excited because many of my friends, when I told them I was doing it, they were freaking out," he continues. "It was great — my whole thing was I just wanted to find a character voice that worked for the character and make sure that grooved with the scenes. Of course, knowing that Matt Berry was [involved], I'm a huge Matt Berry fan, so I wanted to make it extra good for everybody."

The Chancellor - SpongeBob Movie Sponge on the Run. Credit:  Paramount Animation ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

To prepare for his dive into the ocean, Watts started with the very first episode ("Help Wanted") and then jumped through the various seasons in order to give himself a crash course in SpongeBob SquarePants.

"I just went through years [and] skipped ahead and saw how it was 4:3 aspect ratio and then it got wider. That was really, really fun," he continues. "It was cool to understand that this is a show that really speaks to all ages and it's so silly and so ridiculous and irreverent. It was really nice to discover it at my age. It took me [this long to go] 'Oh, this is what this is? Oh, this is awesome!'"

To retrieve Gary, SpongeBob and Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) team up for another epic road trip that takes them to Atlantic City. They meet some strange characters along the way, including a wise spirit guide named "Sage" — portrayed by Keanu Reeves' head in the middle of a desert tumbleweed.

"He's great. He's super focused and really professional," Hill says of the John Wick star. "He's a really nice guy, he was a joy to work with, actually — probably one of the best experiences I've had. He knew his lines, he wanted to do it his way, but really right and we agreed on a lot, so it worked out really well. But he was really focused, which I was very happy with."

Keanu Reeves Sponge on the Run. Credit: Paramount+/Nickelodeon

After so many years of seeing SpongeBob as a mainstay of the 2D environment, Kenny wasn't sure if the iconic character would translate well into the realm of CG. It was a scary thought; almost as scary as a live-action pencil sinking into the ocean and spawning a host of evil illustrations. ME HOY MINOY!

"To be honest, you're never really sure how that's gonna work. To me, SpongeBob is so thoroughly 2D in my brain," the veteran voice actor tells us. "They experimented with that [CG animation] in the prior movie, Sponge out of Water, where they did that sequence where Sponge and the gang came up out of the water into the live-action world. That was Steve Hillenburg and the guys dipping their toe into the possibility of a 3D/CG SpongeBob. Like, 'Could that work and could you get that same squash and stretch animation bounce that you get in traditional animation?' Because most CG doesn't have that and they figured out a way to do it. Really, it's just marrying the new technology with the determinedly old-school traditionalist sense that the show has always had since the beginning."

The film also features the voice talents of Clancy Brown ("Mr. Krabs"), Rodger Bumpass ("Squidward"), Carolyn Lawrence ("Sandy"), Mr. Lawrence ("Plankton"), and Awkwafina ("Otto"). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run arrives on Paramount+ (aka CBS All Access) on Friday, March 4. Nickelodeon's prequel series, Kamp Koral, debuts the same day. Click here for all the spongeriffic info!

Watch SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon!

Listen to The SpongeBob Musical here!:

SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is released on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on June 23, 2020!

CALLING ALL GOOFY GOOBERS! (ROCK!) Are ya ready for a deep dive into the world of SpongeBob SquarePants? The SpongeBob YouTube channel is THE PLACE for all fan-favorite SpongeBob moments! We’re serving up everything from legendary scenes to remixes of classic songs to deep dives into Bikini Bottom lore. Be sure to check back every week for Music Mondays, Wumbo Wednesdays, and Flashback Fridays! Subscribe now at!

Shop SpongeBob!: - SpongeBob face masks now available, with ALL proceeds going to charity!

More Nick: 'Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years' and 'The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run' to Debut on Paramount+ on Thursday, March 4!

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Prankster Registers SpongeBob SquarePants to Run in 2024 U.S. Election

Following a slew of fake and satirical candidates running for President during the 2016 US election cycle, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulatory agency clamped down, removing unverified names from its listings and threatening legal action - and it looks like SpongeBob SquarePants, the titular character from Nickelodeon's beloved animated series of the same name, could be in trouble.

Filings with the US Federal Election Commission indicate that the would-be presidential candidate could soon face a lawsuit if their name is found to be fake.

FEC records indicate that on Sunday, February 21, someone under the name of Nickelodeon’s fictitious cartoon sponge filed paperwork to run for President of the United States on the Republican Party ticket.

Although it's not unusual for television and film stars to run for office, with action film star and champion bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger serving as the governor of California for eight years, and reality personality Donald Trump serving as president for one term, incidentally both also on the GOP ticket. However, it is probably a first for an animated character, especially since Bikini Bottom is not in the United States. Although Bikini Bottom is fictional, the town is set under Bikini Atoll, a real island that's part of the Marshall Islands.

However, everything about this story seems, well, fishy. For example, the person who submitted the paperwork for "SpongeBob Edward SquarePants" registered themselves as Perch Perkins, the famous field reporter for Bikini Bottom News in the TV show, and the address given is the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California. Also, the principal campaign committee is listed as the Krusty Krab, the fictional restaurant where SpongeBob works as a fry cook on the show - however, rather than having a Bikini Bottom address, it uses the address of DirecTV’s corporate office in El Segundo.

On Thursday, February 25, the FEC decided to find out what exactly was going on with this bizarre filing by sending a litter to Nickelodeon Studios that carries a substantial warning about “knowingly and willfully making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation to a federal government agency,” and seeking clarification about “the true, correct, or complete candidate name and principal campaign committee name.”

The letter, of course, is entirely real, but the listed response date of April 1 - April Fools Day - only adds to the surreal nature of this story.

FEC press officer Judith Ingram told Sputnik that the agency began sending the letters out in 2017, and the recipient has 35 days to clarify the veracity of their filing. If they fail to do so, they could face charges that would result in a substantial fine and could land them in jail for up to five years - or even eight years, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism.

The rule was drafted after the 2016 elections in which more than 1,850 joke candidates appeared, some of whom garnered not-insignificant results in polls, such as Deez Nuts, who polled as high as 9% in some early presidential primaries, as well as candidates named Harambe, and Queen Elsa Ice.

Nickelodeon did not respond to inquiries by Sputnik.

Sputnik reached out to the email address listed on the FEC filing for the Krusty Krab, and this is the response they received:

“I'm Perch Perkins, the campaign manager for Mr. SquarePants. I wasn't aware about the name verification form, but I will let him know. The campaign will be announced within the next four weeks, with more details regarding his campaign via social media.”

On the extremely long shot that the jellyfishing, burger-flipping, gap-toothed sea sponge is, in fact, pursuing the nation’s highest office, NickALive! is ready to sit down for an interview at the earliest available time.

It’s too bad whoever’s behind this didn’t list SpongeBob’s best friend Patrick Star instead, since he actually ran for President in a special seven-episode Nickelodeon event in 2007, handily defeating his challenger, Larry the Lobster, in votes cast by fans.

More Nick: 'Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years' and 'The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run' to Debut on Paramount+ on Thursday, March 4!

Originally published: Saturday, February 27, 2021.

H/T: Sukabumi Update,; Additional source: SpongeBuddy Mania.

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Classic Rugrats Comic Strip for February 27, 2021 | Nickelodeon

Classic Rugrats Comic Strip for February 27, 2021 | Nickelodeon
Rugrats, provided to Creators Syndicate by Nickelodeon, based off the popular animated television series has been created for children and family's to laugh and enjoy together.

Follow these comics and their take on real episodes of the show and their own spin on hilarious adventures.

Read more Rugrats comic strips!:

More Nick: First Look: Nickelodeon's All-New Animated 'Rugrats' Reunites Members of the Original Voice Cast to Reprise Roles!

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Covid-19 Vaccine | Nick News | Nickelodeon

Covid-19 Vaccine | Nick News | Nickelodeon

Curious about the Covid-19 vaccine? Nick News breaks it down.

Visit for more information and tips on how to stay healthy.

Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for the latest Nickelodeon News and Highlights!

Goldie's Oldies | BRAND NEW Show, Full Length Trailer! | Nickelodeon UK

Goldie's Oldies | BRAND NEW Show, Full Length Trailer! | Nickelodeon UK

Don't miss brand new show Goldie's Oldies, coming to Nickelodeon, March 15th! You can catch a sneak peek of episode 1, right HERE, on March 1st @ 12pm!

14-year-old Goldie has her life turned upside down when her family moves in with their 70-year-old Grandpa Maury and his three 70-something roommates.

For more information, visit

14-year-old Goldie's life is turned upside down when her family moves in with her Grandpa Maury and his three totally bonkers seventy-something year old housemates!

For more Goldie's Oldies, visit!

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AwesomenessTV's Next Influencer - EX-BEST FRIENDS confront each other in 'TRUTH or SPICE' 🌶🥵 | AwesomenessTV

AwesomenessTV's Next Influencer - EX-BEST FRIENDS confront each other in 'TRUTH or SPICE' 🌶🥵 | AwesomenessTV

Ex-Best Friends Sabrina Quesada and Valeria Arguelles play 'Truth or Spice' by challenging each other to tell the truth.... or eat a HOT PEPPER. They confront each other with questions they've been DYING to ask since their falling out... and the questions came in HOT!

→ WATCH more AwesomenessTV! ←
TOP 7 HOTTEST COUPLE MOMENTS 🔥😘 | AwesomenessTV's Next Influencer w/ Alex Warren -​


→ about AwesomenessTV's Next Influencer! ← 
ATV's Next Influencer hosted by Hype House‘s own Alex Warren, follows a group of up and coming latinx influencers living under one roof with one common goal - become the NEXT BIG TIKTOK STAR. But balancing new relationships and continuously trying to go viral, all while adjusting to their new life in Miami means drama is bound to pop up. Find out if these TikTokers have what it takes to become the #ATVNextInfluencer! 

→ Talent Credits ← 
Alex Warren: @AlexWaarren
Colie Nuanez: @Colie.1
Gaby Obregon: @gabyobregon
Jada Wesley: @JadaWesleyy
Julian & Jovani Jara: @99goonsquad
Owen Holt: @Owen.Holt
Raul Encio: @Raulencio
Sabrina Quesada: @sabquesada 
Valeria Arguelles: @Valeriaxxargu
→ Crew Credits ← 
Director & Supervising Producer: Katherine Lauren @KatherineLauren
Director of Photography: Roan Olivas
Post-Production Supervisor: Dima Kovalchuk 
Producers: Ian Midura, Candace Stephens, Nick Haddad and Taylor Henriquez @TaylorHenriquez 
COVID Safety Officer: Oz Ozmen
Line Producer: Sean Saley 
Production Coordinator: Tina Poston 

→ about AwesomenessTV! ← 
Welcome to AwesomenessTV, where all of your favorite creators like Niki & Gabi, Brent Rivera, Eva Gutowski, Jordyn Jones, The Stokes Twins, and more come together in daily shows made for you! Our originals My Dream Quinceañera, Malibu Surf, Cheerleaders are real life dramas with friends you know, and a dose of the Daily Report keeps you informed on celeb gossip. New shows everyday to create an awesome day!


→ follow AwesomenessTV! ←

#AlexWarren #ATVNextInfluencer #AwesomenessTV #SabrinaQuesada #ValeriaArguellas

Scenes in this episode were filmed adhering to then-current Local, State, and/or Country mandated COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions.

More Nick: Nickelodeon and Awesomeness Begin Production on 'The J Team', A New Live-Action Musical Starring JoJo Siwa!

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Baby Shark Receives a Special Delivery! | Knock it Off | Baby Shark's Big Show | Nick Jr.

Baby Shark Receives a Special Delivery! | Knock it Off | Baby Shark's Big Show | Nick Jr.

Baby Shark eagerly awaits an important package! He has lots of visitors knocking on the door, but none of them are his package! Stick around to the end for a special surprise song!

🦈Baby Shark’s Big Show! is coming to Nickelodeon on March 26th (12pm EST) in the U.S. Dive into Nickelodeon to join Baby Shark and William for a jaw-some adventure! 🌊 For more info, swim on over to

More Nick: Spin Master Announces Star-Studded Voice Talent for 'Paw Patrol' Movie!

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Malena: Super Beautiful or Super Cat? | Episode 6 | Unfiltered Brazil | Nickelodeon in Portuguese

Malena: Super-Bonita ou Super-Gata? | Episódio 6 | Além do Filtro Brasil | Nickelodeon em Português

No Além do Filtro Brasil de hoje os nossos jogadores precisam adivinhar a identidade secreta da Super-Gata! Só a Malena pode revelar esse grande mistério!

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Sporix Unleashed | Episode 2 Preview | BRAND NEW | Power Rangers Dino Fury | Power Rangers Official

Sporix Unleashed | Episode 2 Preview | BRAND NEW | Power Rangers Dino Fury | Power Rangers Official

All new season of Power Rangers Dino Fury airs every Saturday at 8:00 a.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon!

Check out this awesome sneak peek of the Power Rangers Dino Fury episode 2, "SPORIX UNLEASHED"!!!

Ollie (Kai Moya) carries out a plan to catch Sporix without his teammates’ knowledge. When monsters take advantage of his idea, Ollie realizes the benefit of working as a team.

For more on Power Rangers, please visit and follow Power Rangers on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

More Nick: Nickelodeon to Premiere 'Power Rangers Dino Fury' on Saturday, February 20, 2021!

Originally published: Friday, February 26, 2021 at 19:25 GMT.

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'Twin It to Win It' Promo + Sneak Peek | Danger Force | Nickelodeon

Sibling rivalry reaches dangerous proportions, but you've got to be "Twin It to Win It"! Catch the brand new episode of Danger Force, premiering Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT), only on Nickelodeon! Check out the promo below!:

In the all new Danger Force episode "Twin It to Win It," Captain Man (Cooper Barnes) makes ShoutOut (Dana Heath) and AWOL (Terrance Little Gardenhigh) compete over who can catch more criminals using their own ways of crime-fighting. (#117)

Make sure to subscribe to the brand-new Henry Danger YouTube channel! Up the (You)Tube!:

Vote for Henry Danger and Danger Force in the 2021 Kids' Choice Awards!

Originally published: Sunday, February 21, 2021.

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'Karaoke Kick Off' Promo + Sneak Peeks | Side Hustle | Nickelodeon

The brand new Side Hustle episode "Karaoke Kick Off" will be music to your ears! Tune in to the all new episode, premiering Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon! Check out the promo below!:

In the brand new Side Hustle episode "Karaoke Kick Off," Presley (Jayden Bartels), Lex (Jules LeBlanc) and Munchy (Isaiah Crews) are excited when they buy a karaoke machine from the "Karaoke Kickoff" show; however, when the machine breaks, the kids head to the studio to get their money back. (#111)

Originally published: Sunday, February 21, 2021.

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Xbox Offering Players the Chance to Play 'Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix' for Free This Weekend

Nick News Brief: Xbox are currently offering players the chance to play Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix for free as part of their Free Play Days initiative!

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is available for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play from Thursday, February 25 at 12:01 a.m. PST until Sunday, February 28 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

To start playing, find and install the game here on Clicking through will send you to the Microsoft Store, where you must be signed in to see the option to install with your Xbox Live Gold membership. To download on console, click on the Subscriptions tab in the Xbox Store and enter the Gold member area to locate the Free Play Days collection on your Xbox One.

Players can keep the fun going by purchase the title and other editions at a limited time discount and continue playing while keeping their Gamerscore and earned achievements during the event. Please note that discount percentage may vary by region. Current price: Standard Edition ($39.99 SRP) at 50% off: $20.00

"Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix will be available to play during Free Play Days weekend! Race as 30 different Nickelodeon characters including SpongeBob Squarepants and Patrick, both Aang and Korra from Avatar, members of the Loud family, or any of the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles among many others. You can also choose from 70 pit crew Nickelodeon characters that give you upgrades like additional boosts or more shield. If you can’t get enough during Free Play Days, the game will be discounted 50% during and the following weekend. Aim for the slime and race to victory for free starting February 25!"

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Hasbro Confirms Plans to Reboot Power Rangers Franchise

Hasbro confirms that a Power Rangers cinematic universe is on the way that will span television, films, and many other forms of entertainment.

Hasbro confirmed during their 2021 Investor Event that they are planning to reinvent the iconic Power Rangers franchise after Power Rangers Dino Fury with a new era that will be “creating a new universe for a broader audience across film, premium TV, animation & kids content”.

It was previously reported back in July of last year that Hasbro would be ending their partnership with Japan's Toei, the makers of the Super Sentai series, of which footage has been used in Power Rangers throughout the years. It was also reported that Paramount was developing a new Power Rangers theatrical film. This would conclude the current iteration of the Power Rangers series as it has been for 28 years with Power Rangers Dino Fury, which was officially confirmed to have two seasons according to the Hasbro Investor Event.

This of course isn’t the end of the world-famous franchise as a whole, because Hasbro plans to completely reinvent the brand with new film and TV content across the same expanded universe.

Further expressed is the fact that End of the F***ing World and I Am Not Okay With This creator and director Jonathan Entwistle will be assuming a creative leadership role in the vein of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Kevin Feige. This was confirmed Hasbro and eOne back in October of last year.

Hasbro acquired the iconic Power Rangers franchise from Saban Brands back in 2018 in the wake of the failed attempt to expand the series into a greater cinematic universe. No doubt a franchise as rich as Power Rangers has the potential to expand. Across comics, series, and action figures, the world of Power Rangers is vast, and with adult fans as well as new generations of little kids coming up every few years, there's an audience for a range of content. Hasbro seems to be addressing the reboot holistically, reinventing the franchise in major ways.

The shift away from Toei could signal a greater detachment from the "tokusatsu" tropes that made the franchise so unique here in the States. It's too early to tell where Hasbro plans to take Power Rangers, but between divorcing the series from its roots in Super Sentai and bringing in a director of more adult content, it seems that the cinematic, multi-platform universe will be quite unlike anything we've seen before.

With Hasbro completely reimagining the franchise, this definitely seems to mean that there will be a lot more content for fans to enjoy once this transition is fully put in place.

As of the writing of this article, there has been no comment for the continuation in their partnership with Boom! Studios for the Power Rangers comics. However, considering Boom! and Hasbro’s strong partnership so far, and with the launch of two new Power Rangers comic series, it's difficult to see Boom! Studios going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

Also not mentioned as of the writing of this article is if they would renew their contract with Nickelodeon for future franchise-related projects after 2021. They did mention frequently that Hasbro is not committed to one network or streaming service and has the ability to go wherever they see fit, however. This comment was meant for Hasbro as a whole, but it could potentially have an effect on the series later down the line. However, Nickelodeon and Hasbro's eOne are currently co-producing a new, currently untitled Transformers animated series.

One thing that will more than likely be unaffected will be the Power Rangers Lightning Collection toyline. The Lightning Collection has been a huge success for Hasbro thus far and therefore there seems to be no reason to discontinue that line. There shouldn’t be any rights issues with Toei, as it is understood that Hasbro will retain the rights to all previously aired Power Rangers seasons that used Super Sentai footage.

Overall, it seems that Hasbro has a decent long-term plan for Power Rangers.

What are your thoughts on the future of Power Rangers? Are you looking forward to what Hasbro has in store for the franchise? Let me know in the comments below!

Power Rangers Dino Fury airs Saturdays at 8:00 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon!

For more on Power Rangers, please visit and follow Power Rangers on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

More Nick: Nickelodeon to Premiere 'Power Rangers Dino Fury' on Saturday, February 20, 2021!

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Nickelodeon Names the Nine Participants Chosen for Annual Writing and Artist Programs

Programs provide an opportunity to develop and hone creative skills, focusing on cultivating talent through hands-on experience.

Nickelodeon has named nine participants for their annual Writing and Artist Programs. The programs are designed to cultivate a new generation of creative and original talent through extensive, hands-on work. Led by the ViacomCBS Office of Global Inclusion, for its 21st annual Writing Program, four aspiring television writers will hone their skills while working at the Nickelodeon studio and five emerging artists will develop their craft during the ninth annual Artist Program.

“These programs are critical to ensuring that underrepresented creators are given the opportunity and the access necessary to launch their careers, including engaging with incredible talent who have a track record of delivering authentic content that is representative of the diverse audiences we serve,” commented Marva Smalls, ViacomCBS’ Global Head of Inclusion.

Throughout 2020, Nickelodeon’s Creative Talent Development & Outreach team pivoted from in-person recruitment to a virtual approach, hosting a series of live webinars called “Knowledge is Power Happy Hour,” in collaboration with diverse professional groups, including Latin in Animation, Black N’ Animated, Coalition of Asian Pacific’s in Entertainment, Women in Animation, and the International Screenwriters’ Association, along with past program applicants. The webinars covered topics including Program FAQs, Inside the Nickelodeon Writers’ Room and Artist Portfolio Dos and Don’ts.

Within the Writing Program, all participants get to network with executives and show creators, gain firsthand experience writing scripts, pitch story ideas, and attend workshops, seminars, classes and experience working writers’ rooms. These writers will develop their skills with hands-on work during the year-long program. The writers will be individually paired with Nickelodeon’s Brian Banks (VP, Live-Action, Current Series), Kelley Gardner (VP, Current Series Animation), Bryan Schwartz (Director, Live-Action, Current Series) and Nathan Schram (Director, Animation Development), who will work with them on professional development, writing and network building at the studio.

The Writing Program participants are:

Angel Hobbs: Born and raised in Los Angeles until her family moved to San Bernardino, California. With her life uprooted, she found comfort watching classic Black television shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Around the house, school and mall, Hobbs pretended to be television characters in her own made-up storylines. Now, an engineer turned television writer, Hobbs loves to write family comedies about flawed characters learning to embrace the things the world told them were weird.

Adam Lujan: A Los Angeles-based television writer, he grew up the son of U.S. Air Force vets in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Growing up openly queer in his conservative town inspired him to tell his own stories with queer people at the center. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Film Production at the University of Denver in 2015 and his Master Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2018.

Hunter Toro: A writer and comedian from a mixed family in Florida - his father is Puerto Rican, and his mother is White. Never quite sure where she fit in, she turned feelings of alienation into a sense of humor and now writes animated and live-action stories depicting what she wishes she could have seen growing up: Latin pride, blended, nontraditional families, and complicated female protagonists. Toro is a graduate of University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and was recently selected for the 2020 Black List x Women in Film Episodic Lab.

Saeed Crumpler: Crumpler’s story begins at San Francisco State University, where he fell in love with screenwriting and the local music scene. As a Black man from Oakland, he had no role models to follow in the film and television industry, so he followed in the footsteps of music role models instead. For 20 years, Crumpler was a local hip-hop star, also gaining fans around the world. Feeling creatively limited by music, in 2018 he decided to fully immerse himself in screenwriting once again.

During the six-month Artist Program, aspiring artists will learn from lead artists and practice their craft as they work on an animated series in various stages of production. This year marks the first time the program offers a CG generalist track, which was opened to service many of the Nickelodeon Animation Studio’s upcoming CG productions.

The Artist Program participants are:

Dominique Evans (General Design Track): Evans’ journey in visual development began when she discovered fanfiction and began to write and illustrate her own stories. By high school, she was weary of the overwhelmingly strife-laden narratives of black characters in stories, especially in her favorite genres of science fiction and fantasy. This led her to draft her own original works. She carried her focus on diversifying storytelling to Moore College of Art & Design, where she majored in illustration. After graduation, Evans dedicated a year of service to the AmeriCorps program, all the while working on two freelance comic projects.

Anh Bui (General Design Track): Born and raised in Haiphong, Vietnam, Bui spent her early days finding entertainment in her everyday surroundings. When her parents finally bought a television, she became enamored with American cartoons, even though she could not understand what the characters were saying. Driven to study art and animation, she emigrated to the U.S. through a high school international student program and went on to earn a scholarship to study animation at Columbus College of Art and Design. She recently relocated to Los Angeles to seek out a career in animation visual development.

Carl Edward Mongan (Storyboard Track): A Los Angeles-based story artist and amateur party clown without makeup, Mongan pursued animation. He graduated from California College of the Arts with a degree and a beret. He worked with a Berkeley non-profit called Avi Health, where his team created short pediatric videos to educate children on their health conditions. As a story artist, Mongan works to make people laugh by bringing his dark humor to life. As a party clown, he just wants to twist a balloon or two.

Jasmine Reyes (Storyboard Track): Reyes was born in the Bay Area and raised by her Filipino immigrant family in a loving, multigenerational home. Since she was a child, Reyes saw storytelling as a way to understand and connect to the world around her. She went on to study animation at De Anza Community College, where she found her passion for storytelling and drawing through storyboarding. She moved to Los Angeles to continue her studies at Art Center College of Design.

Samuel Pagán (CG Generalist Track): Pagán is a Puerto Rican artist who specializes in lighting and compositing. He studied animation at Atlantic University College in Guaynabo, PR and started his career by developing his talents in commercial work and animated series. As an artist and storyteller, Pagán aims to share his passions and experiences in a way that is entertaining and meaningful by combining storytelling techniques with interesting visuals.

Alumni of the programs who have gone on to hold positions on Nickelodeon shows include May Chan (co-executive producer, The Astronauts); Angelica Russell (storyboard artist, Santiago of the Seas); Anna Hill (storyboard artist, The Loud House); Sarah Jaques (art director, Santiago of the Seas); Shannon Parayil (background designer, The Loud House); Marisa Torres (color stylist, The Loud House Movie); and Jonathan Butler and Gabriel Garza (co-creators, Bella and the Bulldogs).

Outside of Nickelodeon, many program alumni have gone on to freelance and staff positions at various networks, including HBO, DreamWorks, Netflix, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, Disney+, Kids’ WB!, ABC, FOX, PBS, Cartoon Network, and the CW.

Original source: Animation World Network.

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