Hey, long time no blog. This is probably because I love the immediacy of Twitter for my immediate musings. I save this space for the more significant updates. The irritating thing about this business is that so many times I share info about projects too early — just when I think that a project is a certainty, it evaporates out from under me (please refer to the last three years of my life on “Fraggle Rock”). But recently several things have percolated enough that they are worth talking about here. And as 2013 begins, sharing them makes me feel all optimistic and full of hope and stuff.
FROG AND TOAD – Many of you have been asking about the status of this film since it was announced in the trades. Craig Bartlett has written a very funny script that I am attached to direct for the Jim Henson Company. We are several drafts in, and recently completed a “round table” punch-up session that involved a handful of funny writers that Henson pulled together. They’ve taken the comedy to the next level with new material, and we are carving that down into a new draft. This will accompany some early concept art and Henson will use that to seek out a larger studio and financial partner. This next step will move us to production — that could take a month or it could take a year.
The tone is a really unique one, a kind of tone I haven’t seen in an animated film. We started with the premise of taking the kids books we all loved and aging them up a bit to become a Hope & Crosby “Road Movie” with frogs. The banter is similar to the kind I am hearing on shows like “New Girl,” “Parks & Recreation,” “Ben & Kate” and the best of the Apatow movies. This gives it a contemporary feel, while the world will stay very true to the books with an almost vintage aesthetic. Still charming and “old fashioned,” but very funny and relevant. And we’re going to make sure it has a lot of physical comedy, with chases right out of the “Wallace & Gromit” shorts.
We’ve just begun to discuss casting, which is very exciting, but at this point we are still in the script stage, working towards a production greenlight.
NEW BOOK – I tweeted about this a few days ago. I’m very excited to have finished a seventeen-chapter Young Adult adventure novel. This was something I picked up and put down for the past five years and now I’ve finally finished the sucker. It was very “recreational writing” for me. I took everything I loved as a ten year old boy and put it in one book: zepplins, harpoon guns, jet packs, volcanoes and Russian submarine captains. It centers around my ultimate adventure character, who is Doctor Who, Willy Wonka and Mary Poppins rolled into one, surviving “Indiana Jones”-sized cliffhangers. Fun, fun, fun. I’m doing a final edit of the book now, and then sending it out to publishers. If anyone likes it, I have a whole series of books planned for the character. I can’t tell you any more, but I will when I can!
KROGZILLA 2 – Many of you have asked about this and… I got nothin.’ Well, almost nothin.’ What I can report is that my summer web series “KROGZILLA GETS A JOB” was one of the most popular on the “Shut Up! Cartoons” channel, it’s been nominated for a Web Academy Award, and its channel is the #1 most profitable channel of all YouTube-funded channels. Number one! So that all bodes well for a second season. I am told that the execs at “Shut Up! Cartoons” are discussing the new year of content soon, so I am hopeful that Krogzilla will live on with new episodes. It’s not up to me, but I’ll let you know when I know.
VEGGIE TALES – I wrote two episodes for Bob & Larry last year, and now there are some very interesting developments in the land of talking vegetables. Dreamworks just bought Classic Media… which owns Big Idea… which makes Veggie Tales. Follow me? So now Dreamworks owns Veggie Tales! Crazy. And even crazier was how Dreamworks called me up to write the new episode, due for Christmas next year. I’ve been talking to DWA execs about lots of different projects, so they were surprised when my name popped up on their radar as a potential writer for the next Veggie installment.
We have landed on a very funny, thrill-packed story and I am currently working on the script (seriously… I should be writing on it right now instead of this blog). Big Idea and Dreamworks anticipate production beginning immediately.
After days of story sessions at DWA, I am happy to report that the Christian message is not being watered down with them involved. On the contrary, it is being encouraged. The Christmas episode will be just as Jesus-centered as ever, and it will be part of a major campaign to highlight the Veggie’s 20th anniversary this year. No pressure… maybe I should stop blogging and get back to that draft.
OH YEAH – And a film I wrote a few years ago called “ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH” in finally hitting theaters this February! I haven’t seen the final product, but the trailer looks pretty awesome. You can check it out HERE.
There are many, many more projects I have in development that I can’t share yet… I am notorious for keeping “many pots burning on many stoves”… in many kitchens… all on simmer. Is something burning? I’d better go check. Just know that I’ll report back here if anything else… comes to a boil. I LOVE METAPHORS!!!!