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John Andrews

John Andrews is based at Klasky Csupo, Inc. where he serves the duel roles of executive producer/creative director of ka-chew!, the company’s spot-making operation, and head of production for all animation projects at the studio. Since joining in 1998, Andrews has developed a large roster of animation directors (www.kachew.com) and produced commercials for clients including Samsung, McDonalds, Gogurt, Campbells, Nature Made, Burger King, Mucinex, Keebler, Nabisco, and Minute Maid. The studio has also created promos and show opens for networks including MTV, Nick, A&E, Bravo, E!, and ABC.

John was formerly at MTV Networks in New York from 1992-1997 where he produced Beavis and Butthead. He became VP of Animation in 1994 and supervised series including Daria, Aeon Flux, and MTV’s Oddities (The Maxx & The Head) as well as commissioning station ID’s and overseeing pilot production. He was also the co-producer of the theatrical feature Beavis & Butt-Head do America. John is also the Co-Director of the Los Angeles Animation Festival which will have its second incarnation this December 3-5 at the Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax.

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Categories: 10/20/10 John Andrews
  1. Amy Lee Ketchum
    October 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    John Andrews’ presentation was beneficial because it allowed me to see a wide range of techniques and approaches towards animation and the different venues for it. The most memorable films were “The Bicycle Race” because of the engaging script, the “Beavis and Butthead” episode because it hit really close to home, and the purple S&M superhero lady, because it was so grotesque and bizarre. These three vastly different films suggest that niches exist for a variety of artists.

    It was also interesting to hear John talk about his job, because he seems to take on many hats and shifting roles. He described his job as trying to make the commercial world look better by connecting artists with companies. Given the range of projects he has been a part of, it seems that working in the entertainment industry requires thinking on your feet and being flexible. Good lesson for the future.

    I also appreciated John’s efforts to reach out to burgeoning artists with the contests and festivals he is involved in. I’ll be sure to catch at least part of his program at the Silent Movie Theater in December.

  2. Lisa Chung
    October 22, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    As a kid you never really pause to think who’s responsible for picking the shows or artists to create content for a network or program. In fact, I would just watch the shows, laugh and go about my day. Thinking back to those nostalgic times, I do remember how “out there” the cartoon series were on MTV. Among my favorites were Celebrity Death Match, Daria and Beavis and Butthead. It wasn’t your wholesome cartoons like Duck Tales or Rescue Rangers. The style and content were both very different from anything I had grown up with. There wasn’t that happy ending which is much more relatable to a teenage. There was definitely an individuality, an artist touch in these series versus the mass production for something specific on Disney. To see John Andrews at the seminar and knowing he was responsible for bringing those shows under one roof was pretty cool. To be able to see clips of everything under a hour, made me value the wide range of styles that Andrew took the time to choose and represent when he was at MTV.

    I appreciate how he continues to practice that same agenda of finding interesting and independent artists (ex: David Russo) with his current company, ka-chew. I loved how Andrew started the seminar by showing Russo’s independent work and then demonstrating how that translated into commercial projects. Andrew mentioned that commercial jobs essentially pays for your independent endeavor, which I find very symbiotic especially if the artist is asked to translate a commercial assignment in his style and given the freedom to make that translation.

  3. Maria Sequeira
    October 24, 2010 at 10:48 am

    It was really great to hear from the man who was in many ways responsible for such bizarre animation as Aeon Flux and Beavis and Butthead that littered my adolescent imagination. It wasn’t until college where I scoured for animation festivals that I would again see the animation horizon beyond Warner Brothers and Disney. I also found it a bit tragic that Sprint had scaled back so much on David Russo’s concept. I was fascinated by his process and really appreciate that John took the time to show and explain the process behind the scenes.

  4. Miguel Jiron
    October 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I really liked John Andrews’ glimpse into independent animation as it is today and as it once was. I think nostalgia for this work is inevitable for anybody who grew up watching MTV, especially Beavis & Butthead, Daria, Aeon Flux, Celeb Deathmatch, etc etc. But I was also caught up with the idea of a kind of mainstreamish outlet that such independent, original, and wild animation could thrive in. Andrews did point out that he believes that Adult Swim is carrying the mantle on the comedy side, but I am not sure how it compares to the cultural pervasiveness and influence MTV had in its heyday. The fact that people like Andrews could approach fiercely independent artists with 10,000 dollars to do an MTV promo is just floors me. They’re only station ID’s, yes, but I’d argue they were immeasurably influential to the station’s identity and popular culture. They are incredibly “1990’s” but in a good way; it speaks a lot to how much of a cultural cornerstone these IDS became that they are so evocative and singular.

  5. Gregory Jones
    October 26, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    It was great hearing from John and seeing the type of work ka-chew has been responsible for over the years. I especially enjoyed the MTV reel. For many years I did not have access to MTV and was seeing much of the material for the first time. The situation with the artist who made the samsung commercials was very informative. Seeing how a creative idea can go through the entire corporate process and how it comes out on the other side is pretty eye-opening. An excellent experience all around.

  6. October 26, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    John started off great by telling us about the LA Animation Festival; this is really what he’s all about. Though the three categories rule out my current body of work, they’re something to think about in future work. If the deadline weren’t so close, I would have loved to work on a character screen test for it. The other categories really only work if by accident you have dangerous experiments or unfinished masterpieces lying around.

    The festival is a logical extension of the commercial work he’s done. It sounds like John has always fit into places where he can help other artists find a place to fit in. Of Klasky-Csupo, he said their goal is to find the most unique animators. MTV seems to have had this same philosophy. From what John showed, it almost felt like the industry was really polarized in the 90s – kids stuff from Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network plus the networks, then the incredibly weird stuff from MTV. He does cite Adult Swim as a shallow replacement for MTV’s animated shows, but with only a limited number of shows airing well into the watershed hours, it is lacking. We hardly seem to have the rest of the animation spectrum between the kids’ stuff and the too-offbeat. It’s good to discover artists who are really “out there”, but it still leaves a lot of potential for the industry.

    “Bike Race” was quite entertaining. The style is so similar to older films we’ve watched just this year, but it manages to avoid being the unattractive kind of shaky, loose animation. I was thankful for the voice work – it was not grating like many narratives I’ve had to sit through. It’s a little scary that, if we’re working independently, our films depend on the limited number of people like John in the industry who may or may not be actively seeking the kind of work we want to do.

    Overall he had interesting things to say, though I wish he would have talked more about his day-to-day responsibilities and goals. We could have used some tips for how to get noticed by people in his profession since I’m pretty sure a lot of us are interested in the more independent side of animation.

  7. Yang Liu
    October 26, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I enjoyed so much the commercials John Andrews does, especially the fish in the crowd. It was stunning and creative, when it must require a lot of time and effort doing it. I was thinking about the length of time they need to take to make this: if they need 20 seconds to shoot one frame, they need about a continuous 4-6 hours to make a 30 seconds commercials. (if on 1’s) This is such a Long lab time!!! I can imagine how much passion they had to create this work, and I have never seen anyone in China who ever wants to do this just for a commercial or promotions. They might do it, in future, if someone pay them really well. I was just very inspired and touched by the crazy idea and serious attitude devoted into his works. He is indeed someone to respect very much.
    It was also amazing seeing those entertaining animations in MTV networks by John Andrews. They were expressive and some were not for children. Growing up by watching east asian animations, I was always shocked when seeing western animations, especially when i didn’t know they were not for children. That’s why, long time ago, I was very surprised by american’s sense of aesthetics, while I thought all the kids there love to watch the most weird, uncanny and violent animations. I was really wrong about this. The kids never love to watch these, it’s the adults who want to watch and create for themselves. I realize so when I know what “adult swim” means when i came to america. MTV style animations indeed are influencing the entire pop culture around the world, when I repeatedly saw the similar design in many asian countries’ televisions. The animations sometimes look uncomfortable to me visually, but I totally understand and accept this as a need for everyone who lives in this culture.

  8. Javier Barboza
    October 27, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Wow. John Andrew, brought the house down, with mind blowing animation, The Bicycle race was an beautiful film , i had fun watching it. What I took from it when he spoke and showed the process working with different film makers and using the independent animation into the advertisement commercial word. David Russo sneak peek film was jaw dropping and the process and brake down for his film work to commercial was extremely useful and insightful.

  9. Ian McCormack
    October 27, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I think history, or at least animation history, really underestimates the period of the early 90s that John Andrews helped create. It was an era of low budget animated shows that had wild premises and styles that MTV and eventually all of TV would be willing to take a chance on. I still remember watching 80s cartoons. They were all so similar that it could be difficult to tell one show from another sometimes.

    One could argue that the roots of this cartoon revolution started long before John Andrews and they would be correct. But without people at MTV willing to fund some really good and really bad animation that was never seen by the general public then the world may have been a more boring place today.

  10. Jordan Hansen
    October 27, 2010 at 11:26 am

    John’s presentation was great. I remember most of those cartoons and remember how much I enjoyed them. They were an important part of expanding my understanding of what animation was and what it could do. I am sad though that there is no equivalent today. Is the underground animation boom really over? I think John is right in suggesting that the internet has taken over a great share of indie animation but is that really for the best? It is important maintain some standard of quality I think. The internet allows for terrible, terrible animation to stand beside amazing world changing animation. Anyway, I think I am getting a bit off topic here. John’s current work is also astounding. He represents some of the best indie animators out there right now. I am pleased that there are still people working to expand the field in a strictly commercial sense.

  11. Linda Jules
    October 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you for such a wonderful presenter. Like many students mentioned before me, it was great to see the impact that the 80s and 90s had on animation history.

    His presentation brought a thought to my head. I wonder what our generation of animators will be remembered for? Although I am happy in animation school, I often find myself wondering “So, what’s next”? As a first year student, I am re-learning long established animation techniques and methodologies. While these fundamentals are necessary, I still get impatient trying to figure out what will make our group unique after we learn the basics. These new era TV animators found a special opportunity to create and share and in many ways gave birth to a new generation of kids (the MTV generation). Next up was the internet generation. Even though internet sharing is alive and well, with thousands (if not millions) of clips being generated each year, I am ready to join with my fellow peers to discover the next forum for creating and sharing animation.

  12. Eric Tortora Patp
    October 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    John Andrews had an intriguing set to show us, due quite in part to his main role as a producer and agent for less mainstream animators, and as a proponent and fan of art animation. It’s is very revealing, not to metion undeniably ironic, that these non commercial animators get pay and exposure from commercials. I am not van goh and the Bike Race film stood out as my favorites (not including those I’d seen before). They just seemed to have more aesthetic clarity and identity than many of the others.

  13. Linda Liao
    October 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I thought John Andrews’ lecture was very well designed and contained an array of soft animation and commercial endeavors. His clients and the talent he represents really try to push boundaries in televised animation. It reminded me that animation is not just limited to children and the objective approach his company takes is admirable in all its diplomacy through this difficult medium.

  14. Louis Morton
    October 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I really enjoyed the in-your faceness of many of the independent animations that John showed. Specifically in Aeon Flux, the characters move in such a stylized and physically gritty way and the sounds are so sharp, it feels like you being forced into the world. The Maxx has beautiful character and scene design. Though the animation is somewhat limited, the show still feels very cinematic to me because of the gorgeous colors and layout.
    It’s always inspiring to see what animation can do independent of giant studio restraints and when the medium is left to the artist to do what they want with it. I was thinking about this while watching more Aeon Flux. Once the show expanded beyond the 5 minute shorts to full half hour segments, it seemed to have more of a full-studio influenced feel. It wasn’t quite as gritty and weird as the old shorts, but it was still pretty weird.
    I’m very thankful that John helped to put this weird stuff on television. I think it’s important to be exposed to the stranger stuff to really see what could happen when an artist is free to explore their vision without many restraints.

  15. October 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I certainly enjoyed John’s presentation. The experimentation of early MTV was truly inspiring, and I wonder how that environment might flourish more successfully in our current entertainment system. This is especially a challenge in a conservative economic situation, when some companies may be more hesitant to take creative risks.

    I also appreciated “Bike Race.” The dialogue was so playfully edited, like a dance between the two storytellers. It was nice how it was more collaborative storytelling, rather than an interview. I was drawn into the visual contrast of white on black, and the quick moments with collage were such beautiful breaks in the color scheme. I don’t think I’ve seen collage used quite that way, and I thought it was incredibly successful.

  16. Allen Yau
    October 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    John Andrews showed us many brilliant animation works, especially those done in collaboration with many enterprises. I was excited to see that John and his team tried to achieve amazing achievements in commercial animation. So many creative and wild ideas he presented to us. Take the “animated fish in the crowd” for example, it could be an art piece which placed in a museum. They took their creativity and imagination beyond common commercials do.

  17. Matthew Steidl
    October 27, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    The animation presented at seminar last week was very intriguing. I grew up without MTV, and for along time didn’t even know what it stood for, so I found the presentation very informative in that sense. I have a great deal of respect for people like John, who are dedicated to making all kinds of animation commercially viable; I think it is easy to fall into the rut and think that only animation that looks like studio work has commercial value, but in fact a lot of advertising and television shows thrive (thrived?) on more edgy, unrefined content that reflects individual artists rather than a perceived ideal.

    Many people have commented on the Bike Race already, but I will say that I found it mesmerizing. The narration, animated by stream of consciousness animation, was thoroughly engaging and fun to listen to. Thanks again John for a great seminar!

  18. Shaun Kim
    October 31, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    John Andrews’ presentation gave me lots of information about the history of MTV spot animations and other great film makers. I’m not used to the culture based on MTV style,so some animations are too much for me. I enjoyed overall sequential animations. The first animated short film he showed us,a animated fish film with stop-motion technique, was stunning. At a first glance, it looks like a film for fun, but everything in the film is well-planned and organized. The background story and affluence of the film is really helpful and inspiring.

  19. Cecilia De Jesus
    November 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Like many of my fellow classmates, John Andrews’ presentation was a real treat for me. I enjoyed seeing the various MTV ID’s created by different independent animators. It was nice to see examples of how independent animators can create work for commercial purposes while still staying true to their aesthetic and point of view. It was refreshing to hear how excited John is about finding different animators who have alternate perspectives and styles. It was obvious that he has a great deal of respect for animators as artists and creators.

    The Bike Race was also a great part of the presentation. I loved seeing such a quirky and adorable story from real people come to life through animation. I loved the simplicity of color and line in this piece and seeing how much could be achieved through such limited means.

  20. Burak Kurt
    November 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Sadly I missed the class this week but from what I read about other comments this seems like a great and enjoyable presentation.

  21. ryan kravetz
    November 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I really enjoyed John Andrews lecture. It was allot of fun seeing work that I grew up watching again from a new point of view. I think it is great to have people like john that not only push animation and animations in to the pop culture but allow avenues for creativity and not traditional approaches. I was a little confused by the relationship he has with his clients and animators I couldn’t tell if animators are contracted with him and if so how that works or if it is on a freelance bases as he finds work and animators.

  22. Brandon Lake
    November 3, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Andrew’s lecture could have started and ended with Beavis and Butthead in Animation Sucks because that had me laughing far too much. I was not a child of cable TV growing up, so I missed out on a lot of the shows that he presented to the class, but I was amazed how stylistic and cutting edge everything was on MTV at the time. Things like Flux and Max had such a strong artistic hand that is rarely seen in many shows today. The bike race was also a very interesting piece.

  23. November 3, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Several weeks passed, but I can still remember several elements in his pitch.
    1.The impressive Fish(and mouth) show
    2.The amazing and creative MTV animation about a couple of his friends.
    3.The funny stop motion films.

    He showed us many ways to create a film and each way of them is suitable to my taste.
    I may use some of those technologies in the future. Especially the MTV animation and the fish animation, I like them so much.!!

  24. November 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Since I was not grow up in America, I don’t have the similar childhood memories about the TV cartoon as most of you guys have. However, I remember the first time I saw Beavis and Butthead. I was so amazed by the hallucination scene. By that time, I was in college, me and my college classmates even tried to pause the VHS to see the transitions. John Andrews presentation brings me back to that moment. Also, I enjoy the MTV title design very much. They are all beautiful animation.

    “The Bicycle Race” is good, but I had some trouble to separate the two main characters. They look too similar. I hope the character design could be more recognizable.

  25. Juan Gonzalez
    December 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Even in Colombia the MTV animation revolution was significant for my generation. Watching a summary of all those mind bending shows that seem so odd and extreme at the time, makes me realize how important they where. Then the animated documentary he screened was wonderful! the simple technique matched the lovely story and elegant sense of humor.

  26. Jovanna
    December 16, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    John Andrews stressed the commercial relevance of creative and even peculiar animation styles. In television, creators of visually distinctive television shows like Daria, Aeon Flux, and Beavis and Butthead have gone on to becoming successful directors. MTV IDs gave independent animators a chance to make an impression within a 10 second window of airtime.

    Although the MTV animation boom has diffused into smaller venues, the advertising world is always looking for strong, alternative work.

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