When I was approached to possibly work in television to make cartoons, I definitely felt a sense of mission. There wasn’t anything being made at the time that inspired me. Everything of interest for me was either done 50 years earlier, or was being done in independent film at festivals. I thought “Could this be a time where somebody can do something relevant and quality driven on television?”. The trend was already starting with the Simpsons and later, I discovered, with Ren and Stimpy.
I really pushed Rocko to be something different and to break old models. Even in the way it was produced. I kind of felt like I was “draining the swamp” in a way. I pitched to my crew that we were on a crusade!
But what I soon found out was how much the process works against doing something of quality. Money, volume, time. And then the politics of networks, producers skimming money off the top, etc. It’s still an issue today. And then you have to get it out of your head that your cartoon is being used to keep the attention of kids so they can sell them cereal and lots of plastic that makes noise.
But I’m glad that there are others who still work hard to put something of quality on the air. Because there are a lot of factors that make it very difficult.
Now my mission is to make the content more of a contribution. Although with Rocko, I was glad to make a statement with a lot of our satire, and having us laugh at ourselves, nowadays I see the form as an opportunity for positive .