I’m trying really hard not to hyperventilate while typing this because I’m just SO EXCITED to learn that The Legend of Boo-kini Bottom is coming to your television (via Nickolodeon) this October AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! While I was a wee bachelor’s student, running around CalArts and learning the joys and rigors of Experimental Animation, there was this GUY.
His name was Steve Hillenburg, and every time I was running in and out of the lab, he was working on his stuff.
He was eleven years older than me, which felt super OLD, and super SMART. People even FIVE years older than you when you’re 18 seem like demigods. Where I felt pulled in all directions and trying to hush my overwhelmed mind, Steve’s presence in the Experimental Animation department was quiet, strong and steady. He did not mess around, he put pencil and pen to paper everyday to build his film, frame by frame. I watched it happen, wondering what he was up to, and then one day, it was ready! Here’s one of the films I saw him hand-drawing all those days at his desk, it’s called The Green Beret.
So anyway, that GUY I went to school with invented SpongeBob Squarepants, and you can just SEE in the style, the humor, every last pitch perfect observation of a hilarious cartoon underwater weirdo world just couldn’t come from any brain but Steve’s. If you haven’t seen the Spongebob Squarepants Holiday Special, it’s well done, and such a love letter to the Rankin Bass stop-motion animation specials of old. I can’t wait to see this Halloween Treat from an ol’ school chum!