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Ladies and Gentleman Inc, presents "Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story"

Ladies and Gentleman Inc, presents "Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story"

Warning: This episode may ruin your childhood. If you grew up in the ’90’s like we did, you’ve probably seen an episode of two of “Ren & Stimpy,” and if not, you’ve definitely heard of it. It was the biggest cartoon of its time, known for its outrageous content, original artwork, and grotesque images that kids loved! By all appearances, things couldn’t be better for “Ren & Stimpy.” Behind the scenes, it was a different story though. A dictator, grueling hours, and loads of controversy. This is “Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story.”

Cast of Characters:

Ron Cicero.....Director

Kimo Easterwood.....Director

Vanessa Coffey.....Executive Producer of Ren & Stimpy

John Kricfalusi.....Creator of Ren & Stimpy

Lynne Naylor......Artist

Bob Camp.......Art, Director of Ren & Stimpy

Robyn Byrd.......Intern at Spumco, Former Girlfriend of John K

Chris Reccardi...Artist

Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story is distributed by Gravitas Ventures (www.gravitasventures.com)


Today we are talking to the directors of the film, Ron and Kimo. Ron and Kimo met early in their careers when they were both working on movies as electricians. They kept in contact over the years and reunited to bring us this film!


Be sure to watch the trailer HERE

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B.C. Wehman:
Hey, Heather, what is Ren & Stimpy about?

Heather Grayson:
It's about a dog and a cat.

B.C. Wehman:
No, it's about so much more than that. It is a groundbreaking cartoon that changed the world of animation.

Heather Grayson:
John K. was mesmerized by cartoons as a kid, and he knew he wanted to make this his life.

B.C. Wehman:
Inspired by a postcard of a dog in a sweater, he began drawing, creating the character we now know as Ren.

Heather Grayson:
In this film we hear from the animators, artists, and producers behind the making of Ren & Stimpy.

Heather Grayson:
Hi, I'm Heather Grayson, writer, producer, and director who craves passion in filmmaking, and documentarians are just that. I write fiction, but I love to watch the truth.

B.C. Wehman:
My name is B.C. Wehman. I'm an actor, a writer, an entertainer, all sorts of creative endeavors, but what I love most? Being a storyteller. It's why I love documentaries. They're extraordinary stories from everyday extraordinary people.

Heather Grayson:
This is Behind the Doc. And today we are behind the scenes of Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story.

Movie Clips:
Do you have to keep tapping like that, you bloated sack of protoplasm?

Movie Clips:
I will make him happy again.

Movie Clips:
You idiot.

Speaker 4:
Everything in his life is seen through the lens of a cartoon. That's how he lives and breathes as is cartooning. And that's all he knows.

Speaker 5:
John's personality so permeated in that project. I can't imagine it being done any other way than what it was.

Speaker 6:
He was very driven, very ambitious.

Speaker 7:
He had this rock star status.

Speaker 8:
He's the best drill sergeant you'll ever meet. And drill sergeants do need to be cruel.

Speaker 9:
But underneath it all was just very ugly undercurrent.

Speaker 5:
The whole thing is tragic. It is a Shakespearean play.

Speaker 10:
Ren & Stimpy was in the fate on every level. It was an artist driven show, the drawings, the paintings, the characters, the voices.

Movie Clips:
Why won't they leave me alone?

B.C. Wehman:
Welcome everyone to Behind the Doc, the podcast, where we take a deep dive into documentary filmmaking and the people that make them. We are very excited today to have two people with us who have taken us down a trip down Nostalgia Lane while also maybe destroying our childhood a little bit as they really give us the behind the scenes details of Spumco, of Ren & Stimpy, of Happy Happy Joy Joy, the new film by Kimo Easterwood and Ron Cicero. Gentlemen, how are you guys doing today?

Kimo Easterwood:
Excellent.

Ron Cicero:
Very well. Yeah, thanks for having us on.

B.C. Wehman:
Excellent. It's so excited to talk to you guys. Heather and I watched the film recently. We were talking before the show, how we remember watching it when we're younger, we're probably both late older teenagers, early 20s when it came out, seeing it and enjoying it as adults, even though the show was targeted towards children and we got to learn a lot of the behind the scenes action during Happy Happy Joy Joy. And we want to talk a lot about the film. But before we do that, why don't we ... We'll start with Kimo, then the Ron. Just introduce yourselves. Tell us a little bit about your background before you got to Happy Happy Joy Joy and we'll go from there.

Kimo Easterwood:
This is Kimo Easterwood. I've been in film production since 1987 in Los Angeles in the lighting world and the camera world and that sort of thing. And then recently over the last, 6, 7, or 8 years, documentary world. So a lot of short term, short form documentaries. And then this is our first feature length, big documentary that we started four years ago. Four.

B.C. Wehman:
[inaudible 00:04:20].

Kimo Easterwood:
Yeah, so quite different from the short form doc, which I do in three or four days. Yeah, so that's my story.

B.C. Wehman:
Now, how about you, Ron?

Ron Cicero:
Yeah. So Kimo and I met doing lighting together. We were both pretty lucky when we came to LA. We managed to land on some pretty big feature films and just hit it off back then. So we've been friends for 25 plus years. And I segued more into directing commercials, and producing commercials, and then eventually acting as an EP, which is half a film producer and half an agent for the commercial business. I guess I'll segue into how we got into the film, which was ... I called him one day and I said, "Look, I'm so burnt out in commercial world. Why don't we do something together? How about a doc, like a feature doc?" And he's like, "Well, this friend of ours, Todd White, has this idea about Ren and Stimpy. He keeps hounding me on." And I was like, "Oh, I remember that. I don't remember ever watching it, but I remember those characters." And we did an hour's worth of research. And then we're like, "Let's do it." So the lesson here is spend more than an hour if you're going to be spending four years on a project.

Heather Grayson:
I watched this whenever I was younger and loved it. I did get a huge appreciation after watching your film for the still shots. When I was younger and I was watching it, I just was like, "Ah, this is disgusting. Why do they keep putting these disgusting stills on here?" Now, I'm finding out, well, it's because they put a lot of work into those disgusting stills.

Speaker 4:
If we're going to show a still, it better be great, it better be amazing painting, it better be this great painting we can hold on, and be disgusting, it's gross. And we're going to make you sit on it because it's so beautiful, but yet it's so, so gross.

Ron Cicero:
The big attraction was the art. You watch an episode and you're like, wow, this is really different than anything I've seen in a very long time. But it was just so different than like the Scooby-Doo and cartoons like that that I probably were remembered more clearly. And then, of course, we read into the upheaval when John was asked to leave the show. So that was also interesting, but we felt like that had been covered and appreciation for the artistry was really missing. So I would say that was the initial spark. Like, let's find out who these guys are, because this is really something different. And it was funny. It was still really funny. And you look back at that era. And a lot of the cartoons were not evergreen, meaning they would handle maybe topics of the day. So looking at them now, you're like, I don't even remember what they're talking about, but this just was ... There was a psychosis there, which, of course, led to the comedy. And it was just ... You're like, wow, this is so different.

B.C. Wehman:
Ren and Stimpy felt to me like something that was very clearly come out of the era before. You just talked about some of the sanitized cartoons. We talk about it in the film with these 80s cartoons designed for toys, He-Mans, and transformers, and GI Joe's. It reminded me of the 80s transition from hair metal to a grunge, right?

Ron Cicero:
Totally.

B.C. Wehman:
All those transformers are just ... There's a bunch of bands dressed up in spandex. Whoever can tease their hair the highest and along comes to Vaughn and changes your brain. And that feels like what Ren and Stimpy was. And it was about that same time, 90, 91. It feels very much like an answer to what was there in the past in the 80s. When you went down and started watching, and I would imagine you watched a lot of Ren and Stimpy, What were some of the takeaways you found in doing a deep dive into actually watching the show?

Kimo Easterwood:
We started off watching episodes. And then at the same time, we were starting to book interviews and talk to people, not necessarily that worked on the show, but on the peripheral first, like animation historians. We just started at the beginning and started watching it. My take away was just the subversion and how subtle a lot of the jokes were. It's really fascinating when you see how deep they go with psychosis, knowing that there's these kids that are going to be watching it. And you know that these kids will never pick this up. So that was really fascinating to me. And knowing that they had to, it was all analog. They had to hand draw everything. So that to me was also very fascinating. They didn't have ... They weren't working with computers on those first couple of seasons. And then we learned that after they would do a 12 hour day, people like Chris Riccardi and Jim Smith, they would go to a studio and then try to record music and make songs for the show.

Kimo Easterwood:
So who does that now? That just would simply never happen. So these are all things that were fascinating that we took away from it. And, of course, the art was just amazing when you do the still frame, and you see the different expressions, and you realize like, "Who's ever going to see that?" But you do see it. You see it subconsciously all those expressions. It's not something ... It's very subconscious, the show. And that was a big takeaway for me.

Ron Cicero:
Yeah, I would imagine that's why the people connected with it because it did feel in a lot of those expressions, very human

Speaker 17:
While you are drawing, you had to make the expression. So if Stimpy was smiling, you were smiling while you were drawing. If he was angry, you had to really put it into the cartoon. Back then laser discs was a big thing. So John and I would get all these laser discs so we could freeze frame them. We studied a lot of the classic Hollywood actors that actually overacted. Kirk Douglas was favorite. The amount of crazy expressions that goes into his face for one expression is like staggering.

Ron Cicero:
And what's extraordinary is, you stop and go. I'm sharing this emotional moment with a drawing. Like, people don't ... If you stop and think about it, everything in a cartoon is created. It's not like you go to a set, and there's props there, and set dressing, et cetera. This is all drawn. And somebody has to design every single thing in that frame and then make it emotionally compelling. So that's the part of it that still blows me away.

Heather Grayson:
What was really interesting given that they're using all of these expressions and drawing off these things was when they talked about how they would paste, and put together, and take one thing from one stone, and another thing from all that liquid paper, they were so emotional. How easy was it for you to get everybody to talk about their experience?

Ron Cicero:
It wasn't. It is the short answer. The reason for that is, if you're not familiar with the story at all, it was essentially like a professional divorce. So when John was asked to lead the show, half of the artists stayed and many of the artists went over to game studio, which is the studio that picked it up.

Speaker 5:
I was shocked. I said, if you do this, you're going to be right back where you were before. It's Funko, where you have no creative say and you're screwing all the people who built this up. But they went because they've thought of the glory, "Oh boy, now I'll be the big Jesus." Even though I've made everybody, on the top, he will be Jesus, but not big enough. So

Ron Cicero:
So these guys, men and women, artists were super close. So you really had to choose sides. And as you can imagine, that's incredibly difficult. Who do you go with? Mom or dad? And so having two strangers start calling you or knocking on your doors saying, "Hey, I know this is the most traumatic event in your professional life, but would you like to talk about it again with two strangers? You haven't brought it up in 25 years. It seems like a good time." Finally, Bill Ray took either a pity on us or wanted to tell the story. And finally he agreed. That's how we got the ball rolling.

B.C. Wehman:
Let's go back a little bit though, because I think we want to talk about ... So John, we keep referencing John. John K, was we like to call him. His real name, full name, John Kricfalusi, who is the creator.

Speaker 5:
John's a great designer and he designed a lot of the characters. He was doing the stuff we'd all thought about doing, but nobody had the nerves to do. He was sort of the Andy Warhol of animation back then, the guy that people were getting around and people were thinking, "Wow, this guy's the new talent in town."

B.C. Wehman:
He stumbles across someone who likes his work. I think it was ... Was it Vanessa Coffey that-

Ron Cicero:
Yes.

B.C. Wehman:
... from Nickelodeon met with John.

Speaker 18:
He pitched me a project called Yulgang. One of the kids in the project had a dog and a cat called Ren and Stimpy. I didn't like any of the projects he pitched me, but I did like those characters.

Speaker 11:
She just focused in on, "Who are these two characters here, these Ren and Stimpy?

Speaker 18:
There was an emotional element to Ren and Stimpy that was unlike any other.

B.C. Wehman:
For our audience to real quick highlight, and we covered a lot in the film, Happy Happy Joy Joy, of the beginning early days when John gets started with Vanessa and then the birth of Spumco, which is really for film really takes off.

Ron Cicero:
He had a very specific idea in mind and he really felt like the industry was not taking advantage of what animation could be. Again, it had slid into this really terrible state certainly from an artistic standpoint. You may love Scooby-Doo because it was a part of your childhood, but if you look at the artwork, let's just say it's lacking. So John, he's getting constantly fired because he's like, "Hey, this is terrible. And they're like, "Do it or you're out." And he's like, "See ya."

Ron Cicero:
So finally, they got this meeting cause Nickelodeon was just looking to do things differently. And they didn't want that style of animation. So he managed to get a meeting with Vanessa Coffey, who is essentially freelance there as an executive. And the two of them just shared the same vision. And she picked out those characters and said, "You know, I really like them. Let's develop this." And that's how it got started.

Ron Cicero:
And it's really amazing to see, as Kimo pointed out earlier, just the level of dedication of everyone that was involved, especially in the beginning. It's not like anybody was getting rich. The other thing too was that, anybody we met, regardless if they were still friendly with John or hadn't spoken to him in 20 years, everybody would say, "Look, John was instrumental." Because the first cut of the film, we didn't ... John refused to participate. So it was always talking about John. And then, of course, the third person and saying, "Well, what was John like?" And so we got a lot of that backstory before we even met him. And what we always found amusing is, no matter who we interviewed, whether it was Lynn, or Teal, or Richard Purcell, or Vince Waller, or anybody, they all, whenever they were talking about John, would use his voice. And they'd be like, "well, you got to do this. Otherwise, I'm going to throw you out." And everybody had their John impression. So when we heard his voice, we were like, "Oh, that sounds familiar."

B.C. Wehman:
It was not surprising then to learn John, who is someone who wants to do everything himself, that he was really adamant about taking the cartoon world back to creators. And I think if we want to talk about John's lasting impression, there are a few angles we can, but I think for the creative folks, for the artistic folks, particularly those in animation, you do a great reference about the future cartoons and animation that have come before that. Prior to Ren and Stimpy, we had a few years a while where it was cookie cutter, corporate cartoons, as you said, the sell toys. And he brought back that created by title card essentially. And it was really important to him.

Speaker 15:
Who created the transformers cartoon? Who created He-Man? You have to go way back to get Hanna-Barbera or Chuck Jones. Ren and Stimpy was created by John K, brought that back.

B.C. Wehman:
Were you surprised to learn that the rebirth of the creator ownership of cartoons has a big tie in to your film?

Ron Cicero:
Yeah, I was a little surprised by that, I guess, because I wasn't a huge animation fan before I started it. So growing up and seeing Hanna-Barbera, and I guess I just always assumed that whoever created it, would have the credit. And so yeah, he did open our eyes or at least my eyes to that, I was like, wow, I couldn't imagine for how many years so many people toiled or came up with these cartoons that are interwoven in all of our lives that they wouldn't have a created by credit.

Ron Cicero:
It really opened my eyes too on how factory driven it was. I think Mike Fontanelli, I don't know if he says it in the film, but he's like, literally if you could pick up a pencil, they would drag you off the street because it was such a demand for Saturday morning cartoons. They didn't even care if you were necessarily an artist or not. If you could trace them, you were in. So it was surprising, especially because the film ... Has there ever been a film that didn't have a directed by card? Never.

Heather Grayson:
We got to meet Scott, who is a huge fan.

Scott:
My name is Scotty and I'm just a regular schmuck like anybody else. But I just have a massive affinity for this cartoon. It's merchandise. These are all new things, like toilet paper and calendar. These are all the comics. These are all the factory direct ones, little plushies here, the wrench Stimpy slippers that they sold at Spencer's. I've always been in the cartoons and I've never had a cartoon just grab me by the side and said, "You're coming with us." This one did.

Heather Grayson:
I loved his little part in this because he had the slippers. He was just in there. He was like very much about running Stimpy.

Kimo Easterwood:
He had posted a video. He had a YouTube video and he just took a camera and went over his collection of his Ren and Stimpy stuff. So we reached out to him and then he was what moving, right? He was in the middle of moving or something where all of his stuff was packed up in boxes. And we're like, we need to come out and film all your stuff. And he's like, "Well, I don't have any shelves." So Ren sent him some shelves. And BP assembled all these shelves at what you see in the documentary is what he assembled. And he put up all his stuff. And we went out there and that guy was awesome. He was just so fun.

B.C. Wehman:
In the Ren and Stimpy footage, that seems like a tremendous amount of hours that you had to deal with. What was that process like? Do you have a rough idea of how many, I mean ... Let alone 52 episodes of Ren and Stimpy. Thank goodness your editors, you said super fan. Do you have a rough idea how many hours you put together to make your-

Kimo Easterwood:
70 hours.

B.C. Wehman:
For almost like an hour 50 film, 70 hours. What was that like to go through and decide, of these 60 interviews, what do I use? That's an ... And you got to cut animation in there, you got to do store. That's a lot of-

Ron Cicero:
Yeah, it was a lot of transcribing. Some of it we did ourselves, others we shipped out. Then it was pulling quotes. Like we had this huge spreadsheet that had all the quotes highlighted that we felt would be appropriate. And then we took those, we typed them up on index cards, and then we put those up on a board. And that was certainly the initial approach. The thing that we learned, like, okay, we've been on set, we've worked on a ton of movies. There's areas of filmmaking that we know really, really well. And then there's other areas of filmmaking, like being an assistant editor that we know nothing about.

Kimo Easterwood:
Listen, you have archival drawings, you have archival footage, you have the archival episodes, you have all the interviews. It is a ton of media that you have to organize and get in and what to use and what not to use.

Ron Cicero:
Yeah, we did our first cut as typical directors. We can do this. And then we're going through it, and we deliver this drive, and it's two and a half hours long, and we're like, we killed it. And then we show it for like, I don't know, eight or 10 friends, somewhere in the business, somewhere in the animation. And within like 45 minutes, people are just squirming in their seats because we refuse to cut anything. And finally it was like, okay, we got to get an editor in here because we just cannot divorce ourselves from this. It's almost a ... It was an embarrassment of riches. When you're talking to these kinds of artists too, they're all brilliant. So you're going to get some great, great interviews.

Heather Grayson:
Sounds like you had a bit of John K moment there. You were like, "I just can't, it's got to be ... We got to do it. We got to handle it." You guys had one film without John. And then he said, "Okay, I now want to be interviewed." Was he just very willing to talk about everything? I really appreciated how you guys would not let him just flake out for lack of a better term. But when they started talking about the hard stuff, you guys were relentless a little bit and I really, truly, loved that part of it. Because you just were like ... You can tell you guys were confident in what you were saying. How did that whole thing go? How was it for you?

Speaker 11:
They all thought I was crazy. They were just like the funny drawings. If I did a funny drawing, they'd laugh. So then I thought, "Well, like even finer." So I'd exaggerate more and do crazier stuff with it. And I realized that's really the key to cartoons is to make things so exaggerated, so caricatured that people laugh. If you can make it funny, you win.

Ron Cicero:
It was tricky after being turned down multiple times for a year and a half and he refused to even have a discussion about doing the movie. And then this news broke. And Richard, who was a great go-between and so helpful, Richard Purcell, he emailed me one day and said, "Look, I think John might be changing his mind." So weeks go by and back and forth. And finally he's like, "I'll introduce you to John and then you guys take it from there." And then the first time we meet him, it's watching cartoons. We'd literally walk in his house, sit down. He shows us some cartoons and that's how we start our conversation. And it took a solid six months before he finally said, "Okay, I'll sit down in front of camera." If you're going to dive into somebody's history, you really have to gain their trust because ultimately, this film is about finding out why this happened.

Speaker 7:
I remember the final conversation with him and he was just like, "Please, don't do this." And I said, "I can't not do this. We have to do this. You're the one who created it. You created this mess. We didn't." And he denied it, but there was no choice.

Ron Cicero:
Hopefully, we can learn from it and not do that, make those same mistakes, whether it's an individual or as a society as a whole. So it took some time to really get to know him, understand where his hot buttons were, understand how we could relate to him. And neither of us, Kimo nor I, wanted to go in as like, "Ah, we got you. We're going to get you." It was really important to us that this was a movie where you could present the entire picture about the show, the good parts, the bad parts, et cetera, and have the audience absorb it. Not to say that we're like, "Yeah, we're pro this. We're pro ... We'll get to that part." But that's not what we're saying. What we're saying is we wanted to show it to you without filtering it through some kind of lens

B.C. Wehman:
You had your first film done. And then some allegations came out about John K and inappropriate contact with specifically two younger women, Katie Rice and Robin Byrd. And then it created this downfall for him. And that is where I think I saw another interview where you referenced, he had like a me too moment for this inappropriate behavior that he was having during these early days of Spumco and beyond. When you found out that news and you had this first part of film, and then he kind of agreed to be interviewed, were you apprehensive to approach this subject in these allegations? Did you know that you had to ask? As Heather said, you did a great job talking about it. What was that moment like?

Ron Cicero:
Yes, we absolutely knew we needed to talk to him about it because that was one of the things that panicked us after we delivered this first movie. And when I say delivered, it was done. I mean, the credits, everything, it was done [inaudible 00:25:09] comes like, "Oh, we love it." We didn't do it for them, but we had to get sign off to use, of course, the cartoon footage. So it was devastating. We were like, "Great." We just spent a year and a half, two years on this film that's never going to see the light of day because it's toxic. So back and forth, we were like, "Well, hopefully we get John and we'll just stay at it, but we got to address this." So within our first meeting, we were extremely upfront and just said, "Look, we want to cover everything that was great about the show, but no, we're going to have to address this because it's now a part of the legacy." And he understood.

Heather Grayson:
How you put it out there to the audience was perfect. It's the subject that needed to be talked about, but it was very well done. And I loved hearing Robin's side of it.

Ron Cicero:
She's amazing.

Speaker 7:
I was way into Ren and Stimpy when I was a kid. So I started drawing Ren and Stimpy. I took animation classes at a kid's museum. And then when I was 13, I started writing to John K. I had built him up in my mind since I was 11 or 12 years old. He had this sort of rock star status in the 90s. I had always wanted to work for him and just thought that the drawings were just like really cool compared to anything I'd seen on TV. And I wanted to draw it like that.

Heather Grayson:
My favorite part of what she said was, "I don't want people to stop and not love Ren and Stimpy." Because she loved it. It's a really great question. Like, can we love the art and not the artists? Yeah, we absolutely can. We can love the art, not the artist. When we first started out, john was a genius when it came to this. He was an amazing artist. He had a great idea. And then we start finding out a little bit more about him and understanding who he was as a person, as a boss, as a manager, as somebody they worked with. And you got to the point with Vanessa that she was ... You could see that she was heartbroken, that this was so heartbreaking for her. She had to do it. And I loved seeing her aspect of it. Was that a really difficult interview with Vanessa? Because I feel like, I mean, she was holding on to the Stimpy doll the whole time and she was so almost damaged. Was that really difficult that whole time?

Ron Cicero:
Vanessa was one of a few people that reached out to us right after the news broke and said, "Are you guys going to be doing more interviews? Because I want to address this." So we were incredibly grateful that Vanessa, and Chris Riccardi, and a couple more were willing to do that. But those two in particular, it was really generous of them, and their time, and to be so open. We had no idea what that was going to be like. She was willing to talk to us. We flew out to Chicago. We sat down with her. We had maybe, I don't know, 10 or 15 email exchanges and maybe one or two phone calls. And then she just completely opens up about the time with John, et cetera.

Ron Cicero:
And then not only that, but as you pointed out, she had this incredible insight into art versus artists, and what her recommendations are, and how artists can be passionate, but not turn that passion and anger on the people around them. It was just one thing after the other. And we're like, "Oh my God. This is unbelievable."

Speaker 7:
I got a message this morning that made me almost cry because of the way she put it. She was like, "You are protecting all of the little girls who never put their crayons away.

B.C. Wehman:
In going through this film in this process, as we wrap up here, if you had, for both of you, what lessons from this rise of Spumco John K to its ultimate demise do you think future, creative folks, including animation, but even in your line of work directors, what type of lessons can we take? Because it felt like a film with some lessons maybe not intended like in your face, but there's some lessons to be learned about this rise, this fall, the artistic drive, the starving artist, the power trip. What lessons for both of you can future creative folks and animators take from Spumco and this film?

Kimo Easterwood:
I would say that it is amazing and it's great to be super passionate about something and to really have a vision of how you want something to be done. But then you also have to be accepting of the people around and advice you're getting from them or whatever. That's what we have to deal with with making this film. It's almost like, "Oh, we know how to do this kind of thing." And then the editor's like, "No, no, no, you need to get other people involved and sort of home this thing down." And so we have to let a lot of stuff go and go, "Okay, well, we got to cut that now. And we got to where we wouldn't have done that before."

Kimo Easterwood:
So that would be ... The lesson is like be passionate about whatever it is, your animation. That's great to do. But there is a point where it's going to tip the mountain and start going down the other end. And you have to be aware of people's feelings and how you treat people. That would be my takeaway is bless you for having a massively passionate about your work, but just be accepting to the people around you and listen to what they have to say.

Ron Cicero:
I second that. That I think pretty much says everything. I guess, if there was one other thing is just how difficult things are to get made. If people just understood how difficult, whether it be a documentary or a show. It's just ... You really have to have almost something wrong with you to stay in this business because it is so difficult. And no matter what you do, somebody's going to slam it for whatever reason. We've been very fortunate, went to Sundance and had a great reception. It's still just so difficult. So to see how John made something that we're still talking about 30 years later, you really appreciate just how hard he and everybody around him had to work to make it that special.

B.C. Wehman:
Ron, Kimo, thank you very much for joining us on Behind the Doc. We really appreciate it, happy Happy Joy Joy. It was a great film. It looks amazing. I didn't get my shout out. I love the little old timey TV montage in the beginning. I was like, I started off and I'm like, "Oh, I love this film already. Two minutes in." Great artistic, great looking film. Thank you for letting us watch it. We appreciate it. It's a great story, a tragic story, but an informative story along the way. So thank you for your time very much.

Heather Grayson:
I loved your film. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

Ron Cicero:
Thank you.

Kimo Easterwood:
Thank you.

Speaker 11:
The current day examples of shows that I think were influenced by Ren and Stimpy are all of the shows.

Speaker 4:
It's ongoing impact in the way it affected and changed, the way people worked on cartoons, looked at cartoons, and did cartoons afterwards. It's all there from character design to expressions, to timing. It influenced a great deal.

Heather Grayson:
Thanks for listening to this episode of Behind the Doc. If you liked us, because we all know you're did, leave us a review in your Apple podcast app.

B.C. Wehman:
Behind the Doc is produced by Evergreen Podcasts in association with Gravitas Ventures.

Heather Grayson:
Special thanks to executive producers, Nolan Gallagher, and Michael DeAloia.

B.C. Wehman:
Produced by Sarah [inaudible 00:00:32:40].

Heather Grayson:
And audio engineer, Eric Cartman.

B.C. Wehman:
And you'll find us everywhere and anywhere. You listen to your favorite podcast.

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