Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Tooning" In With Mark Kirkland

Mark Kirkland says he had all his eggs in one basket, but he seems to have thrown them into the right one. Mark has directed more episodes of television’s longest running animated series, The Simpsons, than anyone. The Emmy winning director began at CalArts studying animation, where he produced the animated short, Animal Crackers. Mark then went on to work for Hanna Barbera Studios as a layout artist. Following, he began his career with FOX. 
Mark occasionally delves into the live action world. He wrote, directed, and co-produced a short film entitled A Letter From Home, about an American G.I. who receives a heartfelt letter from his wife during the Battle of the Bulge.     

Mark is being honored at this year’s Burbank International Film Festival as a Pioneer in Animation. What makes The Simpsons so successful? Mark says it’s a combination of characters, story lines, and quality animation. Producing a show of The Simpsons caliber isn’t easy. Working in television involves deadlines, which makes directors like Kirkland feel the crunch. “It’s tough to hit quality on a deadline schedule,” Mark says. The best part about working for The Simpsons, Mark says is, “To work on a show that brings consistent laughter.” The show has been doing a great job of that for over twenty years.

With the great talent in animation that was submitted to this year’s Burbank International Film Festival, there seems to be no shortage of great animators with pioneers like Mark Kirkland leading the way.  

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