Dan Povenmire

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Dan Povenmire
A Caucasian man in his forties, seated at a conference, with a microphone in front of him. He has a square face, deep-set eyes, dark hair and a brown beard with clean-shaved cheeks and upper-lip. He is casually dressed, relaxed and smiling. Square signs are posted on the wall behind him, bearing the name COMIC-CON in big bright yellow letters around a drawn eye and eyebrow.
Povenmire at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con International
Born Daniel Kingsley Povenmire
(1963-09-18) September 18, 1963 (age 50)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of South Alabama; University of Southern California
Occupation Director, writer, producer, musician, voice actor
Years active 1987–present
Known for Life is a Fish, Family Guy, Phineas and Ferb, Rocko's Modern Life
Website
http://www.youtube.com/user/Dantible

Daniel Kingsley "Dan" Povenmire[1][2] (/ˈpɒvənmaɪər/;[3] born September 18, 1963)[1] is an American television director, writer, producer, storyboard artist, and actor associated with several animated television series, best known as the co-creator of the Disney animated series Phineas and Ferb in which he also voices the show's villain, Heinz Doofenshmirtz. Povenmire grew up in Mobile, Alabama, where he was a talented art student who spent summers outdoors and making movies. Povenmire attended the University of South Alabama before deciding to pursue a film career and transferring to the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

Povenmire has been a long-time contributor to the animation business, working on several different animated television series such as Hey Arnold!, The Simpsons, Rocko's Modern Life and SpongeBob SquarePants. He was a longtime director on the prime time series Family Guy, where he was nominated for an Annie Award in 2005. He left the series to create Phineas and Ferb with Jeff "Swampy" Marsh. Povenmire has been nominated for several awards for his work on the show, including a BAFTA, an Annie, and an Emmy Award.

Personal life[edit]

A large city seen from the water on a clear day. The shoreline is fringed with docks above which rise city buildings including several skyscrapers.
Povenmire grew up in Mobile, Alabama.

Povenmire was born in San Diego, California on September 18, 1963,[1][2] and grew up in the city of Mobile, Alabama.[4] A child prodigy, he began drawing at age two; by the time he was ten, his work was displayed in local art shows.[5] His first efforts in animation included a series of flip books that he produced in his school text books.[6] As a child, Povenmire considered animator Chuck Jones his hero;[7] in a 2009 interview, he stated that "every drawing he [Jones] did was beautiful to look at and had so much energy in it".[8] Hayao Miyazaki was also an early influence.[9]

Education[edit]

 A building in a 19th-century style, with a four-story entrance in red brick and pale stone, framed with trees.
Povenmire attended the University of Southern California.

Povenmire received his secondary education at Shaw High School in Mobile.[10] Initially, he attended the University of South Alabama, where he created his first popular comic strip, Life is a Fish, devoted to the life of Herman the goldfish and the college students he lives with. Povenmire also supported himself as a waiter and performer at a dinner theater.[5] In 1985, he transferred to the University of Southern California (USC), planning to pursue a career in film.[5][10][11]

Soon after arriving at USC, he pitched Life is a Fish to Mark Ordesky, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Trojan, the university newspaper. Ordesky first "basically brushed [him] off", but, after viewing Povenmire's portfolio, accepted the strip. Fish ran daily in the paper. Though the rapid pace left Povenmire afraid he was "running out of ideas", he never missed a deadline and made $14,000 a year through Fish merchandise, which included t-shirts, books, and calendars sold at the campus craft fair.[5] The discipline of regular production also helped teach Povenmire to "represent something in the least amount of lines".[6]

Career[edit]

Early works[edit]

 A well-tanned man with white hair and a white beard holds a microphone in front of his face. On his left wrist, he wears a heavy silver-colored watch; with his right hand, he is gesturing. On the wall behind him are two signs: one bears the name "Tommy Chong".
Tommy Chong was one of the first people to give Povenmire a job in the animation business, hiring him to do two minutes of animation for the film Far Out Man (1990).

Povenmire left USC[5] without finishing the degree requirements,[10] and used the money from Fish merchandise to fund a short-lived career as a street artist. His first professional animation commission came on the Tommy Chong project Far Out Man, for which Povenmire produced two minutes of animation. By age 24, Povenmire was freelancing on several animated television series, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.[5] In 1989, he appeared in a small role as a band member in Adam Sandler's first film, Going Overboard.[5]

In the 1990s, Povenmire secured a job as a character layout animator[12] on the hit animated series The Simpsons.[5][13] His desk placed him opposite Jeffery Marsh, another up-and-coming animator. They shared similar tastes in humor and music, and later became colleagues on other projects.[13]

Povenmire's experience, from both previous industry work and from his own projects, earned him respect at The Simpsons.[6] He worked on layout animation and collaborated on storyboard production for the series, recalling later that staff were handed pages of production notes and instructed to "Do the Brad Bird notes and any others that make sense."[8] He maintained a side interest in film, writing scripts[10] and the screenplay for a low-budget horror movie, Psycho Cop 2.[7][10] The movie's producers offered Povenmire the opportunity to direct the film, but its terms required that he quit The Simpsons. Povenmire chose to stay with The Simpsons, which he enjoyed and considered a better fit with his future ambitions.[10] Rif Coogan ended up directing the picture instead.[14]

Rocko's Modern Life[edit]

"I could have just stayed at The Simpsons ad infinitum. I have friends there who were there when I was and are still working on the show. But animation is such that at the end of production they lay off all the artists and then at the end of post-production they bring all the artists back. I was looking at a two- or three-month downtime."

—Povenmire, on leaving The Simpsons for Rocko's Modern Life[10]

Work on The Simpsons involved an irregular schedule. The producers laid off the animation staff for two-to-three-month periods, and rehired the staff later in the production cycle. During one of these layoffs, Povenmire found a temporary job on the series Rocko's Modern Life,[10] Nickelodeon's first in-house cartoon production.[15][16] The show's creator, television newcomer Joe Murray, hired Povenmire solely on the strength of his Life is a Fish comic strips,[5] which proved he could both write and draw.[10]

Though Povenmire started on Rocko simply to occupy his downtime from The Simpsons, he found the greater creative freedom he enjoyed on his temporary job compelling, and quit The Simpsons to work on Rocko full-time. There, he reunited with Jeff Marsh, this time as a writing partner;[13] Marsh claimed the crew hoped Povenmire's neatness would offset his own sloppy storyboarding.[7] The pair developed a distinctive style characterized by characteristic musical numbers and chase scenes.[17] Povenmire and Marsh won an Environmental Achievement Award for a 1996 Rocko episode they had written.[2]

Family Guy[edit]

Povenmire later became a director on Family Guy,[18] starting with the season two episode, "Road to Rhode Island".[19] Creator Seth MacFarlane granted Povenmire substantial creative freedom. Povenmire recalled that MacFarlane would tell him "We've got two minutes to fill. Give me some visual gags. Do whatever you want. I trust you." Povenmire praised MacFarlane's management style for letting him "have [...] fun."[8] Povenmire brought realism and material from his own experiences to the visual direction of Family Guy.[20][21] For "One if By Clam, Two if By Sea" (August 1, 2001),[22] several characters demonstrate Fosse-like moves in prison. To correctly depict the moves, Povenmire asked color artist Cynthia MacIntosh, who had been a professional dancer, to strike poses so he could properly illustrate the sequence.[21] In the episode "To Love and Die in Dixie" (November 15, 2001),[23] Povenmire drew on his childhood in the Deep South to create and sequence a background scene in which the redneck character nonchalantly kicks a corpse into the nearby river.[20]

"Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows" (January 17, 2002), a Family Guy episode which Povenmire directed,[24] won the Emmy Award for Best Song. Creator MacFarlane, the recipient of the award, noted that Povenmire deserved to have received the award for the contribution the visuals made to the episode's win. Povenmire jokingly responded "That's a nice sentiment and all, but did he offer to give me his? No! And it's not like he doesn't already have two of his own just sitting in his house!"[25] Povenmire was nominated for an Annie Award for Directing in an Animated Television Production for the episode "PTV" (November 6, 2005)[26] but lost out to a fellow Family Guy director Peter Shin, who had directed the episode "North By North Quahog".[27] Povenmire and several others were also nominated for their work on "PTV" in the Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour) category at the Primetime Emmy Awards.[28] Povenmire also received the same nomination for "Road to Rhode Island."[29]

While directing for Family Guy, Povenmire was offered a job as storyboard director of the series SpongeBob SquarePants.[8][30] He wrote various musical numbers for the series, including "The Campfire Song Song" in "The Camping Episode" (April 3, 2004).[31][32]

Phineas and Ferb[edit]

"It wasn't like we pitched it to every network more than once. We pitched it to four different places. We'd get real close, they'd say no, so we'd put it back on the shelf for a couple of years, then—'I've got a pitch over at Cartoon Network—I'll dust it back off and pitch it to them; if they say no, I'll dust it off and pitch it to Nickelodeon.'"

—Povenmire, on pitching Phineas and Ferb[13]

In 1993, Povenmire and Marsh conceived the series Phineas and Ferb,[5] based on their similar experiences of childhood summers spent outdoors.[13] Povenmire spent 14–16 years pitching Phineas and Ferb to several networks.[8][13] Most rejected it as unfeasible for the complexity of its plots,[18] but Povenmire persevered, later observing "It was really the show we wanted to see: if this was on the air, I'd watch it, and I don't always feel that about every show I work on."[13] Even the Walt Disney Company initially rejected Povenmire's pitch, but asked to keep the proposal packet: "Usually that means they throw it in the trash later," Povenmire recalled.[5] Eventually Disney called Povenmire back with an acceptance, on the condition that he would produce an 11-minute pilot.[17] He called Marsh, who was living in England, to ask him if he would like to work on the pilot; Marsh accepted immediately and moved back to the United States.[18]

Instead of a conventional script, the pair pitched the pilot by recording reels of its storyboard, which Povenmire then mixed and dubbed to produce action and vocals. The network approved the show for a 26-episode season.[4][17] Povenmire left Family Guy to create the series.[33]

Povenmire and Marsh wanted to incorporate into Phineas and Ferb the kind of humor they had developed in their work on Rocko's Modern Life. They included action sequences and, with Disney's encouragement, featured musical numbers in every episode subsequent to "Flop Starz".[17] Povenmire described the songs as his and Marsh's "jab at immortality",[5] but the pair have earned two Emmy nominations for Phineas and Ferb songs to-date.[7] A third Emmy nomination, for the episode "The Monster of Phineas-n-Ferbenstein" (2009),[34] pitted the show against SpongeBob SquarePants,[35] although neither nominee received the award due to a technicality.[36] In 2010, Povenmire was nominated amongst several other Phineas and Ferb crew members for the Daytime Emmy Award for both "Outstanding Writing in Animation" and "Outstanding Original Song – Children’s and Animation" for their work on the show,[37] winning for "Outstanding Writing in Animation".[37]

The distinctive style of the animation legend Tex Avery influenced the show's artistic look. Like Avery, Povermire employed geometric shapes to build both the characters and the background. The style developed almost accidentally, with Povenmire's first sketch of title character, Phineas Flynn, which he produced while eating dinner with his family in a restaurant in South Pasadena, California. He doodled a triangle-shaped child on the butcher paper covering the table. He was so taken with sketch he tore it out, kept it, and used it as the prototype for Phineas and as the stylistic blueprint for the entire show.[18]

Musical endeavors[edit]

During his college years, Povenmire had performed with a band that played at clubs and bars across Los Angeles, California.[5] His current band, Keep Left, releases albums through Arizona University Recordings. Their second CD, Letters from Fieldin, became available for download on aurec.com during 2004.[11] They have an official website maintained and updated by artist Larry Stone.[38] A 2004 email exchange about the website between Stone and Povenmire resulted in a "clever and twisted" series of comic strips drawn by the two, eventually moved to the website Badmouth.[38]

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1988 Never on Tuesday Storyboard artist
1989 Going Overboard Yellow Teeth
1990 Far Out Man Animator
1991 The Dark Backward Storyboard artist
1991 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Planet of the Turtleoids Storyboard conforming
1993 Psycho Cop 2 Writer
2011 Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (1st and 2nd Dimension) Writer
Director
Producer

Television[edit]

Year Series Role Notes
1991 James Bond Jr. Storyboard conforming
1992-1996 The Simpsons Storyboard artist
Character layout artist
1993-1996 Rocko's Modern Life Writer
Director
Storyboard artist
Songwriter
1994 The Critic Character layout artist
1996-1999 Hey Arnold! Storyboard artist
Director
1999 CatDog Storyboard artist
2000-2007 Family Guy Storyboard artist
Director
2001-2004 SpongeBob SquarePants Writer
Storyboard artist
2007–present Phineas and Ferb Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz
various characters
Creator
Executive producer
Voice artist
Writer
Director
Songwriter

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "California births". Family Tree Legends. Retrieved December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c [Yoo, Jean]. "Producer bios". Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  3. ^ MacFarlane, Seth (2006). DVD commentary for "PTV" in "Family Guy: Volume 4" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ a b Povenmire, Dan (2008). Original Pitch By Dan Povenmire (DVD). Buena Vista Home Entertainment. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Perez, Lauren (2008-05-12). "USC dropout makes it big in animation". Daily Trojan. Archived from the original on 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  6. ^ a b c Greenspon (2003), p. 90
  7. ^ a b c d Galas, Majorie. "Phineas and Ferb: Music, Mischief, And The Endless Summer Vacation; An Interview with Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh". 411 Update (70) (411 News). Retrieved 2009-08-05. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d e Bond, Paul. (2009-06-07). "Q&A: Dan Povenmire". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2009-07-31. 
  9. ^ "'Phineas and Ferb' creators talk inspiration and jet-setting in the show". msn.com. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Brantley, Mike (2008-05-13). "Disney animator sees summers in Mobile as inspiration". The Mobile Press-Register (Al.com). Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  11. ^ a b "Daily Trojan Alumni Link Where Are They Now? P List". Hop Studios. 2003-09-27. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  12. ^ Greenspon (2003), p. 89
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Strike, Joe (2008-02-01). "From Swampy & Dan Emerges Phineas and Ferb". Animation World Magazine: 1. 
  14. ^ Armstrong, Kent (2003). Slasher Films: An International Filmography, 1960 through 2001. McFarland & Company. p. 240. ISBN 0-7864-1462-6. 
  15. ^ Neuwirth (2003), p. 252
  16. ^ Neuwirth (2003), p. 253
  17. ^ a b c d Strike, Joe. (2008-02-01). "From Swampy & Dan Emerges Phineas and Ferb". Animation World Magazine: 2. 
  18. ^ a b c d Strike, Joe. (2008-02-01). "From Swampy & Dan Emerges Phineas and Ferb". Animation World Magazine: 3. 
  19. ^ Callaghan (2005), p. 90
  20. ^ a b Callaghan (2005), p. 174
  21. ^ a b Callaghan (2005), p. 142
  22. ^ Callaghan (2005), p. 140
  23. ^ Callaghan (2005), p. 171
  24. ^ Callaghan (2005), p. 192
  25. ^ Callaghan (2005), p. 194
  26. ^ "'Wallace & Gromit' Leads list of Animation Nominees". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2005-12-06. p. C4. 
  27. ^ "Legacy: 33rd Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (2005)". Annie Awards. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  28. ^ "58th Primetime Emmy Awards". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2006-11-04. [dead link]
  29. ^ Staff (2000-07-21). "Nominees in Major Categories The 52nd Prime-Time Emmy Awards". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. E6. 
  30. ^ Flectcher, Alex (2008-01-28). "Phineas and Ferb". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  31. ^ MacFarlane, Seth (2007). Family Guy season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Road to Rupert" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  32. ^ Povenmire, Dan (2007). Family Guy season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Road to Rupert" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  33. ^ Martinez, Kevin (2009-07-13). ""Family Guy Volume Seven": Who Says Seven is a Lucky Number?". Toon Zone. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  34. ^ "Phineas and Ferb". Variety profiles. Archived from the original on 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  35. ^ Zahed, Ramin (2009-07-16). "Phineas and Ferb Creators Talk About Emmy Nom!". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2009-98-06. 
  36. ^ Fujimori, Sachi (September 20, 2009). "For Montvale Boy, It Was All Worth the Tux". California Chronicle. reprint from The Record (Bergen County, N.J.) via ProQuest. Archived from the original on 2009-10-16. Retrieved 2010-05-17. [dead link]
  37. ^ a b "Full list of 2010 Daytime Emmy Award nominations". National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  38. ^ a b Marcotte, John (2004-01-22). "Comic Strip War". Badmouth. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]