David Silverman (animator)

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David Silverman
A grey-bearded man.
Silverman in 2014 at San Diego Comic-Con
BornLong Island, New York, U.S.
Pen namePound Foolish
OccupationTelevision/film writer and director
EducationUniversity of Maryland (attended)
University of California, Los Angeles (BA)

David Silverman is an American animator who has directed numerous episodes of the animated TV series The Simpsons, as well as its film adaptation. Silverman was involved with the series from the very beginning, animating all of the original short Simpsons cartoons that aired on The Tracey Ullman Show. He went on to serve as director of animation for several years. He also did the animation for the 2016 film, The Edge of Seventeen, which was produced by Gracie Films.

Early life and career[edit]

Silverman was born to a Jewish family[1] on Long Island, New York.[2] He grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended the University of Maryland, College Park for two years,[2] focusing on art. He then attended UCLA and majored in animation.[3]

Early in his career with The Simpsons, he was a subject on the December 26, 1990 episode (#83) of To Tell the Truth.[4]

The Simpsons[edit]

Silverman is largely credited with creating most of the "rules" for drawing The Simpsons. He is frequently called upon to animate difficult or especially important scenes, becoming go-to in Season 2 when he animated the first of Homer's many "rants, freak-outs, and heart attacks".[5] He appeared during the end credits of the Simpsons episode "Goo Goo Gai Pan" giving a quick method of drawing Bart, and is a frequent participant on the Simpsons DVD audio commentaries. A cartoon rendering of him can be seen in "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show", where he is the animator who draws Poochie (along with renderings of other Simpsons staffers). He was credited as Pound Foolish as the director of the episodes "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular"[6]

Silverman is also the director of The Simpsons Movie, which was released July 27, 2007. He originally left The Simpsons to direct additional sequences for The Road to El Dorado for DreamWorks Animation alongside Will Finn. Some of his other film work includes Monsters, Inc. for Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar, for which he was a co-director (alongside Lee Unkrich). He is currently a consulting producer and occasional director. He also worked on the animated films Ice Age, Robots, and Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

In 2012, Silverman directed the theatrical short The Longest Daycare starring Maggie Simpson, released in front of Ice Age: Continental Drift. The short was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. He also directed the follow-up theatrical short Playdate with Destiny in 2020, released in front of Onward.

The Simpsons episodes directed by Silverman[edit]

The Simpsons episodes written by Silverman[edit]


Silverman's direction and animation is known for its energy, sharp timing, adventurous use of design elements and often complex acting, involving expressions and poses which are often quixotic, emotionally specific or highly exaggerated.[citation needed] It frequently recalls the works of Ward Kimball, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones.[citation needed] His most prolific period of work on The Simpsons can be roughly categorized as beginning with the "Tracey Ullman" episodes and ending in or around season eight of the series, for which he animated Homer's psychedelic dream in "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)". Other representative examples of Silverman's work on The Simpsons include Homer's histrionic, spasmodic heart attack in "Homer's Triple Bypass", Homer's demented hysterics over the iconic painting of poker-playing canines in "Treehouse of Horror IV" and subsequent turn as an even-more-deranged appropriation of Jack Nicholson's character from "The Shining" in "Treehouse of Horror V", and Homer's over-the-top sugar diatribe from "Lisa's Rival".



Year Title Director Writer Producer Storyboard
Animator Other Notes
1984 Turbo Teen No No No No Yes No
1987-89 The Tracey Ullman Show Partial No No No Yes No Segment Director: "The Simpsons" Shorts
1989–present The Simpsons Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Supervising Director, Consulting Producer, Executive Consultant, Title Designer,
Character Layout Artist, Storyboards, Storyboard Consultant, Storyboard Revisions,
Main Title Designer, Background Designer, Additional Voices, Song Lyrics: "Spider-Pig"
1994-95 The Critic No No No No No Yes Visual Design
1995 Eek! The Cat No No Executive Yes No Yes Creator, Executive Producer, Voice of John Heap (Klutter! segment)
1997 Teen Angel No No No No No Yes Creative Consultant
2001 Rugrats No No No No Yes No
2014 Family Guy No No No No No Yes Special Thanks (Episode: "The Simpsons Guy")
2015 House of Lies No No No No No Yes Himself
2017 Party Legends No No No No Yes No
2018 Super Slackers[7] Yes Yes Executive No No No
2020–present Duncanville No No Consulting No No No

Feature films[edit]

Year Title Director Story Artist Animator Other Notes
1986 One Crazy Summer No No Yes No
1991 The Dark Backward No No No Yes Creator: "Blumps" concept
1993 RoboCop 3 No No No Yes Director: "Johnny Rehab" commercial
2000 The Road to El Dorado No No No Yes Additional Sequences Director
2001 Monsters, Inc. Co-Director No No Yes Additional Story Material, CDA
2002 Ice Age No No No Yes Story Consultant
2003 Confessions of a Burning Man[8] No No No Yes Additional Cinematographer; Documentary
Looney Tunes: Back in Action No No No Yes Animation Consultant
2005 Robots No Yes No No
2007 The Simpsons Movie Yes No No No
2014 Such Good People No No No Yes Personal Thanks
2015 Love No No No Yes Grateful Thanks
2016 The Edge of Seventeen No No Yes No
2021 Extinct Yes No No Yes Voices of Cyclops / Donut Store Clerk

Short films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Story Artist Animator Other Notes
1979 Tom Waits for No One No No No Yes No
1982 Luau No No No No Yes Special Thanks
The Strange Case of Mr. Donnybrook's Boredom[9] Yes No Yes Yes Yes Layout Artist, Ink Artist, Background Artist
1987 Propagandance No No No Assistant No
2002 Mike's New Car No No No No Yes Special Thanks
2011 Night of the Little Dead No No No No Yes Tuba Player
2012 The Longest Daycare Yes No Yes No No
2016 Bouncing Blunders No No No No Yes Special Thanks
Duhkha No No No No Yes
2020 Playdate with Destiny Yes Yes Yes No No
2021 The Force Awakens from Its Nap Yes No Yes No No
The Good, the Bart, and the Loki Yes No Yes No No
The Simpsons | Balenciaga Yes No No No No
Plusaversary Yes No No No No
2022 When Billie Met Lisa Yes No No No No


Silverman worked with Savage Steve Holland to create Klutter! for Fox Kids. It was produced by Fox Kids Company, Savage Studios Ltd, and Film Roman. It was part of Eek! Stravaganza in the fourth season of the 1995–96 season where he voiced John Heap. It lasted eight episodes from September 9, 1995, to April 14, 1996.

Campus tours[edit]

Silverman has toured many college campuses, speaking about his experiences as an animator and longtime Simpsons director and producer.[10] He describes his early experiences in the animation field, working on shows such as Turbo Teen and Mister T. He goes on to say that at the point he considered leaving animation to devote his time to cartoon illustration, he took a job animating on The Tracey Ullman Show. He has pointed out that he and his fellow animators Wes Archer and Bill Kopp first started animating The Simpsons shorts on March 23, 1987.

Silverman then elaborates on Simpsons production, the evolution of the show and its characters, and various show facts and trivia. He may show animatics, deleted scenes, and favorite scenes and sequences, while giving background information. He closes by hand-drawing character sketches before the audience.


Silverman plays the tuba and has performed at events like Burning Man with the Transformational All Star Fire Conclave Marching Band and on June 23, 2006, he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where he played his flaming sousaphone.[11][12] Silverman was a member of the UCLA Bruin Marching Band Sousaphone Section in the early 1980s. He is currently a member of Los Trancos Woods Community Marching Band. In January 2009, Silverman joined the LA band Vaud and the Villains.


  1. ^ Tampa Jewish Federation "Jews in the News: Oscar Time!" retrieved March 19, 2017
  2. ^ a b Silverman, David. "Nominated for: Animated Short for "Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare' "". 85th Academy Awards Nomenee Questionnaire. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 27 February 2013.[dead link]
  3. ^ TFTAN - UCLA School of The Theater, Film and Television Alumni Network
  4. ^ To Tell The Truth: 1990-91 Episode Guide Archived 2009-02-09 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Du Vernay, Denise (Feb 14, 2012). "Best 'Simpsons' Moments: Castmembers Share Their Favorite Contributions to Celebrate the 500th Episode". OC Weekly.
  6. ^ David Silverman at IMDb
  7. ^ Sokol, Tony (December 7, 2017). "Super Slackers: Exclusive Clip from Simpsons Animator's New Show on 420TV". Den of Geek. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  8. ^ Vice, Jeff (January 7, 2004). "Film review: Confessions of a Burning Man". Deseret News. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  9. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
  10. ^ The Simpsons Archive: David Silverman's Chat Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Flaming Tuba guy David Silverman on NBC Tonight Show 6/23 - Boing Boing Archived 2006-07-03 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ David Silverman on The Tonight Show

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]