“Parody is a wonderful realm to work in, because you get to do a technique but you get to use it as a device beyond what it was developed for. You can speak two languages at the same time.”
Director/Producer JJ Sedelmaier has been in and around animation for nearly 40 years. We sat down to talk about the false choice of art and commerce, how the advertising and animation businesses have changed over the years he’s been working in them, using animation for good instead of evil, how working in a Greek restaurant as a teen prepared him to run his own animation studio, the insane process of animating the first season of Beavis & Butthead, the joy of working with his favorite artists and cartoonists, not worrying about his road-not-traveled, stepping away from SNL’s TV Funhouse after 3 years (during which time he co-created Ace & Gary, the Ambiguously Gay Duo), the time he met Steve Ditko, how Mark Newgarden & Paul Karasik have taught him to appreciate Nancy, the trap of tapping into nostalgia (and the missed opportunity of that Geico ad with He-Man), his responses to my totally unfair “X or Y” questions (incl. “Herriman or McCay?” and “Kurtzman or Eisner?”), and plenty more! Give it a listen!
“As much as I loved working on a scene when I was an animator, the flexibility to work on different things on different levels and timelines, and to pull it off, means more to me.”
“It’s wild when my idols come up to me and say they know my work.”
About our Guest
J.J. Sedelmaier is the President/Director of J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc., a animation and design studio that he established with his wife Patrice in 1990. It has created and produced some of the most influential broadcast productions in the past quarter century. MTV’s Beavis and Butthead, NBC/Saturday Night Live’s Saturday TV Funhouse cartoon series (including The Ambiguously Gay Duo), Cartoon Network/Adult Swim’s Harvey Birdman, Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen, all had their beginnings at JJSP! In addition to TV network cartoon series, the White Plains, NY studio has produced over 500 animated commercial films and won over 700 prestigious awards with screenings in over 100 festivals in 25 different countries. Sedelmaier is an experienced educator (NYU), curator of exhibits on animation and design, and an architectural preservationist with two structures on the National Register Of Historic Preservation. He is a regular editor/author for Print Magazine’s Imprint design blog.
He is also a regular presenter at comic cons throughout the U.S. and a subject of numerous interviews on TV and radio. J.J.’s interests are wide and varied, If you Google him, you’ll become very confused . . . he likes that.
Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at the offices of JJ Sedelmaier Productions on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of JJ by me. They’re on my instagram.