Tuesday, May 12, 2009

R.I.P. FATKAT 1999 - 2009

Well folks, that was fun.

Roughly 10 years ago a few of us Helix Animation in Halifax (Not to be confused with Richard's Company in Sydney) left the studio to form Fatkat Animation Studios, at the time we were producing flash animated training films for a client in San Diego.

In 2002 Fatkat was taken over and redubbed Trainingscape Studios Canada by our client. Then about a year later it folded leaving us in the crapper and due 2 weeks back pay. Most of that great team went to other studios in Halifax or spread out farther west. The CEO was never heard from again and we never did get our cashola. Oh well, we moved on.

In 2003 a few of us ex Training-Apes decided to raise Fatkat out of the ashes and focus on TV. We got our start with a nice reference from Ian Gallant, who referred Fatkat to a PEI producer by the name of Campbell Webster. He had a contract that saw us launch Fatkat in NB and produce the first animated series in the province for CBC. I'm thankful that I was able to repay Ian for that reference with a spot on the Happy Tree Friends series years later. So thank you again Ian and thank you Campbell for getting us started again.

Alot of stuff has happened in the 10 years that the Fatkat brand has been kicking around, though mostly all in the last half. We've produced simply a ton of commercials and interactive spots. We've cranked out series such as Skunk Fu!, Chaotic, SuperNormal and of course the straw that broke the camel's back "Three Delivery".

Don't get me wrong, all were good productions, but Three Delivery was the monster, some called it a studio killer (you were right Rick!), I just giggled it off, but I knew they were right. It'd be a miracle if we came out of that one alive. Though it certainly beat the hell out of us all, we made it though. With all 26 episodes delivered to YTV and the other broadcasters just last week. I thank the entire TD crew for that, you did what many could not, you survived the most demanding and torturous production I have ever seen and did it with a smile, albeit a few teeth are missing from your smile; my heart goes out and my hat comes off to you. I'm very proud of the work Fatkat produced and Three Delivery is an awesome show because of it.

Extra big thank yoos to Robbie Anderson & Tavis Silbernagel for making it shine and staying committed through all of it. A massive thank you to Stephen Ashe and Carol MacKinley to cleaning it all up in finance, insuring that everyone was paid in full. It was no small task and you did it all with grace and humility. I thank you.

My first round of thanks go out to senior team, Patrick Proulx, Neven Nesic, Gwen Mitchell, Mel Albert, Andrew Embury, Rob Anderson Jr., Steve Valdez, Andrew Coyle, Jon Roth, Sean Rule, Jon Lambe, Mike Concannon, Neil Davies, Heather MacDonald,Daniel Theriault, Doug Little, Andrew Blodgett, Sean McGraw, Gordie McBride, Jose Osorio, Salma Hussain, Geremy Walker and Dallas Daigle.

Thank yoos to everyone else and forgive me if I've forgotten anyone: Geri Donahue, Kate Turcotte, Paula Barry, Geremy Walker, Casey Gallant, Cliff Walker, Ryan Keizer, Nic and Tim, Dave and Cindy, Erin and Gracie, Val Cormier, Keith Dury, Oliver Costes, Sandy Miller, Darren, Casey Johnson, Jessica, Erika, Jmac, Rory, Chris Mudd, Mr. Jarvis, the one and only Leon Arispunandar, Rob Llyod, Jeremy Donovan, Kurt Peckham, Rick, the laughter of Lauren Grieman (keep smiling hun), Ryan Cole, Dave McCullough, Paul Dupuis, Devin Taylor, Alberto and Erika overseas, Mark Cappello and the great team at invisible, Randy St.Ana, Mike Fiander and all the freelancers across Canada, much thanks and respect for your hard work offsite. Big thanks to the Space Knights crew and the previously unmentioned Matt Taylor for his work on both shows. To Dave "the popcorn machine stinks" Michaud, to Matt Stroud for stickin to Eddie, Daisy, Diego and all the friggin dogs in the joint.

Big inspirational thanks go out to Mick Harrison, whom is quite possibly the world's finest cartoonist. Atomic hugs to Tony Grillo at Flinch for his years of partnership. Big laughs go out to Buddy Bolton and his weinerdogs. Super high fives to the good folks at Razor Creative, Mike Valiquette, Aaron Simpson, Nancy Mathis and my friends at the WMI, our partners at Just for laughs, Teletoon, YTV, SRC, BBC, Canal+ and Nickelodeon. Of course our amazing friends at Dacapo, Olaf, Clint and Nolan (see you in a few weeks!). Thank you to Jeff at the City for being there, Brian at Enterprize for all the great advice, Claude at ACOA, Rick at the BDC, Nan and Ross at RBC, RDC, Greg at CBDC, RCMP, CMYK and Claude at BNB for supporting us like you have. I thank you all so much for your experiences and friendships.

To the hundreds of other great artists, people, partners and clients that have made Fatkat a great company over the years and put up with all the bullshit when we were growing like mad; thanks for still making it fun with cool projects, a heartfelt thanks.

As for the future, I have gathered a few close friends from Fatkat and will be starting a new studio here on the Miramichi. It will be called "Loogaroo" . We'll be reflecting on all we did right, but also all that we lost sight of or totally messed up on. Then retooling our new shop and providing the same great service that we did for so long with Fatkat but with some mighty big changes and improvements.

We'll be looking to put the finest ex-Fatkat artists to work as quickly as possible. I urge you all to reach out early and often to keep top of mind. Thank you for staying in the area and for your loyalty to me and Miramichi. We're by no means done yet, as a matter of fact, we're just getting started!

I'm off to spend some much needed time with my family, again thank you for 10 glorious years with Fatkat. I look forward to many more as Loogaroo.

It's been a slice.



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At 5/13/2009 11:16:00 PM , Blogger Willem Wynand said...

Aw mate thats quite sad acually, iv enjoyed having a peek at all the happenings at fatkat over the years =) was hoping to maybe head your ways one day haha, anway goodluck with Loogaroo. =) looking forward to seeing what you guys will produce =)
goodluck with the bits and pieces =)

At 5/13/2009 11:20:00 PM , Blogger James said...

It's all temporary Gene, you'll outlast all of us.

At 5/13/2009 11:46:00 PM , Blogger michael valiquette said...

Good luck buddy. Can't wait to read the next chapter.

At 5/14/2009 12:02:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

fun times on this end man :) great workin with ya! lemme know how the next one goes :D

At 5/14/2009 12:21:00 AM , Blogger Danarchy said...

My first job in the industry was at Fatkat, and have a lot of fond memories of the people I met, and places I was able to see during my short time out there. Thanks Gene for taking a chance on a prairie boy who at that time had no experience in the industry or with flash. Their is a good chance I wouldn't be animating for a living if not for Fatkat. Good luck in the future bro!


At 5/14/2009 12:30:00 AM , Blogger Chase said...

Nicely said Gene and look forward to seeing what you folks at Loogaroo doo!
Maybe we'll find something to spin together...would like that.


Lee Williams
Boomstone Animation Inc.

At 5/14/2009 12:34:00 AM , Blogger Onno Knuvers said...

That is a shame Fatkat was awesome.

Also just an interesting side note, according to the myth the Loogaroo is a woman, who is in league with the Devil.

So it sounds like the new studio is going to very interesting indeed.

At 5/14/2009 01:09:00 AM , Blogger Michael Gilbert said...

Say it isn't so! I'm sorry to hear that Gene. You guys did exceptional work and I'm grateful you gave me the opportunity to be a part of the team. I wish you the best of luck with your new studio.

At 5/14/2009 02:05:00 AM , Blogger Mattstro Disastro said...

We don't ride a roller coaster if we are afraid of ups and downs. Go Loogaroo go!

At 5/14/2009 03:07:00 AM , Blogger dermot said...

Dermot here...

Sorry to hear about the downturn Gene. Animation is hard enough in good times - but moreso in the teeth of the economic meltdown currently underway. It's getting very tough here in LA too (good thing I'm getting back to Oregon soon)...

Hang in there!

At 5/14/2009 07:42:00 AM , Blogger Bitter Animator said...

Sad news guys. I wish each and every one of your team members good luck and hope you go on to bigger and better things.

At 5/14/2009 07:47:00 AM , Blogger Mick said...

That was just too long winded for me... Is there a short version i can read somewhere?

At 5/14/2009 12:06:00 PM , Blogger Gene Fowler said...

yer such a shit. :o)

At 5/14/2009 12:39:00 PM , Blogger Blindeye said...

As long as it feels the same, and that I'm a part of the team, I don't care what it's called.

At 5/14/2009 12:59:00 PM , Blogger Randy M. Santa Ana said...

T'was a great run, Gene! Thanks for the opportunity that you gave me to work with you! Looking at the future and wishing you all the best in your next endeavor!

At 5/14/2009 01:11:00 PM , Blogger tomokoya said...

Sorry to hear about the closure. It was really fun to be a crewkat. I'm looking forward to seeing your next big thing soon. Hope you find nice and relaxed time with your family. Take care!

At 5/14/2009 01:13:00 PM , Blogger CuRtiS_ said...

My condolences

its sad to see fatkat go, it was really a perfect shitstorm that took it down. fatkat for me will always be the most fun job Ive had and ever will have. It was my first industry job and im greatfull for the opportunity. Im happy i was able to be a part of that stretch of time that was fatkat. the bottle opening hats will live on for many years and crack many a beer i assure you.
I had great times made good friends and will never forget the place.

I hope to see some kats soon this summer when i visit miramichi.

Best of luck with Loogaroo!

Stay Awesome!

At 5/14/2009 02:37:00 PM , Blogger David said...

Sounds like you're not going away at all, just changing your name and getting a fresh start. Good luck to you and all the Miramichi crew.

-David Ichioka

At 5/14/2009 03:28:00 PM , Blogger Granma said...

Sorry for what I just read Gene, just enjoy your family time, you'll be back stronger than before man!
Erika and I will gladly help you guys!

At 5/14/2009 03:30:00 PM , Blogger GOGOPEDRO said...

Sorry, to hear about the fate of Fatkat....

Wishing you all the best on future projects..


At 5/14/2009 03:31:00 PM , Blogger Granma said...

Granma is Alberto and Erika overseas by the way eheheheh =)

At 5/14/2009 03:53:00 PM , Blogger Daniel said...

I owe the jump start of my career to Gene and his gut feeling to hire me as part of the Fatkat team. I hope I've been able to help you in the last four years as much as you have helped me my friend.

To our future collaborations, as I know they will come in time.

Long live Loogaroo!

(I'll still keep wearing the Fatkat merch proudly)

- Daniel Theriault

At 5/14/2009 04:20:00 PM , Blogger Uncle Phil said...

Damn. That sucks. I wish you luck for the future.

At 5/14/2009 08:51:00 PM , Blogger ZSL said...


well this is some unexpected news

At 5/15/2009 01:12:00 PM , Blogger Chaf said...

It's a shame that such a bright and fun team is parting. Good luck to you and everyone at Fatcat!

- Chaf

At 5/15/2009 01:17:00 PM , Blogger Travis Green said...

Though I was only there for a short time, it was a big slice of awesome pie, Gene.

Good to hear that you aren't giving up, and that things can only get better.

Keep your stick on the ice!

At 5/15/2009 04:00:00 PM , Blogger J. Donovan said...

I left on my own accord, but working with you on various things over the years has been the most fun Gene! Good luck buddy!


At 5/16/2009 09:58:00 AM , Blogger Henge Team said...

Karma's a bitch!

At 5/16/2009 12:46:00 PM , Blogger Gene Fowler said...

Yes it is Chris, so why would you tempt it?

At 5/16/2009 03:36:00 PM , Blogger Henge Team said...


At 5/18/2009 04:01:00 PM , Blogger Meredith said...

Dear Fatkat Crew,

Wow! What a freakin' a_s shame. Not sure if too many remember that I was one of the coordinators at AC. I can say this, that it was wonderful working with each and everyone of you. TD was a difficult show and I personally can not say enough about the blood, sweat and tears that went into making it. FATKAT, one of your awesome polo shirts is on my father's back and he is so glad to wear it and with pride (it was too big for me). There was really amazing talent at FK and I wish everyone the best of luck in the coming future. ANIMATION OR BUST!

All the Best,

Meredith Rodgers

At 5/20/2009 12:24:00 AM , Blogger Ben Lane said...

I'm sorry to see you guys go. Best of luck with the new venture.

...wouldn't happen be selling off some old animation equipment by chance, would ya? :D

At 5/21/2009 09:24:00 AM , Blogger stjfairy said...

Fatkat had a great run. I understand all thats happened and am looking forward(hopefully) joining the loogaroo team. And many great years to come. well off to enjoy my time off with BBQ's and camping

At 5/22/2009 08:56:00 PM , Blogger Aadel said...

I had great time working at fatkat.
and proudly wearing my fatkat T-shirt.

All the best,

At 5/24/2009 11:50:00 AM , Blogger Sean said...

Rest in peace, Bartholomew...Long Live the Loogaroo!

At 6/10/2009 04:46:00 AM , Blogger Toren Atkinson said...

I was pleased to work for you when I could!

At 8/18/2009 06:03:00 AM , Blogger Sandra Khoo said...

Dead but not gone. You folks have been immensely inspiring over the years as I do keep track on your blog off and on and have always enjoyed all the updates and posts here. Looking forward to seeing a new and brighter future for you all. Keep on Rawkin',folks! And all the best on launching Loogaroo as I'm sure it'll be a blast!

At 12/08/2009 11:55:00 AM , Blogger Jelacin said...

Where is the first fatkatanimation blog - I can't find it!


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