by Tyler Spinosa
After attending the SCAD Student Showcase at the DMC Theater, I had a premium spot in line for the much anticipated Adult Swim panel. Joining us was SCAD alumnus and co-creator of “Toonami,” Jason Demarco, the senior vice president and creative director of On Air Production. Next to him was Chris Hartley the vice president of On Air Production. To their left were four current and recently graduated SCAD students who participated in the CLC (Collaborative Learning Center) program.
As a part of the CLC program, the students were tasked with creating short station identification bumpers from a list of about seven shows as inspiration. Some of the shows included: “Rick and Morty,” “Venture Brothers,” “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell” and “Mr. Pickles.” One group of students asked if “Toonami” was on the table as well. Demarco allowed it, but only if it was handled with extreme care. “Toonami” is his baby, so the students enthusiastically said, “Challenge accepted.”
The audience had the privilege of witnessing the world premiere of six different bumps. Two for “Mr. Pickles,” two for “Rick and Morty,” one for “Venture Brothers” and one for “Toonami.” Each bump was well received and the crowd was happy for the other students’ success. It felt like a victory for everyone.
Demarco and Hartley explained that in many cases when they approach students or independent artists to create bumpers, the contracted creators are surprised by the amount of freedom they’re given. When networks reach out to artists to create promotional material, they give the artists very strict guidelines to adhere to. But the nice people over at Adult Swim emphasized how they wanted to stray away from the rigid and frankly annoying practices of other networks.
This panel was more rewarding than most because of the sense of hope it gave everyone at SCAD. It made me feel like the dream of working with Adult Swim is not too far from becoming a reality. It was also reassuring to see that networks like Adult Swim are reaching out to places like SCAD for help. To top off the sundae of hopes and dreams, Demarco is a SCAD alumnus himself proving that our thousands of dollars in debt might actually pay off in some way or another in the years that follow graduation.
When it was time to open up the floor to answer questions, I asked, “How does it feel to create something (“Toonami”) and have people who have grown up on it be able to contribute to it?” Demarco explained that it’s probably the most satisfying part of his job. To create something and have it affect someone, even if it is only for a few moments, is at the end of the day the most rewarding thing you can expect from art and creativity. SCAD may be a soul crushing vacuum of time and money, but it’s making some dreams come true for passionate students willing to take the challenge.