Creative Mind Podcast 46: John Harvatine Builds Small Worlds to Tell Big Stories with Stop Motion

On this episode of the Creative Mind podcast, we talk with John “Harv” Harvatine IV about how he got into the world of stop motion and how he has built a worldof little worldsthat allow artists and creators to tell great stories.

Foul-mouthed puppets. Angry toys. Biting, yet wholly entertaining commentary. Those are the ingredients that make up the stop motion soup that Harv cooks up for viewers every week on multiple productions including his own Crossing Swords, the Emmy-winning Robot Chicken, and now Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.

Watching a small puppet or kit-bashed book of childhood toys come to life can be a surreal experience, and it takes a lot of work to pull of these productions. It is very slow and tedious work.

“You don’t get famous for it, so you have to love it. So many things can go wrong—like an eyebrow falling off—when you have gravity working against you. That’s part of the sick pleasure,” Harv has said. But the community of stop motion artist, fabricators, animators, and producers is a tight group and Harv is proud to have Stoopid Buddy Stoodios be a place for those early in their career to get started.

Launching Career

Harv started his career as an animator and quickly learned the ropes from the stop-motion studios he worked at and formed his own production company. Starting in 2003 with Make Out City Studios, Harv created content for the NFL, G4TV, and Interscope Records.

In 2008, he co-founded Buddy System Studios with Eric Towner, where they created groundbreaking animations for heavyweights such as Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network. Harv partnered with Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, and Eric Towner in 2011 to create Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which produces the longest-running stop-motion show on television, the Emmy-winning Robot Chicken. Harv, in addition to his work on Crossing Swords, is directing Gloop World, which will be released soon.

We are also joined by Aaron Guadamuz, the Stop Motion Lead at the School of Visual Development here at the Academy, so there’s even more reason to listen to this episode now.


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