Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Your digital animated series, RoboSplaat, recently launched on YouTube. For our readers who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of the digital micro-series, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Arlene Klasky: Nine years ago, I stumbled across something called The Klasky Csupo Robot Logo on YouTube. MIT was teaching kids online to code. What did kids decide to code? The logo at the end Rugrats. There were hundreds of our animated logos mashed up with millions of views. Not only was our logo unattractive, but now the visual and sound FX were crazy… and enormously creative. Later, I realized it wasn’t just young kids but older fans that grew up with Rugrats, also mashing our logo.
In 2011, I decided to harness the beast. Along with designer Sergei Shramkovsky, we put arms and legs on the Splaat and I created RoboSplaat's family and friends. He was a sixteen-year-old know-it-all that acted like he was 12. To keep the budget low, I opted for minimal animation. So, RoboSplaat - whose nickname is Splaat - became a vlogger that talks directly to the audience on varied topics. In the Dear Splaat webisodes, he gives advice. In Splatisms, he philosophizes. In Scratch-O - Rama, he raps to beats and scratching by DJ Like Duh. Splaationary is a dictionary of words he invented. RoboSplaat’s epic episodes are approximately 2 minutes long. We see Splaat at home, school or out in the World.
BD: We previously chatted about the RoboSplaat web series at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. What can you share with us about the evolution of the project during this time that led to this latest iteration?
AK: We had recorded 165 Robosplaat webisodes while I was developing other projects over the past nine years. By January 2020, we had animated 134 webisodes. I decided to stop spending money to complete them. When the pandemic struck, my small, talented Klasky Csupo team began to work from home in March of 2020. That's when a lightbulb went on in my head. The Entertainment Industry was working from home. I thought let's finally put the completed RoboSplaat webisodes to the test. We posted them on our Instagram and Facebook pages and created a new Klasky Csupo RoboSplaat YouTube Channel.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative experience in working with the cast and crew of the series in bringing RoboSplaat to life?
AK: We were lucky to get Charlie Adler on board to direct a number of the RoboSplaat webisodes. I've never met an actor that doesn't adore working with Charlie. He is a master director, as well as being a remarkable voice-over talent. He also teaches acting workshops. Working with Charlie is always fun. He has us laughing between takes.
Greg Cipes voices our main character, RoboSplaat. He brings authenticity to the vernacular of a contemporary sixteen-year-old boy. He is also a gifted musician and songwriter. On our RoboSplaat Instagram page, Greg hosts a live series that drops every Monday at 11:00 a.m., where he interviews voice-over actors. He has already interviewed EG Daily, Debi Deriberry, Cooper Barnes, Alex Polinsky, and more. We hope to have all the talented actors in RoboSplaat on Greg's show.
BD: Do you feel that there is a particular age group that would be most appropriate for the series?
AK: As in Rugrats, the show was written on two levels: expressly for children 6 to 11 and there was comedy for adults, as well. As our kid audience aged up, they understood the jokes. I believe that 6 to 11 year olds, teenagers, animation fans and also family will enjoy RoboSplaat. It's all about humor.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that RoboSplaat’s story will connect with and impact viewers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
AK: Klasky Csupo has received tremendous feedback from the audience on RoboSplaat's Knstagram and FaceBook pages. They are animation fans mostly 18 to 24 that grew up watching Rugrats. RoboSplaat is part of their nostalgia for '90s cartoons. The refrain we have heard over and over from fans that grew up with Rugrats, Rocket Power, Wild Thornberrys, and Aaah! Real Monsters is "Thank you for my childhood!" I would hear it everywhere even when using my business credit card with Klasky Csupo on it.
On RoboSplaat's Instagram and FaceBook pages, fans thank Splaat for making them laugh each time a new webisode posts. During this difficult time in world history, cartoons can be comforting. Fans have thanked RoboSplaat for his positive advice given with a dose of humor. Splaat responds directly to the fans on the page, and they join in the game and ask him questions as if he is a friend.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about RoboSplaat?
AK: To learn more about RoboSplaat, go to Klasky Csupo Robosplaat YouTube channel. Then, click on the word "videos." The page will be filled with a lineup of about 25 videos. Klasky Csupo will continue to post 100 mini webisodes twice a week on Saturday and Wednesday mornings at 9:00 a.m. into the year 2021.