Animation Guild

Summer 2019

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42 KEYFRAME F I N A L N O T E SpongeBob SquarePants is turning 20 this year, and that reminds me that I've been working in the animation industry for 20 years, too. I got my first animation job as a background designer on the show in late 1998—just a couple of episodes in—and I had the great pleasure of being there for the first three seasons. Working on SpongeBob was a pleasure for many reasons, but it was mostly because of the people I got to work with. Looking back now, it seems like that original crew was extraordinarily tight—many of us spent time together outside of work and made fast friendships on the job. Some of us took cooking classes, others took long lunches on the golf course, and we all worked together on elaborate Halloween displays at the studio. We showed up to art, film and music events put on by co-workers; and it was all recorded by a couple of die-hard documentarians on the crew. Someone on the current series recently told me they recognized me from a video showing our last design breakdown... it sounds like things got a little out of hand! Those of us who have had a connection to the show over the last 20-plus years have recently had a poignant reason to reconnect in celebrating the life of the show's creator, Stephen Hillenburg, who passed away last year. While it was truly heartbreaking to lose Steve, seeing all of the folks who have been brought together by SpongeBob was a reminder of how fortunate we are to have worked with him on this endearing show. I look at this crew photo from our first season and see people who have been very important to me in my life and career. There's the college chum who offered me a chance to break into the industry, a couple of roommates and lifelong friends, people who have moved on to create their own shows and lead inspiring projects—some that I've gotten to work on—and people who I still see regularly, though we've moved on to other jobs on other productions at other studios. It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since SpongeBob first aired, and it's amazing to think of all that's changed and stayed the same since then. – Paula Spence ARE YA' READY, KIDS? SpongeBob SquarePants: Season One Crew Photo courtesy of Marcy Dewey Mahoney, 1999

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