Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Toon Makers Arrest? Sailor Moon Mystery!

November 17, 2012 I posted a blog filled with new details about the dreaded Toon Makers Sailor Moon pilot, that has dominated the nightmares of Sailormoon fans since 1994. If you want to know what Hell looks like, look no further than this video:
At the time I wrote that article, hundreds of cels from the doomed project began flooding the internet, so I started keeping a log of them on Moon Sisters, devoting an entire section of the page to Toon Makers.

But the main thing that kept bothering me was simply... why? Why are all these cels coming out right now after all these years? Is this because Toei Animation is working on a new anime? Is this because the manga has become one of Amazon's top sellers? Is it because there's new merchandise or because it's retro? And why are all these cels being sold off with non-Toon Makers cartoons, such as The Simpsons, BraveStarr, She-Ra, He-Man and Darkstalkers? And why would Toon Makers take credit for several post 1994 cartoons that the company NEVER produced??

Well six hours ago, I found a few answers.

An eBay seller posted a new picture of a pencil sketch of what would have been Queen Beryl in the ugly and rightfully doomed Toon Makers pilot:


Attached to her is a note from the seller, which is repeated for several of the other cels:

"Sailor Moon Animation Toon Makers Fox Pilot Cel Art Drawing rough Saban Queen Beryl E. These come from a Folder that is titled Project Y and Toon Makers/Fox Animation was trying to make an Live Action/Animated version of Sailor Moon for the US Market, only a pilot was made. That makes this Drawing extremely rare. This Drawing has the notation A1 on the bottom right. 

These come from the collection of a supervising animation producer Raymond Iacovacci whom worked for DIC Star Com, Film Roman on the Simpsons, Warner Brothers on Rover Dangerfield Graz on Darkstalkers, TMS on Little Nemo, Toon Makers/Fox Sailor Moon Live Action/animated American series Pilot and Sunshine on Street Fighter 2."

Raymond Iacovacci is listed as a key member to Toon Makers. But until this moment, I knew absolutely nothing about him at all. So i decided to do a little snooping.

The first place i found with any kind of completed data on him was the Tampa Bay Times. Clearly proud to have someone of this level speaking to them, they ran a full article, that to this day provides much more in-depth and human information on him than his IMDB profile:
"Profile: Raymond Iacovacci

Director, producer, production manager, Tri-Dimensional Studios, Tampa

By FRED WRIGHT
Published August 7, 2006

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
2001-present: Animation supervisor, director, producer, production manager, Wildfire Inc., Manila, Philippines.
2004-2005: Production manager, Toon City, Manila. Worked on Fox and the Hound for Disney Studios. Also worked for Isaac Shepherd Productions in Los Angeles.
1990-present: Toon Makers Inc., Los Angeles, Manila and Seoul, South Korea. Director, producer, production manager, overseas supervisor.
1998-1999: RICH Entertain-ment, Seoul. Overseas animation supervisor, production manager, The King and I for Warner Brothers, The Scarecrow for Warner Bros., Trumpet of the Swan for Columbia TriStar.
1992-1994: Film Roman Inc., Los Angeles. Production manager, The Simpsons.
1990-1991: Hyperion Animation Co., Los Angeles. Studio production supervisor, Bebe's Kids for Paramount Pictures and Rover Dangerfield for Warner Bros.
1989-1990: TMS animation, Los Angeles. Office manager, production coordinator, Little Nemo.
1987-1989: DIC Animation City, Los Angeles. Production coordinator, Ghostbusters; Dennis the Menace; Hello, Kitty; Barbie and the Rockers; Heathcliff; and The Little Archies.
PREVIOUS POSITION: Writer, director, producer, Empire Motion Pictures, Manila, Philippines
Raymond Iacovacci has had a very animated life, and his love for animated motion pictures has taken him to exotic locations around the world. Now he's in Tampa, taking on a role as director, producer and production manager for the final series of half-hour episodes of an animated children's TV series.
His new duties at Tri-Dimensional Studios are focused on Story Teller Cafe, a series that will begin airing on the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2007, Iacovacci said.
"This TV series that we're doing seemed so valid to me," he said. "It's a children's series where toys come alive at night in a cafe ... and they act out Bible stories."
Iacovacci has worked on a number of popular animated films and TV shows, from Street Fighter to The Simpsons. He has lived in the Far East for most of his career since 1993, and he has a home in the Philippines.
The series has been plotted out in a series of scenes. Iacovacci has the job of overseeing the computer-generated animation at Tri-Dimensional.
"A half-hour episode can generally take six months, sometimes more," to animate, Iacovacci said, "depending on the complexity. Animation is departmental. The series has to flow down the departmental river, and it can only go so quickly with X amount of people."
Iacovacci has other projects at Tri-Dimensional and other clients for which he writes and produces animation. There can be five to 10 projects under way at a time, he said, and the studio also generates architectural renderings for clients.
"I've got my hands in every aspect of it," he said. "I oversee the team of artists. I make sure the work is up to snuff."
Born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y., Iacovacci said animation "has been a lifelong career. When I was a child, I wanted to get into television and animation. When I was a teenager, I moved to Hollywood and studied voiceovers. And then I just went ahead and got a job at an animation studio."
Iacovacci soon found himself learning the production skills required for animated films and TV episodes, working for production houses in the United States and overseas. "I wanted to supervise the animation," he said.
As a result, he worked on American films that used animation facilities in South Korea, the Philippines and other Far East countries. Many times, Iacovacci would work on more than one project in more than one studio.
Even though he lives most of the year in Tampa, Iacovacci said he is simultaneously involved in animation projects in Australia and the Philippines. His company, Empire Motion Pictures, is incorporated in Florida and he has offices in Manila, Los Angeles and Sydney. His company also has live-action projects.
"I see myself dividing my time 50-50, having a home in Tampa and retaining my home in Manila," he said. "The weather is real similar to Florida, a little more humid. When I came here, I was kind of relieved. It's cooler and more pleasant."
Iacovacci, 44, is single. In his spare time, he likes to visit garage sales for antiques from the 1930s and '40s, something hard to do in the Philippines, he said.
"There are no garage sales in the Philippines," he said. "People tend to hang on to their belongings.""

Wow, sounds like a fun story right? 

Well I was still curious. This article is from 2006. What has he done lately? Has he moved onto feature films? CGI animations? Direct-to-DVD? Children's Books? Surely someone with this background must be in Hollywood, right?

Wrong.

Apparently in May of last year, he was arrested for battery. A record for him is available online. Initially, an internet rumor tied him to a girlfriend beating issue, but the report lists this as an issue between himself and another man. Arrests.org lists the incident as "Sealed or Expunged" with a note to the webmaster to remove the piece, but the notice was not posted until after Raymond Iacovacci argued with a stranger who commented on the arrest. (Why is there a comment board for arrest records?? This ain't YouTube!)
Now whether or not you believe him, this still means court costs either way.

Which means that during this time, plenty of things became public.

Which leads me to a little storage room in California.

For years, cels and other goods that Raymond Iacovacci stayed in a storage unit in California, virtually untouched. But last Fall, all of the items inside that unit became public. Since the sellers are all different people, it's highly unlikely that he's selling them all on his own, or they would be going for a far higher price.

It could mean either that he's allowed the unit to be sold off, or someone has repossessed and auctioned it all off. The TV show Storage Wars comes to mind.

Either way, this is a sad chapter in the sordid history of Toon Makers, and in American Animation on a whole.

2 comments:

  1. Wow... I really don't have much else to say other than wow....

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