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SDCC2012: Panel Report – Filmation and Lou Scheimer: Celebrating a Generation of Animation and TV Heroes


Lou Scheimer at the Filmation Panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2012Tataranowicz joined the conversation and said, “Lou is a great guy. He is an unsung hero in the American animation industry. Because at a time when everyone was outsourcing, he stretched every single penny to do it in the U.S. Mangels then asked Tataranowicz to talk about his Filmation experience. Tataranowicz started by saying that everything that’s going on in pop culture right now emanated from the fact that animation was kept alive in the 1980s. He said the animation scene in Los Angeles was dying out when Scheimer came up with the idea of putting He-Man in syndication. All of a sudden, people were working again. He backtracked briefly to point out the three people that he sees as responsible for keeping animation alive in the 1980s: Ralph Bakshi, Steven Spielberg, and Lou Scheimer. Spielberg showed that it was profitable to show something other than Disney. He thought Lou deserved accolades for his contribution to keeping the industry going.

Tataranowicz had largely been working for Bakshi at that time. Work was hard to come by, so he hit every studio in town. When he went to Filmation, they had a project, but wouldn’t really say what it was. They had him take the storyboard test, the animation test, and the character design test, but in the end, Tataranowicz joked, “So, of course I was hired for layouts.” Tom went on to say it was the perfect place to develop his talents and spoke about the familial environment. He felt strongly that Lou always wanted quality even though they were confined to tight budgets. Scheimer always wanted everything to be, “better and better and better.” He said there was always a feeling that you were there because, “Lou wanted you there.” and briefly mentioned that he had worked at other studios where that sort of vibe was distinctly absent. He called Filmation an artist-oriented studio because Scheimer was an artist.