Nickelodeon opened its Burbank doors to Toonzone for a first look at their latest SpongeBob SquarePants special, The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom. Chris Viscardi, Senior Vice President, Production and Development, Animation, introduced the event in Nick’s star-lit screening room. After airing a clip of Lip Sync Battle Shorties, which was followed by a clip of the musical portion of The Loud House’s Halloween episode, the panel began.
Claudia Spinelli, Vice President, Current Series Animation and Executive in charge of SpongeBob SquarePants moderated a brief Q&A. The panelists were SpongeBob co-executive producers Marc Ceccarelli and Vincent Waller; the special’s directors, Screen Novelties’ Seamus Walsh and Mark Caballero; and cast members Tom Kenny (SpongeBob), Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick), Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs), Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy), and Rodger Bumpass (Squidward).
Waller summed up the plot of the special by saying when Patrick convinces SpongeBob that “scary” actually equals “funny,” the Flying Dutchman gets angry and makes it his mission to give SpongeBob the biggest scare of his life. Walsh went on to talk about the use of stop-motion saying there’s a “creepiness inherent to it” and stop-motion fits well with the Halloween theme. Kenny added that he wanted to make sure it was scary when it needed to be scary and funny when it needed to be funny “Both of those have got to hit.” Fagerbakke said it’s always surprising to see the characters look different when he’s so used to seeing it one way, but he knew it would be special. Bumpass joked that they started recording it so early “Halloween hadn’t been invented yet.”
Caballero explained that they tried different types of sponge to make the SpongeBob puppet until they settled upon the kind of foam similar to what’s used in a couch. He added that cereal boxes were used for sets and cereal itself, particularly Fruity Pebbles, was used as decoration, along with lots of googly eyes and glitter. Caballero said they not only used stop motion puppets for the characters but hand puppets and marionettes as well. “Each one has their own challenges we had to overcome.”
Kenny said there’s something dream-like about stop-motion. “It’s real but it’s not”. Walsh said imagination is required when you’re watching stop-motion.
Waller explained how each characters’ haunted house reflected their personality, like using Sandy’s love of science to turn hers into a mad scientist lair. Lawrence remarked how cool it must be to have a job where you get paid to play with puppets. Caballero said part of the fun is making it yourself, and Walsh added that they had to put in many late nights constructing the puppets.
When asked if they could dress up as any SpongeBob character for Halloween, Tom Kenny said a 5’10″ Plankton, Bill Fagerbakke said a squirrel with a bowl on his head, and Carolyn Lawrence said SpongeBob as a flower, just as he is in the special.
Following the panel was the screening of the entire special. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom premieres Friday, October. 13th at 7:00 P.M. (ET/PT)