Hey, gang! Kenn Navarro here, one of the creators of your favorite show, Happy Tree Friends! We constantly get questions from you guys about the show. So, Warren Graff and I have complied a list of Frequently Asked Questions (or F.A.Q. It’s funnier to say it that way!) relating to your favorite show, Dick Fig… er, I mean Happy Tree Friends!
What gave you the idea to create a show like Happy Tree Friends?
It’s simple really; I stole the idea from my future self! It’s not even really stealing and no laws (contemporary or futuristic) has or will be broken so, I’m totally in the clear!
However, if you want to know what happened in the past (or your future), than cast your time machine back to the year 1999-2000 (I know, time travel is confusing!). Co-creators Rhode Montijo, Aubrey Ankrum and I (Kenn Navarro) were all working together here at Mondo Media on various projects. In our spare time, we would try and make each other laugh by telling stories of the cutest, most innocent looking characters meeting the most grisly and horrible demise we could concoct. It’s basically what happens when you grow up on a steady diet of horror movies, Three Stoogies, Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, Popeye, Care Bears, Mighty Mouse, Smurfs and a dash of Rainbow Brite.
The initial effort yielded the episode, “Banjo Frenzy”. Later, when we got a chance to pitch our own show, Rhode and I took the loose ideas from Banjo Frenzy and crafted the characters and the world that would become “Star Wars.” But, apparently, that obscure title had already been used so we ended up calling the show, “Happy Tree Friends.”
Who is your favorite character?
You can’t ask me to choose from my children! They’re all my babies and I love all equally. There are different aspects to each character that makes them unique and special and that’s why I love them all for different reasons.
Secretly though, the Cursed Idol is my favorite! Don’t tell anybody!
How long does an episode take to make?
It really all depends on the supply of Kit-kats and Twix bars but, on average, it takes roughly a month to produce a three minute episode of Happy Tree Friends. Of course, there are LOTS of factors and moving parts that impact that schedule.
What software or tools do you use to make Happy Tree Friends?
We use Adobe Flash to do the bulk of the art and animation for the show. Currently, I personally use Flash MX and Flash 8. Depending on the specific needs of each episode, we may end up using Adobe Photoshop and/or Adobe After FX for any special art or effect that needs to be created. However, my favorite tool to use is still the good ‘ol fashioned pencil and paper!
Can you please read/look at my script/drawing/movie/macaroni collage of my ideas/characters and tell me what you think? Pretty please, please, PLEASE!
Sadly, I can not look at or read any unsolicited material created by somebody outside Mondo Media when it concerns characters, stories, or anything else. In the ideal world, we’d all share all sorts of things like toothbrushes and underwear while we sing songs and carpool together as one big happy family. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in and our lawyers want to protect us (and you) as much as possible. Let’s do some role-play to explain why. I’ll be me (I have the most experience) and you be a random fan with a drawing of Cuddles holding an ice cream cone.
You: “Please look at my drawing and comment. Thank you!”
Me: “That’s an awesome drawing! I especially like the ice cream cone!”
You: “I’m so happy you like it! I made it just for you ‘cause you’re so awesome and tall and awesome and shiny and awesome and neat!”
Me: “I know. Did I mention that I’m awesome? It’s true!”
Cut to months later, we release an episode that involve some characters eating ice cream.
You: “Hey! You stole the idea of eating ice cream from me! That was my idea!”
Me: “I don’t think you can trademark eating ice cream…”
You: “I don’t care! I came up with it and nobody else in the history of mankind has ever thought of eating ice cream (with your mouth) before me! I’m going to sue you!!!”
Me: “Sigh… I guess, I’ll be making the show from jail. I wonder how long it takes to make my own shank?”
Aaaand scene! So, what did we learn from this little theatrical play? DON’T EAT ICE CREAM!!! It’s a sad, sad fact that we all have to live with.
Is there a Happy Tree Friends movie in the works?
Not right now. Who knows what the future will bring? Jet-packs? Cybernetic monkey helpers with penchant for muffins and murder? Hmm… that idea probably deserves a movie more than “Happy Tree Friends.” Let’s Kickstart this people!
Are you working on an episode? When will it come out?
We’re constantly working on new episodes and other goodies over here at Mondo Media. Currently, we have a small team doing all the work and there’s only one of me (that I know off, anyway). I like being nosey and involving myself in everything related to Happy Tree Friends so, often times other projects pop up that require my attention. When this happens, production for a show is delayed since I haven’t figured out how to clone myself yet.
We try to release shorts roughly once every month. Again, that schedule is impacted by a whole list of things. So, as Master Yoda says, “patience my young Jedi.”
Will you ever make more Smoochies, Kringles, Love Bites, etc…?
Yes! Again, since we have a small crew working on something like a Smoochie will mean a delay in production for an episode. We try to juggle and balance things out as much as possible but there’s only so much we can do in a given day.
When will you make another episode with (insert your favorite character here)?
As much as possible, we try to rotate the cast and feature everyone on the roster. Granted, there are some characters that appear more than others and this is because they work well with the story or the gag that we’re doing in a particular episode.
Also realize, that on our current schedule, we’re turning out about an episode a month. Consider that we have 20 characters to go through in 12 months and you can quickly see why it feels like we haven’t featured a particular character in a while. Rest assured, we love all the characters equally and we’ll get to your favorite character sooner or later.
Will (insert your favorite character here) and (insert your other favorite character here) ever be a couple?
The couples and pairings we do on the show are usually on a per episode basis and serve the story or gag we’re trying to tell. I know a lot of you guys love to imagine romantic entanglements with our characters and I actually think that’s great! However, having the characters officially hook-up in some way is probably out of the question since it limits our ability to tell stories or make with the funny.
Is Flaky a boy or a girl???
Ah, the eternal question. I think drawings and ancient text were written about these in the olden days. Before I dive into it, a brief history about how this whole thing got started.
When we first created the cast of characters it was pretty obvious what everyone’s genders were. However, when it came to Flaky we all had our own opinions about what gender he/she was and the crew quickly divided into two camps. Because neither side would give in we just left the issue dangling.
Now, I LOVE a good mystery! Who doesn’t? Mystery is conflict and conflict creates interest. The fact that we’re STILL talking about Flaky’s gender (and that I’m including it in this F.A.Q.) is testament enough to this. I could give everyone a definitive answer and carve it in stone for the rest of history… but where’s the fun in that? Sometimes not knowing is better! If you don’t believe me just watch Highlander 2 or Star Wars: Episode 1. I rest my case…
What happened to Pop’s wife/Cub’s Mom?
In a time before time; in a land before… um… land, there was a place… Hmm… this isn’t quite working. Let’s try a different approach. Ahem… When a Papa bear and a Momma bear really love each other… wait… that’s gonna get out of hand REALLY quickly.
Much like the Flaky gender question, this falls in the same category that tickles the curiosity. We’ve talked about doing an episode about this and that may still happen so I don’t want to speak out of turn and ruin any surprises. One thing I can tell you is that she was definitely a bear!
Or was she??? Muhahahahaha!