Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Jay Bastian

When I came to CN on the Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, I was lucky to work on a show with a great crew. But the show also had another great element, Jay Bastian. Jay was our executive in Atlanta, and I don’t think there could have been a bigger supporter of the show. Billy and Mandy had a lot of opposition over the years, and I know that Jay stuck his neck out for it again and again. Upon meeting Jay and the rest of the executives in charge of CN’s original series, I was impressed by how much they genuinely loved animation and the people who made it.

Jay was one of the first people I pitched Chowder to. The first thing he said was, “It looks young.” But the next thing he said was, “It’s you, so I’m sure it’ll be awesome (and wrong).” When the time came for Chowder to begin, I was thrilled to find out that Jay would be the executive in charge of the show. He never gave notes for the sake of giving notes to justify his job. His notes were his gut feelings. He didn’t approach his job as an executive – he approached it as a fan of the series. He always pushed us to do better, letting us figure out our own solutions rather than dictating exactly what he wanted. He respected the artists and that’s rare. His list of credits runs far and wide across the last 11 years of CN.

Anyone who knows Jay knows he has three favorite movies: Star Wars, Jaws, and Indiana Jones. Anytime Jay had a story problem in one of our episodes, he’d invariably compare it to one of those movies for reference. Always. Without fail. So here’s a drawing I made for him, merging two of his great loves.

(I probably should've made Truffles into Yoda and Ceviche into R2-D2.)

I’ve been spoiled and it’ll be hard working with anyone else. I hope that Jay and I can work together again sometime soon. And like the Golden Girls said, "Thank you for being a friend."