'Columbia College Student Film', 'Muffy Meets the Mafia' and 'Changes' (lost and incomplete Genndy Tartakovsky student films; 1991-1994)

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GenndyTartakovsky 350 inset.jpg

Gennedy Tartatovsky storyboarding for 'Hotel Transylvania'.

Status: Lost

Before becoming a much-revered industry person and creator of Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Sym-Bionic Titan, Genndy Tartakovsky took an animation class at Columbia College Chicago and then studied animation at The California Institute of the Arts. At Columbia College, he made the three-minute animated short, "Columbia College Student Film" and at CalArts, he wrote, directed, produced and animated two student films.


Columbia College Student Film

In "Columbia College Student Film" (1991), the plot is described by Tartakovsky as having a kid getting in trouble with his teacher and changing after going into a locker to then be chased by little wooly creatures. He painted it, did all camera work for it, and says it was a mess.

Muffy Meets the Mafia

His first-year student film at CalArts was the silent black and white four-and-a-half minute movie "Muffy Meets the Mafia" (possibly from 1993) and it was about a cat who saves a dog and then can't shake the grateful canine. In his keynote, he said it was fully animated, and very Tex Avery style and its full but not great animation are what caused his next student film to be unfinished (in animation, at least).


His second year student film served as the basis for his "Dexter's Laboratory" pilot on What A Cartoon!, Perhaps in the same way "Whoopass Girls" and "Mess O' Blues" did for The Powerpuff Girls and Johnny Bravo respectively, and was selected for the CalArts Producers Show. It was called "Changes" (1992) and was a two-and-a-half minute film, with missing audio and several shots without any animation. Dexter's accent originated from the student film because he only had his roommate, Rob Renzetti's humorous French accent and it seemed like a funny fit. Impressed by his student films, Craig McCracken recommended him for an art director position with Hanna-Barbera. And when they were both working at the studio, one of their line producers, Larry Huber, saw it and said he should pitch it as a short. Tartakovsky hadn't even considered it. It was another producer who had come up with the idea he should do the boards and then he went with it. Although it's claimed here that Cartoon Network saw his work at a CalArts exhibition and wanted to make a pilot out of his "Changes" film. The "Dexter's Laboratory" pilot would also contain a battle between Dee Dee and Dexter with the creation that turns them into animals at the push of a button.


A few clips of "Columbia College Student Film" can be seen in Genndy's Scrapbook: The Story of Genndy Tartakovsky and only drawings from "Muffy Meets the Mafia" can be seen in Genndy Tartakovsky's keynote, while "Changes" was only partially shown in the same keynote (a clip not shown in this extract can be seen in Genndy's Scrapbook: The Story of Genndy Tartakovsky). On at least a couple occasions, Tartakovsky publicly showcased his "Changes" student film, and it also exists in the CalArts animation archives, but as for the other two student films, they may have been shown with "Changes" here, at least.


Genndy's Scrapbook: The Story of Genndy Tartakovsky that discusses Genndy Tartakovsky's student films (5:41 - 13:07).
Keynote in which Genndy Tartakovsky mentions "Muffy Meets the Mafia" and showcases his other CalArts student film "Changes" (5:10 - 8:15).