Tuesday, August 15, 2000


August 15, 2000

It's a familiar story. Confined to society's shadows and backed by an army of dark forces, a demented scientist hatches a plot to dominate the world that has shunned and ridiculed him for so long. Such is the case of Dr. Diabolical, the green-faced, pink-eyed anti-hero of Ghoul Skool, the latest web-based cartoon creation of animation house Pop NYC, with music composed and produced by New York's Blister Media, slated for release on Cartoon Network Online in September, 2000.

Promising to spread evil over the world "like lumpy cheese across a rye cracker," Dr. Diabolical is a dastardly, deliriously-funny creation whose malicious ambition is continually frustrated by his general incompetence. Throughout, the misadventures of Dr. Diabolical and his minions are punctuated by a score heavily influenced by classic horror movies. Originally asked by Creative Director Vincent Lacava for something approaching "ambient cave music," Blister co-founder Michael Sweet's soundtrack is an intoxicating homage to the giddy dementia of the gothic genre.

"I'm a big fan of really bad horror movies," says Sweet gleefully. "Being an addict of the genre, Ghoul Skool was tailor made for me. It was tremendous fun to be able to pull from the wide variety of music styles that were employed in those old movies. It's great when your work and hobbies coincide."

Getting together with his co-founder and Blister Executive Producer Terry O'Gara, Sweet determined to fully explore the creative possibilities. That exploration included, among other things, recording while inside a 17-story stairwell to capture a creepy, echoing reverb effect. As it is with all things, however, work did get in the way of all the challenging fun.

"Whenever you're dealing with distribution over the internet you must constantly consider bandwidth issues," says Sweet somewhat ruefully. "Those, in the end, are usually the toughest issues to overcome. You have to get inside the technology and figure out how to extend the capabilities of the project. You have to hit the right balance between quality sound and manageable file sizes. Speed is always going to be a big factor. Luckily, the guys from Pop NYC are into good sound and are willing to commit the bandwidth to our work. It was a good collaboration."

Ghoul Skool is just the latest collaboration between Blister and Pop NYC. The relationship between the companies goes back to their work on MSN Netwits, an early online game show initiated and hosted by Microsoft. 'Netwits' has since become the equivalent of a television classic for the electronic gaming community. The two companies also worked together on three episodes of 'The Marshmallow Money Show,' which can still be seen on Cartoonnetwork.com. These projects are, however, only the most recent installments in a series of recent projects for Blister Media.

"Blister Media has been on fire this year," O'Gara enthuses. "We've won several awards, which is very satisfying. When Michael and I launched Blister in 1998, despite the considerable experience we both had accumulated over the years, it was like we we went back to being interns again. I became the intern, a rep, the receptionist. We really did everything. This year, it seems to have all come together. I finally feel validated. We're on the map."

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