It has been a few years since we last caught up with Steve Dildarian, so let’s fix that. We talk tot the creator of “The Life and Times of Tim” about his new pilot debuting Friday on Amazon called “The New VIP’s”.
On first question, Steve Dildarian is a somewhat modest and maybe even a bit abashed when I explain to him that clearly his influences are seen in modern independent animated shows all over Youtube and even on network affair like Seeso’s Gentlemen Lobsters and certainly in HBO’s Animals, which gets its second season premiere this Friday night @ 1130 pm ET/PT (for which rumor has it Steve Dildarian has a guest spot in). And those influences that I am talking about are from the cult-favorite animated series The Life and Times of Tim.
Canceled after three seasons on HBO, The Life and Times of Tim has certainly inspired a flock of producers to rely less on animation technique and more on jokes, with parallels certainly drawn between Tim’s character designs and sound production, both of which can easily be seen when checking out the modern take on Youtube animation. Personally, I can’t even begin to tell you the number of emailed pitches I get from up and coming producers wanting to be the next Seth MacFarlane or Matt Stone/Trey Parker, whom will often send me emails with pitch lines like “It’s Archer meets Family Guy” or “It’s Futurama meets South Park” but when you watch the producer’s pilot that he clearly made on his own with not a lot of help, that this is a Life and Times of Tim-influenced series clearly seen via the aesthetic.
“I hear that sometimes, but I don’t know how much credit I can take” says Dildarian clearly crushing my attempts at putting his former creation in a different light that sees it less of a cancellation and more of an impetus to what would eventually be the backbone in terms of early Youtube animation, “but I hope I inspired creators that you can do it yourself.” And how about some of the actors and actresses that can be seen all over TV and films today that certainly call The Life and Times of Tim an early paid gig? Aziz Ansari, Andrew Daly, and Nick Kroll, the latter of whom has his own animated series on the way, all have had awesome careers since the end of Tim “if you go down the list of actors, it’s so crazy to see how many gone on to great things in just a 7 year stretch (since Tim’s final episode)… it is amazing to see the list of names on IMDB from The Life and Times of Tim and where they are now, in retrospect it’s pretty impressive.”
Born to blue-collar parents in East Brunswick, NJ, Steve Dildarian would eventually work in Midtown Manhattan at various ad agencies before winning an animated short contest in 2006 for a short entitled “Angry Unpaid Hooker” that would later serve as the precursor of Tim. When producing The Life and Times of Tim, Steve certainly calls to mind some of the crazy workplace antics that would become the fabric of his writing for years to come, “I’ve learned from experience never to give names and go on the record, but when I got my first job at a midtown Manhattan ad agency on Avenues of America, I couldn’t help but notice how big money was run by big characters in a big building that was very anticlimactic to what I thought their social stature was. There really is no reason to look up to them, and there were definitely a bunch of idiots working there. I find the world of rich business, rich with hypocrisy.”
It’s Steve’s experiences working in office environments that will continue to be seen in his newest pilot for Amazon, The New VIP’s. The pilot follows a group of idiot employees of a Fortune 500 company that now have to run the place after killing their boss. The show is more of a pointed satire than a character-driven series as compared to Tim, and to further expand the separation of the two franchises, Steve Dildarian decided NOT to voice any of the main characters and has even called in Titmouse to serve as the production company .”At the end of the day, we had a lot of awesome auditions but in the end, it was clear who embodied those roles and rose to the top. The characters needed to be grounded and be a part of the living and breathing world so that they were both funny and real.” The pilot stars Matt Braunger (Agent Carter), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation), Missi Pyle (Gone Girl) and Jonathan Adams (Last Man Standing).
Taking lead for the series in terms of production via Titmouse is producers Dave Newberg and Ben Kalina. For those that don’t know, both were instrumental in the production of Brad Neely’s China IL that went for three seasons on Adult Swim, “It has been interesting (working with Titmouse) because Tim was an indy production maybe to a fault with a group of people that hadn’t done a lot of animation. The show was equally raw and unpolished which is fine but can be painful. The New VIP’s is a bit more animated than Tim, however, it’s about streamlining and polishing your staff. My work habits in animation are a bit unorthodox or unprofessional and I definitely prefer an art project and not a by-the-book conveyor belt type production. I really encouraged them to look at their process different and they encouraged me to do things differently and I’m really proud of the end result”.
The New VIP’s streams Friday, 3/17 only on Amazon.com.