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Comedy@SCA Festival, Volume 2 Presents: Homer, Shrek and Cleveland Walk Into a Bar - Animated Comedy

November 9, 2013, 11:00 A.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Comedy@SCA and Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative
invite you and a guest to attend a special panel discussion

Homer, Shrek and Cleveland Walk Into a Bar: Animated Comedy

Since cinema’s earliest days, animators have taken audiences to funny places beyond the reach of live action. James L. Brooks and an all-star panel of writers, animators and directors discuss the liberating effect of animation on their comedy. Moderated by SCA Animation Professor Tom Sito (Ghostbusters the Animated Series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe).


The panel discussion will include:

  • JAMES L. BROOKS (Co-Creator of The Simpsons)
  • DAVID SILVERMAN (Director: The Simpsons Movie, Co-Director: Monsters, Inc.)
  • RICHARD APPEL (Executive Producer: The Clevland Show, American Dad!)
  • VICKY JENSON (Director: Shrek, Shark Tale)
  • MATT O'CALLAGHAN (Writer: The Great Mouse Detective, Director: Curious George)


11:00 A.M. on Saturday, November 9th

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


Presented during a two-day Visions & Voices event:

Comedy@SCA Festival, Volume 2
Saturday, November 9 & Sunday, November 10, 2013

About the Panelists

JAMES L. BROOKS (Co-Creator of The Simpsons)

James L. Brooks is a three-time Academy Award-winner and twenty-time Emmy Award-winner.  He began his television career as a writer who then later produced television hits such as "Taxi," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Rhoda," "Lou Grant," "Room 222," "The Tracy Ullman Show," and "The Simpsons." Brooks began working in film in 1979 when he wrote the screenplay for Starting Over which he co-produced with Alan J. Pakula. In 1983, Brooks wrote, produced and directed Terms of Endearment for which he earned three Academy Awards. In 1987, he wrote, produced and directed Broadcast News which won the New York Dramas Critics Award for best picture and best screenplay.  Through Gracie Films, Brooks executive produced the feature film Say Anything, produced War of the Roses and co-produced with Robert Greenhut Big.

In 1996, Brooks executive produced the film Bottle Rocket, directed by Wes Anderson, for Columbia Pictures and produced Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire, starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Renee Zellweger for Tri Star pictures. In 1997, Brooks co-wrote, produced, and directed As Good As It Gets, starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, and Greg Kinnear. The film was nominated for 7 Academy awards including Best Picture and both Nicholson and Hunt won Oscars for their performances.

Most recently Brooks, wrote and directed How Do You Know starring Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson.

DAVID SILVERMAN (Director: The Simpsons Movie, Co-Director: Monsters, Inc.)

David Silverman is an American animator best known for directing numerous episodes of the animated TV series The Simpsons, as well as The Simpsons Movie. Silverman was involved with the series from the very beginning, where he animated all of the original short Simpsons cartoons that aired on The Tracey Ullman Show and went on to serve as director of animation for several years.

RICHARD APPEL (Executive Producer: The Clevland Show, American Dad!)

Richard James "Rich" Appel is an American writer, producer and former attorney. Growing up in Wilmette, Illinois, Appel developed a love of comedy and dreamt of a career as a comedy writer; he attended Harvard University and wrote for the Harvard Lampoon. Following in his mother's footsteps Appel instead became a lawyer. After attending law school he started out as a law clerk for Judge John M. Walker, Jr. before becoming a federal attorney, serving as assistant U.S. attorney for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for three years. In 1994, he moved into comedy writing when he was hired for The Simpsons, writing seven episodes of the show including "Mother Simpson". He moved on to become showrunner and executive producer of King of the Hill before creating the sitcom A.U.S.A.. He then worked on The Bernie Mac Show, Family Guy and American Dad! before co-creating The Cleveland Show.

VICKY JENSON (Director: Shrek, Shark Tale)

Vicky Jenson’s career spans more than two decades in animation and live action. Early on, while storyboarding for directors like John Hughes and Wayne Wang, she developed visual styles for Ralph Bakshi and the groundbreaking animated series, Ren and Stimpy. She served as production designer on animated features including Ferngully: The Last Rainforest and Road to El Dorado, and as a director of Shrek andShark Tale.

Jenson’s work has earned countless awards, including an Academy Award, recognition from the Annies, BAFTA, The Broadcast Critics Association, Cannes, the People’s Choice Awards and The Golden Globes.

MATT O'CALLAGHAN (Writer: The Great Mouse Detective, Director: Curious George)

A native of Chicago, Illinois, O’Callaghan attended the Character Animation Program at Cal Arts. He began his career as an animator at Disney where he worked on such films as The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid and Who Framed Roger Rabbitt.

O’Callaghan was offered his first directorial job; the theatrical animated short, The Itsy Bitsy Spider starring Jim Carrey which he later developed into a TV series for Paramount. Comedian Louie Anderson sought him out and together they created the award winning series Life With Louie for Fox.

O’Callaghan also directed Disney’s Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, Sony’s Open Season 2 and Universal’s Curious George. O’Callaghan also recently worked with Warner Bros. and directed a series of new theatrical 3D Looney Tunes shorts.

O’Callaghan resides in Valencia, California with his wife and three children.

About the Moderator

Originally a native of New York City, Tom Sito is a well-known veteran of the Hollywood Animation Industry. His 31 movie credits include the Walt Disney classic films THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989), BEAUTY & THE BEAST (1991), ALADDIN (1992), THE LION KING (1994), WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBITT (1988), POCAHONTAS (1995), and FANTASIA (2000). Animation World Network called Tom "one of the key players in the Disney Animation Revival"(January 2001). He also created animation and storyboards for Dreamworks SHREK (2001), THE PRINCE OF EGYPT (2001), SPIRIT (1997) Fox’s GARFIELD (2003), Warner Bros OSMOSIS JONES (2001), LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION (2003), and the 3D ROADRUNNER shorts (2010). 

For television, Tom animated on the 1982 Emmy award winning ABC special ZIGGY'S GIFT (1982), animated on series such as FAT ALBERT, HE MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, SHE-RA, BIKER MICE FROM MARS, CLICK & CLACK, SUPERFRIENDS, GOBOTS, and numerous commercials.

Tom Sito is President-Emeritus of the Hollywood Animation Guild, Local# 839 IATSE, and is vice president of the International Animator's Society (ASIFA/Hollywood). He is a executive board member of the Motion Picture Academy for Shorts and Feature Animation, the National Cartoonists Society, and Hollywood Heritage. Prior to joining USC, Tom taught animation at Woodbury College, UCLA, The American Animation Institute, Gnomon and Santa Monica College. He has lectured about animation around the world from Beijing to Berlin.

Tom Sito has written numerous articles in Animation Magazine and Animation World Network and is the author of three books. His first book "Drawing the Line: the Untold Story of Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson" (2006), was honored by the London Review of Books and the Firestone School of Economics of Princeton University.

In 1998 he was named in Animation Magazine's list of "the 100 Most Important People in Animation". In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious June Foray Award by the International Animator’s Society (ASIFA/Hollywood) for a lifetime of service to the animation community.

About Comedy@SCA

Comedy@SCA is the School of Cinematic Arts' initiative to become the destination institution for students who are serious about Comedy. Launched in 2011 with the Comedy@SCA Festival, we have created an interdisciplinary pathway through the Cinematic Arts curriculum, and offer twenty courses allowing students to focus their film studies toward the Comedy genre.

It is our goal to foster a greater appreciation for the difficult art of comedy; to recognize, preserve and pass on the legacies of great comic figures in Film, Television and future media. In addition to our distinguished faculty of comedy professionals, we work to promote interaction between students and the leading comedy talent of our day. Artist such as James L. Brooks, Jay Roach, Larry Moss and the minds behind Funny or Die have conducted recent on-campus workshops. We will continue to identify and promote opportunities for the growth of comedic education at SCA and to engage students with industry professionals.

Join us as we continue this mission with Comedy@SCA Festival, Volume 2, featuring screenings and discussions with leading figures in contemporary comedy.

View the full schedule for the festival at

Check-In & Reservations

This panel discussion is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 10:30 A.M.

All SCA events are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

About Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative

Visions and Voices is a university-wide arts and humanities initiative that is unparalleled in higher education. The initiative was established by USC President C. L. Max Nikias during his tenure as provost in order to fulfill the goals set forth in USC's strategic plan; to communicate USC's core values to students; and to affirm the human spirit. Emphasizing the university's commitment to interdisciplinary approaches, the initiative features a spectacular array of events conceived and organized by faculty and schools throughout the university. The series includes theatrical productions, music and dance performances, conferences, lectures, film screenings and many other special events both on and off campus. Each program invites students to dialogue and interact with artists, writers, professors and special guests. These interactions provide a dynamic experience of the arts and humanities and encourage active exploration of USC's core values, including freedom of inquiry and expression, team spirit, appreciation of diversity, commitment to serving one's community, entrepreneurial spirit, informed risk-taking, ethical conduct and the search for truth.

For more information, visit

Contact Information

Name: Ryan Gilmour