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Interview with Lisa Kossey 

Casting Coordinator/Supervisor

 

Explain what you did exactly as a Casting Coordinator and Supervisor, to those reading that are unsure of what that includes.
In a previous email, you mentioned a few abbreviations- (EMR, SAG, ADR, etc) What do they mean?

"Basically a Casting Coordinator job is to assist in all duties related to the cast.

Pre-Production duties:
My job on CatDog was different then most Casting Coordinators at Nick, I did a lot of Post Production too. 
Post-Production duties:
·        Kept track of the Show credits (who did what on what show- 1st season only)
·        Typed & Tracked animation retakes (when the cartoon has mistakes in animation, backgrounds, color, or creative changes and has to be fixed)
·        Spotted for ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement- is when the actor see's the animation while he is recording dialogue, not just recording from script) when the dialogue track and animation would be put together sometimes words would not fit, or mistakes would be made, or Peter would change his mind about something and we would call actors back in to re-record while they watch their character on screen and followed animation.
·        Sat in with Peter during 1st looks and playbacks (to make sure all the ADR notes were incorporated in the show.
·        Sent music notes and changes to Denis Hannigan.
·        (and CatDog party planner- we had lots of parties!!)"
 
 

What are your fondest and craziest memories working on CatDog?

"There are so many!  I loved Tuesdays at 2:00 PM- that was record day. (Thanks Horta!!)

 The best day working on CatDog had to have been when we hosted a “Make a Wish” day for a little boy who wanted to meet CatDog.  Peter, Jim, Tom and Carlos were great.   It was so nice to be able to make someone’s wish come true.  What a great family. 
The staff and cast of CatDog were the best! 
We worked very hard many days and many long nights at the office, but we had lots of fun and parties too. Halloween, St. Patty’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, or just because- we didn't need a reason.
Dave Warden days (Yadda Yadda!) Beer and Cake?  Why so many cakes?  3-hour lunches and office bowling (Laurel Canyon).  Remembering Nikki Gayle crying in previews of new shows (only Nikki would cry in a CatDog episode).  Free lunch Fridays. Jim’s Limo rides.  Looking for Peter’s credit card, again."

 

Working so close to the cast, did you find yourself sometimes going home quoting Cat or Dog or any of the characters?

“What are ya, Nuts!” Of course, and still do… “Hi-ho-diggety”.  I still find myself singing “Pretty Little Piece of Paradise” anytime I hear the word paradise. But I think Winslow had the most “behind the scenes” catch phrases of all. (Can’t tell ya those, Heh heh!).  My favorite quote from a show is, “My name is Dog with a duh!”- It’s a Wonderful Half Life.  My favorite recording studio quote, “My bad”.

 

 

Is most of the cast reading done separately, or do they do it together?    To get the whole CatDog togetherness feeling, did Jim and Tom read and act together a lot?

"We would try to record as much of the show with as many of the actors together as possible.  The CatDog cast are some of the busiest voice-over talent in the biz, so sometime we had to work around each others schedules.

I would read the script prior to scheduling the actors.  If one actor only had a few lines in the show I would try to call them in first and just get that line out of the way then they would not have to sit through the 2-4 hour session. 
Yes, we tried to always have Cat & Dog together (two heads are better than one!).  Our cast worked extremely well together, we were able to record one 11-minute show in 2 hours, that was due to the magic of Jim and Tom playing off each other so well.  It could take other cartoons almost 4 hours to complete an 11-minute show."
 

 

The cast of CatDog is absolutely incredible and talented, was there a lot of improvisation?  Did the cast come up with any catch phrases?  Or was that strictly the writers and Peter?

"It’s hard to remember who wrote what, and who made it up but Peter and the writers came up with most of the catch phrases, but the way they were said had a lot to do with the actors improvisation.  Your right, the cast was incredibly talented and funny.  The actors did instinctively ad-lib often and we did end up using a lot of what they said.  You should have heard the ad-libs we couldn't use!! The writing never stopped during a record, the script was being revised up until the last take."

 

 

Which CatDog characters are your all time favorites and why?  Is there one in particular you can relate to real well?

"That’s a hard one, I really liked Little Cat- from Dummy Dummy.  I loved seeing Dog in his cowboy outfits (I like seeing anyone in a cowboy outfit!).  I guess I would have to say Dog, his innocence is so loveable."

 

 

Which episodes did you enjoy the most during your CatDog experience?

"My favorite is “It’s a Wonder Half Life” I loved the style of the animation in that show along with the music. I also like “Do Wop Diggety”, “The Island”; my favorites change.  I think more about the production process of the cartoon rather than the story- If I happen to catch a episode of CatDog on TV and remember what we were talking about during the recording session or how many changes the show had I don’t watch them as shows, but as little diaries that they bring back memories. At the time when ever I saw we had a song, I would dread record sessions, songs required a lot more time and preparation, but in the end those show are my favorite ones. 

“Silence Please” had to have been the easiest!  I think the script was less than 3 pages, only about 4-7 minutes of dialogue in the whole show- easy money!!"
 

 

Did you work with all episodes from season 1 on up to Season 3?

"Yeppers! I worked on every single show!  No"t the original pilot- but we added a short to that one later."


The question everyone asks, which side of CatDog do you relate with most, and like better?

"I would like to say I am more like Dog, but I know I have some of Cat in me too!  In the beginning I really liked the character of Dog better, but Cat’s charm started to grow on me."

 

 

When did you decide to get into the cartoon world?   Do you also enjoy drawing and writing?  What did you do before CatDog?

"I never aspired to be in animation at all, I rarely watched cartoons as a child.  I was really lucky and my cousin (Dawn Hershey) that worked on Hey Arnold told me Nickelodeon was hiring a receptionist- had an interview, got the job.  I don’t draw very well, and don’t enjoy writing, (I suck at writing-just ask Peter).  Before CatDog I worked on Angry Beavers as the receptionist."


Besides the movie, which episodes seemed to take a lot time and effort to put together?  Any episodes that were particularly difficult for any of the cast?

"“Canine Mutiny”- for some reason, I think I remember a lot of time spent on this one- it kept changing.

The cast was great, they would read a script 5 minutes before we started to record and hit every line almost perfect.  It was absolutely amazing at times of how great the talent pool was sitting in a CatDog recording session.
Difficult shows for the cast where, the shows that had a lot of screaming (I know- like all of them!).  Screaming is not hard for them, but you have to take into consideration that these actors work on anywhere from 2-10 different shows, commercials or promos a day and a lot of screaming can damage their voice for the rest of the day (or even week).  We would try to save the BIG screams till the end of the session or try to use a scream that was previously recorded. (If you listen real close you might be able to hear the same scream in two different shows)."

Perhaps this is more a question for an animator, but were any of the characters inspired by some of the actors looks?   (For example I saw Maria's hilarious standup on Comedy Central, and she's petite and blonde just like Shriek.   Do cast looks inspire some of the characters features?

"Maria worked at Nickelodeon as a receptionist and an assistant before she was the voice of Shriek.  Maybe Peter thought she resembled Shriek, but Maria’s voice was Shrieky- that’s how she got the part.   All the main characters were basically designed before we cast-ed the show (but a few changes were made after “Dog Gone” the pilot”, Lube’s look changed a bit).  When it comes to personalities; I would say Jim reminds me more of Cat, and Tom definitely is more Dog.  Carlos is more Winslow than Lube, but Billy doesn’t remind me of Rancid, Randolph or Mr. Sunshine in person. Do cast looks inspire some character features?  Kinda, I don’t think too much in the beginning, but as the show progress, I noticed some of the facial movements of the actors were reflected in their character, or maybe it was the actor becoming the character??

Tom “Dog” would always record in a booth inside the recording studio.  We called it his doghouse.  He read all his lines standing up and he would jump and wave his arms in the air, just like Dog while reading.  Jim was more relaxed; he sat while reading his lines. He always had a pair of drumsticks with him and in-between takes would play make believe drums."
 
 

Steven mentioned that Ray Pointer inspired "The Amazing Ray", did the animators draw a character that looked like you too?  Do you remember anyone from the staff that was drawn into the show?

"No, I don’t think I ever inspired anyone to draw me as a character (I tried!).  We did use names of staff in shows, Princess Kitaen, - from “Spaced Out” (Kim Kitaen was our Production Manager) but the princess didn’t look like her (she is much prettier).  We had a few Eric’s on our show (Evil Eric- won’t say which one was evil :) Angry Beavers did a bowling show based on their staff, I thought it was great.  I tried to push the idea- I had no pull!"

  
 

Did you come up with any of the show's ideas, such as a character quark dialogue idea, or an episode idea?

"Nope!  We would brain storm in record sessions over a phrase or something, but I don’t think any of my ideas made it past. (Good thing too!)"

 
 
Did you also assist with any script changes?

"In the beginning of 1st season I had to assist with script changes (just retyping and numbering of lines- no creative changes) until our (not so faithful- he quit 3rd season) Neil Martin joined the team as the script coordinator."

 
 

Did you or any other Nickelodeon staff members ever get to do voices that made it on the show?

"Yes, we would bring in a bunch of people that worked in the studio and do “Walla”.  That is all the background noise you hear in a crowd.  We found some hidden talents in many of the CatDog crew, Carolyn, Linda Barry, Vic Wilson, Steven Banks, Neil Martin, Don the Parking Guy, Peters Kids, Justin Brinsfield, Rob Porter and many more.

I hated having to go into the recording studio- but one day we had to finish ADR on “All About Cat” and we needed to fill a 3 second missing gap in one of Tallulah scenes.  I was the only girl around and had to go in and TRY to sing “La, la, la, la la.  After about 25 takes I was horrible, I did one that was so off and terrible that it made Peter laugh so hard he almost fell out of his chair.  He kept it! (Proof that I’m not an aspiring singer!)"
 

Is there anything else you would like to add before closing?

"It just doesn’t get any better than CatDog”

Thanks for bringing back so many great memories of such a fun time in my life.  Thanks for Peter for making it all happen, he was great to work with, I miss everyone so much.  Kristen you are the biggest CatDog fan I have ever known!!  Thanks for contacting me."

I'm glad to help you recall your incredible CatDog experience. Thank you very much for the interview and giving us a feel for what working on CatDog was like! :-)

  • Also Thank you for autograph,
  • and publicity booklet "CatDog Bible"