I am very excited about today’s feature. This week we have had the opportunity to ask Norton Virgien, Supervising Director and Co-Executive Producer of VAMPIRINA FANG-TASTIC some questions on his career and his new latest work VAMPIRINA: FANG-TASTIC PARTY, which is a very special interactive event in cinemas nationwide this weekend only – Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th
A little bit about Norton
Norton began his directing career in 1990 as part of the original team for Nickelodeon’s Rugrats. A two time Emmy winner for Rugrats, Norton also directed episodes of the critically acclaimed Duckman series and the CBS series Santo Bugito, before co-directing 1998’s The Rugrats Movie, which became the first non-Disney animated release to gross more than $100 million dollars. Subsequently Norton was a Co-Producer on the Klasky Csupo features Rugrats in Paris and The Wild Thornberrys Movie, and a Co-Director of the 2004 release Rugrats Go Wild. In early 2005, he directed a thirteen episode season of the Discovery Channel series Tutenstein, winning a third Emmy. In 2009, for Universal Animation, he directed a DVD sequel to the Curious George Movie, Follow That Monkey! He has since worked as Director on Doc McStuffins and Henry Hugglemonster, both for Disney and is currently Supervising Director and Co-Executive Producer on Vampirina.
Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, it is very much appreciated. As someone of the 80/90s, I was a massive Rugrats fan. Angelica was really the character we all really wanted to be! Even my kids love the Rugrats, a whole generation apart.
- I told my kids who I was interviewing and my 7 year old is very excited, enthusiastically professing that he will be doing your job in the future! So first up, courtesy of my oldest son, how did you end up directing? Was it something that always interested you?
Great question! I had always loved drawing as a child, and doodled incessantly! And I also loved storytelling, and did a bit of creative writing in school. I loved comic books as they combined drawing and storytelling in such a strong way – but then I discovered animation, which is perhaps the art form that brings so many others – design, music, acting, drama together at once! It took me a while working as an animator to work my up to drawing storyboards (which is really fun) and finally directing. And Rugrats was indeed one of the most fun shows to get a chance to direct – great writing and voices and a really fresh concept at the time!
- He is also curious about the difference between a Director and a Producer, and which one do you like best?
The roles of Director and Producer can overlap quite a bit – as a good producer has the creative needs of a project in mind along with their practical concerns of budget and schedule, and a good director thinks about the practical things at the same time he/she is pushing for the most creative and effective result.
- He also wants to know do you have a favourite show/film that you directed? I did turn this question on him and he said it’s between the Curious George Movie and Doc McStuffins! My favourite has to be Rugrats. So nostalgic.
It’s as hard to pick a favorite project as it is to choose one’s favourite child – if we’re lucky they are ALL special in their way! Right now my favourite is Vampirina – since she’s the one we’re working with at the moment, and she’s such and unusual and constantly surprising young girl!
- You have such an impressive career with so many hugely popular shows to your name. Do you still get a thrill when you see the final production?
I’m pleased to say the thrill of seeing an audience enjoy your project hasn’t worn off for me at all! And I still get a little tear in the eye at the sweet moments, and laugh at the best jokes, even after seeing them over and over and over…! It makes the hard work totally worthwhile.
- You have won some impressive accolades. Is it still a thrill to win such coveted awards?
Awards are nice, but it’s the times we meet our fans and realise that the shows have meant a lot to them that are even better!
- My 5 year old niece introduced me to Vampirina recently. How would you summarise Vampirina?
She a little Vampire who moved from Transylvania to Pennsylvania – which says it all! It’s a show about being VERY different, and making friends, and adjusting to a whole new world. It’s a show about being true to who you are, while at the same time it’s a celebration of Halloween style spookiness, silly ghosts, cranky Gargoyles, and generally going batty!
- Vampirina/Vee is a great character for young kids celebrating diversity, a message that comes across gently and easily in the show. Is that the message the show is aiming for?
Our world is getting more diverse all the time, and yes, Vampirina is about that and more! We ALL sometimes feel like we don’t quite fit in with the world around us – and this show’s theme is being true to yourself, as the secret to finding your way in the world!
- Can you give us any insight into any future upcoming shows?!
All I can say about the shows’ upcoming is that there are TWO big surprises ahead! So stay tuned…!
Many thank to Norton for taking the time to answer our questions, its is appreciated so much.
Don’t forget to check out the VAMPIRINA FANG-TASTIC PARTY, which is a very special interactive event in cinemas nationwide this weekend only – Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th.
I have been told this is a fun-packed 74-minute screening of Disney Junior’s hugely popular CG-animated show will include never-before-seen episodes and spooky interactive elements! Well worth checking out. Sneak peak below!