Mitchell Kriegman is an American filmmaker dedicated to developing innovative content for film and television. His production company, Big Big Productions, developed the patented technique called Shadowmation which utilizes real time virtual sets and Bunraku style team puppetry. Among his many honors, he has received numerous Emmys and Parents Choice awards for his work in children's programming. He's the father of three children, each three years apart in age. His latest project, It's a Big Big World is in production at Wainscott Studios, an animation and production facility in Wainscott, New York. As a screenwriter he has written for Universal, Disney and Columbia Pictures. He also wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay Elmo in Grouchland with Joey Mazzarino the screenplay for the Sesame Street movie The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, a co-production with Sesame Workshop and The Jim Henson Company and Columbia Pictures, as well as the script for the Bear in the Big Blue House stage show. At Nickelodeon he created Clarissa Explains It All and was the Executive Story Editor on Rugrats, The Ren and Stimpy Show, Doug, and Rocko's Modern Life.
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Hi, I am Mitchell Kriegman and I’m most commonly known as the guy who created CLARISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL!
I also created BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE and IT’S A BIG BIG WORLD, worked on REN & STIMPY with John Kricfalusi, DOUG, RUGRATS, ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE, and SNL for a very short… weird… time.
Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the last episode of CLARISSA and I want to answer your questions! AMA!
Note: Thanks so much for the great questions everyone! I gotta go but if you want to stay in touch or get more info about Things I Can't Explain, let me know via my personal website. See ya!
With this new era of internet... Are the producers searching for TV Scripts / Movies in Internet? There are some recommendations if someone want to achieve a good deal throughout the internet? Some page, some method...
Or is truly useless try achieve a contact with a big film/TV Producer throughout the internet?
webseries webseries webseries - did i say webseries? i used to teach a course in it. it's the best way to get people to see what you do better than an spec script and also you make something you have something so you can do something with it whether they think you're a genius or not
First off, I want to say thank you so much for bringing excellent shows to the forefront in 90’s Nickelodeon. I think anyone reading this can attest that they feel very lucky having grown up in that time if they were a kid in the 90's.
Your track record was basically what was beaming through my eight/nine-year-old little mind. That and Billy West’s zany brilliance.
What geared you towards kids/pre-teen shows?
Do you enjoy teaching now? What advice do you give to aspiring writers? (Not necessarily for film or t.v. but just writers in general?)
hmm wondering if we planted any good subliminal messages into your 8/9 year old mind. anything manchurian candidate like? let us know so we can be prepared. so here's the answer - my adult stuff (snl, video art, telephone stories) was very kid like and my kid stuff was very adult like and there seemed to be more response to breaking new ground on the kids side. also i think my karma is all about kids and childhood
love teaching but only do it occasionally right now. i have nine rules my favorite one is - where you're standing now is not where you're going to be - it's also the opening line to new clarissa novel
Big fan of Rocko's Modern Life. Do you look back at shows like that and wonder how it got on air as a kid show?
What do you think of kids shows today?
rocko didn't surprise me after ren and stimpy. i wasn't surprised that was on. i love adventure time! the rest not so much but i haven't seen a lot to be honest
John K - off-kilter genius, drug-addled maniac, or regular guy? Any anecdotes you can share?
What, generally, was the Nickelodeon show production scene like back in those days? Was corporate friendly and helpful?
john k a regular guy? i don't think so. but he wasn't supposed to be. he's a genius who reset the clock on animation. every animator even including the disney folks should thank him. he's supposed to be brilliant and a bit crazy. of course i'm not sure he thinks that. i wanted him to direct a live action movie. now that would have been amazing. still would be.
Not anymore, unfortunately. They never performed nah nah, and full disclosure I was in this band! We had a facebook page with a handful of likes but Nickelodeon took us down. Understandable. Thanks for shaping my life, Mitch!
nickelodeon took you down! that's so unfair. for the name? why didn't you perform nah nah - wasn't part of the idea (i.e. wasn't a fan band)?
Mitchell, what ever happened to Bear in the big blue house? My oldest daughter loved the show and it was fun to watch with her. Did Disney lose interest in the show?
keep your fingers crossed. it was a great show. and nothing ever goes away really does it?
What was it like working with the writers of SNL?
i was the oddball goofball outsider among what i guess was already a pretty odd and goofy population sample. i was more in the guido sarducci vein of comedy and they only wanted game show parodies when i was there. i did write one - dying to be heard - an off color black little sketch about a reality game show where women poets committ suicide (a la sylvia plath) to get their work published. last thing i'll say is that everyone there liked to get high and then say let's write some comedy - and i'd get high and be like "i'm high. why would i want to work when i'm high you guys go ahead and i'll write something in the morning"
Was Clarissa's love of pearl jam your influence? Who were Clarissa's favourite bands and who do you think she'd be listening to now?
i think melissa actually liked pearl jam that's why we put it in. wow now it's way harder to say because there are so many diverse examples of cool music and someone like tmbg isn't as totally out there by themselves. sam would def be into jack johnson. maybe clarissa too. in the new book she's actually fond of some old school stuff that she "grew up" with - while you guys weren't watching - like howie day's collide. dawson stuff. have to think more about this.
Hey Mitchell! I was wondering if any storylines were scrapped for having content that was too adult, and if so, what did they pertain to?
hmmm. i don't think so. but we all used to joke about clarissa explains her midlife crisis. which kind of is one of the ideas in the novel except it's her mid twenties crisis
Hey Mitchell, I've always been very fond of the band, Clarissa Explains It All! And the show too of course. Just posting so you will know the extended legacy of Clarissa! Are you aware of this? Cheers!
yeah i've heard of them and listened on youtube are they still around do they ever perform nah nah? they should
Hi Mr. Kriegman.
I'm 28, and growing up your show was pretty much a staple in my life. Thank you. I wanted to ask if you feel touched knowing that your show affected millions of us now asking you questions?
totally all the time - it's made my life GREAT! i like to say - when i teach 20-30 somethings - i was writing for you when you were a kid and i'm writing for you now.
my career is like 20 years younger than i am
I'm glad you agree! I'm sure it was because of copyright. We changed our name to Clarissa because of the confusion before we slowly imploded. We also went by CXIA. It started while we were all in art school and I'm pretty sure we just thought the name was funny or ironic. Every time we told someone our name, if they were in the know they would respond something like, "hehe, rad." Because Clarissa was the most rad and everyone knew it! We got plenty of requests for nah nah, of course but unfortunately never fulfilled. If there's ever a Clarissa cast reunion, invite us out and we'll play it, heha
no prob. maybe you should start a band and name it "how i met your mother"
Do you realize that you cast my first ever celebrity crush as Clarissa?
i guess i should be proud of that. who's your new celebrity crush so we can judge better?
First of all, thanks for my childhood, pretty much. I was a happy happy kid because I watched your shows, although I did resent my parents for not having a two-story house so I could attach a ladder to my bedroom
How do you think American society as a whole would react if " Ren & Stimpy" and "Rocko's Modern Life" was released today and not all those years ago?
ren and stimpy is still pretty strong stuff in a good way so i think it would still be a big deal only we'd have to go back in time and erase the earlier version to know which is way too complicated for me to even think about or evaluate.
Did you know Robert Hughes? He worked on RML and Phineas and Ferb. My friend from Northern Michigan are friends with him. But most importantly. What is your favorite city in Michigan?
saginaw. and i like the lefty frizzle song about it. so there. don't know mr. hughes. glad your friend does though. i think. not sure why. but yeah!
Hello, Mr. Kriegman! I'm a child of the 90s and to me, Nickelodeon shows were appointment TV! Clarissa Explains It All was one of the best out of them so, on behalf of myself and everyone who grew up on 90s Nick, thanks for the memories! Now for my question!
Seeing that everything from the 90s is returning (in one form or another), would you want to see Things I Can't Explain hit television or be made into a movie?
we'll have to see how the book does. i hope people love it. i want to write more. it could continue. i do think that casting a 26 year old clarissa could be cool. melissa's got a few thing going on. btw did you know that she directed a movie that's coming out asap!
If Things I Can't Explain works out do you have plans for a Followup?
meaning book 2? yes and book 3 and book 4 and book 5 and....
Was there anything Clarissa couldn't explain?
hmmm it think there were a lot - i'd have to scour the scripts. i remember her saying someting like that. the new book is entitled "things i can't explain" so i think i've remedied that situation
You're doing fine. Thanks for your answer. I loved watching Rokko while bring up my daughter, that is some fine American entertainment.
thanks! does she know what a wallabee is now?
Are you from Great Neck?
Does the term "Low Moan Spectacular" mean anything to you?
wow this is totally over my head.