Nick Gibbons of ‘As Seen on Adult Swim’ rides the waves of success

Nick Gibbons of ‘As Seen on Adult Swim’ rides the waves of success

Nick Gibbons of ‘As Seen on Adult Swim’ rides the waves of success
April 19
11:30 2018

Whether it be during childhood or adulthood, you have probably seen Nick Gibbons’ work.

Before the UNT alumnus’ success on shows like “Jimmy Neutron,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and Adult Swim, Gibbons’ career began on a college campus where he majored in art and minored in radio television and film.

“I loved it, it was some of the best times of my life,” Gibbons said. “I wanted to be an animator, but the closest thing I could find was being an art major [while] also doing film and television.”

During his college years, Gibbons took advantage of the chances he saw to learn more and found himself a home at North Texas Television.

“We did a lot of stuff with the TV station and did something every other Saturday night that was on the air from 10-12 — we’d tape segments and get calls from viewers,” Gibbons said. “We had fun, we would shoot segments during the week and have little sketches.” 

Gibbons took TV and film classes, wrote scripts and preformed to help point him in the direction of where he envisioned himself going. Ironically, he dropped out of a screenwriting class after a week because he had “no discipline” for it.

Gibbons used NTTV as a chance to get familiar with equipment he knew he would use in the future. With friends working in the equipment room, he was able to take advantage of the equipment and check out cameras whenever he wanted to.

A creative DNA

In his last semester before graduating, Gibbons landed an unpaid internship with the animation studio DNA Productions. Gibbons confirms — yes, it is the “Hi, I’m Paul” three-eyed monkey. After Gibbons graduated in 1995, he joined DNA full time.

“It’s funny because I can say UNT was the reason I got my first job,” Gibbons said. “From that live show [where] we did stick puppet theater.”

At DNA Productions, Gibbons finally achieved his dream to work as an animator. He created content such as the intro for “Weird Al” Yankovic’s show and did animated shorts for shows like “Fat Man.”  He says that with a small staff of just 15 people they were like family.

However, two years later the small staff of 15 jumped to a staff of 150 within a month following the success of a little show called Jimmy Neutron. Gibbons was responsible for the lip sync of the show and was kept around to do “odds and ins” of production.

“It was cool being a part of something from the very beginning,” Gibbons said. “Also, it was cool seeing [my] name in the credits for the first time.”

While the success of Jimmy Neutron was satisfying, it didn’t distract Gibbons from his personal goals.

“I started to do my own films in my own hours,” Gibbons said. “When work was over.  I would just hang around and play around with the equipment. I would stay until 2 in the morning and work on my own.”

After five years with DNA Productions, Gibbons set his sights on New York. There, he did quality control with Blue Sky Studio on movies like “Ice Age.” He enjoyed the work but still wanted to focus on his own creativity.

“My wife was nice enough to say ‘just quit and focus on writing and comedy for a bit,’” Gibbon said.

In 2008, Gibbons moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he was hired as an editor/producer of the Adult Swim show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”

“It’s a strange show because if you’re editing you’re basically the director of the episode — you puppeteer the characters,” Gibbons said. “After you get all the audio and then move forward with video you put together characters.”

Along with “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” Gibbons worked as a creative editor on “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell.” Gibbon says because it was shot on a blue screen, there was a lot of reliance on his editing.

His editing made quite the impression after catching the attention David Willis, of co-creator of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”, “Squidbillies” and “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell.”

“Nick is a joy to work with,” Willis said. “He’s a creative polymath, an editing wizard and a graphics genius. He should be the star of more TV shows, but he doesn’t have time because he’s too busy making TV shows for other people.”

It wasn’t just his editing skills that kept him around, however.

“If Nick were a whale, his mouth would be an ever-spewing blowhole of amazing, original ideas  — and a few really terrible ones,” Willis said. “But he defends all with equal fervor! He should not defend the terrible ideas, though. I have to say that his ideas are bad in order to keep his self-esteem in check, so he’ll keep working for us.”

As seen on Adult Swim

In January 2017, Gibbons was asked an odd question.

“They asked me if I could kill an hour talking about a beach towel,” Gibbons said. “And I said, only an hour?”

This odd question was the beginning of Gibbons own show, “As Seen on Adult Swim.”

The hour consists of Gibbons improvising comedy, while also selling merchandise related to Adult Swim. Gibbons says he loves having his own show and that it feeds his need to both act as a content creator and an actor.

“I love doing it, the show is basically an hour of me doing improv,” Gibbons said. “It’s funny because it’s an internet show so it’s cool having a show not a lot of people know about.”

A producer of Adult Swim Digital, Sally Skinner, has worked alongside Gibbons for five years and says he makes it look easy when it’s reality it’s difficult.

“We look like we are just messing around, but it’s actually hard to work with a live show especially with an ecommerce integration,” Skinner said. “He is definitely willing to work harder than anybody. He’s a super hard worker and makes it looks effortless.”

Skinner said Gibbons is the opposite of a diva and can read the energy of a room and call the shots in ways that are still very democratic.

“He entertains all ideas but is very good at picking what’s best for the show while also indirectly managing all of it,” Skinner said. “He tells us what is needed without demanding.”

Soon, Gibbons and Skinner will put their talents together to create what Skinner described as a “spin-off of ‘Good Morning America.’” She says having creative freedom is great but not at all straightforward.

When reminiscing about his college days, the advice Gibbons has for UNT student is simple — never stop creating.

“You won’t be good at it at first, but keep working at what you want to do,” Gibbons said. “If you don’t like the situation you’re in you can change it. It may be hard but nothing worthwhile is easy.”

“As Seen on Adult Swim” can be viewed at 8 p.m on Wednesdays on the Adult Swim website.

Featured Image: Nick Gibbons. Courtesy Adult Swim

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Anna Orr

Anna Orr

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