SMA cadets had a fun and interesting exchange with yet another great speaker as part of SMA-MAJ Todd Brown’s The Inspire Project. Dan Povenmire is best known as the co-creator of Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, which was the #1 kids show for 7 years.
Cadets asked some great questions to Mr. Povenmire who has a broad and successful background as a television director, writer, producer, storyboard artist and voice actor. Cadets were surprised to learn that the inspiration for Phineus was to see what character he could create based on a triangle. It was from there that his wife asked who’s that? He replied it’s Phineas and this is the show I am going sell.
Many cadets grew up with the show and laughed out loud when Povenmire did the voice of the shows villain Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. When asked about his favorite episodes he told cadets: the Roller Coaster Perfect and the Act YourAge Episode.
Cadets are always interested in what success and failure mean to the various speakers who have made their mark on the world. Mr. Povenmire shared his take on the idea as well. “There is this path and sometimes this one just got closed and so I open another. Success and failure are not a binary thing. If I go this way I will be a success. If I go to this other one I will be a failure. You never know how many paths you’ll take before it goes right.”
He informed cadets that it took that it 13 years to sell Phineas and Ferb and 16 years to
get it on the air. “If you have something you believe in and you think it is fun don’t take no for answer.”
As far as the story behind the show, he and co-creator Jeff “Swampy” Marsh were reflecting on their youth and how kids today miss out on the physical things like playing in the woods. Phineus imparts “the imagination of a 9-year-old boy inspired by [our] time growing up and not hampered by reality”.
Throughout The Inspire Project speakers series this year, cadets have learned that many of the people they speak to started out on a different path then where they are now. Mr. Povenmire didn’t want to be an animator. He made a living as an artist but he really wanted to be a filmmaker. Now he enjoys many creative endeavors.
Mr. Povenmire compared success and failure to a tree with many forks in the various branches. There are many different directions you will go in, it is never only a one or the other journey.