Monday, May 20, 2013
Jeff Kline can reel off a list of perks associated with his job -- executive producer of animated TV shows -- and most of them have something to do with childhood. Either his, or his daughter's.
For example, he has worked with Sid and Marty Krofft, the legendary children's show producers whose zany "H.R. Pufnstuf" in the 1970s influenced Kline's career choice.
A couple of years ago, Kline worked on a new Winnie the Pooh show for Disney, "My Friends Tigger and Pooh," which featured a little girl character named Darby -- the name of Kline's daughter.
"Because of that, we could go to the Disney Store and buy my daughter a doll of herself," he said.
Kline, who moved with his family to Cape Elizabeth in 2008, works on various shows as an executive producer, the man in charge of every last detail involved in a TV production.
This year he's nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for his work on the computer-generated animated series "Transformers: Prime" on The Hub cable network. He's a nominee in the category of Outstanding Special Class Animated Program.
The show has also received nominations for directing, individual achievement in animation, sound editing and sound mixing.
Kline, who splits his time between Los Angeles and Cape Elizabeth, will find out Sunday how many awards he and the show win. That's when the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be presented in Los Angeles.
The 39th Daytime Emmy Awards, focusing on performances, will be broadcast on the HLN cable network on June 23, and the Creative Arts awards will be mentioned.
Kline, 46, says it's gratifying to get the nominations for "Transformers: Prime" because of the challenges associated with putting the show together.
First, he had only about a year to put it together -- most computer-generated animation shows have about two years before going on the air -- because the toy maker Hasbro wanted the show ready in time for the launch of The Hub network.
Then, there was the challenge of creating a studio to make the show, because Hasbro didn't really have one. Not to mention the challenge of trying to outdo the movies and other TV programming based on the Transformers brand.
"It was pretty crazy at first. There were no chairs, no office," said Kline, a native of Brookline, Mass. "Luckily, I had done some (computer generated) series before, like "Starship Troopers" and "Max Steel."
Kline's resume in animated and children's TV includes "G.I. Joe: Renegades," "Jackie Chan Adventures," "Men In Black: The Animated Series," "Harold and the Purple Crayon," and the long-running PBS series "Dragon Tales."
Kline said he always knew he wanted to work in film or TV, and after graduating from Boston University he moved to Los Angeles. He got a job in a management training program at NBC, working on a host of daytime soaps, including "Days of Our Lives," "Another World" and "Santa Barbara."
A few years ago, when his daughter was about 4, Kline and his wife decided to move the family from Los Angeles to Cape Elizabeth. He had spent summers in Maine and wanted to come back to the East Coast, to a relatively small place with good schools.
"The move was about wanting to keep (Darby) a little younger a little longer, and that's hard to do in Los Angeles," Kline said.
Kline initially got a job teaching at Boston University when he moved to Maine. Then, he began to get offers to work in Los Angeles again. So now he splits his time while his family stays in Maine.
As an executive producer, Kline said, he's involved in every detail, from dealing with sponsors and networks to approving the colors used for scenery, the voice actors, and the scripts.
"I like the daily deadlines and I like being involved in so many aspects of the show," Kline said. "When you see a show, live action or animated, know that no decision was made by accident, right down to the colors on the wall."
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: