It’s been two years since Carson Montgomery moved to Burbank, California to work for Nickelodeon, but it still doesn’t feel real.
Working for the channel that brought the world SpongeBob, Rocko’s Modern Life and The Fairly Odd Parents would seem like a dream job for any ’90s kid, but for Montgomery there’s an especially surreal quality to his new career.
“Just the other day I was watching a rerun of Hey Arnold and one of my good friends at Nickelodeon directed the episode, his name is Tuck Tucker, and it was just crazy,” Montgomery said. “I was like “Damn! I know Tuck now,” and I remember watching this when I was like 5 or 6.”
A 2012 Auburn grad, Montgomery has been working as a production assistant on Kung Fu Panda: Legends Of Awesomeness for the past two years, putting him in proximity to cartoon royalty while still allowing him to enjoy other California past times like running into Mr. T at LAX and watching free movies on the Paramount Studios lot.
Nickelodeon has put out some of the most popular and cutting-edge kids shows in recent years and for Montgomery it’s an opportunity to learn and work alongside cartoon writing greats Peter Hastings (Pinky And The Brain) and Carl Greenblatt (Spongebob Squarepants).
Montgomery’s enthusiasm and determination to grow as a writer earned him the respect of industry veteran Scott Kreamer when they worked together on Kung Fu Panda.
“[Carson’s] doing exactly what I used to do when I started out,” said Kreamer, head writer for Kung Fu Panda. “You do your work every day and then you spend every night and every weekend writing. He does a lot of writing stuff and he showed me a couple things that I thought, this guys got potential.”
Kreamer was a production assistant on TV shows when he first moved to California, eventually becoming a writer for the late 90s reboot of Casper The Friendly Ghost before becoming a producer on the show Scare Tactics.
Having worked in and out of both animated and reality television, Kreamer has served as mentor and motivator to Montgomery and countless others over the years.
“It’s really cool to get to see the people who turn this stuff out, stuff that millions of kids watch and millions of kids are going to remember forever,” Montgomery said. “I’ve been trying to build up my own stuff and just writing, constantly writing, trying to get better.”
In his time at Auburn, Montgomery worked as an assistant for WTVM sports with Dave Platta and as sports show host, cameraman and news director for Eagle Eye News, as well as doing freelance video editing work around the university.
Montgomery also wrote and directed Tennessee Sisterland, a no-budget biopic of the fictional parody band he and his hometown friends put together in three days that drew most of the residents of the small town of Moulton, Ala. as an audience.
“The advice that I got at Auburn was to just do anything and everything that comes your way,” Montgomery said. “ I think everybody gets caught up in having to have a certain amount of training or education, a certain amount of this or that. I think that definitely helps, but at the same time I think if you got drive and are willing to learn and willing to be open-minded I think you can do anything.”
Kreamer says if you’re not a nice person to work with, talent and humor will only get you so far in Hollywood; Montgomery, he says, has the potential to go the distance.
“He’s a good guy and he works hard, and here’s the other thing: he’s got talent, too,” Kreamer said. “If he keeps doing what he’s doing I think he’ll realize his dream of being a full-on professional writer. I really do. And not everyone does (become a writer).”
Kung Fu Panda: Legends Of Awesomeness just finished it’s final season, but Montgomery already has a spot on upcoming Nickelodeon show Bad Seeds, which is set to release in 2015.
Because production is just beginning, details are still under wraps, but Montgomery says the studio has big plans for it in the future.
“I think in two or three years it’ll be a household name like SpongeBob,” Montgomery said.
We hope it is, too.
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Vivian Langley says
Great information about our alumni.