Christopher Mason "Chris" Savino (born October 2, 1971) is a storyboard artist, animator, writer and director.
At age 19, Chris saw The Ren & Stimpy Show pilot "Big House Blues" at an animation festival while attending the Detroit Institute of the Arts, and sent John Kricfalusi some of his artwork when he heard that Nickelodeon has picked it up for a series; he ended up being hired as a layout artist at Spumco during the show's first season. Afterward, he worked at various commercial studios for a year before going to Nick's new in-house studio Games Animations to work on Rocko's Modern Life, and he was soon became the chief character designer for the show.
In 1997, he began a decade-long association with Cartoon Network as a storyboard artist on shows like Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls; he would later became the showrunner for those shows as well when their respective creators left to pursue other projects. After a brief run at Nickelodeon, Chris went over to Disney Television Animation, where he executive-produced and directed the entirety of Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil.
In 2013, Chris went back to Nickelodeon Animation Studios to join their Artist Collective, where he and other animation veterans train and mentor newcomers to the industry. While there, he pitched The Loud House, a short based on his experiences growing up in a large family, to the studio's annual Animated Shorts Program; the concept ended up being greenlit for a full 13-episode season, the first short from the program to get the series treatment.
In October 2017, he was suspended and subsequently fired from Nickelodeon following revelations of historic sexual harassment towards female co-workers with threats of blacklisting them from the industry if they didn't accept his advances that go as far back as 2004. Savino is the second Nicktoons creator fired from their own program, after John Kricfalusi who, ironically enough, was the first to hire Savino back in 1991 for Ren and Stimpy.note
In May 2018, he became the very first person to ever be suspended from the Animation Guild of Los Angeles as a result of the aforementioned sexual allegations. This has resulted in him being officially blacklisted from the animation industry for one year, must donate $5,000 to a charity (which has to be picked by the members of the Guild that accused Savino in the first place), has to complete 40 hours of community service and partake in ongoing counseling and receive a certificate of sexual harassment training.
In September and October 2019, two years after his termination from Nickelodeon and his last public statement about the matter, Savino resurfaced in an interview and an audio recording from a church gathering. In both, he acknowledged the truths about these allegations and the pain he's caused to his victims, along with his family, friends, colleagues, and those who had looked up to him. Chris additionally states that he's now a born-again Christian and has written several novels, cartoon pitches, and pilot scripts in hopes of one day getting a second chance in the industry. His website can be found here.
Since then, he has published several books, including the children's novel Coal: A Cautionary Christmas Tale and non-fiction guide Writing Cartoons in 4 Acts (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Midpoint). He has also made the newspaper comic strip For Brothers.
As of 2022, Savino and his second wife, Ian, have launched the Christian Car Rides YouTube channel, which features the couple driving around in a car and discussing topics (sound familiar?) that range from answering fan-submitted questions, to proclaiming Savino's innocence. He is also working with an upstart Christian alternative streaming service known as Loor to develop a new animated series called Busted Bible Stories, a Fractured Fairy Tale series which attempts to bring faith-based entertainment to the 18-35 demographic in the spirit ("Pun intended," says Savino) of Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
Shows he worked on:
- The Ren & Stimpy Show — Layout Artist (seasons 1 & 5)
- Cool World — Inbetweener (uncredited)
- Rocko's Modern Life — Character & Prop Designer (seasons 1-3)
- Hate (scrapped TV pilot) — Layout Artist
- The Baby Huey Show — Layout Artist (season 2)
- Hey Arnold! — Storyboard Director (1 episode) List
- Duckman - Storyboard Artist (4 episodes) List
- Dexter's Laboratory
- Storyboard Artist (Ego Trip TV movie, plus 15 episodes) List
- Director (seasons 3 & 4, sans 2 episodes) List
- Producer (seasons 3 & 4)
- Cow and Chicken — Storyboard Artist (1 episode) List
- I Am Weasel — Storyboard Artist (2 episodes) List
- Space Goofs — Storyboard Artist (1 episode) List
- The Powerpuff Girls
- Storyboard Artist (15 episodes) List
- Director (2 episodes) List
- Producer (seasons 5 & 6)
- Foe Paws — Creator/Storyboard Director/Model Design
- The Flintstones: On the Rocks — Storyboards/Writer/Art Director/Producer/Director
- Samurai Jack — Director (2 episodes) List
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy — Storyboard Artist (1 episode) List
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
- Writer (2 episodes) List
- Animation Director (5 episodes) List
- Johnny Test
- Producer/Director (Season 1)
- Storyboard Artist (1 episode) List
- My Gym Partner's a Monkey — Storyboard Artist (7 episodes) List
- My Life as a Teenage Robot — Director (Escape from Cluster Prime TV movie, plus 4 episodes) List
- Ni Hao, Kai-Lan — Storyboard Artist (1 episode) List
- Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil
- Executive Producer/Director
- Writer (2 episodes) List
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic — Writer (2 episodes) List
- Mickey Mouse (2013) — Storyboards/Writer/Director (1 episode) List
- The Loud House — Creator/Executive Producer/Director (Seasons 1-3)
- Writer (5 episodes) List
- Storyboard Artist (3 episodes) List
Books he's written:
- Bigfoot & Gray on the Run (volumes 1 and 2)
- Coal: A Cautionary Christmas Tale
- Peter Power and His Amazing Super-Mega Giant Fighting Robot Save the Day!
- Writing Cartoons in 4 Acts or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Midpoint
Chris Savino and his works provide examples of:
- Bleached Underpants: Inverted. Savino is best known in the animation industry, working on children's cartoons, and has done plenty of comic works of similar nature. However, at some point, he created a comic strip titled The Complex Adventures of Eddie Puss, which is about a young anthropomorphic cat who is sexually attracted to his own mother. As you might've guessed, the comic strip isn't kid-friendly at all. He has since disowned the strip, and refuses to talk about it anymore.
- Creator Breakdown: He has stated that following his firing from The Loud House, he cannot bring himself to watch the show anymore, especially post-firing episodes, and that the very idea of watching his show that he's no longer involved with is too depressing for him.
- Creator's Oddball: His decision to make the Bigfoot & Gray on the Run pilot live action rather than animated was a surprise to his fans given his inexperience in the field.
- He Also Did: Before he became a writer for Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls, Savino worked as an animator for titles like Cool World, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Rocko's Modern Life.
- Flip-Flop of God: Although Chris had admitted to the allegations that were made against him, expressed his guilt, shame, and remorse, and had even praised the bravery of the women who came forward to call him out on his misconduct toward them, he has since denied the allegations, claiming all of the women who came forward had lied about him in order to help boost their own fledging careers in the animation industry, and that any relationships or affairs he had with any of them were completely consentual.
- Missing Episode: Chris had behind the scenes Loud House pictures, original doodles, and promotional art for Bigfoot and Gray that were exclusive to his Instagram account before he terminated it; meaning these posts are likely gone for good on the web.
- Old Shame:
- In this video with Butch Hartman, Chris is asked if he was a showrunner for Dexter's Laboratory, prompting him to answer with "I ran it to the ground".
- As noted above, he has also completely disowned his previous Eddie Puss comic strip, and refuses to speak of it, while also asking that nobody ask him any questions about it.
- Overly-Long Gag: Chris was very fond of this during his run of Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls. Most infamously was A Third Dad Cartoon, where the whole cartoon is about Dexter's Dad getting ready to swing a golf ball for the entire episode until it rains just as he's about to hit the golf ball and leaves.
- Real Men Love Jesus: He became a born-again Christian sometime in early 2018 and credits God for helping him come to terms with his actions and rebuilding his life.
- Reclusive Artist: Since his termination from Nickelodeon, he's deleted all his social media accounts and the last update regarding him was in 2018 when he was suspended from The Animation Guild for a year. Two years later however, Chris returned to the public eye with new stories and pilot ideas with the hopes of one day getting a second chance in the animation industry. Time will tell whether or not this comes to fruition.
- After their divorce in late 2017, his ex-wife Bethany had to privatize her Instagram page since the controversy surrounding Chris was bringing unwanted attention from the Loud House fanbase to her and their kids.
- Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Savino's career was effectively destroyed after he was suspended and eventually fired by Nickelodeon in October 2017 when several women in the industry came forward to reveal his decade-long history of sexual harassment and blackmail threats against them.note Savino has since withdrawn from his social media accounts note , making it safe to say that he's all but blacklisted from the industry and that he'll have no further involvement with The Loud House, or any show for that matter. Although as of 2019, he's announced plans to return to the industry. Despite his firing, he continues to be credited as character creator for TLH, its spinoff The Casagrandes, and The Loud House Movie.
- What Could Have Been:
- Some time in the year 2000, Savino directed a pilot for the What A Cartoon! Show titled Foe Paws, which involved a woman purchasing a dog and cat from the store to act as her new children. The short could have pre-dated Savino's creator credit for The Loud House had it been picked up for a series.
- Around 2005, Savino began development for a pilot called Adventures in Milk and was already in talks with a television network to have it picked up as a series. However in a final update from 2008, Chris announced that the pilot had been cancelled for what executives told him was "a change in their channel's direction".
- In 2011, he launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund for a live-action short adaption of his comic book titled Bigfoot & Gray on the Run, which he intended to serve as a potential pilot for a TV series. The short was completed, but its chances of being picked up are slim to nothing with the allegations made against him.
- When Nick announced plans for a theatrical TLH movie for 2020, Savino was signed on to write and direct the feature. However, due to his firing from the series, he was replaced as writer and director by Chris Viscardi and Dave Needham, respectively. Given that the movie was eventually pushed back by one year (and released on Netflix instead of theaters), it's likely that his original draft (if it was even completed, as the movie was greenlit only seven months before he was fired) was scrapped.