Chords of Fame
Bill Burnett is an American songwriter, composer, musician, singer, writer, director, television producer and voice actor who is best known for co-creating Nickelodeon's ChalkZone along with Larry Huber. He is also the leader of the LA-based band The Backboners. He currently resides in Los Angeles
His first success in his career was working with Patti LuPone for her musicals produced for PBS, after moving to New York City. He later met Fred Seibert and Alan Goodman at his advertisement agency in New York in 1988 and became a writer for the agency. Later, he became a creative director creating groundbreaking campaigns for Nick-at-Nite, Sassy Magazine and Nickelodeon. He was then hired in Hanna-Barbera Cartoons by Fred Seibert, when he became president of the company, to compose music and became a creative director, which was his first worker on the spot he hired, even writing the theme song for Cave Kids. He moved to Hollywood at the same time to work in there marketing departments. He then worked on Cartoon Network's Cow and Chicken as a story editor and wrote all the songs for the show, especially for the episode "The Ugliest Weenie".
He later worked in Frederator once Seibert left Hanna-Barbera to pursue his own studios during their merger with Warner Bros. Animation, which they were working on his other animation showcase Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah! Cartoons. Bill worked as a director and producer, and wrote the show's theme song and later producing, creating and directing eight animated shorts of ChalkZone which he later worked on when Nickelodeon picked it up to become its own series working alongside co-creator Larry Huber using both their talents of music and animation. ChalkZone was a combined brainstorm of Larry's idea about a boy with magic chalk and Bill's idea about a world behind the chalk boards. It premiered on March 22, 2002 with the highest ratings for a new show premiere in, California. the network's history at the time. He also directed several other shorts for Oh Yeah! such as the "Hobart" shorts and "Jelly's Day" (co-created by Greg Emison), "Tutu the Superina" and "The Feelers". He wrote all of the musical numbers and each music video song at the end of each episode. He even does side voices and singing bits in the music scores, along with Guy Moon (score composer) and Jess Harnell (voice of Joe Tabootie in the show). One of the episodes of ChalkZone called "Insect Aside" had a song that Bill wrote and sung in the late 1990s and still sang today. After the show ended production in mid-2003 (although the show would continue into 2008 as the result of multiple hiatuses), he wrote The Electric Piper, a movie on the same channel.
Alongside Nickelodeon, he also wrote songs in the network Comedy Central. In fact, he was the one who gave the network its signature name in the first place. He also did songs and ads for Central, VH-1 and MTV. One of his shorts for "OH YEAH!", "What is Funny?" was based on a series of live action promos for Ha! Comedy Channel (a precursor of Comedy Central) complete with the same theme song and he later produced the cartoon with Vince Waller directing.
In 2005, he went back to Nickelodeon for the Oh Yeah! spinoff Random! Cartoons working with the Oh Yeah! team creating the short Dr. Froyd's Funny Farm (with the late Jaime Diaz who died shortly after it aired being one of his final projects) and composed the scores for two other shorts: "Hornswiggle" (created by Jerry Beck) and the non-Random! Cartoons short "Gaucho Pampa" (also created by Diaz as his second-final project).
He is close friends with Butch Hartman (Bill actually came up with the name "Fairly OddParents" for his upcoming pilot and later TV series), Larry Huber, Greg Emison, Rob Renzetti, Vince Waller and Seth MacFarlane (who he fired from Cow & Chicken) who were about 20 feet from his office. He was also close friends with famous ballet dancer Sally Rousse and cartoonist Bill Plympton who was a guest artist in his show ChalkZone animating some retro-1950s chalk drawings, as well as the inspiration for the character Drew Yerface on the show, and Plympton was also producing a short for Random! Cartoons called "Gary Guitar". Another of Bill's cartoon shorts, "Tutu the Superina" was actually created by him and Sally Rousse who helped him with material about ballet dancers which they came up with a ballerina crime fighter.
Taking a break from animation, he is currently writing songs for his band.
He started writing songs at the age of five and sixteen. His mother, Mildred, was an opera singer and occasionally called to him operatically which was the inspiration for Rudy's mother in ChalkZone along with Larry's father who was a real life butcher and taught Larry how to butcher animals.