In 1996, while Maxwell Atoms was still in college, he created a short animated film titled BILLY AND MANDY IN: TREPANATION OF THE SKULL AND YOU. This short would go on to form the basis of Atoms' hit Cartoon Network show, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. The character designs for the original short differ quite a bit from the end result, with Billy appearing taller and lankier than his final design, and with a smaller nose, and Mandy sporting pigtails, a nose (which she lacked in the series), and a black jumper with overalls. The plot involves Billy wanting to release his inner demons, deciding to go about doing so by drilling a hole into his head. Atoms described it as being "completely inappropriate for Cartoon Network", though he felt that the characters were too fun to use only once, and decided to evolve the short into an entire series. In need of a straight man for the otherwise uncontrollable group of misfit characters, it was eventually decided to add the Grim Reaper to the lineup as the third protagonist.
In Atoms' 2013 RebelTaxi interview with Pan-Pizza (of thatfellowinthecoat.com and partner of Channel Frederator), he mentions the short in some detail, revealing that he has it stored away on film, even suggesting that he should have it digitally transferred "at some point". In 2016, on an episode Pizza Party Podcast, Gary (a returning guest), announced that Atoms would bring the short to the first annual TromAnimation film festival. The short is set to premier on April 30th, at Lucky 13 Saloon. The event will also be streamed.
On 04/14/2016, Maxwell Atoms posted a picture of the VHS case for the pilot. The pilot is actually called Billy And Mandy In Trepanation Of The Skull And You. Maxwell Atoms said this with the post. "Coming soon to a Tromanimation film festival near you (as long as you live in New York)..." On 04/30/16, at 9:00 PM (EST) the short was shown, it involved Mandy explaining that she was treppaned and the history behind the action, with Billy then asking if he could try, she then pulls out a drill and drills a hole into his head. Blood then leaks out of his head, and he says he feels light headed, ending the short. The short looked very different than the cel people thought was from the pilot, as it was not in color; in fact, the cel was drawn a year after the short's completion not to translate into animation, but to suggest a redesign and further development for Billy and Mandy if ever Atoms came up with a new follow-up project.
On 05/01/2016, Maxwell Atoms uploaded the short on his YouTube channel.