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What was your plan B in case you didn't become an artist?
I didn’t really have any. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pen. There was never any doubt that art is what I would do.
I thought about being a scientist when I was a kid. Before I was working on Regular Show I was an English teacher in China. So I guess that? None of those things would stop me from being an artist though. I would still make stuff.
One can’t just not make stuff.
Have you ever forgotten an idea that you knew was the most brilliant and fantastic idea ever? What did you do?
Stopped caring because you can’t miss something you don’t remember. Clearly it wasn’t fantastic enough to stick in my mind, so why worry about it?
On a somewhat related note, whenever I have one of those just-starting-to-fall-asleep brilliant ideas, I take a voice memo or make note of it on my phone. Then, when morning comes, it’ll be right there and I’ll see what it was!
When would you tell an artist to give up on what they are doing even if it's they're lifelong dream? Would it be when it's clear they have no chance in hell of achieving it, don't have talent, or what?
I wouldn’t. That’s ridiculous, short sighted, and cruel.
What I would tell someone, if they were struggling and things weren’t working out, is to take a self-reflective look at why they’re struggling. There are a lot of questions you have to ask yourself about your work to make sure it’s the best work it can be. Here are only a few examples:
So all in all, I wouldn’t tell someone to give up, but I certainly would tell someone to be realistic about their goals. If you’re someone who is sitting at home, not drawing every day, not putting their all into improving their work, and hoping that maybe someday someone will notice your art on deviant art and try to hire you, I’d say you’re being extremely unrealistic. However, I’ve never met someone who did all the work to achieve success in their art, that hasn’t achieved some level of it.
It’s extremely hard work. You can go ahead and try to give up, but you won’t be able to because you’re an artist. You’re gonna keep making shit no matter what. So you might as well figure out what the problems are so you can fix them and start doing something about it. I mean what’s better for your life overall? Taking a little time to be self-reflective, critical, and proactive now, or wallowing in self-pity and hoping it’ll all work out somehow?
Do you have any insight into how the outline of a script is written? When you write personal stuff, how do you start plotting things out?
I have my own work that I’m working on outlines for and it all starts with figuring out a hook for the episode. A weird idea, a strange world, etc. Those hooks are usually the summaries that you see on wikipedia or something. It’s basically a log line of the episode. Then move out from there.
Most summaries lead to nothing and they’re boring, so you kind of have to accept that.
When I find a summary that inspires me, I break it down into the biggest beats possible. Figure out what the main conflict is first, then figure out the resolution to that conflict. I then work backwards and build up the story wherever I need it. I really really like mystery, so I like to keep things as hidden as possible throughout whatever I’m working on. I make sure to try and reveal information at the furthest possible moment/
Just figure out where the “Ah ha!” moments are and work backwards. It’s all about working backwards to me. Occasionally I’ve just gone straight ahead and seen where it took me, but often things start to fall off the rails around the middle of the second act.
I also do it on post-it on a sheet of paper, so I can look at things and move them around quickly so they make more sense.
Step one, however, it just start writing. That’s the hardest part. Just get started and you’ll find out what your process is through experimentation!
are pitches nerve-wracking? have you ever had any rough moments, like dead silence after a joke you thought would be funny? tell us about pitching an episode, owen!
So a pitch goes basically like this:
1) Schedule some time on JG’s calendar to pitch the board.
2) Pin all our storyboards up on some gigantic foam core boards. If the episode needs music, usually one of us will set that up and we’ll figure out when we want to play it and rehearse that part real quick.
3) The actual pitch.
5) Redraw and rework whatever got notes and find another day to pitch on.
6) Repeat 2-4 but this time do a group pitch with the other story boarders getting to watch as well.
7) Do final revisions and hand them in.
I don’t usually go into a pitch nervously, I’m always about 80-90% confident that what I’ve made was what JG wanted. If it’s not what he actually asked for, it’s at least in the spirit of what he asked for.
There are usually a couple jokes where Toby and I are like “ehhhhh they’ll probably want to cut this” because it’s not in the style of the show or it’s too obtuse or something. There’s one episode I remember going in and thinking “There’s no way they’re going to like any of this, we got really weird in this one” and they ended up loving it and wanting more. It’s very hard to guess.
Pitches absolutely have jokes that fall flat. One of the more frustrating things is when they fall flat in the very beginning of the story, because sometimes that will make it so people might be thinking of alternates to that joke or something and become a little distracted, missing other jokes later. Then there’s just silence for awhile. That’s hard. It’s just human nature though, it’s what happens. Happens to me too when I watch someone else’s pitch.
After we pitch, JG and the other writers walk around the room and point at various spots that they think need work. It might be that they want a little bit of a structural change or that a joke could be funnier. Occasionally JG will suggest a design change on a character or a background or something.
I had many, many problems doing the designs for the satellite in Portable Toilet. Every satellite I drew ended up looking like a penis. I couldn’t not make them look like a penis! Eventually I tried to model it after a spider and gave it to JG. JG drew a different design from that and I used his.
One of the things I personally really like is seeing everyone’s different pitching styles. Everyone has a unique way that they go about getting people on board with the pitch, because it’s as much a performance as it is a presentation. I think getting the audience to side with you immediately, even when they’re a whole bunch of people you’ve known for years, is extremely important in pitching.
I really like Toby’s style of pitching because it’s very matter of fact. Every time he pitches he stays so straight and never accidentally laughs while he’s talking. He’s really good at it. Minty’s pitches are very funny because they’re like listening to a friend tell a funny story. It’s very conversational sounding. Maddie performs and moves around a lot. It’s like watching an actor. Benton makes a lot of sound effects. Calvin is also pretty matter of fact, but I almost don’t even remember how he pitches because I love his drawings so much. Ryan laughs while he’s talking sometimes, which is just how he is in non-pitching real life anyway.
When I pitch I almost always end up talking to the audience in an aside. I think it’s a style I picked up when I was a teacher to try and keep the students alert. Like I’ll say the line that I wrote or point at a picture or something and then say “You know though right? Yeah you know, you get it! JG stop writing! So then Mordecai’s like…”
All these different ways of pitching are very fascinating to me. You see a different side of people when they pitch versus when you have a one on one conversation with them.
I've been listening to Galactaron non-stop recently; love the alien-electro-rock-opera kind of feel! Have you ever been involved with the music on RS? Or want to?
Thanks! That’s awesome! I love that people still find Galactaron somehow!
I haven’t done much in the way of music for Regular Show, though I’ve made it known that I’d be interested the next time a musical episode shows up.
I’ve created a couple of the raps however. I wrote the “Best watch out for the living dead” rap and the “Once upon a time there was a cow that was purple” part in Silver dude. I also cowrote another one with ryanpequin that will air at some point in the far, far distant future.
There have also been times where I wrote music to simulate a specific feeling I wanted to have for a board. Sometimes I want a very specific timing with a very specific sound of music, so I’ll write what I want.
Anyway, thanks for listening to the album(s)!
If you went to San Diego comic con for the Regular show panel would you answer some questions for the fans?
I would, but I’m not, so I won’t. :(
Just ask them a hundred questions about why I’m not there, and then next time I’m sure they’ll ask me to go haha
What are your favorite types of episodes to work on for the show?
That’s tough. I like action stories and I like deeper stories about interpersonal relationships.
Action stories are by far the most fun for me to draw (most of the time). You basically can’t have action that’s too crazy on our show, so the more over the top, the better. This makes me really push myself to try and draw some really exciting stuff.
However, I really like relationship stories because you get to have those deeper moments that feel almost too real. Pulling real stuff from life makes people relate to it and feel very attached to what they just saw. If I feel attached to it, others will too I think.
Basically, action is like watching fireworks: it’s a dazzling display where you get to hang with your friends and enjoy it, but relationships are like eating fireworks… cause.. you… blow up on the inside?
Will we ever get more development with Benson on the show?
Nope. Season 5 was the last season to ever feature Benson. I’m so sorry. :(
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