At New York Comic Con 2015, Toonzone News was able to sit in on a press roundtable session with several cast and crew members of Regular Show to discuss the latest and greatest in Cartoon Network’s hit series and the just-released Regular Show: The Movie (which was still a few days off from being released on DVD at the time of the interview).
Interviews have been edited for better flow in print. Questions asked by Toonzone News are marked.
CREATOR J.G. QUINTEL (AND VOICE OF MORDECAI) AND PRODUCER SEAN SZELES
TOONZONE NEWS: When did you decide you wanted to Regular Show: The Movie, and why did you decide to go for the long-form story?
J.G. QUINTEL: Towards the end of season 5, the network was asking us to do a 40-minute special in season 6, which is longer than anything we had ever done. We’d done a lot of 22-minute specials, which are really hard but I felt like a 40-minute special felt strange, like a weird time. So I was like, “Why don’t we just try to make a movie?” and they’re really cool about it. They were like, “You can try…” (laughter) and I was like, “All right! Let’s try!”
That ended up resulting in two and a half years of struggle to make it happen because we were making the show at the same time. So we started making the movie at the beginning of season 6, and didn’t actually finish it until we were writing in season 8. It was that long of a process, but we finished it. It feels really good to have it out there now.
QUESTION: How are you guys feeling about the fan reaction for the movie?
J.G. QUINTEL: It’s going to be out on DVD on the 13th, and you can already download it. And then it’ll air on the channel in November. So far, the people who have seen it seem to have liked it, and responded really well positively to it. At the signing, we saw a bunch of people who were like, “I loved it! It was so epic!”
SEAN SZELES: There was a small screening in LA, and people drove from really far away to see it.
J.G. QUINTEL: People were driving in from San Francisco.
SEAN SZELES: So that was awesome just to see that. It seemed pretty good.
QUESTION: Does that make you guys want to make a second movie or do you not even want to think about that?
J.G. QUINTEL: I think under different circumstances. I wouldn’t want to make the show at the same time. That was too much work to do, and we kind of burned out, but I think it would be fun to do another one. I learned a lot. I think we all did because we hadn’t made a movie before, so it was a lot of trial and error, redoing it to try and make it as good as we could, because it wasn’t a real feature budget. We were just working like the way we always do. Just try to make it funny and then that’s it.
QUESTION: On average, how long does it take to make the show, and then how long did it take to make the movie?
J.G. QUINTEL: An episode of the show from beginning to end, from writing it to delivering it is 9 months, but we’re working on 20 episodes at a time. So we’re delivering 11 minutes a week. The movie took two-and-a-half years in the middle of doing all that. It was a lot longer process.
QUESTION: Since it was such a long process, did you have to go back and rework scripts because of the show? Were you going back and forth because it took so long?
SEAN SZELES: Yeah, kind of. There would be times when we’d have to take breaks from the movie to work on the show more, and then we’d be like, “OK now we have some time, let’s get back to writing and boarding on the movie.” It was generally like that. And trying to figure out exactly the story we wanted to tell and how it was going to work.
J.G. QUINTEL: We’re a storyboard driven show, so we didn’t go off with a script. We just write out basically what’s going to happen in the movie in an outline and then the board artists draw it and write it. We would watch the pitch, which would be like 2 hours long, and we’d start changing it. So we probably have 2 full versions of the movie that don’t even exist because we kept changing it to get it to work. A lot of that content is on the DVD as special features, like pitches of stuff that didn’t make it to the movie, and boards and all kinds of stuff. Animatics that never made it in. It’s pretty cool to see how much change to the final product.
TOONZONE NEWS: Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently in making the movie?
J.G. QUINTEL: I would definitely start with a script. I would script it. I think that would save a lot of heartache (laughs).
SEAN SZELES: When you hand something off to a board artist, they’re going to go to town on it, and add so much stuff to it that they’d get really long. So when you’d put them all together, you’d go, “Oh, we have…two-and-a-half hours of movie.”
J.G. QUINTEL: We’d be like, “That beat was just supposed to be him walking in and saying ‘Hello.'” (laughs)
QUESTION: How much of the show is improv and how much of it is scripted out or storyboarded out?
J.G. QUINTEL: I’d say the huge majority of it is storyboarded. Sometimes something will come up in a record that will be really funny, but where a lot of things change is in the animatics, which is what we do after it’s been recorded and we put it to an animatic where we can see it with all the dialogue. You’ll see that it’s too long, so you’ll edit stuff out, and maybe that’ll create a hole in the story, where you go, “That doesn’t work” and you have to come up with something else. Or you’ll see jokes that don’t read, so we’ll on the fly come up with something…
SEAN SZELES: Just a lot of rewriting things, plussing jokes. That’s just us, trying to think of something funnier or better. We know this can be funnier, what’s the best way to do it? And just drawing it out really quick, and getting it in the animatic.