Trey Parker & Matt Stone

A nice interview with the Southpark creators.

Found at: Animated News


Mitch said...

Don't want to create full length movies because they are too hard to produce?...

This is what happens when people fork out too much money too fast to some funny teenagers with a couple of good idea's for a show. They grow egos and get lazy.

It's really rare to see people take something as rediculous as matt stone/trey parker's work so seriously. If these guys give up, it'll be a while before we'll find anything else in comparison.

What a shame. The fine line between intelligent humour and political anarchy might very well be lost forever. Well, to MY standards.

Ian said...

It may sound odd to young folk, but I actually agree that feature films are or can be fools gold.

They are bloody hard work, sustained for ridiculous periods of time. Tempers are frayed, friendships destroyed, heart attacks suffered (literally) and creative aspirations mashed beyond all recognition. I worked so hard at Disney I started randomly passing out, my doctor told me I had the blood pressure of an 80 year old. I remember one stint where I was at the studio every day for just under 4 months, I even slept under my desk a few times.

When Animal Logic in Sydney were making Happy Feet, lots of stories were circulating around up hear about how they treated their staff like slaves, working them half to death. I don’t know many others up here who have worked on features (even if only direct to videos), and I seemed to be the only one thinking, “no their not bastards, that’s just what it takes to get a feature film made.”

If you watch the extras on Pixar DVDs closely, you can see little hints between the “Hey isn’t this great kids!” and “Holey Cow we make cartoons!” that they work their assess off. At least they give their staff shares in the company so you would think that the pay off is in proportion to the input.

My friend Matt (drops by the ARC every now and then) was working on features at ILM before moving to their games division. I think he is finding himself much happier there because the work comes at a sustainable, consistent rate and he gets more creative input.

Once you had proven you could make a feature film, and if you didn’t need the money, I don’t see why you would put yourself through it again.

I suppose some people keep it up, so it must be horses for courses. But as you start to get older your mind turns to sustainability, how can you keep working with this medium without it turning you bitter, or making you sick. This is why I advise student to form a love of the craft or process more so than the end result. I’m happy working with and around animation, animation being made, not finished animation to watch. That way I can work places where the workload is manageable, and conditions sustainable and still be happy and satisfied with my work. I got my name in the credits of a few films, but my life didn’t change one tiny bit. The friends I’ve made working in happy agreeable work environments have made a much bigger difference.

I would concede that I learnt a lot, so I wouldn’t discourage new people from chasing their dreams and such. Just highlighting that it kind of makes sense that someone might want to back off after a while :)

Tom Baskerville said...

Hey Ian. I couldn't find your email anywhere else on the net. I made a small piece of animation and was wondering if you could say some words over it. I was the guy who was in one of your short courses. I think your course taught me a whole lot. But doing a few seconds of animation has shown me how hard it really is.

sorry about just randomly posting this here but I really couldnt find your email and I was so stoked at actually making a loop in my animation.

Mitch said...

I suppose creating movies over the top of pumping out southpark episodes would get tiring. But surley they wouldn't be doing any of the REAL hard stuff. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't even animate their own characters any more.

Maybe I've got some strange deluded idea of what the entertainment industry is like. But I can't imagine them doing anything more than writing, voices, storyboarding, and creating a funny soundtrack with about 25 mins worth of music in it. Let everyone else on the team put it all together, and then they'd come back in and run over it all with a fine toothed comb over a 2 year period of time "probably excluding the writing bit". To be honest that sounds like a whole lot of fun to me.

maybe I'm wrong?

then again I can see how difficult it would be for them to keep coming up with fresh work to wow the public eye. but if I were them I'd still feel compelled towards giving more to the world.

Once they stop southpark, they'll probably get hungry for the political contraversy once again.

Sam said...

Mitch, the article actually describes their roles pretty well (hint hint*).

Trey directs and writes while Matt co-writes and does "other stuff".

A couple of times in the article they mention that they take six days to produce each episode. Six days! I can't fathom having a 24 minute script done in that time let alone the entire production process. Even with a huge team it seems impossible and you're criticising them for not doing everything (including animation) themselves?

I'd highly suggest reading the article because they address all of your concerns, particularly the myth that it's all fun.

(*Am I noticing a disturbing trend of students that are afraid of reading words on this blog?)

Terry said...

I read this interview yesterday and decided to post it on ARC today... unsurprisingly, ian beat me to it!

I love South Park and agree wholeheatedly with Sam that it is MIND-BOGGLING that those guys can produce scripts of that quality every 7 days. Watched the Season 10 box set (only $36 from all good DVD retailers, boys and girls!) over the Christmas break and every episode was a corker. How many shows that have lasted 10 years actually get BETTER every year?

The show really is a unique mix - such juvenile and puerile humour (those boys never met a fart gag they didn't like) mixed with really scathing and thought-provoking social critique. There's nothing else remotely like it.

Mitch said...

what can I say... too many words on a page scares me.

Yeah I didn't see that bit. Twas rather late at night and I tend to half-ass things throughout that magical hour.

Ian said...

Poor Mitch, shot down in flames again. Don't wory mate, your learning more than those who don't open their mouths ;)

Mitch said...

It's alright, I can use courtney to break my fall on they way down.

Woooooo, cannon ball!

Sam said...

Sorry Mitch, I didn't mean to shoot you down. It wasn't aimed just at you, I also noticed a couple of students respond to Ian's awesome anime post (and your awesome response) with "too many words, whatever".

My main concern is that there's a lot to be learned from these articles, so it's worth taking the time to read. Especially if you're really interested in the art, craft and business of animation, which I hope everyone is who visits this blog.

Mitch said...

don't appoliguise no way. It was my fault for not reading the whole thing. Just me being young. And by being young I'm allowed to be stupid and cocky. and by being cocky, I don't feel the need to read on because i feel like I've gained universal knowledge from 3 paragraphs of writing ^_^.