Tag Archives: archer

Interview with Jason Barnes (animator on Squids, ATHF, Archer)!

4 Aug

For this post, we have something special for you — another exclusive interview, this time with Jason Barnes, who has worked on Aqua Teen, Squidbillies, and currently works for Archer!

Animated TV Blog: Hi, Jason. When did you start out in the TV/animation industry? Who did you first work for?

Jason Barnes: I started working in television in 2008. I was still attending art school at the Art Institute of Atlanta at the time when I got an internship at Radical Axis to work on Squidbillies (season 3 or 4?) and ATHF. The internship was unpaid, but the experience was payment enough. They basically taught me how to use Adobe Flash haha. It was fantastic and stressful all at the same time. I mean, I was just a kid. All these animators had at least 5-6 years of professional work under their belts. But they let me do everything from key animation to design work for squids. It was a dream come true since Squidbillies was a HUGE inspiration for me in college. Aside from the work experience, I made some GREAT contacts that have kept me working ever since. In fact, after my 3 month internship I went back to school to finish up my last 2 quarters at AiA, then almost immediately after graduation started working on Squidbillies again.

ATB: Had you known a long time you wanted to be in the TV/animation industry? Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations?

JB: Honestly, growing up I didn’t know you could be in TV/animation without being famous. In high school, I thought you needed to be the BEST in order to work in entertainment (not really true, but it helps to strive for the best, obviously). I had just built it up in my head that if you weren’t John K from birth, you were nobody and you’d never work anywhere. Haha. But the way I “found out” I could be in animation was talking to my mom one day (I had recently graduated high school) She straight up just told me “go to art school. You suck at business and can’t be a doctor, but you LOVE to draw. So. Do it.” And literally within a week I was applying to art school. haha.

…Which I guess leads to the next question… John K’s Ren & Stimpy molded my little child brain growing up. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen on television. I would draw the characters constantly. That show remained a huge influence on me throughout college as well. Then I discovered Adult Swim and that became my bible. Haha. ATHF and Squidbillies actually still inspire me to this day. But now, there’s a TON of things I see online and on television that inspire me. A Rick and Morty screener is currently sitting on my desk waiting to be rewatched. Comedy Central’s TripTank is my new jam. It’s a great format for animation. Pretty much a different style every 2-3 minutes haha, so I never get bored. Plus it’s all submission based content so indie animators can get stuff on air without too much producer interference. A lot of live-action stuff inspires me too. Trailer Park Boys, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, True Detective, and Fargo are very inspiring to watch, even though I’m no filmmaker. They’ll get me jazzed about certain color choices or shot layouts, hell even character design. Pretty sure Walter White or Ricky from Trailer Park Boys has made it into at least ONE character line-up I’ve done for a studio.

ATB: Not much is known to the public about Radical Axis (animation company), even though they animated two of our (and many other folks’) favorite cartoons, Aqua Teen and Squidbillies. What was it like working for them? Were there good perks to the job?

JB: Radical was great. They gave me the contacts and experience I needed to get comfortable with the industry. They were small and pretty laid back compared to the larger studios out West, and it was the perfect environment for young, budding artists to learn to perform pretty much any task in the animation pipeline. For most of my time there, the crew was only about 12-15 people; usually 4-5 animators, 2-4 compositors, an editor, and a few producers. At one point, there were a little over 100 people working there when Archer (Floyd County Productions) was just starting production on season 1 and needed studio space (So they merged with Radical for a season). It was kinda nuts, Suddenly we were filled to the brim with brilliant artists working on a show that we had NO idea was going to be so successful, let alone EMMY-NOMINATED one day. Haha. As far as job perks go, I got to work with my best friends all day. Pretty perky if you ask me. But yeah, we’d get lots of Adult Swim swag all the time, anything from Early Cuyler trucker hats with “Breathe If You’re Horny” on ’em to Meatwad beanbag chairs. We’d also get movie screening passes occasionally, and once we even got free passes to Dragon Con which was AWESOME. But I digress. Radical eventually dissolved, and people scattered around the country. Awesome Incorporated took over Squids and ATHF almost immediately. Luckily, some animators transferred over to help out.

ATB: You work for Archer today — how does working there differ from working at Radical Axis? For example, what were/are the production times/deadlines for different shows, ATHF, Squidbillies, Archer etc — how does that work?

JB: Well, Archer is kinda insane compared to Squidbillies. You’re talking a 6 artist crew for Squids and an 80+ artist crew for Archer. The switch was overwhelming. The biggest difference between the two is expectation. Archer requires a level of artistry unparalleled in the industry, while Squids is a beautifully loose and dirty show. I wish there was a happy medium between the two, but I’ve yet to find it. Another thing that separates the two shows is obviously budget; Archer can afford to draw out an episode’s production to as long as a couple months, while Squids is pretty much done in 4-5 weeks, for as cheap as possible.

ATB: I see on your IMDb entry (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3439363) that you even worked on an episode of Unsupervised! – another great show – and Out There, which I haven’t even had a chance to see yet. I also know you have a pretty excellent tumblr (thebarnes.tumblr.com) with some great images of your art — do you have a demo reel of your animation available online anywhere?

JB: Haha- IMDB is a little outdated, currently it’s only about 50% of the work I’ve done. I actually worked on all 13 of Unsupervised (RIP) and about half of Out There. Both shows were so much fun to work on. An absolute shame they didn’t make it to second seasons. Unsupervised was expected to not make it; just clashed too hard with FX’s line-up. But Out There was a perfect show; funny, smart, and visually engaging there’s no reason it shouldn’t have been renewed. It was the perfect animated flagship for IFC. The way she goes, I guess…

As far as a CURRENT demo reel… I do not have one. BUT you can find my old college stuff and some shitty internship work from Radical Axis over at TheBarnesVault.com haha. My tumblr is the best way to follow my current work.

ATB: Wow, I agree on Unsupervised being extremely underrated. Do you watch cartoons now, or maybe you have for years..? This may be similar to your answer in the second question above, but what are some of your favorite cartoons?

JB: I’m constantly watching new cartoons, mainly animator’s personal projects on youtube or vimeo. See above. Haha.

ATB: Any advice for aspiring animators?

JB: First off, get comfortable and connected with your creativity. Sit with a stack of post-it notes and just draw if you’re not comfortable with your own style yet. I find the post-it note format keeps things fast, simple, and small; there’s little room for details and overwhelming pressure (especially if you doodle with a Sharpie, that’s my fav). Another thing that’s helped me get comfortable and connected with my creativity over the years is “There are no rules, just tools.” At least when it comes to my own work, I constantly remind myself that there is no one watching over my shoulder telling me how things should look. It calms me down (I’m kind of an anxious person in that respect haha). If there’s one thing I’ve learned about art, it’s that you’ve gotta stay loose and relaxed. Otherwise you tighten up and your work gets strangled and stiff. Feel the flow, as they say. You also gotta FEED the flow, too! Get a tumblr account and start following artists, and then follow the artists that those artists follow/reblog. That’s the quickest way to get connected with other artists and stay fresh on current trends and techniques. Not to mention it’s an endless feed of inspiration. Some truly brilliant artists floating out there in the blogosphere that you won’t find in any production art book or art history book unfortunately.

ATB: We want to thank Jason for doing this interview, and for imparting such great advice to our readers! Thanks again, Jason!

 

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20 Great Animated TV Shows That We Watch and Follow

29 Nov
Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty

We wrote a list like this a few posts back, but shows are always being canceled, and new ones are always premiering. It’s the animated TV circle of life.

We took some time and gathered up a NEW list of the 20 shows that we currently love, watch, and follow. And this time, we tried our best to gather up as much detailed information as we could about the present and future of each show.

Here’s the list of cartoons – ask questions or post comments you may have below the post!

The Amazing World of Gumball (Finale episode of season 2 will air next Tuesday, December 3, on Cartoon Network. Season 3 of the show will feature a new voice actor for the voice of Gumball, and is confirmed, but its exact start date is TBA.)

American Dad! (Currently airing new episodes of season 10 on Sunday nights on FOX. Season 10 ends in February 2014. Reruns are aired on adult swim. This 10th season is the show’s last on FOX, as it is moving to TBS for its 11th season around July 2014, exact start date TBA.)

Annoying Orange (The latest new episode was shown August 2013 on Cartoon Network. I’m sure more will come.)

Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Known as Aqua TV Show Show for this last season, the show recently completed its 10th season on Cartoon Network’s adult swim. It was fantastic, as always. We are always excited for the next season. The show may have a new name next season. Who even knows at this point. I just hope they continue making this show forever. Exact details and start date for what I hope is a season 11 TBA.)

Archer (Season 5 begins January 13th 2014 on FX!)

Beavis and Butt-Head (Episodes of season 8 were aired in 2011 after a long hiatus and revival, but then there was no real further news from MTV of its status. In 2012, the manager of the ‘Save Beavis & Butt-Head 2013’ campaign discovered that the show had been cancelled on MTV. The show is now possibly seeking a new home, and Hulu has reportedly shown interest.)

Bob’s Burgers (Currently airing new episodes of season 4 on Sunday nights on FOX. Season 4 ends in February 2014, with the rest of the Animation Domination lineup. Occasional reruns are aired on adult swim.)

Brickleberry (Season 2 just ended on Comedy Central. The show has been well received, and is one of the funniest new shows we’ve seen in a long time. Season 3 has been confirmed for 2014, exact start date TBA.)

China, IL (Season 2 just ended on adult swim. The new 30-minute format works great, and we’re psyched for a season 3, which we hope will be confirmed soon!)

Family Guy (Currently airing new episodes of season 12 on Sunday nights on FOX. Season 12 ends in February 2014. Reruns are aired on adult swim. Just killed off Brian Griffin and replaced with new family dog Vinny.)

The Looney Tunes Show (Has been airing new episodes of season 2 on Cartoon Network. The latest episode was August 2013, and the air date for the next and perhaps final episode of the season, ‘SuperRabbit’, is currently TBA.)

Metalocalypse (After season 4 on adult swim, when Toki was kidnapped, the hour-long special ‘Doomstar Requiem : A Klok Opera’ aired October 2013 on adult swim. Was pretty amazingly epic. No news yet about a 5th season, but the end of the Klok Opera was a cliffhanger and hinted at more ahead.)

Regular Show (Currently showing new episodes of season 5 on Monday nights on Cartoon Network. Season 5 ends December 31, 2013 with a new years themed episode. Recently aired a half-hour Thanksgiving special episode. Season 6 has been confirmed for 2014.)

Rick and Morty (Season 1 premieres December 2nd at 10:30 on adult swim! The entire pilot can currently be seen on YouTube! From the creator of Community. This is a seriously amazing and hilarious show. You need to see this!!)

Sanjay and Craig (Season 1 on Nickelodeon just ended in November 2013, and season 2 has been confirmed, exact start date TBA. Another new, amazing and very funny show. Thuropp Van Ormann from Flapjack works on this.)

The Simpsons (Currently airing new episodes of season 25 on Sunday nights on FOX. Season 25 will likely end February 2014 with the rest of the Animation Domination lineup, although exact air dates of each episode have not yet been specified. Season 26 has been confirmed by FOX and will most likely begin September 2014 with the rest of FOX’s Animation Domination lineup.)

South Park (Currently airing new episodes of season 17 on Wednesday nights on Comedy Central. Recently engulfed in a multi-part ‘Black Friday Saga’. A deal with Comedy Central was made in 2011 to keep the series going until at least season 20, in 2016.)

SpongeBob Squarepants (Currently sporadically airing new episodes from the show’s current season, season 9. And season 9 has been airing since 2012! The show is so popular, it can basically air episodes whenever it wants on Nickelodeon, and it generally does so. The most recent episode was earlier this month, and the next episode, “Brainless”, has no specified air date yet. Season 10 may begin in 2014. A second SpongeBob movie is also in the works. It was announced that filming is starting in Georgia. The movie will star Antonio Banderas, and will perhaps have a 2015 release date. See article on both of these recent developments here.)

Squidbillies (Recently completed season 8 on adult swim. It was fantastic as always, and we are psyched for what we hope is another season, exact start date TBA!)

Superjail (Season 4 will consist of 6 episodes, and will air on adult swim in 2014.)

Transformers: Prime (This is admittedly the 21st animated TV show in a list of 20 currently-airing shows, and the only non-comedy entry. This is because the third and final season of TF: Prime aired this year, but there was a Predacons movie in October. Perhaps there will be more of these types of specials in the future. TF: Prime is and was such an excellent show.)

You should really watch the whole pilot of Rick and Morty right here. Seriously.

A Year In Cartoons – 2011 To 2012 – A Rundown

30 May
Regular Show

Realistic Mordecai & Rigby

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted!

To be fair, I moved (probably several times), lost several jobs, and I’m raising a 5 year old.

But he loves cartoons too!

For all of you on Twitter, many of you know that I’m on there constantly, of course – (twitter.com/animatedtvblog).

I’m changing the name of the blog here to “Animated TV Blog” like I use over on Twitter.

This year had a ton of great shows – Animation Domination, of course, with The MacFarlane Trinity: Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show.

We saw the rise in popularity of the amazing Bob’s Burgers, the cancellation of Napoleon Dynamite and Allen Gregory (thankfully!) and of course, my lifelong love, The Simpsons is still on the air and going strong (phooey to those who bitch about it!)

I’ve gathered together for the next post or two some interesting tidbits.

Futurama, as many know, is back in full force, and on Comedy Central starting in June 20th (check out the countdown here!) This last season of South Park and Ugly Americans were both pretty excellent – they had their hits and misses, all all series do (NONE of the series I’m mentioning are exempt from this rule!)

Aqua Something You Know Whatever starts in June as well on Cartoon Network’s adult swim – the 24th – and Squidbillies begins its new season soon also. Metalocalypse is well underway for this season too. There’s still a ton of great cartoons on adult swim!

The days on Cartoon Network are full of Regular Show and Adventure Time on most Mondays, sometimes The Amazing World of Gumball.

REALLY sad to see Secret Mountain Fort Awesome and Problem Solverz get cancelled.

And we never got our Cheyenne Cinnamon or Soul Quest Overdrive! Argh.

MTV did bring back Beavis and Butt-head, which honestly, I LOVED.

FX has Archer and Unsupervised (which I liked, hopefully it stays on air – it’s been renewed for a second season!)

Even SpongeBob Squarepants on Nick has been having great episodes lately! Some misses, but mostly hits.

I believe that’s mostly it for the moment.

In an upcoming post, I was inspired to write a “20 Essential American Cartoons” list, based on another one I found online – and mine is a VAST improvement!

So, here I am. I’m back.