Tag Archives: unsupervised

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!

 

Advertisements

Futurama Canceled. Again. Along With Ugly Americans and The Cleveland Show.

27 Apr

Image

Ugh. Comedy Central did it again. I’m sure most people know by now, but Futurama is canceled. Again. By Comedy Central.

So is Ugly Americans.

But luckily, Brickleberry (which we liked) is still around.

Some great Animation Domination lately, despite The Cleveland Show also being canceled.

Bob’s Burgers is GOLD. Simpsons has been great as always. The winning combo of Faimly Guy and American Dad!… all on FOX.

Killer Regular Show and Annoying Orange episodes on Cartoon Network.

Who knows when or if we’ll see new Beavis and Butthead episodes on MTV. I hope we will.

They’re airing the final 13 Futurama episodes in June.

But who knows. Maybe another network will revive it again! Hah.

Image

Superjail! New Season Beginning, Animation Domination, Regular Show Special

29 Sep

Brickleberry!Ah, cartoon seasons end and cartoon seasons begin…

A lot of great stuff happening this month!

Great cartoon series that had their season finales:

Metalocalypse (new Dethklok III album out Oct 16!)
Aqua Something You Know Whatever
Squidbillies
Futurama (mid-season finale)
Regular Show (mid-season finale – starts again this Monday, October 1, with a HALF HOUR special – see below!)

Cartoon seasons already begun/beginning:

The Amazing World of Gumball (already started – new most Tuesdays, Cartoon Network)
Brickleberry – started Sept 25, Comedy Central (continues on Tuesdays)
South Park – started Sept 26, Comedy Central (continues on Wednesdays)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Sept 29, Nickelodeon (Will it be good?)
The Simpsons – Sept 30, FOX
Bob’s Burgers – Sept 30, FOX
The Cleveland Show – Sept 30, FOX
Family Guy – Sept 30, FOX
American Dad! – Sept 30, FOX (all five of the previously mentioned shows air most Sundays starting around 7!)
Superjail! – Sept 30, adult swim (Cartoon Network, continues every Sunday)
Regular Show – Oct 1, Cartoon Network (should continue most Mondays)

Superjail! has a new tumblr blog! And the new season starts tomorrow – Sunday night – along with all the Animation Domination shows on FOX!

Straight from Brad Neely, new episodes of China, IL are being finished up, probably for a summer premiere – and they will be HALF HOUR episodes!

There’s a new Spongebob rock and roll special airing on Nickelodeon soon, and there is a 4D Spongebob movie announced for Spring – probably in theaters..?

There have been no official announcments as to whether Ugly Americans has been renewed for a new season (we hope!) but MTV’s Unsupervised is coming back.

Hey MTV, I want more Beavis and Butt-Head episodes!

Great new cartoon-based toys came out for Regular Show and also now for T.U.F.F. Puppy! Now where are my American Dad! action figures, Seth?!?

Finally, Futurama and Regular Show won Emmys!!! Congrats to Maurice Lamarche, J.G. Quintel, and everyone else! We love ya!

As always, check out the links over on the right hand side for ALL the official websites of our favorite shows, and follow us on Twitter.

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.