Oh, are you kids in for a treat. We've finally turned in our seventh script, which is in fact the script for next year's season premiere, and we're pretty proud of it. I'd say more but I wouldn't want to blow the surprise. Suffice to say it's filled with many answers to many questions and we somehow found a way to catch up with characters new and old that have no earthly business being in the episode at all. I'll say this: we get to see a little more of Jonas Jr., a little more of the Venture compound, and a little more of some of the other villains Monarch was sharing his prison sentence with in last season's finale. And good god are we putting poor Rusty through the ringer this season. While not officially a two parter, this first episode and the second (written a few weeks ago) form a lovely diptych of complimentary comedy. I really can't wait till you guys see them. Well, assuming they get animated well.
The absurdly talented Doc Hammer, renaissance man that he is, is going to have his first solo gallery exhibition in a couple of weeks and is painting like a man possessed in preparation for it. This is no joke. Somehow the man co-wrote two scripts with me in the last month AND edited together something like 20 minutes of special features stuff for the Venture Bros. DVD. I expect he will spend the rest of this month putting the finishing touches on an acute case of chronic fatigue syndrome. So please check out the link and come to the opening, which I'm told is from 6-8pm.
We've finished the animatic for episode 1 and are in the midst of editing episode 2's. The characters and backgrounds are being designed for episode 7 and we have finally fired up the little engine that is the color department. They start after everyone but the animation direction department has finished, so they're working on the episode 1 right now. Perhaps I'll start leaking some more production art in these journals, now that it'll be in glorious extra-color. Storyboards for episode 4 have just come in and artists are working on the boards for episodes 5 and 6. J.G. Thirlwell is back, having stopped by Noodlesoup to pick up the first animatic and begin his months-long musical journey.
The juggling act is getting harder and harder for me. Our schedule is designed such that we have a script due every two weeks. Which, when Doc and I are alternating, means we individually have one script due per month. Not too grueling in theory, but with all our other jobs it still wears one out. However, since we collaborated on the last two in a row, we've lost that little bit of cushion. I now have less than two weeks to get my next script in (and even then it's technically late) because Doc has shouldered the burden of 99.99% of the DVD special features project and now needs to focus on his painting for a few weeks as he rounds the home stretch to his solo exhibition (see above plug). Fortunately, I've been working a little bit on the script in fits and starts while doing other things and have been revisiting it from time to time, so I'm not staring at a blank page. The germ of this story's been kicking around since the beginning of season one, but it really gelled into a complete premise a couple of months ago through discussions with Ben Edlund, who was originally going to write it. Ben's still going to write an episode, but those same discussions yielded a second story that he felt more attached to. Anyway, the pressure's on for me this week and next. Which sucks because the next storyboard I have to revise--and next animatic I have to edit--is for episode 3, which is (so far) my personal favorite of the scripts I wrote solo this season. The script requires more delicate and precise direction than some of the others in order to bring the full flavor of its fruits to bear and it would kill me not to lavish it with attention. One half of it is an epic, James Bond-y affair told in short beats in half a dozen exotic locations. The other half is a warped character piece/obsessive love story with a lot of physical comedy--both of which are difficult to achieve with limited animation on a low budget. Some episodes are like that--the visual expression of the jokes is the key to the whole thing, or the images in your head are so married to the printed word that nothing less than their full and accurate manifestation in the animation will suffice. I drove the storyboard artists nuts with this one back when they were doing their thumbnails. I should get a break in a few weeks, though, when Doc is back in action and I'm revising the boards for the fifth episode, which he wrote and which, unlike episode 3, is practically idiot-proof in that it would be funny almost any way you shoot it. Not that we have any idiots working on the show, thank god. Far from it.
What a long, strange week it's been...
A guy got shot outside my apartment last weekend and I have a welt the size of a baby's fist from an ingrown hair on the back of my neck. These two events are unrelated. But things are looking up: the weather's finally broken here in New York, after a particularly oppressive summer of soul-deadening heat and humidity (of course nothing like the awful hurricanes the south's been getting hit with--so how can I complain?--but enough was enough) and last night I caught an acoustic Supergrass show at the Bowery Ballroom, which was pretty amazing and took away the stress for a few hours.
The secret files of the Ventureverse
- The Beginning is the Middle