Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Family That Slays Together Stays Together

Okay, I been slackin on these Venture Bros updates so here's a massive one for the two-part finale. I'll do a roundup post with all the other episodes of the season soon

/!\ Beware! The post below contains SPOILERS /!\

These episodes were really important because they were the last episodes! The schedule was frought with delays, holdovers and some days where we weren't sure how things would work at all. But hell we made it! and we did an alright job if I don't say so myself.

Molotov and her Blackhearts land. I can't find the drawing of them falling through the air but do you really need it? In the now immortal words of Jackson Publick, "You masturbate enough."

Hank! He's cool and he doesnt take any crap even when there's bullets flying at his head. The chase sequence was fun to direct because Hank's scared and a total smartass at the same time.

Go Fish casting and an explosion! I like explosions very much and drawing them is incredibly fun. More on that later.

This is a mechanical frog tying up Brock. These drawings are crazy off-model but I love drawing that dude's face. There was a criminally short amount of time to show that Brock was being restrained by this frog dealio. When I saw it on TV it came across okay. I wish I could have done more though.

FUN FACT: In scenes I direct where Dr. Venture is onscreen but not talking, I draw him getting bored. He's usually in the background somewhere looking at his watch and rolling his eyes.

SMACK! Dr. Venture and Brock's interrogation was hilarious.

BROCKFACES. Brock's got the best face to draw. It's a complicated, manly face that gives you a lot of options. Most of his acting consists of extreme emotions and broad gestures so he's a lot of fun to draw and direct.

This is Collar, one of the LAPD that interrogates our heroes. Drawings C-2, C-5, C-7 and C-9 were done by Danny Hynes, one of my good friends in the Revisions dept. We went to college together and we're very used to eachother's drawings, so it was a real treat to have him working on the part of production directly preceding mine.

DING DING DING! "Dr. Venture is bored as hell" alert!

Venture Bros. is: a bald madman about to put his knife to Mr. Clean's throat.

Molotov being her normally alluring self in street clothes. The effect isn't quite the same without her normal uniform.

Hank's big speech was a great moment. A lot of the drawings for the boards were done by Stephen DeStefano, a name I seriously can't credit enough. This guy was a hero to guys like me who watched his work on Ren & Stimpy for ages. Getting the chance to work on the same project as him was really enriching. Those Hanks above are just me trying to ape the dude's sense of movement.

Rusty and Hatred swap war stories. A WHOLE LABRADOR RETRIEVER.

Venture Bros is: the excitement that can only be doused by seeing a lifeless clone version of your body fall to the ground in a gory mess.

Here it is: the money shot(at least for me). I love drawing explosions and my direction from Jackson Publick on this one was to "not make it crappy". Explosions are traditionally very difficult to do. Sometimes you draw an explosion and it just looks like a puff of smoke when you get it back from Korea. So I made sure to draw a very detailed explosion that would leave no room for crap. It actually came out a lot different than I expected it to, but Digital Emation did a very good job. The colors came out vibrant and there was constant movement on the dust and flames.

If you look into 21's eyes as he's screaming "24! NOOOOOOOOOO!!", you can see the reflection of the flaming skull of 24 flying closer and closer until BOINK! it hits him in the face. If that isn't the best "super-dramatic moment gets punctuated by cartoonish failure" joke I've ever seen on this show, I dunno what is.

Also: That skull looks an awful lot like The Venture Bros logo... I'm glad they didnt draw that in the real episode.


To wrap things up I just wanna say a thanks to Jackson and Doc for making a great show, and a thanks to World Leaders for having the cajones to employ an inexperienced, second-time director for their flagship series. GO TEAM VENTURE!

vbros update 3

Venture Bros DIR. UPDATE number threee + nockFORCE

These blog entry titles were getting a little long, had to trim it down a bit.

Anyway, a new Venture episode has been unleashed upon the public!


Going by the adultswim schedule, the airing order is all mixed up, innit? Well that's because the show was made out of order. But it airs in the right order continuity-wise. So no worries there.

I bring that up because this baby was the first episode I worked on! #27.

I was scared out of my mind, as you might be able to tell my some of the forthcoming drawings. Some of these drawings are... well... less-than-confident. And I'll admit that some of my timing in this episode was pretty off. But things seemed to turn out alright I suppose!

These were the first drawings I did for the show. I didn't really try to embellish the acting that much- I was still too timid. But my next scene assignment forced me to stop being such a baby:

Yo-S-I! One of the highlights in this episode is a hilarious and fast-paced "OSI theme song" sequence. I nearly shat a brick sideways when I found out I had to direct some of it. But it came out okay!!!

This is where I really got into it though: Please enjoy the acting on Shore Leave and his cronies. This storyboard sequence had some amazing drawings done by the art director Stephen DeStefano.

I hope you enjoy the episode!


before I forget, here's a nockFORCE that I never posted here! Enjoy.

VBROS update1


Oh man Venture Bros season 3 comes out today. just 5 hours from my typing this! HOLY CRAP!

I have a manila folder full of drawings that I saved from when I was working on it. Every week I will try to scan a few of them from the show that airs.


I got a job on VB doing direction and I was really scared, because I had never directed a real cartoon before. But it turned out okay. Basically my job started after the animatic stage. We'd get an animatic made of the storyboards and sit down with Jackson(he created the show!) and he would give us suggestions on how things would move. After these meetings I would have a bunch of notes like this!

Then came the hard part- transcribing these kinds of subtleties onto paper. We used X-Sheets to track every movement. You know, These things:

I'm kicking myself for not saving some of the completed x-sheets because they looked like a huge clusterbomb of scribbles when they were completed. oh well. they sent all of them to Korea and I'll never see them again! Anyway i'm sure you've all seen x-sheets before- Each row is one frame of time and it is up to you to decide what happens on each frame by making descriptions. They translate the instructions into Korean and I don't know how it works but it always does.

Anyway the episode of venture that comes out today isn't actually the first one I worked on. So I guess I'll reminisce about that experience later. This was maybe the 4th or 5th one produced and it was pretty fun.

This episode has a lot of silhouettes in it. A LOT of them. One of the best things about this is you only have to direct the heads going back and forth slightly as they talk.

I spent a lot of my time on this kind of stuff- making people walk down a hall and talk. By pure luck I directed a lot of talky sequences. But those are fun because you get to draw a lot of body language.

eughhhhh WALKING IN PERSPECTIVE. It's difficult to draw and it became a pain sometimes. But I liked drawing Dr. Girlfriend. She has a lot of really sarcastic line reads. And she's a sexy sexy lady. Which is always a plus.

Hope you enjoy the episode!

vbros update2

So! Another episode of Venture is going to air soon (it's online HERE)

some stuff from one of my favorite parts.


If the meat of directing are X-sheets, the potatoes are storyboard sketches. Before the animatics are even created, artists draw and painfully revise storyboard panels so theyre perfect and high quality. Storyboard revisions is where the show really comes together.

(If you'd like an example, check out some of the awesome ones that Lauren Monardo did. So dope.)

However, the storyboarders don't get time to add in all of the specific acting or details they want. So it falls on the direction team's shoulders to fill in the gaps. It's fun because there's some overlap. I got to learn a lot just by imitating the board artists.

For this section of storyboard, Alchemist was just standing around. We can't have that! Al is one of my favorite characters. Oh hell, they're ALL my favorites. I got to add in a little more interaction between him and Triana:


Sometimes I got to add little bits of fun business! That's my favorite part. Alchemist (yeah, him again) has to jump over a fence clumsily:

"Alchemist lunges in, jumps off of Brock's hand and smacks into fence"

It makes more sense with the timing, and it's so quick you probably don't even notice it. But it's the kind of move he'd bust.

Sometimes the sketches we'd make would add more work. When storyboards were kind of unspecific, often the direction team (Jennifer Batinich, Kimson "Rotating Nicknames" Albert, my supervisor Nick DeMayo and myself) would sit down and hammer out the solution.

Orpheus' MAGIC CLOAK OF CONCEALMENT!!! was supposed to glow at this one part, but the storyboards didn't make it clear so we decided on the emblem glowing first:

Problem with this, is that this new, glowing emblem didn't exist as a prop. Every prop must be cataloged! I can't just make shit up, you know? For stuff like this I would have to go to Carly Monardo and beg her to make a variation on whatever prop I was screwing up with my direction. A glowy variation, in this case.

Naturally, in the finished episode, it goes by in a flash and you can barely see it. Oh well.

It also had thi-

Th... this isn't what it looks like!


Well, I guess it's in character. See if you can spot it in the show next time you see it.