In my summary of the Animation on Display panels with Jayson Thiessen (posted last Thursday), I already hinted at it: Jayson Thiessen also gave an exclusive interview for Bronyville. This interview took place in between the two panels he gave. It’s some forty-seven minutes of pure Thiessen, brought to you by our podcast wizards at Bronyville. Enjoy!
Then, of course, there is also my summary after the break.
- They try to keep the work environment at DHX Media relaxed and open wherever they can, so creativity can flow in from all directions at all stages, be it from storyboarders, animators, layout artists, vel sim. He is also thankful to Hasbro for allowing them this freedom. (2:35)
- He likes to think of the show as “a fourth-dimensional painting that … takes 22 minutes to see the painting.” (Or three-dimensional, since it’s 2D Flash. Sorry.) Otherwise “you can lose sight of the bigger picture.” (9:43)
- From 11:23 onward he went into more detail about the past shows he has worked on, how his position, and thus his perspective differed then, and how this experience helped him to approach My Little Pony with more confidence. (11:23)
- Directing is like “drawing with boxing gloves on your hands,” because he had to learn and “[is] still trying to learn the art of communicating your ideas to the people who are actually doing the work and getting them to see your vision and understand it,” without curtailing their creative freedom and personal style, or even jumping in to fix scenes himself. (14:47)
- After 20:44 he gives some more background on the felt animation they did for A Friend in Deed, going into the inception of the idea, Jocelan’s work on it, how they consult with each other (she is storyboard artist), and much more.
- He doesn’t want to be “the kind of storyteller that falls in love with a scene or a joke and tries to squeeze it in where it’s not appropriate,” so he tries to quickly let go of ideas that “ended up on the cutting room floor,” as Apple Cider put it. (24:35)
- The fandom “definitely has changed the way I feel about the show,” and that on two levels even. For one, he has to be much more careful not to accidentally drop any spoilers, also because it might “disrupt our relationship with the client,” but “it’s not about getting in trouble.” It is, however, “a good problem to have.” He is “really happy that this has happened,” because “when you’re a kid,” aspiring to create cartoons, it is your dream that “people will actually care about what [you] draw.” (27:43)
- The show has evolved; hence they are moving beyond Lauren Faust’s pitch bible. However, “the characters were so well thought out … that we didn’t really need to deviate that much.” They don’t use it “as a reference for every episode,” but they “try to keep the spirit of it.” (30:43)
- On the September 2011 BroNYCon, “there were some posters made where people drew me as a pony” (Similar to this one?) and then “One fan … handed me a customized sculpted pony that represented me. I have it in my office. It was really well done. I was really impressed by it.” He hasn’t tried to draw his own OC, but he is “not opposed to someone else doing it.” “But then … you’d have to have one for Wootie and Sarah Wall and …” (32:58) Any artists among you going “Challenge accepted!”?
- Of course he is proud of his voice actors and the “spontaneous feel” they lend to the show. (34:23) Tabitha St. Germain is amazing, Andrea Libman can reach incredible speeds as Pinkie Pie, but really: “Everyone is great. I love the hole crew.” (36:45)
- About continuity and character development: “The point of any series is to grow the characters. Everything should evolve and get better.” (40:04) Yesyesyesyesyes!
- “Eventually I’d like to … develop my own show. That’s … always been a dream of mine.” (42:04)
- Finally, at 42:40, he said that “it’s really quite an honor to be at the forefront … [and to be] part of the reason, perhaps, that this is existing” and asked us to “just keep being awesome fans!”
As usual, if there are any omissions or errors, please tell me in the comments, so I can fix them.