A quick note for all would-be interviewers looking to get in a word edgewise with veteran Transformers voice actors Peter Cullen and Frank Welker when you've got them both in the same conversation: give up now and just let these two talk. The men behind Optimus Prime and Megatron have not only worked together for decades on shows outside of Transformers, but are good friends as well, with an easy rapport that you catch almost immediately when they get on the phone. The duo is indispensable to the 25-plus year old franchise, and it would be difficult to image what shape the the two men in their respective roles.
December 6th will see the DVD release of Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising, the Shout! Factory disc collecting the first arc of the new Hasbro-produced CG series on The Hub. Once again pitting the Autobots against the Decepticons in their seemingly eternal struggle, the battle returns to Earth with Megatron planning to escalate the conflict using the "blood" (as much as giant robots can be said to have blood) of ultimate franchise baddie, Unicron.
With the disc on the way next week, we thought we'd chat with Welker and Cullen--or at least let them talk while we listend--about the legacy of their characters, the unique working rapport they've developed over the years, and how innovations in CGI has allowed for more drama in Transformers.
Geek: How have you guys been enjoying working together on the current season of Prime?
Cullen: I gotta say it’s just a wonderful pleasure to be able to see Frank again and to work with him. We’ve reincarnated our glory days of Transformers and picked up where we left off. And it’s a riot.
Welker: Well, I will second that and working with Peter’s always a treat—we never quite know what’s going to happen from day to day, but it sure is great to see each other and reestablish old ties. You know, we have this rivalry of good and evil going back and it’s just fun to do battle with someone who you just like. [both laugh]
Tomorrow 12/2, from 2-7pm ET / 11am – 4 pm PT The Hub Television Network will present 5 straight hours of the Original series that started it all: Transformers Generation 1!
The 10 back-to-back action-packed episodes include two fan-favorite trilogies: "More Than Meets The Eye" and "Ultimate Doom."
Check Hubworld.com for schedule and channel in your area!
Atticus Tsai-McCarthy asks: Are you basically the editors in the sense that you decide where scenes end, and how they flow?
Sam Montes, storyboard artist: I wouldn't consider myself an editor, because “Transformers Prime” has its own editors and they do an amazing job of making the show look good. I'd say storyboard artists are a lot like cinematographers because we are responsible for selecting the camera angles and compositions of every shot. We are also like choreographers because we have to plot out how the characters move, act, fight and interact with the environments.
Jazz Meister asks: How long does it take to draw a single storyboard? And how often do you have to change them because something wasn't quite right?
Sam Montes, storyboard artist: For each episode, I'm usually given six weeks to finish my storyboard. That may seem like a long time but you have to consider that a storyboard artist is responsible for anywhere between 400 - 600 drawn panels per episode. As far as making changes to the storyboards, I find myself making revisions all the time. Animation is definitely a team project so it's important to incorporate the ideas of the other crewmembers, especially the directors, producers and designers.
Melynda Barney asks: What is it like being an artist for a Transformers cartoon?
Bryan Baugh, storyboard artist: It’s fun because I can remember having some of the Transformers toys as a kid. So I went into this project already familiar with the characters. I guess you could say, being an artist working on a new animated show about those same characters is sort of like the grown-up equivalent of playing with toys.
Jocelyn Simmons asks: When you guys draw out the scenes, do you guys do basic sketches like we've seen from Miko, just something to get the gist of each clip, or do you get into some of the deeper details, with little pieces and parts and all the little bolts and screws that steal every fan's breath away?
Bryan Baugh, storyboard artist: We usually don’t draw excessive detail in our boards. A storyboard artist’s job is to figure out the shot-to-shot visual storytelling, the camera angles, and the basic composition of each shot. So it is better for the characters to be drawn simply. A basic figure - with just a few basic shapes or a couple of unique features - does the trick just fine. Trying to sit there and doodle out all the little complex details of every robot’s surface texture, is not only unnecessary, but it can also make a storyboard drawing confusing to look at, or difficult to “read” visually. You want to get the point of each image across as clearly and immediately as possible.
Yessie Nieves asks: Hi guys Thanks for this opportunity. Which characters are for you the most challenging character of the series (including the humans)?
Paul Harmon, storyboard artist: The trickiest part is the scale of all the different characters; there’s a big range of sizes.
Alec Weston asks: What was the creation process for the storyboarding and how long did it take for each board?
Paul Harmon, storyboard artist: Each team is different. For my director we would do thumbnails, then roughs, and finally revisions. It’s a very thorough process but you’re more likely to stay on the same page that way.
Julia In-Gyong Handschin asks: How do you start a storyboard and how do you proceed? Do you have some brainstorming sessions where you gather ideas for the show?
Jeff Johnson, storyboard artist: We usually start by going over the script with the director. He lets us know what the scenes should accomplish and what the main goal of the episode might be.
Kathryn Vergara asks: Are all your storyboards still drawn out traditionally, with pencil/pen on paper, or is it all digital these days? Is either method easier or faster? And do all the storyboards between the various artists share the same "style" of work, or are they all very different?
Jeff Johnson, storyboard artist: I still use pencil and paper when I'm first going through the script. I make little drawings on the side to jot down ideas during my first pass through my section. After that, almost all of the drawing is done with a digital pen on an LCD screen. It is both much faster and much easier, especially when it comes to making changes and keeping track of the entire episode. All the storyboard artists try to keep the various needs of the show in mind while drawing, but the finished boards inevitably have an individual style. We are all different people after all and that comes out in the drawings.
For Immediate Release
November 23, 2011
THANKSGIVING DAY KICKS OFF ‘NAUGHTY OR NICE’ ONLINE EVENT ALLOWING FANS TO VOTE FOR TOP HERO AND VILLAIN
CHARACTER ON THE HUB TV NETWORK
Viewers’ Choices to be Featured in December Two-Hour Programming Event Accompanied by Special Call-In Sweepstakes
LOS ANGELES – Beginning Thanksgiving Day, November 24, fans of The Hub TV Network have the chance to help determine the network’s two-hour programming block on Sunday, December 18, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET by voting online in the second annual “Naughty or Nice” viewers’ choice event.
Fans can go to http://www.hubworld.com/holiday to choose from a list of “Heroes,” “Friends,” “Villains,” and “Meanies” in a three-round bracket system that will result in the naming of the “Naughtiest” and the “Nicest” character on The Hub. The voting results will be revealed during a two-hour marathon on December 18, as the characters crowned the “Naughtiest” and the “Nicest” will be featured in two half-hour episodes each.
Additionally, The Hub will host a call-in sweepstakes during which viewers of the two-hour programming block on Sunday, December 18 will have the chance to win one of four prize packages, each consisting of a $2,500 cash card and a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice. The toll-free, call-in number for the sweepstakes will be provided on-screen during the December 18 episodes which will reveal the two characters viewers will have voted to be the “Naughtiest” and the “Nicest.” Winners will be randomly selected from the phone calls that are received. For complete information and official rules visit http://www.hubworld.com/holiday and click the sweepstakes link. Participants must be six years old or older to enter and the sweepstakes is limited to legal residents of the 50 United States & D.C.
The nominees for the “Naughty or Nice” online event are as follows:
· Snake Eyes (“G.I. Joe Renegades”)
· Jem (“Jem and the Holograms”)
· Batman (“Batman The Animated Series”)
· Optimus Prime (“Transformers Prime”)
· Pinkie Pie (“”My Little Pony Friendship is Magic”)
· Chris (“Dan Vs.”)
· Strawberry Shortcake (“Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures”)
· Cookie (“Pound Puppies”)
· Megatron (“Transformers Prime”)
· Baroness (“G.I. Joe Renegades”)
· Joker (“Batman The Animated Series”)
· Discord (“My Little Pony Friendship is Magic”)
· McLeish (“Pound Puppies”)
· Dan (“Dan Vs.”)
· The Tick Monster (“R.L. Stine’s Haunting Hour: The Series”)
· Pizzazz (“Jem and the Holograms”)
THE HUB is a multi-platform joint venture between Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) and Hasbro, Inc., (NASDAQ: HAS) with a goal of entertaining, enlightening, empowering and educating children and their families. The cable and satellite television network features original programming as well as content from Discovery's library of award-winning children's educational programming; from Hasbro's rich portfolio of entertainment and educational properties built during the past 90 years; and from leading third-party producers worldwide. The Hub lineup includes animated and live-action series, as well as specials, game shows, and family-favorite movies. The network extends its content through a robust and engaging online presence at http://www.hubworld.com. The Hub rebranded from Discovery Kids on October 10, 2010, and reaches approximately 61 million U.S. households. The Hub logo and name are trademarks of Hub Television Networks, LLC. All rights reserved.
Visit The Hub at http://www.hubworld.com for more videos, games and fun!
-- THE HUB --
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