EXCLUSIVE: J.G. Quintel Talks Regular Show: Party Pack DVD
J.G. Quintel Talks Regular Show Party Pack DVD, available now
The Cartoon Network series Regular Show has been a hit with viewers ever since it debuted back in 2010. These animated adventures follow a blue jay named Mordecai (J.G. Quintel) and the raccoon Rigby (William Salyers), who have mundane jobs as groundskeepers at a local park.
For fans who need a regular dose of Regular Show, the network has released the Regular Show: Party Pack on DVD as a follow-up to the Regular Show - The Best DVD in the World *At this Moment in Time and Regular Show: The Slack Pack. This latest disc contains 16 episodes from all three seasons that have some sort of party theme that Mordecai and Rigby come across.
I recently had the chance to speak with series creator, and the voice of Mordecai, J.G. Quintel about this Party Pack DVD set, which is currently available at retailers everywhere. Here's what he had to say.
I was looking through everything you do on the show, and it seems like you're a one-stop shop. Writing, producing, voicing, and I even saw you did some of the storyboards. Do you provide the catering as well?
J.G. Quintel: (Laughs) I do make food. No, I do really enjoy working on every aspect of the show. Part of it comes from really wanting do it in a very specific way, but I started as a storyboard artist. Now running a show, you have to step in and give input on every step of the process. I still thoroughly enjoy storyboarding when I get a chance. It's fun. It's like making films, but you don't have to animate them.
I saw you were writing for a bunch of other animated shows before this. Where did the Regular Show idea spring from?
J.G. Quintel: It really came from my student films. I was going to CalArts, and I had made a couple of films in my junior year and senior year that had characters from Regular Show in it. After school, I ended up working at Cartoon Network. I was in the middle of working on a show as a creative director, and Cartoon Network started looking for new show ideas, through this program called The Cartoonstitute. They were looking for aged-up things, and they asked me if I had anything to pitch. I remembered all my characters from my student films, so I put something together and it kind of became Regular Show right off the bat. It was just a story about college friends working lame jobs, and doing anything they can to get out of work (Laughs).
Was the plan always that you would voice a lot of these characters?
J.G. Quintel: I definitely wanted to keep the voices really natural. For the main character Mordecai, I had voiced him in one of my student films, so I felt he was already established, and I wanted to keep him the same. At the same time, with some of the other characters like Pops and Benson, they were both voiced by Sam Marin, who I went to school with. He was an animator and he had done practically all the voices for my student films. When the show got picked up, it was like, 'He's already done these.' We already established who the characters are, and I wanted to keep them the same. Sam came on, and he ended up doing Muscle Man and a ton of other characters. I tried out a couple of other characters, although not too many, because I kind of get sick of the sound of my own voice.
What can you say about working with Cartoon Network in general, and what kind of input they've given you as the show has progressed?
J.G. Quintel: Cartoon Network is really great about creative freedom, and kind of letting us do what we want. They're really supportive of all our ideas, and I know some of our ideas can get pretty crazy. Even the show itself, whenever I pitch it out loud and talk about what it is, there's a blue jay and a gumball machine and a Yeti, and they work at a park. Wow, that is a crazy-sounding idea, but they went for it, and they're totally supportive of it. They all have great creative notes, when we pitch boards. It's a really ideal working environment.
For this Party Pack DVD set, there are 16 episodes from the first three seasons. What kind of process do you go through to find the right episodes for a compilation like this?
J.G. Quintel: We really tried to put on episodes that had a partying theme running through them. There are a ton of really cool episodes from earlier seasons, like "Free Cake", where Mordecai and Rigby are just trying to get some free cake, then we have "Party Pete", where they're just trying to prove that they can throw a decent party. "Karaoke Video" is a really awesome episode, all the way up to some later ones like "Fuzzy Dice", where they're just trying to get Pops a pair of fuzzy dice from the Fun Fun Zone. The whole thing is pretty party-ish.
What kind of interactions have you been getting from the fans through Facebook and Twitter? The show is geared towards both adults and children, so I was curious which group seems to respond to it the most?
J.G. Quintel: The cool thing is we're really making it so it has something for everybody to be entertained by, young and old. We're really making it for ourselves. I see things on Twitter like kids walking in on their parents watching it by themselves and laughing. We have succeeded. That's the coolest thing, that parents are into it and don't even need their kids in the room to watch it. That's pretty awesome.
You're currently airing new Season 4 episodes now. Are there any particularly interesting episodes we should look out for?
J.G. Quintel: We're currently running the fourth season, with new episodes on Monday's. We're in the middle of producing our fifth season, which is another 40, 11-minute episodes, so there's still a ton of Regular Show to go. They just keep getting cooler and cooler, where we take these characters, and we're excited for people to see where they go and what happens.
I know animation, compared to live-action, has a much bigger gap between producing them and airing them. Do you find any issues that you want to bring up that are more difficult to present when you're producing it a year or so before it airs?
J.G. Quintel: Well, luckily for us, we tend to sneak in a lot of 80s references and a lot of old technology, so we're not in any danger of being behind the curve. I think we're kind of putting ourselves there on purpose (Laughs). The characters have VHS tapes and other stuff going on. As far as lead time, it takes quite awhile to do one 11-minute episode. It takes about nine months, from writing the concept to delivering the final episode to be aired. We're working on anywhere between 20 at a time, in all different parts of the process. It's pretty intense, and you've just got to keep going. The whole TV machine, it just can't stop. If there's ever something you think turned out kind of bad, you try your hardest to fix it so it will be cool, but at a certain point, you just run out of time, and you have to keep going. It's a fun challenge.
Are there any guest voices you've always wanted to bring on?
J.G. Quintel: Oh, that is a tough question, because there are tons of people we would love to get. We have so many great voice actors who are so versatile. We have Roger Craig Smith, and he plays over 15 different characters on the show, and you can not tell the difference. You'll listen closely and go, 'That's the same guy?' We've had moments when we're recording and he'll have an entire two pages of script all to himself, and he's just talking to each other. We're watching him, but it sounds like there's three people in the room. It's really cool. It would be fun to get all these different big-name actors, but it's also really fun to work with these guys who are uber-talented and who sound like a million different people. It's kind of crazy that they can do it.
Is there anything else you're looking to develop as well, or is it just all Regular Show for you these days?
J.G. Quintel: At the moment, Regular Show is really taking up all of my time. I'm trying to stick with it as much as I can, to keep the quality up. I feel like the whole crew is getting better and better, and we're finding our legs as we've made it through these first couple of seasons. I feel we can keep going for awhile. In the future, after Regular Show is over, I would love to make more shows. I really enjoy making animated comedies. It's really fun and, hopefully, someday that can happen.
For voicing these characters, I'm curious about how you and the rest of the cast finds the right voice for each role. Is it something instinctive or something you have to really develop?
J.G. Quintel: In the middle of the show, when we're working on it as fast as it has to go, the storyboard artists will draw the characters... Like, when we write up a new character that's going to be in an episode, like let's say GBS is going to be this floating video game master that comes and plays Mordecai and Rigby, the board artists make a design, and then they pitch the board out loud. They'll put some sort of voice on, but it's not obviously what's actually going to end up being, but you get a taste of it there. Is it going to be a deep voice? Is it going to be intimidating? Is it going to be funny? You go from there, look at the drawing and go, 'What would fit that?' Sometimes, people will read a voice and they'll go, 'You sound exactly how the drawing looks. That's perfect.'
That's awesome. Are there any teases you can give about any upcoming Season 4 episodes?
J.G. Quintel: Oh, man. We've got some really amazing episodes coming up in Season 4, so those aren't that far off. I'm super-secretive about specifics, because I want people to get the full hit by tuning into the show, without ruining anything. We have more songs coming up, more Mordecai and Margaret songs coming up. It's going to be pretty epic. I'm excited.
J.G. Quintel: I think there are a lot of hilarious episodes on here. If you haven't seen the show, it's the perfect disc to pick up and check them all out. I don't think you'll be disappointed. For people who are already fans of the show, there are a lot of episodes you're going to remember loving. They're all going to be on this disc, so definitely pick it up.
Excellent. That's about all I have. Thanks so much, J.G.. It was great talking to you.
J.G. Quintel: Awesome. Thanks.