Difference between revisions of "Production"

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[[Category:Futurama]][[Category:Production| ]]
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{{about|the progress of production|the production history|History}}
''[[Futurama]]''{{'}}s '''production history''' has not always been easy.  From difficult upbringings, network difficulties and cancellation to revivals, cost cuts and salary negotiation collapses.
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The '''production of ''[[Futurama]]''''' was from its beginnings revolutionary.  ''Futurama'' is among the first shows to use entirely computer to colour cells and computer animation integrated into 2D for a television animated show.
  
Yet, ''Futurama'' has produced some of the better episodes and gags in the history of animated television.
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== Process ==
 
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== Progress ==
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Creating an episode for a show like ''Futurama'' is generally a three way task.  First '''writing''', then '''voice acting''' and finally '''animation'''.  In that order.  However, due to the amount of episodes the runners are usually working on at once, these tasks are often done simultaneously, and several episodes may be written, acted and animated at the same time.
 
Creating an episode for a show like ''Futurama'' is generally a three way task.  First '''writing''', then '''voice acting''' and finally '''animation'''.  In that order.  However, due to the amount of episodes the runners are usually working on at once, these tasks are often done simultaneously, and several episodes may be written, acted and animated at the same time.
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=== Writing ===
 
=== Writing ===
  
After the production company have placed an order for a specific amount of episodes, it is up to the show runners to decided the general plots of each of these episodes.  After having settled for a general plot using "[[Story cards|index cards with plot points]]", a writer is assigned to this specific episode.
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After the production company has placed an order for a specific number of episodes, it is up to the show runners to decide the general plots of each of these episodes.  After having settled for a general plot using "[[Story cards|index cards with plot points]]", a writer is assigned to this specific episode.
  
As writing progresses, the writers group to discuss their stories, where they are modified and trimmed up by the group.  And certain gags may be added as well.
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As writing progresses, the writers group to discuss their stories, where they are modified and trimmed up by the group.  And certain gags may be added as well. They also use techniques like [[lampshade hanging]].
  
 
=== Voice acting ===
 
=== Voice acting ===
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=== Animation ===
 
=== Animation ===
  
While the voice acting is occurring, in fact, before the writing is done, the animators (for ''Futurama'', this is [[Rough Draft Studio]]) begin working on the animations.
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While the voice acting is occurring, in fact, before the writing is done, the animators (for ''Futurama'', this is [[Rough Draft Studios]]) begin working on the animations.
  
 
==== 2D ====
 
==== 2D ====
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==== Computer graphics ====
 
==== Computer graphics ====
  
To keep with the futuristic setting of ''Futurama'', 3D was employed to help certain scenes where 2D simply would have been to expensive.  Such as space travel, but also other scenes got usage of 3D, such as holograms, car chases or wherever the animators felt 3D would work better than 2D.
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To keep with the futuristic setting of ''Futurama'', 3D was employed to help certain scenes where 2D simply would have been too expensive.  Such as space travel, but also other scenes got usage of 3D, such as holograms, car chases or wherever the animators felt 3D would work better than 2D.
  
 
In addition to 3D, computers were also used to employ certain tasks, such as colouring the hand drawn cells digitally, but also use certain technologies to fill crowd scenes with a so called "[[people hose]]".
 
In addition to 3D, computers were also used to employ certain tasks, such as colouring the hand drawn cells digitally, but also use certain technologies to fill crowd scenes with a so called "[[people hose]]".
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==== Cropping ====
 
==== Cropping ====
  
In general, episodes must be cut down to 22 minutes to fit on television for half an hour with commercials.  As part of a deal with [[Rough Draft Studio]], ''Futurama'' gets 2 minutes extra that they are allowed to cut,<ref name="com-ep3-dxc">{{cite commentary |speaker={{n|Cohen|David|X.}} |episode=I, Roommate |volume=One |disc=1}}</ref> but in generally, methods of putting a voice over an exterior shot or cutting frames here and there where a scene otherwise would be too long is generally used more than cutting full scenes.<ref name="com-ep3-dxc"/>
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In general, episodes must be cut down to 22 minutes to fit on television for half an hour with commercials.  As part of a deal with [[Rough Draft Studios]], ''Futurama'' gets 2 minutes extra that they are allowed to cut,<ref name="com-ep3-dxc">{{cite commentary |speaker={{n|Cohen|David|X.}} |episode=I, Roommate |volume=One |disc=1}}</ref> but in generally, methods of putting a voice over an exterior shot or cutting frames here and there where a scene otherwise would be too long is generally used more than cutting full scenes.<ref name="com-ep3-dxc"/>
  
== ''Futurama'' ==
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== Effects of budget changes for the second run ==
''Futurama'' is produced by [[The Curiosity Company]] and [[20th Century Fox]].  However, despite the regular partners, ''Futurama'' has varied in native network and format.
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=== Original run ===
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{{update}}
{{see also|Original run}}
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When [[Matt Groening]] and [[David X. Cohen]] originally pitched ''Futurama'' to Fox, they were not met with initial support.<ref name="com-ep1-mg">{{cite commentary |speaker={{n|Groening|Matt}} |episode=Space Pilot 3000 |volume=One |disc=1}}</ref>  In fact, the show had scared them somewhat with its setting and unusual characters,<ref name="com-ep3-mg">{{cite commentary |speaker={{n|Groening|Matt}} |episode=I, Roommate |volume=One |disc=1}}</ref> so in fact they told them to bring them a more down to Earth episode, which became "[[I, Roommate]]",<ref name="com-ep3-mg"/> unfortunately their reaction to it was plainly "worst. episode. ever",<ref name="com-ep3-dxc"/> which made its runners conclude that they'd just do the show they wanted to do, rather than appease 20th Century Fox.<ref name="com-ep3-mg"/>
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When ''Futurama'' was renewed for ''[[Comedy Central]]'', ''Futurama''{{'}}s budget was also changed in contrast to its budget under Fox.  During the original run, the writing staff was usually 12 - 13 writers, but now it is down to 7 writers.<ref name="backtofuturama">{{cite web |url=http://www.awn.com/articles/article/back-futurama/page/2 |publisher=Animation World Network |accessdate=2011-08-18 |date=2011-08-16 |author=Strike, joe |title=Back to the ''Futurama''}}</ref> [[Christopher Tyng]] also lost use of his orchestra.
  
Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, despite not doing any direct writing duties, except for a few episodes, stayed close with the project throughout its run to ensure its quality and its story remain en par with their original vision.
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== References ==
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{{reflist}}
  
But ''Futurama'' did not have it easy on the Fox Network, where they treated it carelessly by moving its airings on and off, to little avail for fans to find them.  In addition, they ended up airing them out of order.  When ratings suffered as a result, they did not want to order a fifth production season, and said they should consider that [[season 4]] might be their last season they'll do, so better make their series finale something special.<ref name="com-x1-mg">{{cite commentary |speaker={{n|Groening|Matt}} |film=Bender's Big Score}}</ref>
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{{futurama}}
  
As a result, they picked [[Ken Keeler]] to write "[[The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings]]", which would give some closure, but still contain loose strings in case they were brought back.<ref name="com-x4-dxc">{{cite commentary |speaker={{n|Cohen|David|X.}} |film=Into the Wild Green Yonder}}</ref>  However, no word ever came,<ref name="com-x1-mg"/> and by Spring, 2003, they were officially cancelled.
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[[Category:Production| ]]
 
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=== Direct-to-DVD films ===
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{{see also|Season 5}}
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After several years of running in syndication on [[Adult Swim]] and strong [[DVDs|DVD]] sales, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment re-approached the show runners to do a direct-to-DVD film, and after some negotiation, decided to do four direct-to-DVD films.<ref name="com-x1-dxc">{{cite commentary |speaker={{n|Cohen|David|X.}} |film=Bender's Big Score}}</ref>  20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's motivation came from the very strong DVD sale, as well as the good ratings it had had on Adult Swim during its hiatus.
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In addition, [[Comedy Central]] signed a contract to obtain the airing rights of ''Futurama'' on cable television in the United States from 2008.  In addition, the direct-to-DVD films were to be cut up into a total of 16 episodes (which would become [[season 5|production season 5]]) to air on Comedy Central.
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=== Second run ===
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{{see also|Second run}}
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==== Speculation ====
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{{main|Speculation of Futurama's return till the second run}}
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When the films were originally announced, fans themselves thought this was another opportunity to get the show back as a TV season.  They argued that strong DVD sales of these films may give motivation to Comedy Central and 20th Century Fox Television to purchase a production season.
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And after months of intense speculation, Comedy Central announced the news of an order of 26 episodes, possibly to split up into 2 seasons.
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==== Casting negotiation ploy ====
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On 17 July, 20th Century Fox Television announced that the main cast of ''Futurama'' would go on recasting, opening for new actors to audition.<ref name="recast-avclub">{{cite web |url=http://www.avclub.com/articles/futurama-to-get-recast-updated-and-updated-again,30532/ |title=''Futurama'' to get recast? |publisher=A.V. Club |author=Phipps, Keith |date=2009-07-17 |accessdate=2009-07-18}}</ref>  20th Century Fox Television cited that salary negociations had collapsed with the voice actors, who, according to several reports wanted 75,000 dollars per episode in salary,<ref name="recast-variety">{{cite web |url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118006123.html?categoryid=14&cs=1 |title='Futurama' without original voices? |publisher=Variety |author=Schneider, Michael |date=2009-07-17 |accessdate=2009-07-18}}</ref> however this number remains unconfirmed by 20th Century Fox Television or the voice actors' reps.<ref name="recast-examiner">{{cite web |url=http://www.examiner.com/x-1486-LA-Personalities-Examiner~y2009m7d17-Not-going-back-to-Futurama-Cult-hit-animated-TV-series-finds-its-cast-in-a-salary-dispute |title=Not going back to 'Futurama?': Cult hit animated TV series finds its cast in a salary dispute |publisher=Examiner |author=Carreon, Jorge |date=2009-07-17 |accessdate=2009-07-18}}</ref>  However, others firmly believe that 20th Century Fox Television is doing a negotiation ploy to get the voice actors to cut their salary demands,<ref name="recast-examiner"/><ref name="recast-hitfix">{{cite web |url=http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/2008-12-6-the-fien-print/posts/2009-7-17-clarification-on-the-futurama-recasting-reports |title=Clarification on the 'Futurama' recasting reports |publisher=Hitfix |author=Fienberg, Daniel |date=2009-07-17 |accessdate=2009-07-18}}</ref> and cited cases where 20th Century Fox Television had done the same thing for ''The Simpsons'' in the past,<ref name="recast-variety"/> and they still have the same voice actors.<ref name="recast-hitfix"/>
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== References ==
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{{reflist|2}}
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Latest revision as of 22:58, 30 December 2011

This article is about the progress of production. For the production history, see History.

The production of Futurama was from its beginnings revolutionary. Futurama is among the first shows to use entirely computer to colour cells and computer animation integrated into 2D for a television animated show.

Process[edit]

Creating an episode for a show like Futurama is generally a three way task. First writing, then voice acting and finally animation. In that order. However, due to the amount of episodes the runners are usually working on at once, these tasks are often done simultaneously, and several episodes may be written, acted and animated at the same time.

Writing[edit]

After the production company has placed an order for a specific number of episodes, it is up to the show runners to decide the general plots of each of these episodes. After having settled for a general plot using "index cards with plot points", a writer is assigned to this specific episode.

As writing progresses, the writers group to discuss their stories, where they are modified and trimmed up by the group. And certain gags may be added as well. They also use techniques like lampshade hanging.

Voice acting[edit]

Then the manuscript is handed to the voice actors. The voice acting progress usually takes about 1 to 2 weeks per season, depending on the amount of work and stability in the recording sessions.

Animation[edit]

While the voice acting is occurring, in fact, before the writing is done, the animators (for Futurama, this is Rough Draft Studios) begin working on the animations.

2D[edit]

Most of the animation for Futurama is drawn upon paper, then digitalised and coloured digitally.[1]

Computer graphics[edit]

To keep with the futuristic setting of Futurama, 3D was employed to help certain scenes where 2D simply would have been too expensive. Such as space travel, but also other scenes got usage of 3D, such as holograms, car chases or wherever the animators felt 3D would work better than 2D.

In addition to 3D, computers were also used to employ certain tasks, such as colouring the hand drawn cells digitally, but also use certain technologies to fill crowd scenes with a so called "people hose".

Cropping[edit]

In general, episodes must be cut down to 22 minutes to fit on television for half an hour with commercials. As part of a deal with Rough Draft Studios, Futurama gets 2 minutes extra that they are allowed to cut,[2] but in generally, methods of putting a voice over an exterior shot or cutting frames here and there where a scene otherwise would be too long is generally used more than cutting full scenes.[2]

Effects of budget changes for the second run[edit]

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This article is in need of an update.
Editors are encouraged to update and expand the article.

When Futurama was renewed for Comedy Central, Futurama's budget was also changed in contrast to its budget under Fox. During the original run, the writing staff was usually 12 - 13 writers, but now it is down to 7 writers.[3] Christopher Tyng also lost use of his orchestra.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vanzo, Gregg. Commentary for "I, Roommate" on Volume One, disc 1.
  2. ^ a b Cohen, David. Commentary for "I, Roommate" on Volume One, disc 1.
  3. ^ Strike, joe (16 August 2011). "Back to the Futurama". Animation World Network. Retrieved on 18 August 2011.