×

Initial production hurdles were nothing to cluck at

'Robot Chicken' 100th Episode

The idea of “Robot Chicken” was to make original, off-the-shelf toys walk, talk and be funny. But right from the start, that was an idea that ran afoul of the realities of producing stop-motion animation on a TV budget.

“They don’t hold the poses that you want stop-motion figures to do,” says co-creator and exec producer Matthew Senreich. “So using these toys was a waste of time and energy because the arms just wouldn’t stay where you needed them to stay.”

On top of that, Senreich says the production early on had to come to grips with other limitations.

“Our animation directors at the time locked me in a room until about 4 in the morning, explaining to me everything that we were doing terribly wrong with the production and how we couldn’t have 210 unique shots in an 11-minute show because each one requires setup that I never even thought had to happen,” he says.

The show since has found its groove, both in writing and production, with each element finding its own unusual route to the finished product.

Writer and co-creative director Mike Fasolo says the writers defy the TV norm by usually writing in silence around a table. “People always ask us why don’t you pitch jokes to the room and pitch different stories,” he says. “We have so many skits in the episodes, that if we just focused on just one during the day, we’d only have that one skit done.”

The writers usually spend about three weeks brainstorming and two weeks writing scripts, before starting all over again until they have enough for a 20-episode season. Green, Senreich and exec producers and head writers Tom Root and Doug Goldstein are the arbiters of what goes into production, with a 3-1 vote required.

The process has become more efficient since the first season, with animators producing about 10 seconds of footage a day — a relatively large amount considering a similar output per week is common on stop-motion features. Among the oddball details is that the audio of each sketch is checked for syllables timed to specific frames, Goldstein says.

“Stop motion is a rigorous and time-consuming production process, but it also yields a very specific effect that everybody who works in it is in love with,” Green says.

‘Robot Chicken’ 100th Episode
A beak into the future | Team reps rapid rise of nerd processors | Fandom fodder for film-flam | Initial production hurdles were nothing to cluck at

More TV

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

  • Teyonah Parris

    Teyonah Parris Cast in 'WandaVision' at Disney Plus

    “Mad Men” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” actress Teyonah Parris has been cast in Disney Plus’ “Wanda Vision” series. She will play an adult version of Monica Rambeau, a child character introduced in the film “Captain Marvel.” The announcement was made at Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation. The forthcoming Disney+ series about Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth [...]

  • Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx - NOS4A2

    'NOS4A2' Renewed for Season 2 at AMC

    AMC has renewed “NOS4A2” for a second season. The news was announced during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con and ahead of the Season 1 finale. Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes and is slated to air in 2020. The series, which is based on the 2013 Joe Hill novel of the same [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Signs Netflix Deal With Expanded Coverage

    SAG-AFTRA and streaming giant Netflix have agreed to a new three-year contract with expanded coverage for union performers. Netflix has previously employed SAG-AFTRA members under the union’s standard master contracts for television and film and had been signing on a production by production basis. The union announced Saturday that the new deal recognizes performance capture as covered work [...]

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show photocall,

    Cara Delevingne Says Her 'Carnival Row' Character Is Pansexual, Explains Defending Taylor Swift Against Justin Bieber

    Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom’s love affair may be at the center of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “Carnival Row,” but the British actress doesn’t want viewers to assume her faerie character is heterosexual. “I’m a pansexual faerie,” Delevingne told Variety during an exclusive one-on-one interview at Comic-Con adding that there are other queer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content