Time for Some Adventure with Pendleton Ward
I know with my mom, she is tired of watching cartoons. I haven't stopped watching cartoons since I was tiny and I'm 27. So when I go home, she's always trying to make me change the channel. She can't handle listening to the voices of most cartoon characters. So I tried to have all the voices have a pretty naturalistic tone to them. I try not to have characters who are annoying for annoying sake. For the personalities of all the characters I try not to make them one note. Finn and Jake and everyone have a whole range of emotions, so they're not just the "annoying guy" or the "dumb guy."
RD: As a young creator how has the process been for you? What were some of the more difficult parts of the process you had to get accustomed to?
PW: I'm playing a lot of it by ear. I learned a lot as I went, in the beginning. Craig [McCracken] and Genndy [Tartakovsky] and those dudes where all pretty young too when they were all starting out. You just have to roll into it. We all graduated and we all love animation so you have your ideal in mind of the product you want make.
Because I worked as a board artist on Flapjack for a year I understood the executive note taking process. I've always liked the challenge of notes. The best note to me is "make it funnier." I'll sit there and do a joke as funny as I can and then I'll get a note that says "make it funnier" and I'll say, "ah, okay." Then you go and start from scratch. I've always enjoyed being challenged, so maybe that's a good personality trait to have when you're entering into this. I was confident that I could take a note, whether it was good or bad, and find the medium between what someone else wanted and what I wanted to do with it and I could make it good at the same time. If you have that attitude going into it, you can sustain the pressure that is on you.
RD: What are some of you artistic influences in general?
PW: David Lynch comes to mind, because whenever I try to do scary stuff or creepy, I think of him. He does it so well. He makes my gut feel uncomfortable or he scares me and makes me want to vomit or jump out of my seat, which I think is an awesome feeling. And maybe, Japanese horror films too are awesome for scary stuff. Instead of cutting away, seeing the monster coming at you slowly. There is no boo moment. It's hard to watch that when the monster is right in your face.
My favorite stuff that has come through on the series is these moments that are really pretty to watch. There is one where Finn goes down under the ocean and he passes out. He's going down to save Jake, but he's unconscious and he's floating through all these buildings that have been underwater for centuries that are falling apart and he lands in this bed of glowing blue plant life. And it's gorgeous. And it's fun to have a moment to take a breath when you're watching cartoons. Not a lot of cartoons have time to sit and be mesmerized. Finn wakes up and there are these tiny shrimp tickling on his sea helmet and it's really nice. It's just a brief moment, but it made the episode for me.
RD: I agree that both boys and girls connect to the mushy stuff. Do you think that is something that's missing from typical boy-driven animation because they think that boys will run the other way?