Genndy Tartakovsky Takes on Giant Robots
GT: Yeah it does a lot. Myself and the head writer Darrick Bachman, we write most of the stories and it comes from our life experiences as far as the character stuff goes. I remember high school very much and so does Darrick, so we'll take something that's real, a real feeling that we experienced, and blend that in. The fitting in part, being an immigrant, is part of my life ever since we moved here, but I think it's beyond just immigrants and just fitting in with other people is something that we've been exploring.
GT: (laughs) It's extremely difficult. In the beginning we had a three-minute budgetary constraint on the action. Not only did we have to balance, we had this time constraint. But later that went away once we got rolling. But in the beginning we couldn't have a 10-minute action sequence because we just couldn't afford it.
But as far as the character stuff goes, we usually start with a character story. What's going to happen to those characters? What are they going to deal with? And then we start working in the action. As the series progressed, we'd have this amazing character story and then we'd finish it and we'd say, "Oh right, what action is in this?" And we'd have to figure out how to work in something to also make it exciting. That's the same time when I was getting paranoid. On Samurai Jack there would sometimes be 15 minutes of fighting. This show has a lot less than that. But we also wanted to develop a really strong character story, dramatic and comedic also. So balancing was hard. So some episodes are heavier toward the action and some are heavier toward the character stuff.
RD: What were some of the influences on the design style?
GT: The design started from the character side of it. After working on writing Astro Boy scripts six or seven years ago, I really got into Tezuka. After we did Dexter's and Samurai and Powerpuff I felt there were a lot of other shows that looked liked that also, so I wanted to break out of my own style and go in a different direction. So I started drawing this more Tezuka-ish inspired style. So it was a mix between Speed Racer and Fleischer and Tezuka. All mixed together. The robot stuff started out from Micronauts. It's basically Paul Rudish's designs. It's just Paul and he has every influence under the sun. But it's really his own taste that comes out. But it started with Micronauts, because I bought my kid a Micronauts toy and we were playing with it and I thought, "Man, this is such a cool thing." It's semi-translucent and I thought, "What if we did a robot that was semi-translucent."
GT: It's CG, but we've come up with a 2D rendering process so that the CG will fit into the 2D world.
RD: It blends in nicely. What programs are being used?
GT: It's Maya and After Effects. It's pretty basic there's nothing really fancy.
RD: Is the animation being done overseas?