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PaleyFest Fall 2017

'Black Mirror' and 'Family Guy' cast and crew panels highlight the celebration of pop culture.

This year’s PaleyFest in NYC - - included creators, showrunners, actors, and writers from top cable, platform and broadcast networks.  Friday night Oct. 9 the celebration of pop culture kicked off with a panel from the Season 4 premiere episode of the anthology series, Black Mirror, titled “USS Callister.”  Black Mirror cast and creators from Episode 1, Season 4 pictured below. The panel was moderated by Daze Itzkoff from the New York Times.

Show creator Charley Brooker copped to the notion that the show is inspired not only by humanity’s relationship with today’s technology, but also by the Twilight Zone series!  The Audience Q&A included several questions regarding the cast’s and crew’s own relationships with technology.

PaleyFest continued on Saturday, October 6 with a unique panel celebrating the upcoming 300th episode of Family Guy.  Panelists included Seth Green, Mike Henry, Alex Borstein, Patrick Warburton, and Rich Appel and was moderated by executive producer Cherry Cheva.  As it turns out, Cheva was also the writer of the 300th episode, which will air in January.

During the final 15 minutes of the panel, Seth MacFarlane Skyped into the panel and helped out with Audience Q&A!

The Audience Q&A segment included more than one question about the show’s edgy humor and formula for making sure that offensive equals funny, not just stupid and offensive and unfunny. 

Rich commented that there is an “anything goes” in the Family Guy writer’s room.  This openness allows free-form brainstorming.  While not every wild idea makes it into the final script, every idea does get 5 seconds of consideration from the writers.  Green shared his most memorable fan encounter, and also championed up-and-coming animators. 

On the first count, he reminisced, “A young woman asked me to autograph her arm.  I signed her arm quite sloppily and in a hurry.” The woman resurfaced later that day to follow-up and show him the autograph ink was now tattoo ink!  Green admonished he would have most certainly taken more time to make the autograph ornate, had he known it would become permanent body art. 

Then, when asked by an audience member for any choice words he might have for up-and-coming animators and show creators, Green was audacious and enthusiastic: “Don’t take no for an answer; keep going.”  Borstein added on to that, “You have to be able to draw.”

MacFarlane was asked about The Simpsons crossover with Family Guy and explained it had seemed like a natural partnership.  Sharing his own insights into animation directing, he noted that the process is much more technical than live-action and required specialized knowledge.  

You can check out the complete lineup here: