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Author Topic:   The Simpsons
fred
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posted March 02, 2005 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Homer Simpson: Made in Korea

By Jon Herskovitz

SEOUL (Reuters) - Homer Simpson, his dysfunctional family and his friends from the middle-of-the-road American town Springfield were sent to Seoul long before exporting job overseas became a hot-button political issue in the United States.

A stone's throw away from a highway that tears through Seoul and upstairs from a convenience store called "Buy the Way," Homer, Marge, and the rest of "The Simpsons" have been brought to life for about 15 years at South Korea (news - web sites)'s AKOM Production Co.


The company has been animating "The Simpsons" at its studio in western Seoul since it premiered as a TV series in 1989.


Behind every blunder by police chief Wiggum, beer downed by Barney and wisecrack by Bart is a team of about 120 Korean animators and technicians who create the 22-minute episodes based on an elaborate storyboard and animation instructions from the show's creators, Film Roman, in the United States.


AKOM gets the storyboard, camera and coloring instructions, as well as the voice tracks. It then turns out the episode about three months later. Music and other finishing touches are added back in the United States.


South Korea is one of the leaders in what is known as original equipment manufacturing (OEM) animation where a cartoon is drawn according to a storyboard provided by a client.


Nelson Shin, chief executive officer of AKOM, said "The Simpsons" ended up in Seoul because of the high quality of work.


Analysts say cheap labor also helped and industry estimates show that South Korean animators are paid about one-third of what their U.S. counterparts make.


"HEY MAN!"


When Shin first took a look at the yellow characters with bulging eyes and four fingers he thought it would be easy to animate the Simpsons. But now he thinks otherwise.


"When it comes to Bart's spiky hair, if you make one mistake in drawing or pencil thickness, the animation looks funny," Shin said. The elaborate stories and the range of emotion shown by each character, it turns out, make "The Simpsons" an exceedingly difficult show to draw, he said.


"The characters are really delicate and subtle," Shin said.


For example, a typical cartoon has about six different mouths that can be attached to a stock face figure for talking. On "The Simpsons" the main characters have about 27 different mouths, Shin said.


If AKOM has trouble finding the correct way to show something, such as Krusty's scar from heart surgery, another take of the scene will be produced after a phone call with the United States.


After several hundred episodes, production runs smoothly. On one floor, a staff of mostly young women sit at computers as they scan animation cells, add colors and put the final technical touches on the show.


They work with storyboards that show pictures drawn in the United States.


But dialogue can pose a problem.


At first, the Korean staff had difficulty understanding the show's humor and the cultural references, Shin said.

"There was so much slang in the show. I looked up those phrases in my dictionary and I couldn't find the meaning," Shin said. "Bart speaks to his father and says 'Hey, man.' This is so disrespectful for us with our Confucian culture."

DREAMS OF DUFF BEER

Shin sits in an office, decorated with cartoon figures, where his dogs bark for attention and an Emmy Award for his studio's work on "The Simpsons" sits on a shelf.

Two floors below him is a room with dilapidated furniture and out-of date audio visual equipment. Attached to the desk of animation director Kim Jun-bok is a hand-drawn picture of a six pack of Duff Beer, the preferred brand of Springfield's ludicrous lushes.

Over one of Kim's shoulders is a drawing that includes almost all the show's characters and on a shelf above his desk is a book in which each character is drawn at various angles, as if standing in a police line-up.

"I cannot really say there is one character I like more than others. They are all just one family to me," Kim said.

"The Simpsons" is one of several U.S. animated TV shows made in South Korea, and in recent years other Korean animation studios have also been animating "The Simpsons" along with AKOM.

Shin, who teaches animation at a university, is one of the pioneers of the craft in Korea. He went to the United States in the 1970s and worked on shows such as "Scooby Doo" and was also responsible for animating the light sabers in the first "Star Wars" movie.

He started AKOM in 1985 and one of his biggest projects -- a full-length animated film based on a Korean tale called "Empress Chung" -- will hit cinemas in South Korea later this year.

There are worries in South Korea that OEM work is filtering out to other parts of Asia such as China and the Philippines where labor is cheaper.

But for now, fans of "The Simpsons" should know that each time they see Homer choking Bart and Lisa belting out the blues on her saxophone, there is an animator in Seoul who brought that image to life.

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fred
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posted March 03, 2005 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Websites behind The Simpsons...
http://channels.netscape.com/ns/tv/feature.jsp?story=sitesbehindsimpsons&floc=TV_1-T

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indiedan
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posted April 27, 2005 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
'Simpsons' at 350: Just getting started
'Best 16th season ... ever' -- and more to come

LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) -- You know that a show has been around a long time when they start measuring milestones in episodic increments of 50.

But it's understandable that "The Simpsons" should want to make a big deal out of hitting 350 episodes with this Sunday's installment.

As the legendary Fox series wraps up its 16th season, the denizens of Springfield are wading in some uncharted prime-time waters. When executive producer Al Jean boasts that "The Simpsons" "just enjoyed the best 16th season of any comedy ever," that's because no other comedy has ever made it this far.

How many episodes is 350? More than the combined total of "Seinfeld" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." "The Simpsons" will pass "Dallas" (357 episodes) on the all-time series list before 2005 is out. Then it takes aim at the only two comedies to have produced more segments: "My Three Sons" at 380 episodes and "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" at a somewhat astounding 435.

Can "The Simpsons" really make it to 435 -- a feat that would require the show see a (gasp) 20th season?

"You know, I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's really not out of the question," Jean admits. "The cast is already signed through season 19. I think we'll get at least that far. It required such a long negotiation to get the cast under contract for four years that I think it's likely we'll do them."

Creator Matt Groening is also upbeat. "I think the show has almost reached its halfway point, which means another 17 years," he told The New York Times Sunday.

The show is renewed through its 17th season. The only conventional entertainment show to run at least as many years was 20-year war horse "Gunsmoke," though it need also be noted, of course, that "Law & Order" is nipping at the "Simpsons' " heels as it looks to a 16th season come fall.

'It really does come down to the writing'
At an age when any other comedy would be sputtering on fumes, "The Simpsons" is still pulling in respectable ratings -- it's the only thing keeping the lights on for Fox on Sunday nights this season -- despite the fact that older episodes run at all hours of the day and night in syndication.

"My best hope in the beginning was that maybe we'd be some kind of cult thing like 'Fawlty Towers' that would go for five years," admits Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer and Grampa, among many others. "Now we're more than three times that far."

People often ask Castellaneta how all of this happened, how this "Tracey Ullman Show" spinoff could survive fickle tastes and prime-time comedy lulls and the dismissive industry tag of being a mere cartoon.

The usual explanations for its uncanny longevity surround the fact that the characters never age and the magic of animation allows the writers to go places where live-action could never tread.

"I have to say that it really does come down to the writing," he believes. "I've actually written a few scripts myself, and it's just amazing how much time and effort goes into it. There are rewrites, rewrites of the rewrites, tweaks. And there's no fear in the writers room. It's all about getting it as good as it can possibly be."

Of course, the conventional wisdom has it that "The Simpsons" has suffered a great nosedive in quality -- and that if it hasn't yet officially jumped the shark, it's clinging to the shark's fin. But Jean will have none of it.

"Have you ever known people to say that something is better now than it was in the past?" he asks. "Of course not. You have to take it all with a grain of salt. I remember during our fourth season, Entertainment Weekly wrote that we were going downhill. When the fourth season DVD was released, they said it was the 1927 Yankees of comedy.

"That isn't to say we don't do some bad shows now and didn't then. But I say that by and large, the shows we're doing now are just as good as any I've been involved with."

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indiedan
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posted May 02, 2005 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Groening Promises More 'Simpsons'

The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has allayed fears the upcoming 350th episode will mark the beginning of the end for the long-running show - by insisting he's still dreaming up new ideas for future series. Writers on the animated comedy are already working on scripts for the 17th series - a TV sitcom record - quashing reports the escapades of Homer and his disaster-prone family are destined for the archives. And Groening has promised to continue making The Simpsons until they run out of ways to excite the show's loyal fans. He says, "That's what you're looking for in television - surprise. I think they're as sharp and surprising as anything we've done since the beginning of the show. I don't see any end in sight. I want to get to 366 (shows) so we have one for every day of the year, including leap years." The 350th Simpsons show will be screened in America on Sunday.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted June 07, 2005 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Latin 'Simpsons' replaces voices
Labor dispute leads to replacing cast of 'Los Simpson'

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (Hollywood Reporter) -- When Latin American audiences tune in to the new season of "The Simpsons" in July, they might notice something oddly different about the voices of Homero or Senor Burns.

That's because a labor dispute has prompted a dubbing studio to replace the program's famed Spanish-language cast members as it heads into its 16th season here.

"Los Simpson," as the series is called in Spanish, has been a huge success throughout Latin America. The big question now is how viewers will react to an entirely new cast of voice actors for the coming season in July.

"I'm deeply disappointed because we did such quality work and now they're using other people," said Humberto Velez, who had been doing the voice of Homero Simpson for 15 years. "Every one of us has given personality to the characters and that's because we loved what we were doing."

The original cast, represented by Mexico's National Actors Assn., or ANDA union, went on strike in February. But the labor feud dates back to September when Mexico City dubbing firm Grabaciones y Doblajes Internacionales started hiring "independents," claimed Laura Torres, president of ANDA's dubbing commission.

Formerly known as Grabaciones y Doblajes, the studio had a collective bargaining agreement with the union requiring it to work exclusively with ANDA talent. Torres claimed that after a change of ownership in 2000 the company renamed itself GDI, and in 2002 it refused to recognize the exclusivity agreement that it had had with ANDA for 40 years.

GDI has offered to draw up a new contract that would allow it to hire both union and non-union actors, but ANDA says that is not acceptable and that the existing contract should be honored.

GDI general director Magdalena Questa, whose company also dubs other Fox series like "Malcolm in the Middle" and "King of the Hill," maintains that the studio was within its legal right to hire new actors on grounds that in May a Mexico City district labor court declared the strike "invalid."

Fox refuses to get involved, claiming that it is a local matter.

And what would Velez's character Homero Simpson have to say about all this?

"He probably wouldn't realize what's going on," said Velez chuckling. "Or he would just say, 'Doh!' "

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NEWSFLASH
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posted June 08, 2005 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ay Caramba! "Simpsons" Movie Going By Josh Grossberg

Get ready to toast your Flaming Moes to some excellent news.


The Simpsons movie is off the drawing board and in preproduction.


"You know what? We've just done the table read for The Simpsons movie, so although we've been promoting that we're going to do it, now we're actually doing it and are in production," Nancy Cartwright, who gives voice to Bart Simpson, told BBC Radio 1 this week.


Cartwright, in London doing publicity for her one-woman show, My Life as a Ten-Year-Old Boy, indicated that the movie is still in the preliminary script development stage and it will take at least two years before it's fully animated and ready for release.


"I don't know the name of it, and I can't go into details about it, and we'll just have to see how it goes, but I think it's going to be great and the fans are going to dig it," she added.


Producers had always indicated that the movie would likely debut after the TV show ran its course. But with the show continuing to perform well, averaging about 10 million viewers last season, the Simpsons brain trust decided to move forward now, according to a rep for 20th Century Fox, which will distribute the Simpsons film.


"They are working on hammering out a script, but there's no title or production date or release date," studio spokeswoman Antonia Coffman told E! Online Wednesday. "We always wanted the show to end first but it just keeps going. Now they've worked out a team to simultaneously do [both the film and show]."


Rumors of a Simpsons movie seem to surface every few years, usually sparked by the 'toon's mastermind, Matt Groening, which then sends long-time Homer honks into a frenzy of anticipation. But such talk turned out to be premature in the past as Groening and fellow executive producers James L. Brooks and Al Jean chose to wait for the show to wind down.


The closest The Simpsons has come to the big screen was a computer-generated Homer cameo for the 2000 IMAX 3-D flick, CyberWorld.


Coffman says that there are still many details to iron out before the feature kicks into high gear, including who's going to do the animation--Film Roman, which has done so since the TV series' inception, or another production house.


This fall will see The Simpsons embark on season 17. Fox and show producers foresee the cartoon cast fulfilling its current contract, which runs through a 19th season.

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fred
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posted June 19, 2005 08:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Ray Romano one is pretty funny.

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indiedan
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posted July 29, 2005 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was trying to remember what Gervais said about The Simpsons to a fan of The Office and I found it here and now am reposting...

Gervais Delighted To Be Writing 'The Simpsons'
Golden Globe-winning comic Ricky Gervais has fulfilled his lifetime's ambition - he is writing an episode of The Simpsons. The British Office star will also voice a character in the popular animation show, which will be made next year, although he is keeping the episode's plot a secret. Gervais says, "I've got the rough idea. This is the most intimidating project of my career. The Simpsons is the greatest TV show of all time. I can only make it slightly worse. When I got into comedy my greatest ambition was to get one joke on The Simpsons. I may as well retire now."

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NEWSFLASH
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posted August 03, 2005 12:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wife-Swapping Planned for 'The Simpsons'

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

By Don Kaplan

NEW YORK — Homer Simpson might lose his beloved Marge in a parody of "Wife Swap" next season.

Yeah, right.

In an episode of "The Simpsons" (search) written by and starring British comedy icon Ricky Gervais, the Simpsons family visits FOX's California studios, where Homer and Marge wind up on a reality show called "Disparate Housewives" to try to win money for a big-screen TV.

Homer gets saddled with a nasty, belittling Yale professor who is married to Gervais' character, Ricky. Meanwhile, Marge is shipped off to Connecticut to live with Ricky. There, he tries to woo her with his mediocre guitar skills — reminiscient of Gervais' character, David Brent, who had musical aspirations on the BBC sitcom "The Office (search)."

"He writes a love song to Marge and tries to hit on her," "Simpsons" executive producer Al Jean told The Post yesterday.

The episode is slated to air next February.

"What happens is the Simpsons win a tour of the FOX Network where they see things like a Mischa Barton statue and Homer gets to meet Dan Castellaneta from 'The Tracy Ullman Show,' " says Jean.

For the uninitiated, Castellaneta has been the voice of Homer since "The Simpsons" first appeared as short animated sketches on "Tracy Ullman" in the late 1980s.

At FOX, the Simpsons meet reality-show producers who cast them as contestants on "Housewives."

"It turns out Ricky and his wife go on the show because she wanted to publicly humiliate him," says Jean.

At a reading when the final version of the script was done, Gervais turned up with his own guitar. "He played his song and it was really sweet," says Jean. "His interaction with Julie Kavner [Marge] was really funny," he says.

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indiedan
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posted September 20, 2005 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Slow Start for 'Simpsons' Movie

Despite having announced months ago that a Simpsons movie had been greenlit, the film's producer has indicated that the movie is still in development. David Mirkin, who also produces the TV series, told today's (Tuesday) Houston Chronicle that no release date has been set. "It's all about the quality -- the writing -- which we're working on now. We are very quality conscious, and we don't want the series to suffer because of the movie." Mirkin did indicate that the crude animation of the TV show will be enhanced for the movie. He said, "We're looking at various tests to get the right look. We're taking it into the realm of cinema but not too far from how it looks on the show."

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1
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posted October 02, 2005 08:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 1   Click Here to Email 1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Simpsons repeats are getting older and older.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted February 28, 2006 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gervais: "'Simpsons' Role Was Dream Come True"

British funnyman Ricky Gervais has hailed his cameo on cult cartoon The Simpsons as the pinnacle of his comedic career. The Office and Extras star, who refers to the Matt Groening-created show as "the greatest TV comedy of all time," admits he's still in shock at the opportunity to appear alongside his yellow heroes. He tells the New York Daily News, "It was like I'd won a competition. I'm genuinely worried that Hollywood got together and talked to my doctors and found out I've only got a few months to live and said, 'Just let him do what he wants to do.' I'm in awe of (The Simpsons) and have been for at least 10 years. When I first got into comedy, my ambition was to get a joke on The Simpsons. So to write and star in one is ridiculous. Remarkably, I've got to a place where I'm cherry-picking jobs and I'm cherry-picking jobs (with) my heroes. I mean, really! The Simpsons!" Gervais' episode airs on March 26 and sees Homer and long-suffering spouse Marge picked for a wife-swap reality show.

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fred
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posted March 01, 2006 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
D’oh! More know Simpsons than Constitution
Study: America more familiar with cartoon family than First Amendment

The Associated Press


CHICAGO - Americans apparently know more about “The Simpsons” than they do about the First Amendment.

Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

But more than half can name at least two members of the cartoon family, according to a survey.

The study by the new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that 22 percent of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just one in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms.


Joe Madeira, director of exhibitions at the museum, said he was surprised by the results.

“Part of the survey really shows there are misconceptions, and part of our mission is to clear up these misconceptions,” said Madeira, whose museum will be dedicated to helping visitors understand the First Amendment when it opens in April. “It means we have our job cut out for us.”

The survey found more people could name the three “American Idol” judges than identify three First Amendment rights. They were also more likely to remember popular advertising slogans.

It also showed that people misidentified First Amendment rights. About one in five people thought the right to own a pet was protected, and 38 percent said they believed the right against self-incrimination contained in the Fifth Amendment was a First Amendment right, the survey found.

The telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Jan. 20-22 by the research firm Synovate and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted April 03, 2006 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moviegoers get taste of 'Simpsons' film
Movie starring Homer & Co. due in summer 2007

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- America's favorite animated Average Joe is on the big screen, if only for a moment.

A 25-second teaser clip of the upcoming "The Simpsons Movie" is being shown to audiences for 20th Century Fox's "Ice Age: The Meltdown," which opened Friday. (The film topped the weekend box office.)

The clip features a deep-voiced announcer booming "Leaping his way onto the silver screen, the greatest hero in American history!" as a large S appears on the screen. It then cuts to Homer Simpson sitting on his couch in his underwear.

When Homer hears the narrator say the movie will open July 27, 2007, he says, "Uh, uh, we better get started."

The same clip was expected to have aired during "The Simpsons" television show Sunday night, the Hollywood Reporter said.

The long-running Fox animated series announced last week that it will unveil a live-action opening sequence Sunday. Lookalike actors will play the roles of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, Al Jean, the show's executive producer, said in a statement.

"The Simpsons" was recently renewed for two more seasons, its 18th and 19th.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted April 03, 2006 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Theater Patrons Have a Cow During Trailers

Many moviegoers attending the screening of 20th Century Fox's Ice Age: The Meltdown were surprised and delighted to see a 20-second trailer for The Simpsons: The Movie preceding the feature. Many cheered. The trailer announced that the long-awaited film will open theatrically on July 27, 2007. "Uh, oh," says Homer in the clip. "We better get started." Within hours several websites had the trailer up and running. They included: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Roj6U79xuH2 and http://movies.monstersandcritics.com/archive/moviearchive.php/The_Simpsons_Movie/3528/videos. The trailer also aired on Sunday night's episode of The Simpsons. Fox is expected to make a formal announcement of the movie today (Monday). In an interview with USA Today Simpsons creator Matt Groening remarked that the producers had "been working to get a script that would be worthy of people actually paying to see the Simpsons. ... We felt the time was right for a movie ... and for Milhouse to win an Oscar." \

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