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Transcript of Steven Universe
Steven Universe is handled almost entirely by the Cartoon Network’s creative team, allowing the studio to retain full control of the property, plus lowering the risk of outsourcing errors. It is an artist-driven, original show, attempting to model its success off of Adventure Time, where many of the crew have also worked. Everything from storyboarding, to animatics, animation, special effects, BG painting, and compositing are handled in the Cartoon Network studio. Rebecca Sugar herself has handled everything from concept and storyboard through to animation of the opening sequence and music composition for the show. The only out-of-studio work is for tedious parts of animation, which are outsourced to SunMin Image Pictures Co., LTD. in South Korea, freeing the creative team up to focus on developing the story and series.
Creator: Rebecca Sugar
Born July 9, 1987 (Age 26), in Silver Spring, Maryland
Graduate of School of Visual Arts in New York
Writer & storyboard artist on Adventure Time (2010-2013)
Emmy Award and Annie Award nominations
Storyboard artist on Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Listed in Forbes “30 Under 30” (2012)
Cartoon Network’s first solo female creator
Steven Universe follows a Cartoon Network model of targeting boys 6-11, but has managed to achieve #1 status among boys 2-14. It was given a prime Monday night spot (8pm) in the USA during an already successful lineup – following behind Adventure Time at 7:00 and Regular Show at 7:30. The network reaches an audience of 99 million in the United States and is accessible to 178 countries around the world. Because Steven Universe is a very new show, without a complete season yet, there are very few financial numbers to draw from. At this point no DVDs have been released. Single episodes are not available on Netflix or the Playstation Network, but are available for $1.99ea from iTunes and on Amazon Instant Video.
The Steven Universe crew have been using the internet as means for cost-effective self-promotion. The artist have strong online presences, most notably on tumblr, where a significant amount of crew members post their artwork for the show, as well as having a blog specifically dedicated to the series. They also post a decent amount of pre-production work online, such as full storyboards, allowing fans and those interested in the series to delve deeper into the show and hopefully build their fanbase. There is also online merchandising effort handled by the Cartoon Network itself in an effort to generate further revenue.
Rebecca & brother
- Interest in comics, musicals, and mythology
- Inspired by 70s show “Future Boy Conan”
Draws inspiration from childhood
Characters created as a child
East Coast beaches
Younger brother & friend Steven
- Childhood spent watching cartoons, drawing comics, and playing video games with Steven
Coming-of-age story of a magical boy
(source: Cartoon Network PR materials, http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/PR/pr-stevenuniverse/)
Steven is the youngest member/surrogate little brother of the crystal Gems
The Gems are a team of super-powered women who protect humanity from evil
Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl
Steven’s powers come from a gem in his belly button and don’t always work
In spite of his lack of training, Steven means well and does his best to help out
Steven Universe was picked up as part of an internal short film program at Cartoon Network
(source: Cartoon Network press release, http://www.nickandmore.com/2012/09/11/cartoon-network-greenlights-two-animated-series-from-homegrown-talent/)
CN wanted to produce more artist-driven shows
Adventure Time, Regular Show successful
Rebecca Sugar, the show’s creator, was working on Adventure Time as a storyboard artist and writer
(source: Eric Kohn, Indiewire article, http://www.indiewire.com/article/television/adventure-time-writer-rebecca-sugar-on-steven-universe)
Eventually left to develop Steven Universe full-time
Show was greenlit before pilot/ original short was released
Although there aren’t many videos available, they do have an official channel.
There are no current DVD/CD of Steven Universe, but HD Streaming on 'Amazon Instant Video' and 'iTunes' is available.
They also have a facebook and tumblr page for fans to follow.
There are no confirmed official comic for Steven Universe, although on their website it states that they may have a comic series later this year.
“The Untitled Steven Universe Comic series will be released on an unknown date in 2014. It might feature new plots and characters that may or may not appear in the series. It may be released in Hot Topic, comic book stores, and book stores across the world. It will also be featured in Adventure Time's Spoooktacular #1.”
-Writer & storyboard artist Rebecca Sugar is the first woman to create a show for CN
-show named from Rebecca's younger brother Steven, who is a BG artist on the show
(Michael Cavna, 1st Nov, 2013)
-According to Ian J-Quartey, supervising director for Steven Universe,"Rebecca created the new designs herself. It was entirely her creative decision. The new look of the characters are drawn by her (and inked and colored by our incredible design team). ...Redesigning the show had nothing to do with budget watsoever."
(Ian Jones Quartey, 31st Jul, 2013)
-According to Rebecca Sugar, when they were making the pilot, she didn't feel "done" with the way the characters looked, she wanted to simplify the designs.
-she feels that there were a lot of extraneous elements that weren't saying anything about who the characters were (like an earring or a barrette), and it wasn't helpful. It was late in the game that they decided to incorporated stars into their outfits.
comparison between demo and final title:
-Steven Universe (8 p.m.)is ranked as the #1 telecast of the day among boys 6-11 & 9-14, and #1 in its time slot among kids 6-11 and all targeted boys 2-11, 6-11 & 9-14.
-The show is ordered 13 more episodes by Cartoon Network, bringing the series up to 26 episodes in total
The Deadline Team(2013-11-14)
-#1 in its time period among all kids/boys
-#1 telecast of the day on all television
-According to preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research, the premiere of Steven Universe on Monday, November 4 was the network's most-watched series premiere to date in 2013 among kids and boys 6-11
-Steven Universe earned across-the-board ratings and delivery growth ranging between 7% and 23% versus the same time period last year
-also earned rating/delivery gains over the previous four weeks' average, ranging between 25% and 42%
-overall attracted nearly 1.9 million viewers 2+, representing a 30% increase versus the prior four weeks' average
-Highlights of Steven Universe’s series premiere performance, compared to the same 2012 time period, include the following:
· Kids 2-11 delivery (1,030,000) increased by 10%, and ratings (2.6) by 8%
· Kids 6-11 delivery (869,000) increased by 23%, and ratings (3.7) also by 23%
· Kids 9-14 delivery (692,000) increased by 9%, and ratings (2.9) by 7%
· Boys 2-11 delivery (710,000) increased by 9%, and ratings (3.5) also by 9%
· Boys 6-11 delivery (621,000) increased by 23%, and ratings (5.1) by 21%
· Boy 9-14 delivery (502,000) increased by 13%, and ratings (4.1) by 14%
Amanda Kondolojy (2013-11-6)
-The critic review by Emily Ashby on Common Sense Media criticizes the show as "having exaggerated stereotypical markers based on race or body type" and "contains violence and brief sexual innuendo", and receives only 2 out of 5 stars for quality rating.
Ashby, Emily (2013-10-29)
-Devin D. O'Leary from alibi.com praised the show as having a "cheerful, distinctive look" and that "the tone is occasionally serious, but the overall feeling is one of happiness an optimism", and concluded that "'Steven Universe' is one of the strongest animated debuts in many a moon. And possibly your next TV obsession".
Devin D.O'Leary (2013-12-18)
Series Directed by
Ian Jones-Quartey ... (1 episode, 2013)
Series Writing Credits
Joseph D. Johnston ... (1 episode, 2013)
Jeff Liu ... (1 episode, 2013)
Kat Morris ... (1 episode, 2013)
Rebecca Sugar ... (creator) (1 episode, 2013)
Series Produced by
Chuck Austen ... supervising producer (1 episode, 2013)
Jackie Buscarino ... producer (1 episode, 2013)
Curtis Lelash ... executive producer (1 episode, 2013)
Brian A. Miller ... executive producer (1 episode, 2013)
Jennifer Pelphrey ... executive producer (1 episode, 2013)
Rob Sorcher ... executive producer (1 episode, 2013)
Rebecca Sugar ... executive producer (1 episode, 2013)
Series Art Direction by
Kevin Dart ... (1 episode, 2013)
Series Production Management
Tony Tedford ... post-production supervisor (1 episode, 2013)
Series Art Department
Joseph D. Johnston ... storyboard artist (1 episode, 2013)
Jeff Liu ... storyboard artist (1 episode, 2013)
Stuart Livingston ... storyboard revisions (1 episode, 2013)
Antony Mazzotta ... additional storyboard revisions (1 episode, 2013)
Kat Morris ... storyboard artist / storyboard supervisor (1 episode, 2013)
Aleth Romanillos ... storyboard revisions (1 episode, 2013)
Rebecca Sugar ... storyboard artist (1 episode, 2013)
Angie Wang ... prop designer (1 episode, 2013)
Series Sound Department
Daisuke Sawa ... sound editor (3 episodes, 2013)
Full Cast & Crew
Series Animation Department
Sam Bosma ... additional background designer (1 episode, 2013)
Ki-Yong Bae ... animation director (1 episode, 2013)
Sandy Benenati ... animation checker (1 episode, 2013)
Vicki Casper ... animation checker (1 episode, 2013)
Nick DeMayo ... animation direction (1 episode, 2013)
Erik Elizarrez ... model clean-up (1 episode, 2013)
Tiffany Ford ... color stylist (1 episode, 2013)
Doug Gallery ... additional sheet timer (1 episode, 2013)
Lauren Hecht ... animatic timer (1 episode, 2013)
Colin Howard ... character designer (1 episode, 2013)
Danny Hynes ... character designer (1 episode, 2013)
Dongsoo Lee ... animation director (1 episode, 2013)
Seonjae Lee ... animation director (1 episode, 2013)
Elle Michalka ... background painter (1 episode, 2013)
Jin-hee Park ... animation director (1 episode, 2013)
Steven Sugar ... background designer (1 episode, 2013)
Emily Walus ... background designer (1 episode, 2013)
Amanda Winterstein ... background painter (1 episode, 2013)
Heeman Yang ... animation director (1 episode, 2013)
Guy Davis ... additional character design (2 episodes, 2014)
Maureen Mlynarczyk ... additional sheet timer (1 episode, 2013)
Patrick Leger ... additional background designer (1 episode, 2013)
Series Editorial Department
Alicia Parkinson ... post-production coordinator (1 episode, 2013)
Series Other crew
Katie Krentz ... development executive (4 episodes, 2013)
Matt Burnett ... story editor (1 episode, 2013)
Christy Cohen ... production assistant (1 episode, 2013)
Ben Levin ... story editor (1 episode, 2013)
Alan Pasman ... digital production assistant (1 episode, 2013)
Carolyna Robezzoli ... production coordinator (1 episode, 2013)
Carder Scholin ... production coordinator (1 episode, 2013)
Eric Kohn, 2013 http://www.indiewire.com/article/television/adventure-time-writer-rebecca-sugar-on-steven-universe)
Michael Cavna, 2013 http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/steven-universe-creator-rebecca-sugar-is-an-idealistic-trailblazer/2013/11/01/fe622da2-4338-11e3-a751-f032898f2dbc_story.html)
Cartoon Network PR materials, http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/PR/pr-stevenuniverse/
Cartoon Network press release, http://www.nickandmore.com/2012/09/11/cartoon-network-greenlights-two-animated-series-from-homegrown-talent/
-Steven Universe is not created from scripts. There is no script writers, but 2 story editors who first create flexible premises and outlines of story beats, which set the tone and general plot.
-beyond that, all of the editing and dialogue is handled by storyboard artists. Because the show has a lot of visual jokes, stylized action sequences and specific character expressions it would be impossible for it to be scripted.
-after that the story editors come back in and help edit the dialogue, police continuity, and tighten the story.
(Ian Jones Quartey, 22nd Jan, 2014)
-Storyboard was done in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro(and occasionally on paper).
- Designs and color are created using Adobe Photoshop.
-All of their files where managed under FileMaker Pro
-The animation was animated and inked by hand traditionally on paper. The animation is then scanned, colored and compiled in Toonz Harlequin.
-The editing & post production is done in Avid Media Composer and Adobe After Effects
Software & Workflow
(Ian Jones Quartey, 11th Nov., 2013)