Blue Sky Studios takes Scrat into space and threatens the ever-growing cast of heroes of its well-chilled flagship franchise with cosmic-level extinction in Ice Age: Collision Course. By Tom McLean.
DDreamWorks strips down the look of its hit CG feature to flesh out the heart and comedy for the new series coming July 29 to Netflix. By Tom McLean
espite having started at DreamWorks as a production assistant who worked up to storyboarding on features, Ryan Crego’s most-recent successes had been as a writer and director on Sanjay and Craig at Nickelodeon, working with his longtime friend Thurop Van Orman, creator of The Misadventures of Flapjack. With that series over, the duo took an offer from DreamWorks execs to come Home and develop a series based on the 2015 hit feature for its expanding TV division.
“We went off and watched the movie and started talking about how strong the characters were and what we could do with it,” says Crego, executive producer on the series, which debuts 13 half-hours (each comprised of two quarter-hour episodes) July 29 on Netflix. “We came back, we said we love it, we love these characters, we think we can do something really special — but we really want to do a 2D show. We want to do what we know, because we are both board artists and we wanted to do something board driven.”
DreamWorks gave the OK and Crego says he and Van Orman — together they’re credited as show creators — began working out a look for the show. “Part of it was finding a style that we enjoyed the design of and that was really designed to be animated,” he says. Character designer Martin Wittig came up with some thumbnail sketches. “He really explored how to push these characters and get their faces, and they still retain the character that you know but they also can be really stretched into funny expressions,” says Crego.
The stories focus on the two main characters and their relationship as they each adjust to changes in their lives.
“(Oh) is learning something about family or the human way of life and he’s learning it through Tip,” he says. “And Tip, she’s 13 years old, she thinks she’s got it all figured out — like a lot of 13-year-old girls — and she learns through Oh that you have to look at things through a different perspective sometimes.”
Trusting the Process Writing begins with a one-page premise that’s fleshed out to a five-page outline and handed off to a team of a storyboard director and storyboard artist. “We have a lot of faith in our process,” Crego says. “We’re working with our stories like a mound of clay, in a sense. ... I love the fact that we are all contributing and that you get to see a piece of yourself as an artist on this crew in every story that you work on.”
The show definitely aims to hit viewers’ funny bones, delivering some hilarious moments that — like an early episode where Oh and the Boov decide they like to eat kitty litter — also play to kids’ love of all things gross.
“It’s a tricky balance because we want the show to retain its sort of sticky sweet center,” says Crego. “As long as that joke isn’t overpowering the character arc or that sensitive moment between the characters, we tend to go for it. It is sort of the tone of the show to give you a little bit of the unexpected.”
Music was a huge part of the feature, and remains so in the series with composer Alex Geringas delivering a mix of contemporary pop and electronic hooks for the series to play off of. “We tend to make spaces in the outlines for the pop songs, and the board artists a lot of times will write most of the lyrics in the storyboard process and start to board out how the song will change the story, because we do want the songs to be within the stories, be a part of the storytelling,” says Crego. [