Friday, 4 May 2012

Tea in the Tardis (S2) - A Veritable Doctor Stew!

Welcome back to ‘Tea in the Tardis’ originally episode 2 of series 2 was going to be with the team from ComicWho... However as I've got a bit behind with things they are currently away on honeymoon (congratulations guys!!), as such I’ll be chatting to the Team at Doctor Stew instead.

Doctor Stew I hear you say? What’s that then? Well, picture this, what would happen if Stewie from Family Guy was the Doctor...

However as we all know there are dark things that lurk in the universe as such things did not end well for the original Doctor Stew. Our Doc was forced to face the dark overlord known as Foxtraxi, he lost...

A whole buncha Doctors
So team, in the beginning what made you decide to originally merge Stewie from Family Guy with the Doctor to create the first generation of Doctor Stew?

Kevin: I was sitting down one night watching Doctor Who remembered Family Guy was gonna come on later, and that’s when it hit me: 'Stew' rhymed with 'WHO'! So I sketched up a quick image of what Stewie would look like as the Doctor... And it got such good feedback, that I though "Hey, why not try to do a little animated spoof?" That’s when I decided to do the series 5 Parody, and the rest is history!

MH: I have to say Stewie is my favourite character from Family Guy! The team behind Doctor Stew; how many of you are there and what do you all do?

Kevin: Well we have 12 people that are officially on the team, and we would like to say that they are all great!

There’s Jason, and seriously there would be no series without him. I would have stopped making episodes ages ago, Jason came on board for episode two as our animator, and ever since it’s been "Next stop: Everywhere."

There’s Ash, the voice of our Doctor, who is also adept at scoring music digitally and with great speed. He is the yin to my yang, I always envisioned Doctor Stew like "Tennant", kind of loving humanity, and being the good guy, but we gave Ash a bit of creative freedom as well, and given him the chance to add his own side to the Doctor. Ash prefers a condescending Doctor, so you will see bits of that coming out from time to time, such as in the "Hello... I'm the Doctor" skit.

Katie Tarrant, The voice of Bethany. She is wonderful; she is right on board with the project, and very pleased to have the role of Bethany. She is also writing our third (maybe fourth) episode. We are glad to have her on the team, and looking forward to some of the roles she will be playing in the future!

Benjamin Rudman has followed with me since the old days when I used to work on Red Dwarf animated...

Doctor Stew
MH: Red Dwarf animated?

Kevin: Long story that I won’t go into...  

Benjamin and is multitalented; everything from photoshop to voice acting, Benjamin is our go to guy when we need something. He also supports the team by letting us use some web space on his private servers, which helps the team share information more quickly.

Michael Key. What an amazing talent. He is bringing to life some of these shots for episode one that just look remarkable and we get giddy with excitement whenever he returns some of our black and white stills in full colour. His talents will really bring to life the universe in which our characters reside.

MH: Ah yes, I know Mike, I’m a big fan of the artwork he does, he’s a very talented guy! Who else is there?

Kevin: There is Anna Neilson, the composer of the music you heard in the "A Doctor Stew Christmas" video will be working with us through this production as well, as we bring the new Doctor Stew to life. Her and the Kalvebek Youth Orchestra create masterpieces, and they are sharing their talents with Doctor Stew - We are truly grateful!

Then there’s Christian Basel, our resident WHO expert, he played a massive part in a lot of the exchanges in the 1st generation of Doctor Stew, in the episode 'Whole Buncha Doctors'. He also played a role in the construction of the script for the pilot.

Jake McCollough is relatively new to our team, but is very eager, and willing to learn and be a part of it. We are gonna get him to become one of our animators with any luck, a part he has shown promise in!

Adam Lofthouse is our go to man for voices. If there’s a voice we need, we ask Adam to do it, and he usually nails it close to point or spot on. We were recently stunned to learn that he actually resides in Austrailia, and has the Accent and everything. We honestly thought he was American - He pulls off an American accent so well!

Team Tardis - Bethany, Doctor Stew & Pup-e
MH: Wow! What a team, I never thought there would be so many people involved in the project! Roughly how long does it take to put an episode together?

Jason: We started production of the new pilot in January, and we're slowly chugging along. This first episode has lots of bells and whistles, and we are breaking new ground we've never encountered before, trying out new tools and things we've never had to use, and trying to get the entire team up to speed with how the creation of each episode works.

So at this point, we expect about 7 months for an episode! But in the future, as we iron out the kinks, and get more efficient at production as a team, I expect 3-4 month turn around on an episode, with moderate quality.

MH: As fans of your page will know the first Doctor met his end when he faced the evil Foxtraxi (aka 20th Century Fox!) What was it like to for Doctor Stew to go through his first regeneration?

Jason: Painful! Extremely painful! At the time Doctor Stew was struck down by 20th Century Fox, I had been invested for over a year in Doctor Stew, from the entire production of Episode Two, all the way through to where the axe stopped me from finishing episode three...

To me, sacrificing time away from other things, like my family, to invest my heart and soul into episode three, to have this drawing come to life, and have a personality and a life of its own...

To me, and to Kevin, it was like a death in the family!

We fought Fox for about a month, but in the end, caved, because we realised that there was nothing we could do. That was not our character, and it never will be. So, we did what Doctor Who was famous for, and we regenerated. And oh good lord, are we glad we did.

MH: Following the regeneration what made you settle on the new look for Doctor Stew?

Jason: Well, we really wanted to veer away from any semblance of what we were in the past. At the time, the death of our first generation was still fresh, the wound still open, and we wanted nothing to do with Fox. Kevin tossed out the concept art for the new Doctor Stew, and we liked it.

The fan reaction was mixed though, and people were generally confused about the direction Doctor Stew was heading. We knew we'd have the same humour, the same core that we had before, but the fans were in disarray. Some loved it; others simply disliked the Doctor Stew page and forgot about it all together.

It was when I went to do some rough animation tests of the "Disney" style incarnation that I realised that it wasn't going to work. The "Disney" art style, while it looked great, needed to have a more "Organic" feel to it, more bouncy, more animation, more work. Simply using the same techniques we used in the first Generation of Doctor Stew made it appear stiff, and wooden, and for some reason, the humour didn't mesh well with the new design.

Just as I was about to throw in the towel, Kevin shot me a new concept art for Doctor Stew, and I was instantly in love. Although Ash and Katie weren't too fond of the return to a "Seth" style Doctor, it eventually grew on them.

We decided to stick with the original "Style" as to not alienate our current fans, as a tribute to the first generation.

Doctor Stew Supporting WhoVerse United
MH: As it’s a Doctor Who themed chat I’ve got to know, who is each of your favourite Doctors and Companions?

Ash: Well, it’s strange, actually going all the way back, I am a huge fan of William Hartnell. I love him so much. I love the way he's very opinionated, his way nine times out of ten is the best way (he thinks) , and if he doesn't get his way, he sulks about it. If someone does something wrong, he gets angry. It’s just how I envisioned the Doctor, a very experienced, all knowing being who is always doing the right thing for humanity.

I also love how he always says "hmm?"

MH: Good choice, not often that Hartnell gets a mention!

Ash: As for companions, I’m gonna say Donna Noble.

Jason: Ahh! Donna Noble. She’s great! I’m gonna say Donna Noble too. She was a brilliant mix of witty, comedy, and she was the exact opposite of Tennant. She meshed so well with Tennant’s Doctor, and she wasn't gonna take no crap from the Doctor... There was no love affair, it was just fun!

As for my favourite Doctor, it’s a hard choice. But I am gonna have to say Eccleston. If he had chosen to stay, he would have been brilliant. He was a Time Lord, freshly regenerated from the time war, full of piss and vinegar, humans were monkeys, full of vengeance, and rage, but still confident, and goofy, and full of adventure. I loved how he didn't want to let people in, he was very closed off, and mysterious.

MH: What about you Kevin?

Kevin: Tennant. Hands down. Needs no explaining.

As for my companion, I'd have to go with Rose. She introduced me to the show, she's sexy, she's funny, and Billie is a great actress. I just think of the episode where Cassandra possessed her, and she played the multiple roles so well, she really was so much fun.

MH: On the subject of companions, what about Doctor Stew’s new companion tell us a bit about Bethany, what’s she like?

Kevin: She's very supportive of the Doctor. The Doctor is her best friend. She has a vast imagination. She’s a little out of place at times, she tries to fit in, but she's not quite the uber nerd that the Doctor and PUP-E are. She's smart, and fun, and a great comic relief.

MH: She sounds fab! Can’t wait! What can we look forward to from the 2nd Doctor in the future?

Ash: You can look forward to a Doctor who is a little at odds with himself. He's very nerdy, he gets excited with little things, but capable of becoming very serious when his friends are in danger. He doesn't take crap from anyone... He's always prone to a good laugh when a good joke is made. Put it this way, he's just loveable, if people don't love him, I just won’t understand.

Kevin: I like this Doctor better because... before we were just doing Stewie. Stewie was just being Stewie. It was easy; we didn't have to think about the character, we knew what the character was. With this Doctor, he's a little less rough around the edges, and I think Ash is right; he's gonna be a lot more loveable.

Jason: More epicosity, better story lines, better effects, better music and an actual ARC that will span the series (Working on we think seven episodes) I cannot wait to see what adventures this tiny Timelord takes us on. Just look at him against the FOXTRAXI. He's definitely got a spark the 1st Generation didn't have!

MH: Awesome stuff, I look forward to when the first episode of “New Stew” is complete, many thanks for taking the time to speak to me.

If you want to keep you with the adventures of Doctor Stew, Bethany and Pup-e, check our their facebook page or alternatively have a look at the Doctor Stew website.

Next time on ‘Tea in the Tardis’ will be Comic Who, as they’ll be back from honeymoon, have I really completed a second series of interviews already??