Recently I approached animator Steve Stark about his work on ‘Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie‘ and asked him if he would agree to an interview. He was gracious enough to give us some of his time.
A quick bit of background before we present you with the interview; Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is being distributed in the theaters in the US independently with each showing being accompanied by a Q&A with the titular duo. The film was the brainchild of Jason Mewes (along with his wife Jordan Monsanto) who was given the script to Oni Press’s Bluntman and Chronic comic to produce an animation with Steve Stark who produces SModimations. The project was originally supposed to be a mini-clip for the internet, but based on the quality of the work was extended to a full length feature. It’s cast features a who’s-who in the world of voice actors, including BCP favorite Greg Conroy.
Once we got a hold of Steve, here is what he had to say;
The story has been mentioned many times by Kevin Smith in his podcasts, but how did your work come under the Smodco radar?
I made a cartoon for fun based on a SModcast episode and called it “For The Love Of SMod!”. The episode was about someone burying a pair of crotchless panties in the ice for good luck. I got a shout out on SModcast episode 96 I think. They talked about the toon and checked out my website and asked me to do more. It was really cool.
Presumably you’re a fan of the Smodco/View Askew back catalog. How does it feel to have directed a feature length film with them [Kev/Jay]?
It’s pretty crazy directing a movie with them. I never would of thought back when I was sitting around watching that movie that someday I’d work with them and direct a Jay & Silent Bob movie.
Will you still produce the miniclips (SModimations) that many would know you for, or will you try to do more feature length cartoons?
I’m working on “SMoly Bible”. Kevin mentioned it on twitter. It’s basically a combination of those two.
What’s your personal favorite of all the SModimations you have created so far?
Oooo, that’s a tough one. I loved working on those. I’d have to list a top 5:
1. Aquatic Justice
2. Twin Pines Mallrats
3. Crapture part 2
4. Smod trek part 2
5. Crimson Mystical Mages
As Director and Animator on Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, how hands on were you in the process? From what I gather you are based in Canada. Was this logistically difficult?
I was very hands on, just like with SModimations. I was given the script and just told GO! It was awesome.
I love having the freedom and the trust to be able to draw and create the funniest thing I can do. Then pass it over to Kevin, Jay , Jordan and the audience and see if they like it.
It’s rare, and I’m very thankful for their trust in me.
Being in Canada didn’t hurt too much. We used Dropbox to send files back and forth. I had a great team from Manitoba to South Africa. Shout out to my Lead clean up artist Jarry Theson & Background artist Wayne Salter. They did an amazing job.
Among the cast is the likes of Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong and Ralph Garman. As an animator, did you geek out at all having such well known voice actors work on your animation?
I geeked out like there was no tomorrow. It was cool having Eliza Dushku in there. I knew her from Jay & Bob Strike back.
Jon Lovitz was great, Batman himself Kevin Conroy, Sharktopus’s Ralph Garman, the voice of all things Tara Strong & the legend Neil Gaiman!
I actually geeked out more to getting TESD voices in there. I wanted a Steve-Dave Cameo and they came through with awesome performances.
Are there any performances that stand out for you?
Absolutely! The alien in the spoof of green lantern spoof was amazing. The actors name is Paul Hipp. That whole ” put my penis in your mouth” bit was improvised. He just ran with it. Jay said that there was some good stuff for out-takes or DVD extras on the track. It was so good I animated all of it.
The script was, of course, based on the Oni Press miniseries ‘Bluntman and Chronic’. Now I’m sure people are well versed in Blunt Man, Chronic and Cock Knocker [From Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back] but for those who aren’t what can you tell us about the plot?
Sure!, The basic plot is Jay & Silent Bob win the lottery and fulfill their dream of becoming superheroes!!
Speaking of the cast; Jay [Mewes] was very much the other driving force behind this alongside yourself, taking the role of producer. How would you rate him as a boss?
Jay Mewes as a boss? Glorious! He is super focused and business minded. Him and his wife Jordan are both producers on this film. Nothing but good things to say about them.
Currently there are no announced dates for the UK release of JASBSGCM. Being ‘in the loop’, do you have any idea when we will be able to see Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie this side of that Atlantic?
That part is all them. I know that they plan on visiting all over. The best way to get the live podcast Q&A and movie to your area is to tweet Jay, Kevin and Jordan that you want them to come. Offer them hand jobs if that’s what it takes!
Which animators have influenced you and your work the most?
I am hugely influenced by Ren & Stimpy and Beavis & Butthead. I used to pause my vcr and draw Ren.
When learning animation in 2001 I came across spike and mike’s sick and twisted shorts. Those were mind blowing to me. It was like punk music or heavy metal in animation form. I especially liked the films of Cindy banks and Miles Thompson.
And finally, what’s next for Steve Stark that you would like to tell us about?
I’m working on another feature with SModco, a music video, a few parodies and slowly putting together a feature of my own. The first section of the feature is my latest toon “Sealman” check it out on my youtube channel :
Or my website: www.starktoons.com.
And that is all we got for you, but be sure to check back regularly and we will keep you posted on when Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is set to cross the Atlantic. For now, you’ll have to make do with the trailer.