Today, we talk to Becks Wallace, a storyboard artist who's worked on the latest series, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! (which currently plays on Boomerang.com for US viewers). For Hanna-Barbera fans, we also talk a little about the Jetsons/WWE movie.
So, without further ado, I present An Interview with... Becks Wallace. (Questions are asked as Scoobypedia, replies are shortened to BW.)
Scoobypedia: How did you get into the biz?
BW: During my senior year of high school (2009), I applied for the Warner Bros. Animation/Hanna Barbera Scholarship. The scholarship included some money for school as well as four summer internships at Warner Bros. Animation. I had to submit a portfolio, write an essay, do an interview. I won the scholarship, and every summer I went to WB to work on different shows and meet new people.
Scoobypedia: How did you get to work on Be Cool?
BW: While I was an intern, I met some great contacts including line producer Wade Wisinski. I kept in touch with him throughout college and the year after I graduated college in 2013. In early spring 2014, Wade emailed me and asked if I was interested in a storyboard test. I agreed. The test was for Be Cool, Scooby Doo. A couple of months later, I turned in my test and within a week, I was offered the job. I started as a professional board artist on Be Cool in June 2014.
Scoobypedia: Did you watch the original cartoon or any of the others before working on Be Cool? If so, how did it feel working on this new version?
BW: Truthfully, I only watched it occasionally when it was on Cartoon Network. It was not my favorite show, I was more into CN's current lineup and Nickelodeon shows.
As far as working on the new one, it was... an experience. Incredibly valuable in multiple ways, many achievements as well as many hard lessons. What I did appreciate was that we really fleshed out the gang, strengthening the characters we knew while filling in the gaps. Fred and Daphne in particular were fairly blank slates, and in Be Cool we really gave them some depth.
Scoobypedia: Is there anything particular that stands out for you from one or both of the two seasons?
BW: Both of them are on my portfolio website (beckswallace.com). The first one was in Giant Problems when Fred and Daphne go into the Giant's lair for the first time. The second one was the finale of the Halloween episode. Fred stands off with the Witch in her Baba Yaga-style house. They ended up changing some of it, but my original pass took place in a forest and had Zombie Velma and Daphne coming up from a pile of leaves. It's still sorta like that, but I'm not sure if the pile of leaves on the street reads as well as it would in a forest.
Truthfully, every scene I did in the Halloween episode was a blast. The finale, the wrap-up, when the witch first flies out of the house... The most important scene I did to date was the cold open for Halloween -- the neighborhood is based off of the neighborhood I grew up in, and the incidental who hands out candy to Young Fred is a caricature of my late father. It's a very special scene for me.
Scoobypedia: How much do you storyboard for one episode?
BW: Usually each board artist was responsible for roughly 1/3 of the script. It would even out to about 7-8 minutes of screen time. I never sat down and calculated it, though.
Scoobypedia: What's it like seeing a fully animated scene from one of your storyboards either from Be Cool or something else you've worked on?
BW: The first time I ever saw my stuff animated, it was such a delight. Even though sometimes it was rough, it was still so much fun to see it finished. It especially felt great when the animation was good (most episodes animated by Snipple came out amazing.)
Scoobypedia: Since you were there from the beginning to end, can you look back and see the progression you made as an artist?
BW: Oh, definitely. Hands down. Between my test and my last assignment, it is night and day. Sometimes I wonder how I even got the job!
Scoobypedia: I would also like to take the opportunity to ask you about the Jetsons/WWE movie you worked on. What's it like going from Be Cool, which strayed somewhat away from its source material, to the Jetsons movie which is pretty much the same as what HB did?
BW: It was fine. Because they were aiming for "classic Jetsons," as well as the schedule being more forgiving (direct-to-videos usually have a slightly longer schedule than TV) it was an easier project to work on. It was more simple, stream-lined, and easier to draw. Be Cool was way more dynamic in terms of staging, composition, acting, and whatnot, and with a tight schedule, it was a challenge. Honestly, Jetsons was a welcome relief after the stressful first season of Be Cool.
Scoobypedia: With the second animatic for Jetsons (where they land in 2015), some of the recording is substituted, with George going from a male voice to a female voice (which I wasn't at all offended by, to be honest). Is this your own voice we can hear, and is this something that you usually do? (Like in the animatic for the 1st episode of Be Cool, none of the gang have their regular voices. It was quite interesting seeing that all finished.)
BW: That's scratch dialogue. Usually while working on boards, the voiceover artists have not recorded anything yet, either due to their schedules or an unfinished script. The storyboards artists still need to move forward, though, so we often have to record temp dialogue for ourselves. We also often change lines even after the artists have recorded, and they will come back in later for "pick-ups." So yes, the female voice you hear is mine. Some people hate doing scratch, but I really enjoy it. I get to work on my acting skills!
Scoobypedia: Finally, is there anything you're currently working on you'd like to plug?
BW: Oh, you'll like this -- I'm currently working on the new Scooby movie that is supposed to come out in the next few years.
End of interview.
I’d like to thank Becks for taking the time out to do this interview, and also for being willing to do more questions as we spoke back and forth.
If you would like to see more of her work, you can check out her website (as mentioned above) at beckswallace.com, and check out her Twitter account, @beccaminator.
Goodbye for now!