“Bargaining makes you come up with the best ideas.” – Trey Parker
The documentary “6 Days To Air: The Making Of South Park” was on TV and I’d totally missed it before.
I’d heard the stories about “South Park” having a demanding 6 day schedule, much like “Saturday Night Live”, but getting to see behind the scenes and the work that goes in to writing, recording, animating and actually delivering an episode was really cool!
It’s really weird comparing how “South Park” was made back in 1997 to how it’s made today. The amount of time and effort put into those episodes were insane compared to today’s standards. Making a small change to a scene back then could take anything from an hour to a full day, while now it’s being done in a matter of minutes!
What hasn’t changed that much is the process of coming up with ideas and writing. Even if technology has made it more efficient and easy, generating ideas and making the story come together is still a pain.
One of the most revealing things about Matt & Trey’s creative process is what Trey said towards the end of the documentary.
I always feel like, “wow, I wish I had another day with this show.”
That’s the reason that there’s so many episodes of South Park we’re able to get done, is ’cause there just is a deadline, and you can’t keep going, ’cause there would be so many shows that I’m like, “no, no, it’s not ready yet. Not ready yet.”
And I would have spent four weeks on one show. All you do is start second-guessing yourself and rewriting stuff, and it gets over-thought, and it would have been 5% better.
The most important thing is to just get it out there in the beginning. If we think we raise ourselves to a certain standard (for Matt & Trey, they’d be competing with “The Simpsons”) before we start executing then we’re probably not going to get enough done.
Dare to be “ashamed” of the quality in the beginning. It’s OK. We’re all here to learn and get better. There will be failures in the future too. So, we’d better get comfortable with it!
I’ll leave you with a little piece of South Park history. The back bone is there, but it’s nowhere near as polished as the South Park we enjoy today.
Gotta love that VHS-quality!
The Spirit of Christmas – Jesus vs. Frosty (South Park in 1992)
Chef (Isaac Hayes) – Chocolate Salty Balls