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Bumbershoot Review Day 2: Futurama Writers Panel

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I was just in a joyous room full of nerds in the middle of Bumbershoot. Five of the Futurama writers spoke about their process, with comedian Kurt Braunohler as the moderator. Braunohler introduced the panel by referring to Futurama as “the often canceled, wonderful program that you should all check out.” He spoke of being a big fan of the show. It showed with his insightful questioning.

The writers on the panel were Ken Keeler, Mike Rowe, Josh Weinstein, Eric Horsted, and show runner David X Cohen. They spoke about their writing process, which includes a robust outlining process prior to the first draft of a script, and how things are fleshed out through the animatic process before the show is animated in South Korea. Kurt Braunohler had a lot of questions about process, and he asked a few questions about how and when jokes make it into a show. “A great joke at the beginning is an indication that we should do the episode,” said Cohen. Cohen and Keeler were the most vocal of the panelists, fielding questions from Braunohler, and later the audience. (They are also two who have written for the show the longest, and both of them wrote for The Simpsons before then.)

When asked what was the weirdest thing about writing for the show, Eric Horsted responded by saying “the weirdest thing is that you can do almost anything.” Being solely limited by what you can imagine can be pretty daunting, evidently. One of the highlights of the panel was watching an animatic, which is basically a rendered storyboard of what will eventually be the finished animation in sync with the voices of the actors.

What we saw was the first part of what will be a show split into three sections that each parody a different 1980\’s Saturday morning cartoon. The show will air next season, and it will be called Saturday Morning Fun Pit. What we saw bore a striking similarity to Scooby-Doo. It guest-stars George Takei and Larry Bird. Futurama fans, you will be pleased.

David X Cohen remarked that during this evening\’s panel discussion several of the best questions that they\’d ever been asked were posed. Whether or not he was pandering, it was an educational and entertaining way to spend an hour at what turns out to be a pretty diverse offering of events at Bumbershoot 2012.