According to The Hollywood Reporter, animated series such as The Simpsons are adapting to the industry being put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic by finding creative ways to continue production remotely.
Utilizing a program called Toon Boom, all of the animated shows produced by Disney’s 20th Century Fox TV are virtually working on shared storyboards. Among others, the animated series using the program (which has waived its license fee for artists for a month), include The Simpsons , Family Guy , Bob’s Burgers , and Duncanville .
Other animated series, such as Netflix’s Big Mouth , have also completed virtual table reads. Meanwhile, Family Guy’s composer is attempting to create a remote score by having musicians play from home. Fox’s animated house behind Bob’s Burgers , Bento Box, is having in-house animators use a program called Harmony for retakes or new animation.
The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean told the outlet that “production hasn’t skipped a day or lost a beat. We intend to do the 22 shows we were contracted to do… There’s been no change in how we do things.”
The Simpsons , Bob’s Burgers , Duncanville , Netflix’s Hoops , and Apple TV+’s Central Park are still in production. Hulu’s Solar Opposites has “centralized production and post work in-house.” The practice is common for many animation studios allowing writers and animated to work closely together usually form the same central hub.
The Simpsons is planning to air five more episodes, sticking to their original schedule, beginning April 19 before the long-running animated series wraps its current 31st season. Voice work for Fox’s Family Guy has already been recorded on the first 18 episodes of next season, with eight episodes currently in different stages of production as four or five episodes are now left to “put the finishing touches on for its current season,” including sound mixes and music scores, all being handled remotely.
“On shows that are lucky enough to have the budget to do it this way, like Family Guy, The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers — and others — artists wait to get audio tracks and they adjust based on vocal performances they get. That doesn’t mean they can’t do it without audio track. We have a huge stockpile of audio tracks for next season for artists to work on. Yes, things have to be adjusted when we get the final audio but if push comes to shove, artists and animators can assign lip movements and facial acting to what they hear in their head. But we won’t reach that point for a few months because we have a stockpile of episodes already recorded,” said Family Guy co-showrunner Rich Appel.