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The Making of the South Park WoW Episode 70

Posted by Zonk
from the killing-boars dept.
Via GameSetWatch, an interview with South Park Producer Frank Agnone, Tech Supervisor J. J. Franzen, and Director of Animation Eric Stough. The discussion, on the Machinima.com site, goes into a lot of detail on how the South Park WoW episode was made, their rationale for doing it, and the amount of assistance they received from Blizzard. From the article: "Q: How long did it take to capture, puppeteer, and edit all the WOW footage? JJ: Uhm... A really really long time. We decided early on to treat the in-game capture sessions as regular film shoots. Our 'set' ended up being the lobby of the studio we produce South Park in. We rented 12 PCs, set up a bunch of folding tables, and were basically good to go. I decided that it would be best to capture on a Mac, since we would be able to capture directly to a quicktime file, which would make getting the captured footage onto the editing system a lot quicker. So, I hauled my shiny new MacPro out into the lobby and spent the next two weeks in a much bigger, if less private, new office. We had 5 'shoot' days, the first on the 20th of Sept. which lasted about 3-5 hours. The next was on the 26th of Sept. which also lasted about 4-5 hours., and then we shot almost every other day up to the last few days of production Monday and Tuesday were full days, with the last day going from 10am Tuesday morning to around 3am Wednesday morning the 3rd of Oct,, the day the episode aired."
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The Making of the South Park WoW Episode

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  • Close (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wellington Grey (942717) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:01PM (#16898346) Homepage Journal
    with the last day going from 10am Tuesday morning to around 3am Wednesday morning the 3rd of Oct,, the day the episode aired.


    That's cutting it really close. Anyone know if that's usual for the production of an South Park Episode?

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tgtanman (728257)
      FTA: "We have been producing our episodes in this fashion for years, routinely finishing within 12 hours of the episode going on the air."
      • FTA: "We have been producing our episodes in this fashion for years, routinely finishing within 12 hours of the episode going on the air."


        My god, why?

        -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
        • Re:Close (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Monkey-Man2000 (603495) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:21PM (#16898552)
          Panic is a great motivator. . .
          • It apparently didn't work for the season finale, which IMO sucked monkey balls. It felt unfinished, like they forgot the punchline, and was only funny in a "eh" sort of way.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by default luser (529332)
              It apparently didn't work for the season finale, which IMO sucked monkey balls. It felt unfinished, like they forgot the punchline, and was only funny in a "eh" sort of way.

              What, are you so unmotivated that you can't make one intuitive leap for yourself? Are you so retarded that you cannot grasp a simple punchline without having it stuffed in your face?

              -spoilers-

              Stan was obviously in a movie - the twist was he was in the WRONG movie. The losing team in a sports movie is always a shallow group of assholes
              • by Noxx (74567)
                IIRC from the DVD of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, there was an alternate ending where the good guys lost the final game and the bad guys rubbed their faces in it. The director/writer/whoever wanted that ending in the movie, but the studios nixed it in favor of the underdog-triumphs ending that went to the theaters.
            • by HTH NE1 (675604)
              I haven't followed this advice myself lately, but at times it has been recommended that one also watch the weekend repeat which is usually more polished. Compare the infamous episode alternately titled "Cartman Says..." or "It Hits the Fan" where sound effects were missing in the original airing, some prop continuity problems (the plate of cookies disappearing), some blocking corrections so Cartman wasn't obscured by the counter, and changing where background characters were looking, but then overall the l
        • Re:Close (Score:5, Informative)

          by c_forq (924234) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:36PM (#16898692)
          I've heard the main reason they chose to do that is so they can stay extremely relevant. For example they can make fun of events within a couple days of it happening.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Pneuma ROCKS (906002)

            Yes, for instance the "Passion of the Jew" episode was aired very shortly after the Passion of the Christ movie was released in theaters, and its controversy as being allegedly anti-semitic and unnecessarily graphic was very, very fresh in people's minds.

            Their response time allows them to be very brilliant with excellent timing.

            • by lenroc (632180)
              > Yes, for instance the "Passion of the Jew" episode was aired very shortly after the Passion of the Christ movie
              > was released in theaters, and its controversy as being allegedly anti-semitic and unnecessarily graphic was very,
              > very fresh in people's minds.

              Sure, but that's a terrible example. The Passion of the Christ was known to be coming out for months before it was actually released, and any show could easily have scheduled their parody to air within days of it's release.

              See elsewhere in this
          • by Gattman01 (957859)
            I've heard that also.
            I think its a good thing too.

            Who can forget Saddam in the spider hole at the end of Christmas in Canada, just days after he was captured...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ResidntGeek (772730)
          They were able to make fun of Florida in the 2000 election on Novermber 5, 2000.
        • "My god, why?"

          So they can sneak in topical humor. I remember a spoof of the infamous Elian Gonzales picture within a week of it actually happening.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by d3ik (798966)
      I forget where I read it, but apparently that's normal for South Park. They have a brainstorming session on Thursday (six days before air), then write and produce the entire show over the next few days and send it via satellite to Comedy Central on show day.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BigDork1001 (683341)
      That's cutting it really close. Anyone know if that's usual for the production of an South Park Episode?

      From TFA: "We have been producing our episodes in this fashion for years, routinely finishing within 12 hours of the episode going on the air."

      So yes, that is usual for a South Park episode.

    • Why do you think there is never a preview of the next week's episode at the end of each new one?
  • by drsquare (530038) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:01PM (#16898350)
    1. Write down a load of world of warcraft references and in jokes.
    2. Add a couple of toilet jokes.
    3. Profit!
    • by JohnSearle (923936) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:10PM (#16898432)
      1. Use cliched South Park joke.
      2. ?
      3. Mod points!

      - John
    • Re:How they did it: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by slughead (592713) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:12PM (#16898454) Homepage Journal
      1. Write down a load of world of warcraft references and in jokes.
      2. Add a couple of toilet jokes.
      3. Profit!


      I have to agree (before you get modded down as the dirty troll you are!).

      I don't play WoW, but I've been a gamer since I was 10 years old (which was before you were born, whoever you are). I understood all the jokes and even knew enough about WoW to appreciate that it was right on the money.

      Also, the way that they talked was hilarious--the sort of condescending borderline malaise in the vocal commands from Cartman to the other 3--that was spot on.

      All in all, though... It just wasn't... that ... funny. A lot of WoW players I know thought this was an epic event and were actually giddy that Trey and Matt decided to shed light on their somewhat lame past-time. All I'm saying is, it could've used more fart jokes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by wizzard2k (979669)
        All I'm saying is, it could've used more fart jokes.

        Mom?! Bathroom!
        What hun?
        Bathroom! BATHROOM!!!
        *********
        Oh, that's a big boy, isnt he!

        That wasnt enough for you?
    • 001. Write down a load of world of warcraft references and in jokes.
      010. Add a couple of toilet jokes.
      011. ???
      100. Profit!
    • .. the actual nadir of South Park bandwagon jumping was 'Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants'. I thought for sure the show had jumped the shark then, but it actually kind of came back from that.
      • by OakDragon (885217)
        the actual nadir of South Park bandwagon jumping was 'Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants'

        (I say the following as a big fan of South Park, still.)

        That episode is like a ill-proportioned clay ash tray made by a retarded kid, and given to you as a gift. At first you say "WTF?" But then you think about all the heart in it, and how hard he tried...

      • by dangitman (862676)
        I dunno, "Manbearpig" was pretty damn awful, except for the "Cartman and the gold" sub-plot. And the one about Oprah and "A Million Tiny Pieces" was excrutiating.
    • by fermion (181285) * on Saturday November 18, 2006 @06:33PM (#16900128) Homepage Journal
      Really, every south park episode is like this. The only issue is that some people are so sensitive that they can't stand being made fun of, and as a result run home, hide in their parents basement, and post scathing online rebuttals.

      What South Park does is makes us all look at the inane things we do, and in the process, at least for those of us that are reflective, gives us the opportunity to look at these things from the perspective of others. It is high end requirement for enjoying such a low brow show, but hey, that is why South Park is not Family Guy.

      As has been mentioned on numerous occasions, the show does not in particular hate anyone, except for Barbara Steisand, and has no problem with anyone, except for pompous actors, politicians, and other persons. And the one thing we have seen this season, if we can't make fun of everyone, then we shouldn't make fun of anyone.

      My solemn hope is that the WOW folks, and other folks who take video games so seriously that they have become so myopic that they cannot phantom anything outside of the game, will complain so much that we have an even more scathing episode, a la Sally Struthers or Scientology. We call it '40 years old and living in your moms garage.'

      • by drsquare (530038)

        Really, every south park episode is like this.

        No, I've seen some that are really funny. But they were made years ago, and they came up with funny stories and good jokes. This episode is just pandering to fanboys by throwing out as many references and injokes as they could in 30 minutes.

        Like that closeup of the keyboard with the key permanently pressed in. I don't play world of warcraft so don't know what that's referencing, but I can just picture a million nerds ejaculating when they saw that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by DreadfulGrape (398188)
        "...so myopic that they cannot phantom anything outside of the game..."

        Definitely a 5-point post, but I think the word you're looking for in the last paragraph is fathom. Which, in addition to being a unit of nautical measurement equal to six feet, is also a verb meaning to penetrate the truth, to comprehend, to understand.
  • I'm in (Score:2, Funny)

    I'm in.

    Me too.

    Mpphhff mmmfp

    Everyone equip healing potions to the hotbar if you haven't already. Uh, Kyle, go ahead and cast Arcane Brilliance to raise our intelligence.

    Hang on, I'm chaining my fire spells for max range.

    Nice. Stan, what enchantment does your Cloak of the Tiger have?

    +15 agility

    Give the cloak to Kenny: he needs the agility boost for bow attacks.

    'K.

    Hold on, this fight could last more than twelve hours. What if we run out of food?

    Don't worry, I have that covered. [presses intercom button] Mom?

    Ye
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BoberFett (127537)
      That's just silly. Everyone knows ou can't enchant cloaks with +15 AGI, and even if you could, it'll be soulbound the first time you equip it.

      I mean, haha, yeah, that's funny, haha...
  • ...SP episodes I've ever seen.

    Stan's dad, "I'm not an R-tard." LOL
    • by drsquare (530038)
      What's funny about it? As a non-world of warcraft player all I could see was a load of references and jargon. All the jokes about how lame mmorpg players are were pretty predictable and obvious.

      I suppose the warcraft players were creaming themselves in awe that their game was on TV, but if you look at it from a non-fanboy perspective it was a pretty crap episode, with a rather uninteresting plot and not many jokes.
      • by creimer (824291)
        I don't play WoW but I did work six months for the WorldsAway virtual chat world in 1997 and in the video game industry for six years (including a few months on the Horizons MMORPG). This South Park episode nailed everything on the head. You have to be an insider to understand but what you saw was all true. It was a definitely an OMG WTF OMG episode. :)
        • Wait, does that mean we can hold you accountable for Horizons? :P
          • by creimer (824291)
            No. I can reassure you that mining for ore does work as expected if you're playing a dragon.
            • Isn't the one to be blamed for Horizons (or at least for turning what was once one of the loveliest games on the Net into a steaming turd), He Who Shall Not Be Named (aka Dave Bowman)?
      • by ATMD (986401)
        I have never (knowingly) even touched a system with a MMORPG installed upon it, but I still loved that episode.

        "This could be the end of the world... of Warcraft!"
        "You can't just give up on the world... of Warcraft!"
        • by drsquare (530038)
          That's supposed to be funny? A three year old could have come up with that joke.

          I pine for the days when South Park, Family Guy, the Simpsons etc were still actually funny, but that era ended years ago. Now they just live off reputation, with fanboys fawning over every crap predictable joke.
          • Obviously these jokes get translated by your nurons ultra fast and you instantly know/relate each joke to a previous joke in episode 312.

            Might be a good episode idea about fanbois who no longer find things funny, and act all wholey.

            Why do people still listen to Rolling stones or Beatles or anything? Because OBVIOUS REPEATED stuff thats has ZERO PREDICTABILITY
            often is ENJOYABLE for ever. And not just once. Its like wow, this beer does the same predictable thing it did yesterday, but
            why do I still drink it...
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by dangitman (862676)
              I suppose you find sex predicatable too, since the outcome (no punn) is the same each time.

              I think you're doing it wrong.

            • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @03:32AM (#16902692) Homepage
              At a certain point, it stops being humor and is just a Pavlovian response. Usually, the 3rd retelling.

              Why is it geeky to repeat lines over and over? Because it reflects a desire for predictability, control, and safety. Instead of this vague "sense" of humor that seems abstract and fleeting, you have humor-as-algorithm. It is a reliance on the cliche in place of immediate experience. Two of the more interesting 20th century writers about aesthetics - Adorno and Deleuze - describe the cliche as the enemy of authentic experience.

              There is no discovery when you repeat a joke. When something is found funny the first time, it is partially because it uncovers some absurdity or twist in the world.

              Sex is different. Very different. And if one isn't careful, it too can become a cliche.
              • by MrCopilot (871878)
                Alright, Alright, that sounds all very intellectual and all but ...
                Personally I repeat jokes that may be obscure and before the time of some of these newer geeks, in the hope that they will ask "Hunh?" and try to discover the source of the material for the first time.

                That being said the 1. 2. 3.Profit meme does not hold that possibility.

                It is the geek version of the arist0crats. But you have to put in your own funny bits. If you are not going to make it clever then why bother?.

          • A three year old could have come up with that joke.

            "In related news, drsquare has become the new lead joke writer for South Park"............

            But yeah, that episode wasn't anything special. Funny, but no more funny than the other South Park episodes... I don't see why this is getting any special attention, I somehow doubt pokemon.com had a thread about that episode way back in the early days about the pokemon episode, because it wasn't anything special, just like the WoW episode.

      • Sorry, but it was a fun episode, just enjoy things for what they, are DONT analyze until you have no friends. Keep
        your sad analyzation to your self. Sometimes mixing lots of predictable and obvious things together in a funny setting, can be truely
        even more funny. If something is not predictable and not obvious then its probably weird alternative art that gets ZERO ratings.

        SP is not for boring people but for a quick 20 min viewing, either while drinking beer, or other non-government approved narcotics banned
  • by Toby The Economist (811138) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @03:34PM (#16898686)
    After ten years of the Net, do they really not yet know that you don't center large amounts of text people are trying to read?
  • Shouldn't it say "The Making of the WoW South Park Episode"?

    I was trying to figure out why they would make a WoW expansion based on South Park.
    • Actually, since "WoW" is being used as an adjective to describe "Episode (of South Park)", it's perfectly fine as it is.
      • by JCZorkmid (693710)
        Yes, since I now know what it was saying I can see why it's acceptable, but it wasn't immediately clear to me (not being someone who plays WoW or watches South Park regularly). I red it as South Park was being used an adjective to describe a WoW Episode.

        "the red dog's collar" may mean "the collar belonging to the red dog", or "the collar (which is red) belonging to the dog".

        So "the dog's red collar" is more clear.

        How about "The Making of the WoW Episode of South Park". That's much less ambiguous. :-P
    • by creimer (824291)
      After killing all those boars to level up, the kids wanted to play in a more familiar environment. Nothing like swinging an axe at the police.
  • Family Guy did it! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dangitman (862676) on Saturday November 18, 2006 @07:58PM (#16900790)
    I wonder if South Park got an insider leak that Family Guy was doing a World of Warcraft episode, and slapped the episode together quickly to beat them to the punch? After all, the animation for Family Guy would take a lot longer - so they must have been developing that episode long before South Park got the idea.
    • by Malakusen (961638)
      Wasn't it American Dad that did a MMO episode? Even so, while the episode was hilarious and had a true RPG moment ("The Castle Roodpart? Who comes up with these names?"), it wasn't WoW and didn't have Blizzard's backing and support. The South Park episode did. Also, from TFA, Trey Parker got the idea last season around the time of "In the Closet".

      I think SP has been going downhill for a while, not because of reliance on fanboy references (because that is EXACTLY what the target audience wants, if you don't
      • by dangitman (862676)
        Wasn't it American Dad that did a MMO episode?

        Ahhh, so it was. It's basically the same people making it anyway, isn't it?

        Even so, while the episode was hilarious and had a true RPG moment ("The Castle Roodpart? Who comes up with these names?"),

        It's "trapdoor" spelled backwaaaaaaaaaaaaa....

        it wasn't WoW and didn't have Blizzard's backing and support. The South Park episode did.

        I think it was a reference to WoW. After all, it is the most popular MMORPG around, and had a very similar style. As for it n

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