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Good morning, my little ponies – it’s time for our first fandom Q&A of season 6! Who better to kick off this season than an encore performance by season 6 storyboard artist, Ward Jenkins, who, awesome as it may sound, actually DID storyboards for the new episode this morning?!?! :pinkie:  To learn some more about Ward Jenkins, be sure to check out his previous Q&A as well as his website, wardjenkins.com. While a newcomer to My Little Pony, Ward Jenkins has an extensive background in illustration. Be sure to check out some of his work!

 

As always, please respect that because Ward Jenkins works on My Little Pony, he may be unable to answer some questions about unreleased episodes of season 6 as well as other contract limitations. Let’s not try to worm any inside information out of our guest! Aside from these topics, feel free to inquire about his storyboard work on episode 4, his previous work experience, and his personal feelings and thoughts on all things Pony.  With all that aside, ask away to your heart's content, friends!

 

To start things off, I'll get an obvious question out of the way:

 

What was your favorite part of storyboarding for episode 4, "On Your Marks," Mr. Jenkins?

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Hey, Mr. Jenkins, what's that new colt's (the one who looks like a male, Earth Pony version of Scootaloo) name?

Edited by A.V.
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Hi again, Ward!   How has the staff from where you work treated you, lately?

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Hi guys! So glad to be back here on the MLP Forums! This was my very first episode for doing storyboards to TV, let alone MLP, so it was a great challenge! Great, meaning both BIG and FUN. 

 

My favorite part in storyboarding the episode was Appleboom going a bit crazy and the dance class sequence where AB bumps into everyone! 


Hey, Mr. Jenkins, what's that new colt's (the one who looks like a male, Earth Pony version of Scootaloo) name?

He's Tender Taps! He was fun to draw. 

 

Hi again, Ward!   How has the staff from where you work treated you, lately?

They have been fantastic to work with and entirely patient with me in my first episode to storyboard. Great team there at DHX. 

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Personally I'm kinda curious how you felt, and went about originally approaching the topic of the episode? :P Friends diverging a bit can be a pretty brutal thing sometimes, but it was wrapped up so nicely.

Was keeping it upbeat and fun hard at all?

(PS, I loved Applebloom's little outburst to the other CMCs, its resolution was adorable and captured their childish innocence nicely)

 

Also, welcome back! :grin:

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Welcome back, thanks for taking the time for another Q&A with us!

 

What was the most difficult part of "On Your Marks" to storyboard?

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@@wardomatic

 

That's great!  Next question, have you looked at any head canons of MLP?  And if so, what are your thoughts on them?

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What specific rough-drafting technique(s) do you use for your storyboards?

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I loved that there was a Fred Astaire influence with Tender Taps. I wonder if that made Apple Bloom Ginger Rogers. :P

 

How difficult was is applying dance choreography to a boarding approach? Was there anything you wanted to do in respect to the dance bits that you didn't have the time to do, or something that would not have translated well?

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Hello Ward. Glad to see you back for a Q&A. Wonderful episode i must say.

 

Did you have any say, when it comes to drawing some of the background ponies? We've seen alot of new ponies in this episode and i wonder if some of them where your idea.

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Personally I'm kinda curious how you felt, and went about originally approaching the topic of the episode? :P Friends diverging a bit can be a pretty brutal thing sometimes, but it was wrapped up so nicely.

Was keeping it upbeat and fun hard at all?

(PS, I loved Applebloom's little outburst to the other CMCs, its resolution was adorable and captured their childish innocence nicely)

 

Also, welcome back! :grin:

 

I did a lot of listening to the audio track to get a sense of how each of the characters felt about the situation. I also did a lot of research in watching previous CMC episodes. Since I was largely unfamiliar with the CMC storyarc, my storyboard supervisor gave me the ep #'s for me to watch online (thanks, Netflix!). As I was going through 604's script, I realized that something BIG had happened previously in their storyline - so since S5 was still not out on Netflix, they gave me an early animatic of the Crusaders of the Lost Mark. So cool to see what was happening to their story! I was excited to be a part of this now and was a little nervous when I realized that I know that a lot of fans will be curious as to see what was going on with the 3. Friendship has its moments, and when 3 very close friends don't see eye to eye, it's normal. I wanted to make sure that Applebloom was definitely confused and hurt by their separation and acknowledgment of differences, but I did know that somehow they'll make it all work. 

Welcome back, thanks for taking the time for another Q&A with us!

 

What was the most difficult part of "On Your Marks" to storyboard?

Most difficult part was doing boards to a song! It was my first episode ever and it was like they were dropping me into the water, seeing if I could swim! Trying to time out a song in storyboards is pretty difficult, so there were a few changes that needed to be made but all in all, I think it worked out okay. :)

 

@@wardomatic

 

That's great!  Next question, have you looked at any head canons of MLP?  And if so, what are your thoughts on them?

Head canons? Ah...you lost me there. Sorry! Not sure I understand what that is. :(

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@@wardomatic

 

Head canons are what the fans make to what their interpretation of My Little Pony is.  From head canons like Rainbow Dash joining the Wonderbolts, to crossovers like Sonic the Hedgehog and MLP, and the like.  There are many out there, some good, some not so good, but all of them have one thing in common, and that's imagining what MLP looks like in the eyes of the fans.

 

Hope that answers your question.  ;)

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What specific rough-drafting technique(s) do you use for your storyboards?

Good question! When they give me the script, I print it out and then will read through it and make little thumbnail sketches in the margins. From there, I'll work on the boards in the computer, roughing it out with each frame. We go through several versions of the boards, tweaking them to make the scene work better, based on timing and pacing. 

 

Hello Ward. Glad to see you back for a Q&A. Wonderful episode i must say.

 

Did you have any say, when it comes to drawing some of the background ponies? We've seen alot of new ponies in this episode and i wonder if some of them where your idea.

Sadly, I did not have any say in making the newish background ponies on this episode - all the artists: Picasso, Dali, Warhol and the Dirty Dancing couple in the background on stage was already put there by the writers and/or director. I thought that they were VERY funny wink & nods to the audience and I'm so glad that they had them in mind already.

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I think I heard somewhere you were going to watch the episode with family/others. How did they like it, and how did it feel to watch all your work unfold for all to see? :grin:

Also, I love how much effort you put into researching the CMC and getting your stuff together for tackling the episode. It sounds like it was pretty overwhelming, but exciting, haha.

Also also, before someone else speaks of headcanons, there's just a ton of fan theories and other things surrounding the CMC--Oh wait dang, someone beat me to it. :okiedokieloki:

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Hello, I have a question!

 

How fun would you say your job is, I mean it sounds like a lot of fun to me. But then again when you have deadlines and stuff I guess that is stressful. Would you say more fun or stressful? Also in regard to when it airs, I know I would be freaking out "does everyone like my ep?" stuff like that would keep me up at night!! LOL

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I loved that there was a Fred Astaire influence with Tender Taps. I wonder if that made Apple Bloom Ginger Rogers. :P

 

How difficult was is applying dance choreography to a boarding approach? Was there anything you wanted to do in respect to the dance bits that you didn't have the time to do, or something that would not have translated well?

My initial influence with TT was actually Gene Kelly - him swinging off the lamppost was mirroring Singing in the Rain. :) But I know that there could be some Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers when TT and AB are dancing, but Gene was my main inspiration. 

 

Storyboarding dance sequences could be extremely difficult, but since I really enjoy doing those types of sequences anyway (I've boarded a lot of movement in previous stuff I've done), I loved doing the dance stuff! It's important to map out where you want the characters to go - and to make sure you have enough space - you don't want to crowd the frame so making sure the composition is perfect is also something to keep in mind. We had to make sure there were some things that the audience would understand - like when TT is on stage and is so scared, doing the little toe tap, then a bit more, then more, and then he's tappin' up a storm, my supervisor suggested that part. I think in my initial boards, you couldn't really tell what was happening there. 

I think I heard somewhere you were going to watch the episode with family/others. How did they like it, and how did it feel to watch all your work unfold for all to see? :grin:

Also, I love how much effort you put into researching the CMC and getting your stuff together for tackling the episode. It sounds like it was pretty overwhelming, but exciting, haha.

Also also, before someone else speaks of headcanons, there's just a ton of fan theories and other things surrounding the CMC--Oh wait dang, someone beat me to it. :okiedokieloki:

They loved it! It was great to watch it with them all! We watched it with my wife & kids as well as my brother-in-law and his wife & kids. All the kids were asking, "did you do THAT part?" "what about that?" It was very funny. 

 

So, the headcanon thing - I guess I already answered everyone's question to this since I didn't know what it was! Anything that I board, it's all from the script. The script is king, unless we feel that something can be "plussed" or edited or taken out because of time/pacing. I don't really have any say in regards to what happens to each of the characters in the general storyarc - I guess that sort of thing is for the writers to decide! 

Hello, I have a question!

 

How fun would you say your job is, I mean it sounds like a lot of fun to me. But then again when you have deadlines and stuff I guess that is stressful. Would you say more fun or stressful? Also in regard to when it airs, I know I would be freaking out "does everyone like my ep?" stuff like that would keep me up at night!! LOL

Great questions! Lessee...

 

You are correct to assume that it's a lot of fun to do storyboards, but can be very stressful. It was IMMENSELY stressful, especially since this was the first time for me working on boards for a TV show, and especially for DHX - I wanted to make sure they made the right decision in hiring me in the first place! But with all the stress in getting all the boards done for the show, it's a great reward to finally see all your hard work up on the screen! Even though it's basically a whole year later - but STILL! It was totally worth it! I really enjoyed seeing what they did with all the characters and all the animators did a great job in making the CMC's move from what I drew out. So wild, really. 

 

I know that there's going to be some poo-pooers and haters out there, but what can I do? It's their opinion on how they perceive the episode, and really, there's nothing I can do about that. All I can do is just keep drawing and doing boards (hopefully more for MLP!) and keep creating! 

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What was your favoirte part of this week's episode.

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Hello, Ward. It's awesome to see you again in these forums. :)

 

According to one of your answers, it sounds like you would have to storyboard the episodes (very) long before release and that makes perfect sense considering the work that has to go into them and the effort from the others before and later on.

So, my question is this: approximately how long did one episode (can be "On Your Marks" for the sake of it) take to storyboard in your case?

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OK, I just have to ask because this made me laugh so much... did you storyboard this little bit with Tender Taps at the end?  :orly:

 

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What was your favoirte part of this week's episode.

I have a couple!  One was Applebloom going a little crazy - in the dark clubhouse. I did that scene and we really wanted it to be very serious and ominous. She was losing it! So funny. 

 

Another was seeing Tender Taps get his cutie mark - I got to board that part and it was a lot of fun to see him get so excited. :)

Hello, Ward. It's awesome to see you again in these forums. :)

 

According to one of your answers, it sounds like you would have to storyboard the episodes (very) long before release and that makes perfect sense considering the work that has to go into them and the effort from the others before and later on.

So, my question is this: approximately how long did one episode (can be "On Your Marks" for the sake of it) take to storyboard in your case?

Good question! I worked on boards for 604 for about 6 weeks - first round is roughs, then we meet up and discuss changes and then I go back and redo/clean up for final boards. After that, there may be some more changes made but since I'm onto the next episode to board, they have storyboard revisionists go in and do revisions. At that point, they'll have an animatic to work with (for timing and pacing) with all the boards, including the revised stuff. 

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I have a couple! One was Applebloom going a little crazy - in the dark clubhouse. I did that scene and we really wanted it to be very serious and ominous. She was losing it! So funny.

 

Another was seeing Tender Taps get his cutie mark - I got to board that part and it was a lot of fun to see him get so excited. :)

 

Good question! I worked on boards for 604 for about 6 weeks - first round is roughs, then we meet up and discuss changes and then I go back and redo/clean up for final boards. After that, there may be some more changes made but since I'm onto the next episode to board, they have storyboard revisionists go in and do revisions. At that point, they'll have an animatic to work with (for timing and pacing) with all the boards, including the revised stuff.

Also, how will you react now that there will probably be immense shipping between Apple Bloom and Tender Taps?
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OK, I just have to ask because this made me laugh so much... did you storyboard this little bit with Tender Taps at the end?  :orly:

 

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Ha! Sadly, I did not board that part! The whole sequence at the end - where TT is so happy to finally have his cutie mark until the end was all done by Hanna Lee. 

Also, how will you react now that there will probably be immense shipping between Apple Bloom and Tender Taps?

That would be pretty cool to see what would happen there! That's what makes the fandom so special and fun - they really take the love of the show to great heights. 

 

 

---------------------------

 

So, in case you guys are interested, here's a breakdown of who did what, storyboard-wise for 604: On Your Marks: 

 

Hanna Lee did everything in the first half of the episode, up until the scene with Zecora. Right after that scene, when you see all the various stuff that the CMC did on the wall of the clubhouse, that's when my stuff starts. 

 

I boarded the entire song, then did everything leading up to Tender Taps getting his cutie mark on stage. 

 

That next scene, where he's looking at his CM outside the townhall/auditorium is Hanna, until the end of episode. 

Edited by wardomatic
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Possibly the last question I personally have: seeing as how your first episode came out quite well received, are you feeling more confident in working on episodes still in production? :P I imagine there might have been some stress prior to this one airing, and getting feedback from those not on staff with the show, haha.

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This is a very general question, though I understand if you can't answer it for contractual reasons.  But, I would like to ask if you storyboarded just for CMC episodes, or if you got to work on storyboards for other characters outside of the CMC?  I figure that's a safe question to ask, and obviously not asking for specific episode titles or anything.  But again, if you can't answer I understand.

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Heya again, Ward! Haven't watched today's episode but I bet the storyboard artist made a great job! ;) Can you, as a storyboard artist, add visual references (or easter eggs) ...

 

 

 

(Like Twilicane making a quick appereance in episode 3 of this season)

 

twilicane_by_lonmcgregor-d6vlrbm.png

 

 

 

...in your work? If so, have you done it, and have they made it to the actual episode?  :P

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