"The Simpsons" is an American sitcom that depicts everyday life in America. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and mocks American culture, society, television, and human nature. An episode of The Simpsons lasts approximately 27 minutes and requires a whopping 6 months to produce.
The Process Of Development
South Park, Adult Swim shows and endless online-only animated shorts like Homestar Runner have rendered animation quicker, rougher, and looser thanks to computer animation and the internet. The Simpsons, on the other hand, continues to follow the old formula. While a lean team can now produce an episode of South Park in a week, the Simpsons is an expensive, high-touch, slow-paced production based on the Walt Disney and Hanna-Barbera formulas.
The plot is first pitched to producers, then written by one or two authors, and then “punched up” by other writers for a few weeks, often rewriting whole parts. They will write about 25 episodes in six months, one after another.
When the scripts finally get done and are finalized, the storyboarding artists get to work, and any problems are then referred to a rewrite team, and the project is revisited. However, the initial voice work is completed simultaneously, including the voice work for later celebrity guests to get the timing right.
An “animatic,” which is a rough animation of the storyboard, is created by a team. They can use “inbetweening,” i.e. complete animation, for very complex stuff (by 2 frames per second, rather than 1 frame per second like regular TV). Rewriters may also be used to punch these up.
The whole project requires 6 months from start to finish. But in the past, when the show had more prominent writers, who put in long hours, they could write more episodes meaning an increased workload- further into the break (summer), so it was closer to 9 months for a single episode.