CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland welcomed Seth Green and Clare Grant to the world famous CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Comic Con to talk about Adult Swim’s Team Unicorn pilot. The married duo, both actors and creators in their own right, discuss the struggles of producing for network television versus independent filmmaking on the Web. While talking about their many side projects, they explain how it was Green came to play a Snoop Dogg-inspired version of Bugs Bunny in a live reading of Space Jam with members of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.
On creating the Team Unicorn pilot for Adult Swim:
Clare Grant: It was the longest process of my life.
Seth Green: I tried to explain there’s a difference in the process of making something that you have complete and total creative control over, versus something you are making to air on a network. And so really where we are is, we’ve produced a pilot, now we’re addressing the notes about it. And it’s just a long process. She’s never been through anything that’s as much of a marathon.
On the biggest surprise of bringing Grant’s vision to life:
Grant: Honestly, all of the notes and any concerns from the network have been so spot on. Every time we get something we’re like, “Oh yeah, of course. That’s great. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. Awesome. Yes. I am right on top of that, Rose.” [Laughs] But, what was the most surprising is, I didn’t realize how much legal red tape was involved making things for television.
Green: We spent a little more than sixteen months just working through some of the contractual stuff before we even got to start writing. It’s made it feel like a longer process than it actually has been.
Grant: When you are making videos with online networks, they don’t do anything like that. So it’s — you don’t get lawyers involved, you’re just like, “Oh yeah, you want to do it for this long, and I’ll take it for this long? Awesome, let’s move forward.”
Green: Adult Swim is a subsidiary of Cartoon Network, which is a subsidiary of Tuner Broadcast Enterprises; it’s a huge multi national super conglomerate.
On the evolution of Team Unicorn from online series to network pilot:
Grant: Well the pilot is 2D [animation], which is a medium that I’ve never worked with. He had never worked with, so that was fun figuring all that stuff out.
Green: Cellular animation as opposed to doing anything stop-motion, or Flash.
Grant: But all Team Unicorn projects are love letters to a particular genre that we’re passionate about, and this one is a love letter to the cartoons we all grew up loving and…
Green: It’s like a modern version of a Saturday morning show. We’ve all been focused on creating content that gets people excited culturally. Makes them laugh, or entertains them.
On working on various side projects while doing Team Unicorn:
Grant: Oh yeah, for sure. We are making another music video with Nerdist right now, which we are very excited about. We have another project with an additional company called Twistory. We are working on a project with them, and then we are also working on a feature film that I really can’t get into details about. It’s really fun.
On the live Space Jam stage reading Green participated in:
Green: Nobody knew DeAndre [Jordan] was gonna [do a Charles Barkley impersonation] — everybody knew Blake [Griffin] has tons of personality, but nobody knew DeAndre was going to be that funny. So funny. It’s just a random thing you get the opportunity to do weird stuff every once and awhile. I had a couple friends who do Upright Citizens Brigade stuff and they called and said, “We’re going to put together a live reading of Space Jam as a comedy night. What do you think about that? Do you want to play Bugs Bunny?” I was like “All right.” It just sounded like fun. You try to say yes to stuff.
Grant: Let’s stop for a minute because he didn’t just do Bugs Bunny, he did Bugs Bunny as if Bugs Bunny was also Snoop Dogg.
Green: Well, because I thought, “I can’t do a good Bugs Bunny impersonation…”
Grant: But he does a really good Snoop Dogg.
Green: I do a competent Snoop Dogg.
Grant: It was a really good ginger version of Snoop Dogg. [Laughs]
Green: So the idea of Bugs Bunny with Snoop’s swagger was really funny to me.
On what he learned from directing the Team Unicorn pilot:
Green: It’s the result of really good planning. Anything that works is because you’ve planned it enough, and put all the right people together. We had such an awesome talent pool, and the girls are really sharp and funny. Plus, I love the whole shape of this concept. I really love this idea and want to make it.
Grant: Seth is a fantastic director because he is an actor and he really understands story and actors and how to get people to give the performance the scene needs. It’s really delightful and I appreciate it.
Green: Thank you very much. I like actors. I like working with them. And because I’ve been on the other side of that I know what I need in that situation, so I just try to figure out what each actor needs and give it to them so they can give me what I need.
On whether Grant has aspirations to join her husband as a director:
Grant: I would like to direct. I used to direct theater before I moved to Los Angeles. I very much enjoyed it. I don’t know if I can direct something I am also acting in. It’s hard sometimes to produce something you’re acting in because when you are a producer you just want to make sure everything is going right on set, and as an actor you just need to sit in your chair and think about yourself, and when you are really worried about whether or not everyone has coffee it’s hard to do that. [Laughs]
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