Seth McFarlane continues to prevail himself as the King Of All Media in finding new ways to connect with global comic sensibilities while maintaining a status quo of audience expectation. With “Family Guy” still going strong along with “American Dad” on Fox, he recently found a way to break the live action barrier in a distinct form with “Ted”. At Fox Television’s All Star TCA Party held at Soho House in West Hollywood, McFarlane discussed with IR’s Tim Wassberg elements of tone, necessity of structure and his perception of student films.
Tim Wassberg: Finding tone in material of thematic versus dramatic in your material especially in Family Guy. How has that evolved for you in your modern equation?
Seth McFarlane: That is a very broad question. Each episode is created as its own animal. An animated shows gives you a long period to do more comedy oriented and more action filled episodes. It is a pretty broad canvas but we treat each episode as a little movie. And there doesn’t need to be a stylistic tone in much of the storytelling.
TW: Has the fact that the audience has become broader changed the approached the essence of story structure, especially with the inclusion of international markets?
SM: It hasn’t really changed the process, no. I figure the audience has gotten broader just because of what we are doing so it is better that we keep doing it [that way].
TW: How do you keep from second guessing yourself?
SM: I always second guess myself.
TW: How important then is instinct vs. life experience to you now especially having branched out with something like “Ted” vs. ongoing material like “Family Guy” and “American Dad”?
SM: I think it is a little of both. There are many different factors that go into production of a movie like that. It is instinct to know what’s funny. It’s life experience as far as what has worked in the past.
TW: Can you talk about college audience who made “Family Guy” what it is and how what we do can blossom possibly in that way?
SM: The only thing I really did that was significant as far as my college episode was to produce a student film that was very commercially something. I was not out to express my inner demons. I was out to make something that would be a calling card and useful when I got out into the professional world. I think that is a mistake. I think you make the film you want to make but for someone who wants to get into the business professionally, the other mistake that is made is that they don’t think beyond what the student film shows.
TW: And did your first film show that?
SM: I think it did. It was a rough version of “Family Guy”.
Seth’s Student Film was entitled “Life Of Larry” which he made at Rhode Island School Of Design.