Where Little Yellow People Come to Life

Peden + Munk

To create just one episode requires 480 artists. Now, THR gets a firsthand look at what one worker calls the 'torture but fun' that goes on at Film Roman in Burbank, the epicenter of Simpsons animation and itself a complex -- and global – enterprise.


Editor Roger Injarusorn cuts an "animatic" -- a story reel with black-and-white storyboard panels edited in a timeline -- of an upcoming episode, which will be sent to Simpsons producers for review.

Lead character designer Joe Wack says he spent five months perfecting the pig featured in The Simpsons Movie.

Supervising director Mike B. Anderson draws a doughnut-wielding Homer. "It's a cliche, but this place is our family," says Anderson, "complete with uncles you don't like and cousins you don't hang with."

The mailroom at Film Roman sends thousands of individual animation drawings, digital or on paper, to studios in Seoul every week.

Assistant director Edwin Aguilar adjusts a story-reel drawing on an interactive screen. Simpsons artists often cut off the fingers of cotton gloves for better ease of movement.

About 180 Simpsons artists work out of the Film Roman building, while another 200 operate out of two facilities in Korea.

Anderson (left) and consulting producer David Silverman crack up while previewing an episode in the edit bay. "People always ask, 'When do you guys take your hiatus?' We don't have a hiatus!" says Silverman.

"A painter named Georgie Peluse came up with the yellow skin color," says Silverman of the family's hue, seen here in a classic illustration from the early years, during which creator Matt Groening's style became gospel. "The silhouette was all-important," says Wack. "Simple, but very precise."