The Story Of South Park.
Welcome to South Park, a seemingly quiet mountain town in Colorado, where a group of foul-mouthed, yet lovable third-graders deal with some pretty heavy issues ... and the odd fart joke.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker first met at the University of Colorado in the early 1990s. One day when they needed to pass a film class, they did "an animation" together. In 1994, Trey wrote and directed Cannibal the Musical, starring Matt.
South Park all started back in 1995 when Fox executive Brian Graden commissioned Trey and Matt to make a holiday cartoon video to send out to pals on his Christmas card list. "Basically, he said, 'I'll give you enough money to buy Christmas presents for your family and friends'," Trey recalls. So with $5000 in their pockets, they cranked out a 5 minute short film titled The Spirit of Christmas, featuring a quartet of cursing brats watching a kung-fu fight between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ. Brian Graden sent it out as a video Christmas card and everyone who received the freaky cartoon, featuring Stan Marsh, Kyle Broslofski, Kenny McCormick and Eric Cartman, made copies for their friends, who made copies for their friends and so on, until Hollywood was going ape for Matt and Trey. "It was like a virus," Trey says "Yeah, like Outbreak," a deadpan Matt adds. They finally signed with US cable TV channel Comedy Central to make a series of South Park cartoons which is earning the highest ratings for an original series in the network's history and the rest, as they say, is history...
The guys write the scripts and do the voices, music and direction themselves. They manage to whip up an episode of South Park - including recording, editing and postproduction - in three weeks flat, which is extremely fast, as an episode of The Simpsons takes up to six months!
The perverse kids in the twisted cartoons were born four years ago at The University of Colorado, when buddies Trey Parker and Matt Stone made some animated shorts for film classes. The videos were primitive stuff; patched together from construction-paper cutouts glued together and photographed frame by frame. "We weren't there to become animators," recalls Trey, 28. "But we got inventive and came up with a really cool look." For the television series, they've graduated to computerized animation but stuck with their crude, one-dimensional style.
So, who exactly are Matt Stone and Trey Parker? South Parks creators resemble harmless post-Uni Slackers in their Nikes, T-shirts and baggy shorts. Matt's dad, Gerald (Whom Gerald Broslofski is named after) is a semi- retired economics professor, and his mum Sheila (Whom Sheila Broslofski is named after), a homemaker. His younger sister, Rachel, a social worker, is pictured in the pilot in a framed photo next to Cartman, while he eats Cheesy Poofs. "My parents think I'm completely warped," admits Matt, who is 27 and has a maths degree. "But my dad is our biggest fan." Trey is the youngest son of Randy (From whom Randy Marsh, the SP geologist is named), a government geologist, and Sharon (Whom Sharon Marsh is named after), an insurance broker. He has an older sister, Shelley (Shelley Marsh). "My mom realises the show is a big deal since we were in People magazine," he says. The creators do draw from their own child- hoods. "Stan Marsh, the leader kid with the blue hat, is basically me," Trey explains, which is why the Marsh family is named after his. "Kyle Broslofski, the Jewish kid with the green hat and ear flaps, is Matt, although Kyle doesnt have a sister named Rachel. Kenny is just a poor kid who's always around. We're both kind of Cartman."
In their spare time - which Isn't much these days - Matt and Trey have a band called DVDA (their songs Include "I Am Chewbacca" and "F#@k That Guy From Bush"). Next up is the movie called BASEkethall (a sport that combines basketball and baseball!), a slapstick comedy starring Matt, Trey, Yasmine Bleeth and Jenny McCarthy. When the guys hear criticism of the show's animated bloodshed, Trey and Matt's response is pure amazement. "The other night, we were watching Cops, which is rated '14'," Trey says "And this woman falls on a big knife, it goes through her chest, blood is spurting everywhere." "It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen," Matt says. "But our construction- paper cut-outs are rated 'Mature'?" Their real-life language is less censored than their cartoon counterparts', which they had to tone down for TV "If it feels right, we'll just say it, then bleep it," Trey says. "In a way, it (the language rule) is good," Matt says, "Otherwise we'd end every scene with Cartman saying Fuck you! Because we think that's hilarious".
Around their office, larger-than-life cutouts of the South Park characters are propped up in corners. Upstairs is a small recording studio with a rack of five guitars and a drum set (Which are used for the songs on the show) and the sound booth where Trey and Matt do the kid's high-pitched voices and scream obscenities at each other. The South Park characters voices are done mainly by Matt and Trey, Matt does the voices of Kenny McCormick, Kyle Broslofski, Jimbo Kerny and Jesus Christ, while Trey does the voices of Eric Cartman, Stan Marsh, Mr. Garrison, Mr. Mackay, Ned, Mr. Hankey and Officer Barbrady. Legendary soul singer, Isaac Hayes, provides the voice for Chef (Trey writes the songs he sings though). The female voices and all the women in town are done by Shannen Cassidy and the voice of Ike Broslofski, Kyles little brother is provided by a 2 year old girl The guys just let her babble into a microphone one day and taped it all. The screaming is scripted but they usually improvise to give the banter a more adolescent feel. Voices are recorded first, and then the animators fit action to the dialogue.
All artwork and words (unless otherwise stated) belong to Warren Sergent and the Spakatak network.
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