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We were lucky to sit down with Arthur Bradford, the director of “6 Days to Air: Behind the Scenes of HumancentiPad.” Bradford was kind enough to give us information about the time he spent with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, producers of the show “South Park,” along with the writers and animators of the show.
Bradford was approached by Stone sometime after the release of “The Book of Mormon,” written by Stone and Parker. Stone was interested in doing a documentary on “The Book of Mormon” because he found the process of creating a show interesting. However, because of difficulties in trying to get all the necessary clearances with actorâ€™s equity, they decided to focus the documentary on “South Park” instead.
Around this time, the show’s 15-year anniversary was coming up, a factor which helped in persuading them to actually shoot the documentary. It was also a way for Bradford to learn the processes behind creating a “South Park” episode. Bradford had previously pitched the idea to Stone after â€śHowâ€™s Your News?â€ť was rejected, but Stone declined the idea.
They did not want cameras inside the writing room, thinking it would be too intense.Â Bradford wanted this documentary to be different. He did not want to simply go in there and ask typical questions. He wanted to earn their respect, and create a documentary that showed the talent of these two people.
Still, the idea of having cameras in the writing room was a hard one for Stone and Parker to agree to, so surveillance cameras were placed around the room to monitor everything that took place. The new season required seven new episodes of “South Park.” Bradford stayed for five out of the seven episode plannings and focused the documentary on the HumancentiPad episode.
He watched as Parker chugged lots of Red Bull while pulling all-nighters, and even until the Wednesday the show aired, Parker was still working on the script.Â Although Parker and Stone are known for being crazy and eccentric, they also have the ability to inspire people. They have big hearts, and the HumancentiPad episode is a great instance of this.
They were aware that Steve Jobs was ill with pancreatic cancer, and decided to change his portrayal out of respect, from a satirically negative one to a positive one. Something that Parker denies is that a lot of the show is a reflection of his life. This is visible in a new episode, in which Stan turns 10 and suddenly everything that he found amusing is no longer appealing to him.
Parkerâ€™s 40thÂ birthday was around this time, and he felt as if he hit a tough point in his life, which is arguably the highlight of his career.Â The documentary aired on October 9, after the first episode of the new season on Comedy Central debuted. Bradford is continuing to film with Stone and Parker, and is expecting to have another documentary released, possibly in the next year.
This documentary will further explore the animated show, along with “The Book of Mormon,” in hopes of answering questions. It will also include shooting away from the studio and exploring Colorado, where the show is based in. To Bradford, this is a learning experience where he wants to investigate the drive that pushes Parker and Stone that allows them to continue writing and pulling all-nighters.
The shooting of the film has also helped Bradford in his writing. Parker gave him advice regarding his strategy for writing a great episode. Instead of writing a very linear sequence, he switches the “ands” to “buts,” which can help make the flow of story more interesting.
The story then sounds more like: this happened, but then this happened, therefore, this happened. That is the strategy Parker uses when he writes a story – and so far, it looks as if it has been a successful strategy.
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