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“Future Worm!” : An Interview With Creator Ryan Quincy

Ryan Quincy developed the original design concepts for his latest Disney XD series “Future Worm!” Photo courtesy Disney XD

Fatherhood has changed Ryan Quincy.  Kicking off his professional career as an animator, he worked on MADtv before landing a role as lead animator and animation producer for “South Park.” His dedication to Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s vision resulted in his two consecutive Emmy wins (2008/09) and two additional consecutive Emmy nominations (2010/2011).  Proud of his work with the potty-mouth tykes, Quincy was eager to create his own content and developed IFC’s “Out There” – a coming of age buddy series set in a surreal, bleak landscape.  After becoming a father, his creative viewpoint shifted.

“I realized I couldn’t share any of my work with my kids,” said Quincy.  “I wanted to make a show they could watch, and a show I would have loved when I was their age.”

From this realization sprang “Future Worm!,” Quincy’s latest animated series that will premiere on Disney XD August 1st.  A heart-warming and visually stimulating buddy story, “Future Worm!” follows the adventures of 12-year old Danny Douglas (voiced by Andy Milonakis) and his adventure-loving, ultra-muscular friend Future Worm (voice by James Adomain).The two friends travel through the past, present and future via Danny’s time machine lunch box.

Inspiration for the concept arose from things Quincy loved as an eleven-year-old boy: Marvel comics, science fiction and television series including “Doctor Who.”  Early in the development of the concept, Quincy recognized the exciting story and visual possibilities a time travel element would bring. Wanting to ensure the story remained kid friendly, he decided to overlook scientific principles, placing the bulk of his focus instead on defining Danny’s friendships, particularly with his sidekick.  Reflecting on “The Adventures of Pinocchio”, he was inspired by Jiminy Cricket, the voice of reason that accompanied Pinocchio on his adventures.  Noting bugs are rarely seen in a positive light, he turned his attention to a worm.

“I came up with the idea quickly, because it’s something you just don’t see,” said Quincy.  “I was excited about the challenge of finding ways to add emotion and expression.  Worms have no arms, legs or eyes.”

The design concept for Future Worm infuses “tough guy” qualities of Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and Chuck Norris with the flair of the Bee Gees.  For his human characters, Quincy took inspiration from his three favorite influencers: Jim Henson, Dr. Seuss and Charles Schultz.  When designing characters, he places the greatest focus on the eyes “so you can immediately connect with the characters” and allows the rest of the illustration to be unrefined.  He spent a great deal of time finding the best amount of “scrappy and imperfect” character development that worked with the water color quality of the background.

Quincy designed the main characters for his first “Future Worm!” short out of necessity.  Once the concept graduated to a series, he wanted contributions of a talented staff to make “Future Worm!” the best it could be.  Background artist Joey McCormick (Mac and Moxy), character designer James McDermott (King of the Hill) and lead character designer Devin Roth (Bob’s Burgers) helped to refine the look.  While the aesthetics of the show were an early concern, Quincy also found a crew of talented writers who balanced the fantastic elements of Danny and Future Worm’s adventures with the humanity of their friendship and the enthusiasm of a twelve year old.

“There are ninety-seven shorts,” said Quincy.  “It’s a real challenge.  The stories balance friendship, acceptance and forward momentum.”

Finding the perfect voice actors to bring the characters to live was also a critical element.  The Disney casting department proved to be an invaluable partner in filling out his cast.  While he had Andy Milonakis (“Kroll Show”, “Adventure Time”) in mind for Danny, the casting directors helped round out the rest of the cast.  While he was surprised they recommended he continue voicing the Dad character, a choice he made when creating the shorts, Quincy loved their recommendation of James Adomian (Children’s Hospital, Comedy Bang Bang!) to portray Future Worm.

“His voice has so much charisma, it’s so amazing,” said Quincy.  “He brings Future Worm to life!”

To learn more about “Future Worm!” please visit: http://watchdisneyxd.go.com/future-worm