Rebecca Sugar is a screenwriter, storyboard artist and songwriter.
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Me and my amazing Crewniverse are working hard on Steven Universe, please ask me anything about the show! I'll give you everything but spoilers!
Official Show Blog: http://stevencrewniverse.tumblr.com/
I know this should be ending but I'm going to stick around for a while! I'll try to get to as many as I can! Thanks so much everybody!
EDIT AGAIN-- Still going! I'll give it at least another hour! Thanks again!
EDIT AGAIN-- I have to get going! But I might sneak on later tonight, and do a little more. Thank you so much everyone, for your wonderful questions! This was so much fun!
Oh and one last EDIT! We're coming back with NEW STEVEN UNIVERSE EPISODES! THURSDAY NIGHTS AT 6:30!!! Starting tomorrow!!! Please tune in!!!
ALRIGHT! Goodnight everyone! So nice talking to you all! http://imgur.com/PmWHutW
Hey Rebecca! It seems like lots of cartoons have their creator voicing one of the characters. Any chance you'll voice a SU character in the future?
My actors are SO GOOD! I'd rather not I like being on the other side of the booth!
Halloa Rebecca! Amazing job you're doing with Steven Universe. Has every bit the majesty, grace, and sheer destructiveness of Sailor Moon.
Would you be interested to know that your characters near-perfectly depict stages of human emotional development?
Steven the Co-Dependent - as expected of a child his age.
Amethyst the Counter-dependent - the explorer and rebel, fighting authority even if it's a bad idea.
Pearl the Group-dependent - the responsible manager, legalistic to a fault.
Garnet the Independent - Free to take on the burdens of others, can be a bit reckless, and is understanding of the growth that risk-taking can give as well as its limitations.
Amazing that you managed to pick up on inherent human behavior and manifest them in to distinct, colorful characters!
Edit: I spelled Sheer incorrectly. Yet nobody pointed it out before I edited it! Victory! Take that grammar nazis!
This was absolutely on purpose!!! Thank you for noticing!!!
will there ever be an episode with a laugh track?
I see Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl as serving as almost parental figures to Steven. Pearl can sorta be the overprotective mother, Amethyst as almost the cool uncle (aunt?), and Garnet as...the chill one.
Do these characters have real-life counterparts?
Also, how was it working with Nicki Minaj as Sugilite?
Yes! Steven is based off my brother Steven, and Garnet Amethyst and Pearl are all ways I act around Steven... sometimes I'm overprotective, sometimes I don't have to care what he thinks... I always want to be like Garnet, but I probably am never that cool.
It was AMAZING working with Nicki!!!
I see in your work a high degree of sensitivity and emotional depth brought to and expressed through the characters. This is something that I really love about what you do and what you bring to animation and comics.
Where do you think this comes from in you? Could you share a couple of experiences, influences and reflections to further explain your artistic vision and what you hope to communicate through your work?
I always loved cartoons and took them very personally! Read into them too much, wanted them to be real. So I want to make cartoons that are meant to be read that way, overanalyzed, and taken personally because they really are meaningful, that's my dream!
If there is going to be a Steven Universe video game what is it going to be like?
I would want it to be an RPG!!!
I have a few questions. Spoiler warnings for anyone who hasn't seen Coach Steven, which has already aired in Canada.
Who writes the BGM? I swear it's some of the best I've ever heard, especially "Atop the Sea Spire" and "Dance of Swords."
Can we expect more singing from Pearl/ the rest of the gems?
Nicki Minaj was a perfect casting choice for Sugilite. She sounded exactly like I would expect Garnet and Amethyst to sound like together. How did that casting choice get made?
Why did Pearl's design change so much from the pilot while Steven and Amethyst stayed mostly the same?
The music for the show is written by Aivi and Surasshu, they are BRILLIANT https://soundcloud.com/aivisura
Yes there will be more singing!
I REALLY wanted Nicki Minaj, I'm a huge fan, I was so happy to work with her on this.
I was the least satisfied with Pearl's pilot design. I wanted her to be much more specific, especially her face.
This is an "Adventure Time" question for you! I saw that you were credited with developing the story for "Be More". How much did it change from when it was originally being pitched during AT's third season, to when it finally aired during its fifth?
A lot! But a lot of ideas float around like that and change over time-- like the one about Jake seeing his death was a really really early idea, that didn't end up as an episode until way later! Sometimes these seeds just take a while to grow!
Hi, Rebecca! I want to let you know that Steven Universe is a show that never fails to put a smile on my face, no matter what. So thank you for that (as well as doing this discussion). :)
My question for you is, what advice would you get for someone who has long since lost inspiration for creating, art, and creating art? I graduated with a BA in art/animation five years ago and could not find anything to do with said degree. With loans bearing down on me and finding myself "stuck" in your typical m-f job in customer service, I find it hard to motivate myself. What can I do to get creating again? Sometimes I doodle on the job, but never clicks for me as much as it used to.
Thanks!! The only way to get back into drawing is to get back into drawing!! When I get stuck, I print out a ton of art that I feel is truly good, and just stare at it a LOT, and then draw until I like something. Force yourself, until you don't have to anymore!
Hello Miss Sugar
Do you have a concept of how do you want to end the story of Crystal Gems and Steven or is it still evolving while making it?
Just wanted to say thank you. I did a guitar cover for Steven Universe intro (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qpH2CdItVc) and you liked my post with it on Tumblr. I actually was surprised that you would come across it. Thank you, thank you! It's important for me.
Thank you for Steven. Much love for you and crew from Poland. We believe there in Steven too!
Thanks so much!! Yes, I know how I want it to end! But I try to leave room for it to evolve also, both things are true!
Of all the dads on TV I really appreciate Mr. UNIVERSE! Was he inspired by anyone or thing in particular?
I made him specifically for his voice actor Tom Scharpling, host of the Best Show on WFMU!
But he's a little inspired by my dad, too!
The entrance door to the gems' rooms is in the shape of a star, with a blue spot in one of the tips, with no blue gem seen... is there a fifth gem?
Hi Rebecca, the music on the show is so beautiful. I actually get emotional when I listen to it. Have you ever considered releasing a soundtrack for the show of both the original songs and score?
I would love to! There are so many songs coming up though, that I'd want to be on there! Maybe after next season!
Now that you're outside any looking in, any comments about the recent revelation between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum's, and their shared history?
Doesn't seem recent to me!
I love your show and all its diverse characters. Congrats on being the first female creator for CN, what did that feel like?
Will there ever be an episode about how Greg and Rose met?
Thanks for making this show.
Yes there will be lots of Rose and Greg backstory!!! Get ready!
Hey Rebecca! Your show and others makes up the best lineup of CN shows I've seen in decades.
My question is; which studio would you prefer to work with if you were to make a full length animated film?
Also, what would the gems' playlists include?
I would love to make a movie independently!
Pearl-- Sunmi 24 hours, William Bolcom Graceful Ghost Rag
Amethyst-- the Jet Set radio soundtrack
Hi Rebecca! Big time fan since the first episode of Steven Universe! I have two questions,
1. Will we see Sour Cream again in any more episodes?
2. Are Sour Cream and Onion related?
First thing's first.
I really like your drawings. The way you draw or have the hand gestures and movements, especially during Adventure Time (Your boarded episodes are my favorite AT episodes, by the way). And then I watched your 'Singles' animation and really liked all the hand gestures and movement.
Second, you and I are about the same age, and knowing that someone our age can be of success in animation and art really makes me strive for my own passion. I would like to say that you are my inspiration in my future career.
Now for the question.
I've seen interviews where you said you like cons. Do you have a favorite cosplay or genre?
I'm half Japanese so I've always watched animes in Jap. Do you or any of the crewniverse watch in Jap, subbed, or dubbed?
Who's your favorite character in Utena?
Aside from One Piece, what's works of animation you like?
Thank you for doing this AMA, and a good morning from Thailand
Are you still a /co/mrade?
1) I was Luffy once
4) Future Boy Conan
Secret Question) I'm Scraps
Hi Rebecca. I’m a huge fan. Thanks for doing an AMA. I always get inspired when I watch Steven Universe because of your rise from a storyboard artist to having your own creation on Cartoon Network. What advice would you give to writers that aspire to have a show of their own on television one day? (also, you should stop by /r/stevenuniverse sometime, because we’re awesome)
I would say, make LOTS of stuff, don't wait to have a show! I recommend comics, I learned so much from drawing comics, you can explore so many stories that way. Comics and short films. Just make TONS of stuff. Also all of us on the show lurk the subreddit!
Hey Rebecca! Thanks for doing the AMA and congratulations on the success of Steven Universe!
My favorite character is Greg so my questions will revolve around him, and his amazing voice actor Tom Scharpling.
There is a void in every Friend of Tom where 3 hours of mirth, music, and mayhem have been missing since December. How have you managed to fill this void?
Favorite Best Show on WFMU moment? Favorite Jon Wurster character? Will Jon ever appear as a voice?
Do we get to hear any more rock classics from Greg in the future?
Will Greg's past ever be explored? Whether that be his relationship with Rose, or how he raised Steven pre-Gems taking care of him?
My favorite character is Greg too!!!
I fill the void by getting to talk to him when he records for Greg--haha sorry everybody, it's awesome
Oh my goodness.. the feltdown, the Gorch, and maybe!!!
YES you will hear Greg rock! His past will be very explored... I want to explore it... a lot...
Do you miss working on Adventure Time?
Which of the Gems is your favorite?
I do! I miss it a lot, but this is a whole different experience and I love it I'm learning a lot.
I love them all!
Hi Rebecca! I'm a huge fan of your work! One thing I'm a little curious about is what's your opinion on the gemsonas? (People recreating themselves as crystal gems/Crystal Gem Fan Characters)
I love them. I love them! Please make them, and fuse them with each other!
Hey Rebecca. I was wondering who came up with the line, "If every porkchop were perfect, we wouldn't have hotdogs!"?
It was our writers, Ben Levin and Matt Burnett! They wrote a whole page of potential one liners like that!
Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca! What was it like working with Penn Ward back when Adventure Time was just starting?
It was amazing, I learned so much. He pushed me to be really honest and to write cartoons like they're poetry.
Rebecca! I've loved your art since about 2007! I read Pug Davis a few years ago and was really moved by it--it's probably one of my favorite single volume comics! Do you think if Steven Universe is more popular, maybe it could get a reprint? I really want to own it!
Also, I noticed you don't use many voice actors who do animation on a regular basis, or at least haven't yet (aside from Dee Bradley Baker), even though there were many on Adventure Time. Is that deliberate?
Most episodes seem very Steven-centric, will there be any from the Gems' POV in the future?
I iTunes'd every episode so far because I was afraid the show wouldn't get a 2nd season! Congrats on 52 half-hours!
The show is always from Steven's POV, and the Gems are keeping him sheltered from a lot of things-- he'll learn more about what's going on with them when they think he's ready--
Thank you for reading Pug Davis!
Will anything ever be revealed about the crystal gem race or each gems' past?
Hello Rebecca, I don't go on reddit much but I HAD to send a question! I love your show and I love the detail put into everything and most of all the music!
I notice a trend in how each character has a specific instrument that coincides with them and their theme and the way it interacts with other bgms in the background.
I am definitely aware that Pearl's is a piano and Amethyst is maybe the drums thanks to the song "Amalgam" but I was wondering about all the other characters specific themed instruments are?
Once again, thanks again for all you do! (And great job with your work here and on Adventure Time!)
That's a great question for Aivi and Surasshu! They track all the themes for all the characters and weave them together, they are amazing.
What other shows had some of the biggest influences on Steven Universe?
Future Boy Conan, Revolutionary Girl Utena, the Simpsons!
How does your brother feel about being the inspiration for Steven?
Let me ask him!
I'm a big fan and I'm really looking to get into making cartoons. What I want to know is what's your favorite thing about making cartoons?
AH! That is such a hard question! My favorite thing about making cartoons is the feeling when you do a really good drawing, one you didn't know you had in you until you got it out.
Hey, I just wanted to say your show is amazing and makes me very happy.
Anyway, I know Steven Universe is a very musically-oriented show, so do you have any plans for Kate Micucci (the voice of Sadie) to sing or write any music on the show in the future? Personally I like her music and think it would go great with the show.
I would love that too!!!
At the end of the first fusion episode it was referenced that Steven can fuse as well, does this mean he can fuse with Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl? edited
Ohhhhh just wait and see! Keep watching!
I have one question: who thought up and OK'ed that Circle of Life episode?
It as an amazing episode, but man oh man, it was strange.
That was a long exciting story, how that came to be!
One of the AT designers, Michelle Xin, was in a chat room with the incredible animator legend Masaaki Yuasa, while he was answering questions about Kick Heart! She mentioned Adventure Time, and he mentioned liking it! It was a total coincidence, but so many members of the Adventure Time crew are such huge fans of his, and so he ended up storyboarding and animating the Adventure Time episode "Food Chain!" He was even here at the studio with us for a bit, which was truly amazing!
First off, as I’m sure many others will also say, thank you so much for answering our questions today!
So, I don’t have a degree in anything visual art-related (English with a writing focus, actually). But in the last year (thanks in part to awesome shows like Steven Universe!), I’ve really rediscovered my love of visual storytelling and animation as a whole. Do you have any advice or tips on entering the television animation industry for a writer and/or artist?
(P.S. - Your encouraging words at Gallery Nucleus really helped me to start gathering the courage to work on my own personal projects. Thank you so much.)
Yeah you're doing it right! Lots of personal projects! If you have ideas, just get them out of you and don't wait for permission! Draw so much! No fear!
In the episode 'Steven and the Sword Fighter', there was a reference for the figurines of Cloud, Sanic and such others. What was the reason behind it to place them within that episode?
That's a question for storyboarder Jeff Liu! He did that section. I know he loves Gitaroo Man.
Rebecca, I love your work. I'm looking forward to watching and rewatching all of the new episodes. Steven Universe has such a great world and I can hardly stop from imagining the endless possibilities that could come from your world with its magical physics.
My question is: Are you going to do more with the larger world?
I don't mean 'world' literally, but I've always wanted to see more about the underpinnings of the universe - the physics or something - and stories about the temple and Gem culture at large and how temples are made and Gem genealogy and comparisons between monster gems vs. people gems and aaaaaaaaaalll this other stuff. Other Gems, you know? The differences between Gems from different worlds and the more unexplored mystical abilities, myths and legends, etc and I'll stop now before I ramble on forever.
If anything else, don't worry about what we'll think about new material. I'd love to see something unusual, because that means there's just that much more life in the world.
That was less a question than an appreciative ramble. oops
Yes. The larger world is there, even now-- the show is from Steven's point of view, and you may have already noticed more than he has.
There are things going on that the Gems don't feel Steven can handle. That is gonna change. It's going to have to change. GET READY
I'm really glad SU is back, and on my birthday no less :D
So what's your favorite song by Oingo Boingo?
UHHH-- Gosh I don't know-- I love the theme to Forbidden Zone!
Hey rebecca! Do you ever get frustrated by the network trying to dumb down your shows for a younger audience, or is CN pretty chill about it? I would expect the latter considering how most of the shows on CN make kids and their parents laugh. Thanks again for doing this, I love your work!
CN gives us a LOT of freedom! An amazing amount. I feel very lucky.