How to Make an Arthur Episode

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create an Arthur episode like “So Funny I Forgot To Laugh”—or YOUR favorite episode?

Read on to find out just how we create an Arthur episode, from start to finish!

ARTHUR episode: "So Funny I Forgot To Laugh"

ARTHUR episode: “So Funny I Forgot To Laugh”

Brainstorm Sessions
The Arthur team has lots of ideas. So we start off by meeting with our writers to brainstorm topics and storylines we’d like to address in the upcoming season. For example, in the episode “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh,” we knew we wanted cover the topic of bullying, so we brainstormed the best way to approach portraying this difficult topic for our young audience.

A writer is then assigned to that script, and works on various drafts with feedback from the head writer, director, animation studio, content advisers, and the production team.

Rough Designs

When the final script is approved, it goes off to the design team at the animation studio—a company that produces animated media. At the studio, they begin to turn our words into images. First, they create black and white and color designs of the important characters, props, and backgrounds in the episode.

Black and white character designs show the episodes characters, props, and backgrounds.

Character designs in black and white

These designs go through a review process, and then on to the next revision. Sometimes it takes a number of rounds of notes before all the reviewers are satisfied with all the details, like the puffiness of Sue Ellen’s sweater or the length of her sleeves. But once the revisions are agreed upon, the changes are made and the designs are finalized.

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Character designs in color

Voice Records

No Arthur episode would be complete without the voices that bring the characters to life! The actors are recorded reading their lines, and then the best recordings are selected and integrated into a dialogue track—the audio of all the characters speaking in the episode without any music or sound effects.

The next step is to review black and white storyboards called animatics. Animatics combine the dialogue track with the backgrounds and some simple, basic character movements. At this point, we fine-tune the camera angles, facial expressions, and pacing of the episode.

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Black and white animatic storyboard

Finally, the animators use color designs that were approved earlier in the process and the animatic as a guide to create the actual animated episode. Finally, they add music and sound effects, and soon you’re watching Arthur and his friends grapple with one of the challenges of childhood on your TV!

Stay tuned for more from Arthur in our August post.

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