Interview with Brad Neely & Daniel Weidenfeld

Brad Neely & Daniel Weidenfeld are the guys behind Adult Swim’s new show “China, IL”. Brad is the writer, producer and star of the show and Daniel is the executive producer. The show just started airing on Adult Swim every Sunday, be sure to check it out. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the guys about the new show and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about the journey for “China, IL” starting as web series to airing on Adult Swim?
Daniel Weidenfeld: I had worked with Brad on the shows at Super Deluxe. We had been talking about doing a four part episode. We wanted to do a television show however Super Deluxe wanted it to be a web series. We had this super complex story where we had a  four part show but in each part there were three acts. It was a very confusing. About a year and a half later, Adult Swim came to Brad about doing the show. I came on a short time after. Together we did a pilot titled “Professor Brothers”. The show ended up being picked up for series and Adult Swim wanted to develop it further. We made the show more about the world and added pupils to the characters which gave them a little more life. We also changed the name to “China, IL” and that’s where we are today.

MG: Brad, you not only write and produce the show but also voice the main character, How do you juggle those roles?
Brad Neely: It’s fun! You have to just put on different hats. Of course it’s not all just me either. While I am in doing voicing, Daniel is on the other side of the glass directing me. We have a lot of people working on the show that have editorial input.
DW: The crew here adds a lot to each frame of the show. It’s really great and we are very lucky.

MG: How did you get involved with Titmouse and Tommy Blanca who voiced the Mayor?
DW: Shannon and Chris (Prynoski) have been friends for a long time. They have done a lot of work with Adult Swim. There was a time when it looked like the show was going to be picked up just based on the written scripts. They were the first people we called.
BN: They were actually the first people I ever met with. I couldn’t imagine doing the show elsewhere. They presented a studio that had a booth in house. They were also able to do revisions and pickups on the fly. We were able to make everything run like a well oiled machine.
DW: With Tommy for the episode “Dean vs. Mayor” we had initially wanted to get Macho Man Randy Savage to go head to head with Hulk Hogan. However we couldn’t find him at the time and that was prior to him passing away. The next person we called was Tommy who used to be the head writer for the WWE. We knew he could bring that spirit to the episode. The voice he brought killed it! You’re going to be seeing a little bit more of the Mayor in the future.

MG: Tell us how Hulk Hogan came aboard to voice The Dean?
DW: It was tricky but we got him. We had to appeal to him in a way where it wasn’t about the money. He cares about doing awesome stuff! We sent him the script and he told us it was the weirdest thing he had ever seen in his life and  he wanted to be a part of it. It took some massaging and to this day we are still massaging.
BN: He has a comedy personality in him. He doesn’t just come in and do his lines. Hulk is a funny performer.

MG: Any other guest voices to keep an eye out for this season?
DW: Oh yeah!
BN: One of our favorite things about the show is the voice talent. We have Jason Alexander doing a voice in episode four.  We have Jeffery Tambor playing Baby Cakes’ dad.
DW: We also have Natasha Leggero and Chelsea Peretti doing voices. We are trying to stack the deck as much as we can. It’s been awesome!

MG: How long does each episode take from script to screen?
BN: It’s different with each as the writing process is unique for each episode.
DW: We started production in October of 2010.
BN: Right now we are finishing the tenth episode. While everyone is working on the first episodes we are writing the second half.

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